Operation and controls

This is a camera that will be pretty terrifying to novices if they've only used an ultra-compact point-and-shoot. By providing such a high degree of external control (controls that would be menu-based on most entry-level DSLRs), this camera flaunts the fact that you have to be willing to learn something about photography in order to use it. Actually, you can get away with leaving it in Auto mode, evaluative metering and single-attempt AF mode and it'll behave itself very respectably. But those buttons and switches will sit there, nagging you, making you wonder what they do and whether you've got them set to the correct position, if you don't take the time to master them.

Rear of camera

Users of any of Fuji's bridge cameras or most DLSRs will feel instantly at home. Most of the major functions have external controls, leaving very little reason to have to delve into menus. Unlike previous FujiFilm cameras, the S100FS has no 'F ' button - all buttons control a single function, rather than bringing up a miniature parameter menu. For a camera of this level, this is a much more sensible approach because you don't have to memorize which function Fuji has decided is an 'F ' menu function and which is a main menu function.

Top of camera

Again, it's a very DLSR-like appearance looking down from the top. The mode dial has room for a choice of two scene modes and two user-defined custom modes, alongside the traditional Manual, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Program and Auto modes.

Display and menus

The menus and displays on the S100FS will be familiar to anyone who has used a FujiFilm camera before. They work superbly on this camera because there is a logical separation: almost every setting you might want to change, shot-to-shot, has an external button, settings you might want to change once or twice per shoot are in the shooting menu and the settings you change once every six months are in the setup menu. It sounds obvious but is rarely done this well, even on many DSLRs.

In record mode, there are the traditional three options of just seeing the image, seeing the image with shooting info overlayed or image, info and gridlines. Pressing the exposure compensation [+/-] button, brings up a scale on the bottom right of the screen and also brings up a histogram to help with assessing exposure.
The manual focus option (complete with proper focus ring), displays a scale denoting accuracy of focus. If the scale and target dot are not enough to convince you that you're in focus, you can engage digital zoom to visually check.
The 'fs' in the camera's name refers to its 'Film Simulation' modes. These tweaks the shooting parameters to mimic the response of classic Fuji films. It even shows you which parameter is being changed. Dynamic range expansion can be increased. This essentially underexposes to ensure the retention of highlights, then boosts the tone curve to pull the dark regions of the image back to the correct brightness.
The shooting menu contains the image parameters and shooting settings that you might find yourself changing while shooting. Our only niggle is that the 'Quality' setting doesn't let you select RAW. (It will display here when engaged, but you can't change it) The setup menu is reached from the end of the shooting or playback menu. It is split into two sections: relatively obscure camera settings and underlying settings such as date and time. This is the only place to select RAW mode - a problem if you wish to use both RAW and JPEGs.
Date, time, formatting and the underlying camera settings are in the second section of the setup menu. There's nothing here you'd want to change too often. Playback mode shows your images. Pressing the 'DISP/BACK' button cycles from this view to a remarkably similar one with the image number also displayed...
...pressing again brings up this navigation screen that makes rather poor use of the screen. Pressing again gives a 3x3 grid which is rather easier to scroll around. Pressing once more brings you... ...to a 10x10 grid view that is pretty ambitious, given how small the screen on the F100fs is. There's also a 'view by date' screen which is far more handy. Unless you download from the card on a daily basis.
To actually reveal any useful information, you have to press the exposure compensation (+/-) button. The playback menu offers exactly the sorts of things you'd expect, slideshows, printing, voice memos and so forth.