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Fujifilm FinePix S7000
- Individual dials for certain controls, rapid shot taking
A very quick advanced camera. The 1/10000th of a second shutter speed makes the S7000 very attractive for certain purposes and it is only really let down by a reasonably hefty price tag and poor wide angled shooting.
Price$ 849.00 (AUD)
The 6.3Mp Fuji FinePix S7000 is part of the Fuji ultra zoom family. At 585g, the S7000 feels solidly constructed, with a nice rubber right-hand grip, making it easy to hold.
The buttons and dials are easy to access. A unique, useful touch: the S7000 has a dedicated dial for changing f-stops and shutter speeds. It also includes a cable-release socket, which is ideal for taking macro shots on a tripod. This is a great addition.
The S7000 conveniently supports two media formats (xD-Picture Card, and CompactFlash I and II) and the two media cards can be inserted into the camera at once. When one card is full, switching to the other card is done via the menu function. A dedicated button on the camera, such as on the Sony F828, would make this function a tad quicker.
The camera comes fitted with an f2.8 to f3.1 Super EBC Fujinon lens that has a 6x optical and 3.2x digital zoom. With such a focal setting it means the lens lets in a lot of light and use of the fast shutter speed is advised to correctly capture images without them being overexposed.
The S7000 is definitely built for fast shots. The quickest shutter setting is 1/10,000 when the camera is set to manual mode! That speed might be useful for taking really fast action shots, but a great deal of ambient light or the flash will be needed to make proper use of it.
The unit offers two fast-action modes: A top-five-shots mode and a last-five-shots mode. The former shoots five shots in rapid succession, while the latter keeps capturing as long you keep pressing the shutter release. The last-five mode is good to use if you're uncertain when the best shot is going to happen in a series. However, once the sequence is complete, the camera takes several seconds to write the data, rendering the camera temporarily inoperable.
When in Auto mode the camera has ISO equivalent settings of 160-800 (when shots are taken at ISO 800, resolution is set to 1Mp, 2Mp and 3Mp only). In Manual, it can only take pictures at ISO 200, 400 and 800. This is a minor setback as in the film equivalent world all 35mm cameras have the provisions for 100-speed film.
The S7000 captures JPEG and RAW images. The camera is fitted with a 1/1.7in Super CCD HR sensor. Despite the pixel ratings, the camera captures 1Mp, 2Mp, 3Mp, 6Mp and 12Mp JPEG images. The "12MP" image is achieved thanks to Fuji's proprietary Super CCD. Although the image file is larger in size, there appeared to be no major difference in quality to a 6Mp image. If you want richness in colour then it is best to take a RAW shot.
Rotating through menus is relatively easy. Menu choices run along the bottom of the LCD, and pop-up choices allow selections to be made simply. The menu can be used to access white-balance calibration, the self-timer, and other adjustments. An alternative to going through the menu system is to press the Shift button, plus an additional key, and then rotate a dial - all at the same time.
Close-up shots are quite impressive, but the closest you can get to a subject is about 10cm before the camera refuses to focus. Wide shots are not as impressive, with more background detail out of focus than you would like. But overall colour saturation is quite good, with no signs of purple edging on wide and zoom shots of a skyline.
Movies are shot at 30fps and offered at 640x480 and 320x240. When played back there is no jumping and sound is quite impressive as well.
The FinePix S7000 ships with four disposable AA batteries rather than rechargeables, which is fairly unusual for an advanced camera. The camera took about 300 shots before the batteries were drained. But play around with features and keep the continuous focus setting to "On" (the camera always looks to focus on objects, thus expending more power) and expect the battery to give you less output.
The FinePix S7000 would make a fine choice for a user who needs a good selection of advanced controls. But with a high price tag, this is quite a significant amount of money to play with when lesser priced cameras in this guide can offer virtually the same functions.
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