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Operation and controls

The advantage of a larger camera is that the designers can fit more controls onto the body - and allow them room to breathe, so it doesn't feel too 'cramped'. And the S6000fd certainly has more than its fair share of buttons and switches, which between them give the user instant access to pretty much all the most commonly accessed controls - although you still need to use the menu system if you want to change white balance or metering, or to use the self-timer (infuriatingly the self-timer also cancels itself after every shot). As with most feature-heavy cameras the S6000fd is one that becomes considerably more fluid to use after a few weeks getting really familiar with the controls and user-interface.

Rear of camera

Users of any of Fuji's bridge cameras over the last few years will feel perfectly at home here - the control layout hasn't changed a great deal. It's nice and simple, with a 'one button, one function' philosophy that makes operation fast and intuitive, though I personally don't like using the arrow buttons to change exposure settings (a control dial is so much quicker). In fact as noted below using Manual Exposure is downright fiddly.

Top of camera

The top view of the S6000fd shows just how 'SLR-like' the design is; the only thing missing is a hot shoe for attaching an external flash.

Display and menus

The basic record screen in Program mode, showing pretty comprehensive shooting information across the top of the frame and - unusually - exposure information without a half-press of the shutter. You can also choose an information-free preview image, a 'rule of thirds' grid overlay if you struggle with straight horizons and Fuji's unique 'Post Shot' mode (see below). Half press the shutter and the camera will lock the focus and exposure, indicating the focus point chosen (in multi-AF mode). The shutter speed and aperture chosen are displayed at the bottom of the screen, and warnings indicate if there is a focus problem or danger of camera shake.
As well as the usual multi autofocus you get the option to choose your own focus spot (area AF) or - new for this model - automatic Face Detection. This works pretty well, picking up several faces in the frame and tracking their motion, and it is very fast. It doesn't work if the face is in profile, but - as a party trick to show your friends if nothing else - it's impressive. Here's the S6000fd working in manual exposure mode; the metering is live and shown as a moving 'needle'. You can view a histogram (in any mode) by pressing the AE compensation button. Manual mode is frustrating to use as the left/right arrows control shutter speed and aperture; you have to hold down the AE-C button to change the latter.
Manual focus - operated by the ring at the base of the lens - is fairly easy thanks to the enlarged central section. The Post Shot view - in record mode - shows up to three of the last shots taken in a column up the left side of the screen (the main, live, image appears to the right). This is designed to help you get your composition exactly right.
Pressing the 'F' button brings up a menu with options for image quality/size - from 6MP down to 0.3MP, ISO (100-3200) and FinePix Color (standard, 'chrome' and B&W). There are two JPEG settings for 6MP, but only one each for the other sizes. Strangely you can't select auto ISO in any mode except full auto (where it's the only choice).
Less frequently accessed controls are found in the main record mode menu (activated using the menu button). Here you'll find options for everything from white balance to focus, burst mode and metering options and the 'High Speed' shooting mode. Strangely it's also where you'll find the CCD-Raw mode hiding. Incidentally, in full auto mode you only have access to a couple of these options. Unusually the S6000fd has a 2x digital zoom button on the exterior of the body (tip to Fuji; make this a custom function button in future - I'd rather have control over white balance and metering without going into the menus).
In playback mode you have the option to view full exposure information - including a histogram - by pressing the +/- (AE-C) button. The right (tele) zoom button lets you enlarge images up to 4.5x (the actual amount depends on the size of the image). You can scroll around enlarged images using the four-way controller.
Pressing the DISP button cycles through the various playback modes, including 3x3 thumbnails, as shown here. You can also view the images on the card in a 'calendar' format (sorted by the date they were taken). The three-page setup menu (accessible from both playback and record modes) is where you find camera-related settings. There's a lot here, but to be honest you're unlikely to be changing anything very often once you've done your initial setup.
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