With a large focal range, full specification and compact body the Fujifilm FinePix S3200 looks like and impressive camera on paper. The question is, does it match up on test?
Fujifilm FinePix S3200 review – Features and Design
Fujifilm’s S series has long been the home of cameras that combine a compact body with a large focal range courtesy of a superzoom lens. The S3200 is one of the latest models in this range, and continues this tradition.
The model features an extensive 24x optical zoom that covers a focal range of 24 – 576mm in 35mm equivalent terms, offering a maximum aperture of f/3.1 down to 5.9 at the telephoto end. The large focal range lens is supported by CCD shift image stabilisation as well as an ISO range extendable to ISO 6400 in high sensitivity mode – albeit at a reduced resolution – which promises sharp images. The S3200 sports a 14MP 1/2.3in CCD sensor that also offers HD video capture at 1280 x 720 resolution.
The S3200 offers several other features that will be welcome to superzoom fans. The model features a 0.2in, 200k-dot electronic viewfinder, whilst those wanting an LCD will no doubt be appeased by the 3in, 230k-dot screen sitting on the rear of the camera. Other elements of the feature set include SR Auto scene recognition technology for no-fuss shooting, as do the face detection, face recognition, blink detection and smile detection modes that also feature.
The Fujifilm S3200 sports the type of design commonplace with small superzoom cameras. The bulk of the body is occupied with the large Fujinon optics – this makes the body feel a touch front-heavy, although this is fairly common with this type of camera. Handling is aided by a large grip in the conventional right side of the camera, which itself is rubberised for extra security when holding. On this grip is the shutter release button and zoom control, as well as on/off slider and face detection and continuous shooting activation. The rest of the top plate is mostly filled with a large mode select dial, where function and EVF activation buttons also feature. The rear of the camera is largely filled with the LCD screen, although the remaining operating buttons also feature and are logically placed.
Fujifilm FinePix S3200 review – Performance and Image Quality
The S3200 is a bit of a mixed bag in use – the slow start-up time can be frustrating when you’re looking to grab for a quick shot. Another element of the camera’s performance that is on the slow side is autofocus, although it’s by no means unusable. On the imaging side of things, the S3200 is reliable in both the white balance and exposure department, offering good results with the minimum of intervention required from the photographer.
Images are also, on the whole, acceptable. The S3200 captures a good tonal range, whilst colours are vivid without appearing overly saturated. Sharpness is, in general, good, although there is a tendency to oversharpen as compensation for a slight softness in the optics. Owing to the large focal range, fringing can be an issue in harsh lighting conditions, while barrel and pincushion distortion are also evident in various situtations.
The Fujifilm FinePix S3200 is a solid compact camera which has a good specification and is well designed for a compact superzoom camera. At its current price the S3200 also represents very good value for money in comparison to other compact superzooms on the market. However, image quality suffers from some issues that hold it back from being the best superzoom available, so for that reason it falls a little short of a Gold award.