The Fujifilm FinePix S1500 - the 12x zoom, 10-megapixel update of last year's S1000fd - gets the What Digital Camera review treatment. The Fuji S1500 review...
Fujifilm FinePix S1500
The Fujifilm FinePix S1500 launched back in February. The S1500 is a 12x zoom, 10-megapixel update of the FinePix S1000fd, launched at around this time last year.
Fujifilm S1500 review – Features
The S1500 has the same body, sensor and monitor as the FinePix S1000fd. The size and weight are identical and it still uses four AA batteries for power, housed inside a large and comfortable handgrip.
The S1500 isn’t quite identical, though, as it has sensor-shift image stabilisation system – as seen on the FinePix S2000HD – allowing sharp handheld shots at maximum zoom at shutter speeds as low as 1/40th of a second.
The S1500 also has a new shooting mode, SR Auto, a scene-recognition mode that selects the best choice of six different scene modes depending on the situation. It copes well with backlighting, low-light portraits and other tricky subjects. Also new is the tracking autofocus system, which will attempt to keep a moving subject in focus as long as it stays in the frame.
Other advanced features include face detection, automatic in-camera redeye correction and a panorama mode which can take three 3MP images and then stitch them together in-camera to make one long panoramic image. It has a range of exposure options including aperture or shutter priority and manual exposure.
Owners of previous Fuji cameras should note that S1500 is yet another Fujifilm camera that can only use SD/SDHC cards, further auguring the demise of the xD-Picture memory card format.
Fuji FinePix S1500 review – Performance
The S1500’s overall performance is fairly unremarkable. In single-shot mode it has a shot-to-shot time of approximately three seconds, while in long-period continuous shooting mode it averages approximately one frame per second. The S1500 also has several high-speed continuous shooting modes.
The autofocus system is very good under most conditions, focusing quickly and accurately even in low light. The S1500’s low-light performance is excellent, with a bright AF assist lamp and a very powerful flash.
While the S2000HD was one of the first long-zoom cameras to feature HD video recording, the S1500 has to make do with a 640 x 480 30fps video mode and mono audio. The optical zoom can be used while shooting, but the motor is quite loud on the audio track.
Fuji S1500 review – Image Quality
Image quality is noticeably better than that of the S1000fd. It still has the same lens performance, with noticeable barrel distortion at wideangle and pincushion at telephoto, but providing decent corner-to-corner sharpness. It still has the same excellent image noise control, with good picture quality at ISO 400 and usable images even at 800. Colours definitely aren’t quite as strident in the default mode, though. All in all, the S1500 produces good results in a wide range of different situations, and is a lot of fun to use.
New features including sensor-shift image stabilisation make the S1500 a worthwhile upgrade over the S1000fd. Its compact size, decent build quality and comfortable handling make it a capable and versatile all-rounder and a good-value alternative to more expensive travel cameras.