The 12-megapixel Fujifilm Finepix S1000fd bridge camera features a 12x zoom and manual mode.
Small is Beautiful
It’s hard to think of a manufacturer that has catered for the bridge genre more than Fujifilm has, providing both ‘traditional’ models and more affordable variations geared towards the entry-level market. The S1000fd is the latest in this latter range, equipped with a 12x optical zoom in the smallest body of its class.
The camera offers a 10MP CCD sensor combined with Fujufilm’s Real Photo Processor. The lens spans a capable focal range of 33-396mm, while sensitivity may be adjusted up to ISO 1600 at full resolution and 3200 at a reduced 3MP setting. Auto and PASM exposure controls sit on the mode dial alongside Movie, Panorama and Natural Light modes, while the SP1 and SP2 allow two scene modes of the user’s choice to be assigned for quick access.
The rear sports a 2.7in, 230,000dot LCD screen, and is joined by a similarly-resolving electronic viewfinder. Access to key settings – comprising sensitivity, quality and colour options – is provided via the long-standing ‘F’ button, while the main menu displays more comprehensive parameter options when used in any of the PASM modes. Face Detection, meanwhile, promises to detect up to six faces, adjusting exposure and focus accordingly, with movement-tracking locking on to subjects until they move out of the frame.
For such a small camera the S1000fd sports an unusually large grip, though this makes it comfortable both to operate and carry around. The mode dial is easy to reach while all other buttons fall easily either to the thumb or forefinger. My only concern is the rather limited space on the rear for resting your thumb; it’s a little too easy to accidentally press the F button, or the top of the menu pad.
The camera takes over two seconds to power up, though zooming through the focal range and menu operation is done at a better pace. Considering the zoom range of the lens, focusing using the centre-point AF is also reasonably good, though the multi AF mode can often miss its target. The menu system is limited in its options, but it’s quick to navigate and everything you need is there. It’s a shame the F button only accesses three parameters, too; ideally you’d be able to customise this and add whatever options you access the most.
Exposures are generally accurate and the Auto white balance is fairly consistent, too. Sharpness is maintained towards edges and corners, but overall, images are inherently soft, and with no real form of image stabilisation they are hampered by luminance noise – particularly at the tele end of the zoom. This appears at all sensitivities, though it’s nothing a little post-production can’t rectify. I did get some sharp and pleasant results using the camera’s macro mode, though barrelling appears at the wide end of the zoom and green and purple fringing attack contrasting edges, occasionally spilling over edges onto the subject.
Aside from its size-to-zoom ratio, it’s hard to feel that the S1000fd breaks any new ground. There’s nothing really here that Fujifilm, or any other manufacturer for that matter, hasn’t already done before. It’s convenient to carry around and operates well, though its wayward focusing and average image quality make it a rather lukewarm performer.