Fujifilm FinePix S7000 Zoom review
This camera is a good solid camera, capable of exceptional photos in good light. It is absolutely packed with features that will get many people on the road to SLR land, because as you learn to use all it's bits and pieces, it leaves you wanting more.
The 55 mm thread enables you to attach extra lenses, both wide angle and telephoto (you will need the latter) and being an earlier Fuji design, the menu system is fairly simple. The nested menu system of the S5600 and F10 had not been introduced with this 2003-launched camera. The earlier Fuji design means that although digital zoom is only available at lower resolutions, it does not use interpolation (rather a hardware cropping method) and there is no loss of image quality when used.
The big bonus is the programmability of the camera and shutter and aperture can be manipulated to your heart's content. More basic settings enable the novice to also use this camera and progress to more complex features as they learn how to use the S7000.
First 5 and Last 5 rapid fire multiple frames are available also at any resolution and a 40 frame repeat is availableat 3 megapixels and lower. One criticism of later Fuji designs (S5500 and S5600) is that this was reduced to first 3 and last 3.
However, there are reasons I'm not giving the camera top marks and (despite what I've said above) why I sidestepped to the S5600. Firstly, it only has a 6x zoom (the S5600 and others have a 10x zoom or better), which makes a telephoto lens essential for longer range shots that you would expect as standard for this camera. I would opt for an Olympus TCON-17 in this case, which will fit directly to the standard Fuji ring adaptor. The use of the non-interpolating digital zoom at lower megapixel settings, as described above, can partially compensate for this too.
The camera also offers up to 6 megapixels, interpolated up to 12 megapixels if wanted; the image quality is very good at 6 MP in reasonable light, however, the 12 MP image on close inspection can seem a bit noisey. That said, do you really need 12 megapixels (I normally dropped back to 3 or 6 MP)?
In poor light, images taken in Auto mode can seem very pastey or washed out compared to other cameras - the S5600 for example seems to fair a little better. The only way round this is to start playing with the shutter and aperture settings in order to compensate.
My final problem was speed - start up took a few seconds for example, not good when I wanted a snap shot. Also, focussing can be slow when light is not perfect.
With the introduction of the 5MP S5600 (I don't personally need the 12 MP mode), I decided to look at what I wanted most out of a camera and decided speed (start up and focus) and extra zoom (10x) were more important to me - most of what I want is on the S5600 (including being able to fiddle with shutter and aperture settings).
I feel the S7000 has aged quite rapidly given other developments - not so long ago, each of the marks I've given would have been .5 higher. Whether you opt for this depends on what you want out of it. If you want lots of features and good multiframe shooting, the S7000 gives you easy access to these. If you want a fast operating camera that is ready to go in a flash, look elsewhere.
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