Fujifilm FinePix S5200 Zoom / Fujifilm FinePix S5600 review
The S5600 (S5200) is a very fast, very lightweight camera for those wanting to make their first move from compacts towards SLR. Whilst not an SLR itself, it is as good a starting point for those who want to decide if they want to go further (shutter and aperture can be handled automatically or manually), without the massive cost.
5 megapixel should be more than enough for most people - a more than adequate A4 print is possible. Whilst noise levels on the pictures are noticable under scrutiny, for most people it will not be sufficient to be a major issue. However, if you want a crisp image for precise detail or scientific use, it's better to look elsewhere and the older S5100 / S5500 4 Megapixel camera produces a sharper image.
The camera seems far more capable that previous Fuji offerings under low light (middle ISO settings also suffer less from noise), this brought about by a much greater range of ISO settings (64 to 1600).
Battery life is a big plus with this Fuji camera compared to even the S5000 and S5500 (S5100). The replacement of the extendable lens with a fixed arrangement not only means a much faster start up time, but there is less battery drain from this operation. The camera (when set up for fast shooting from the menus) also seems to be quicker to the punch in lower light thatn the S5000, S5500 and S7000 cameras. Low light pictures are less pasty than with the S7000.
The S5600 (S5200) is also a very robust camera which should take a bit of abuse and can be taken off the beaten track. As the lens is a solid mount and not an extendible lens, this makes the camera less vulnerable to accidents and ingress of dirt around the lens barrel should not be a probelm. The use of AA batteries rather than a proprietry system means should recharging not be an option, bog standard disposables can be used.
Telephoto and wideangle lenses can be added; both Fuji's own TLFX9 (1.5x telephoto) and WLFX9 (0.79x wideangle) can be added without extra adaptors to the 55 mm thread on the outside of the lens mounting. However, I'd personally recommend superior Olympus TCON-17 (1.7x telephoto) and WCON-07 (0.7x wideangle) lenses if you can afford them - again, both can also be directly attached without adaptor or step up / down ring.
There are a few other minor bugbears with this camera. The macro mode on the camera is not the best in the world and the camera has difficulty focussing very close up - the macro on both the older S5000 and S5100 / S5500 was better. Also, there is only first three and final three shooting on rapid multi-shot mode - this is a backward step from 'first five' and 'final five' on the S5000 and S7000. It can be conversely be argued that a 40 frame shoot is now possible in maximum resolution, however, the time between shots is a little slow for this to be used for it's intended purpose.
Despite these minor bugbears, a good little camera with good battery life and extremely fast fast start-up / shooting on it's side (features that are important to me).
If you want fast camera with good zoom and has programmable shutter and aperture (also loads of ISO settings), then take a look at the S5600 (S5200). If a precise image is required, then it is perhaps better to look elsewhere.
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|Jan 16, 2006|
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