White Balance

The S6000fd offers six white balance presets (fine, shade, fluorescent day, fluorescent warm white, fluorescent cool White and incandescent) as well as the usual auto white balance and a custom (manual) setting. Outdoors we found the auto white balance to be excellent, though in artificial light (as our tests show) it rarely produces a 'neutral' result - even using the manual presets. If you don't like color casts when shooting indoors at night you need to switch to custom white balance.

Incandescent - Auto WB
Red 11.1%, Blue -13.1%
Incandescent - Incandescent preset WB
Red 6.4%, Blue -9.1%
Fluorescent - Auto WB
Red 2.0%, Blue -11.0%
Fluorescent - Fluorescent preset WB
Red 5.1%, Blue -6.2%

Flash Performance

No complaints here; color and exposure are excellent and the range (using auto ISO) is a very respectable 8.3m (27.2 feet). The position of the flash is also high enough to minimize red-eye in most shots.

Skin tone
Excellent color and exposure
Color chart
Excellent color, slight underexposure

Intelligent flash modes

Like the F30, the S6000fd has a couple of flash tricks up its sleeve, thanks to the sensor's high ISO abilities. First is 'intelligent' flash, which basically increases the sensitivity and turns down the flash, resulting in a better balance between the foreground (lit by flash) and background. It also means slow synch flash mode can use a higher shutter speed, meaning there's less chance of the blurring you get in such situations if you don't use a tripod. Of course the intelligent flash has to change the ISO setting, and so only works in auto ISO mode.

Secondly, the S6000fd has a scene mode called 'Natural Light & Flash', which takes two shots in rapid succession, one with flash, and one without flash at a much higher ISO setting, so you can choose which you prefer. Both shots are shown (side by side) in the instant review.

Macro Focus

The S6000fd has two macro modes; standard and 'super'. The standard macro mode lets you get as close as 10cm at the wide end of the lens (90cm at the long end), whilst the 'Super Macro' option reduces the closest focus distance to a very impressive 1cm (under half an inch), capturing an area just over an inch high. My only complaint is that the closest focus distance when not in macro mode is a bit limiting; 40cm at the wide end and 2.0m at the long end. I found I needed to switch to macro mode whenever I tried to take a portrait at any longer focal lengths.

Wide macro - 84 x 63 mm coverage
34 px/mm (860 px/in)
Distortion: Average
Corner softness: Average
Equiv. focal length: 28 mm
Wide Super Macro - 36 mm x 27 mm coverage
79 px/mm (1998 px/in)
Distortion: Average
Corner softness: Average
Equiv. focal length: 28 mm

Barrel and Pincushion Distortion

Considering the zoom range - 28-300mm equivalent - distortion is remarkably low (and a lot lower than many zooms with a third of the reach).

Barrel distortion - 0.6% at Wide angle
Equiv. focal length: 28 mm
Pincushion distortion - 0.1% at Telephoto
Equiv. focal length: 300 mm

Specific image quality issues

At lower ISO settings the S6000fd is capable of very impressive results, although it suffers from the same problems as the F30; the tone curve is a prone to clipping, and - at anything over ISO 200 - JPEGs show fairly obvious noise reduction artefacts if you look too closely or go for a really big print. That said the JPEGs are sharp and punchy and exposure is very reliable., and if you don't like Fuji's approach to image processing you do at least have the option of shooting in CCD-raw mode, though this does of course slow things down. Compared to the F30 we found far less evidence of purple fringing, and far less of a tendency towards exposure errors.

Contrast / tone curve

Like the F30, the S6000fd seems to apply a steep tone curve during the processing of JPEGs, which can lead to shadow or (more rarely) highlight clipping. You can pull it back a little in Photoshop or - preferably - shoot raw and alter the tone curve yourself. Like the F30, the JPEGs are a little flat looking and benefit from a touch of post-processing if you don't want to shoot raw.

28 mm equiv., F4.5 49 mm equiv., F3.4