Compared to... Olympus E510

The S100FS's feature set and price place it in direct competition with entry-level DSLRs. With that in mind, here we compare it to the Olympus E510 which is currently being sold for a similar price with a twin lens kit that gives a similar focal-length selection (28-300mm equiv., rather than the Fuji's 28-400mm equiv.).

Based on where it fits into Olympus's range, the E510 is a few rungs up from the S100FS but it's well into the tail end of its product lifecycle, so is being sold for similar money. On that basis, it may well be a camera that a prospective Fuji buyer considers (and there are enough players in the entry-level DSLR sector that it's very likely there will be a similarly discounted model sitting in your local shop when you walk in).

In shelf-front specification, the two cameras are pretty evenly matched, too - both offer image stabilization, similar resolution and lens range. To make the comparison fair, we have used the E510 with its 14-42mm kit lens.

Studio scene comparison (ISO 100)

  • Fujifilm FinePix S100FS: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 100, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.33 EV compensation

  • Olympus E-510: Olympus 14-42mm Zuiko, Aperture Priority mode, ISO 100, Modified Image Parameters*, Manual white balance, +0.3 EV compensation
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Fujifilm FinePix S100FS
Olympus E510
ISO 100, 1/52 sec, F5.6
ISO 100, 1/50 sec, F7.1
5,340 KB JPEG
6,630 KB JPEG

This test may seem a little unfair, given that one of these cameras has a list price far above the other but if the S100FS is to work convincingly as a DSLR-alternative, then this is exactly what it's up against. And the FujiFilm acquits itself pretty well, all things considered. It produces images with slightly less contrast and saturation than the E510, but the levels of detail/resolution are very similar and - color mapping aside - the two would be indistinguishable in a print.

The two areas in which the S100FS loses ground to the Olympus are the characteristic Super CCD artifacts around the paperclips. All the S100FS crops taken from the edges of the frame on the S100FS are marred by high levels of chromatic aberration (See section later).

* The Olympus shots are taken with noise filter turned off and sharpening set to -2 because we feel the default settings limit the camera's performance.