on August 7, 2013
July 31, 2013
I am trying out a Fuji 8200 and a Nikon p520 -- the Nikon's nearest competitor would be the Canon SX50 and both of these cameras are twice the money of the Fuji S8200 -- And guess what? I think the Fuji S8200 can compete right along of them. I am not a pro, far from it, but I am a consumer, sometime beach visitor, family reunion, grandpa, etc. kind of guy using a camera for the occasional sunset and kids running around -- yeah, close up facials too. Anyway, in the hands of a novice like me the Fuji is the big winner. I know, I know, the true camera buffs will be throwing fruit at me, but it is the real world I live in and I do not have the fancy equipment to test these thing, only my own physical attributes, as weak as they are, help me make the choices I make. Look at it like this - how many times have you research, and research then bought the recommended product with Consumers Report's stamp of approval only to have the very same 5 star product fail you? Never? Then you are not a true consumer. The rest of you know of what I speak. Okay, so here are my reasons and my findings, minus the expert opinion - and often it is just an opinion.
The Bad (cons) first:
The Video Zoom can be tricky. The image will break up as it tries to keep up with you moving (me) the camera wildly around form one subject or animal to another. Stable shooting, leaning on top of a post, or car hood (how has time to set up a clunky tripod? The images once stable are great. Also, the zoom motor is recorded - definitely do not like that, it is noisy and hard to ignore. Solution - do your zooming before you record. I know it is fun to zoom in and out, but save your batteries. Guess what? The Nikon zoom is a wonder. It is quiet as can be and will not appear on the sound track of your videos. It also seems to handle the fast movements and focusing better.
My next biggest gripe for the Fuji is the tiny viewfinder, not as big a dime, and the image is so hard to frame and you feel like you are guessing a lot, but the pics once upload look great - update, after 3 days: Later this announce dissipated as I became more accustomed to the viewing images through it and framing the shot I wanted, still, couldn't it be a little bigger? The Nikon P520 and the Canon SX50 the same is true -- tiny viewfinders and I found the Nikon the most irritating for some reason and it made the Fuji seem better, but I have no reason why, they seem to be the same size. Images coming out of the Nikon were crisp (sharp) but the colors seemed washed out a bit, the greens not so green and dry grasses (shooting some Elk in a Field) nearly invisible or faded out. The Fuji seemed to burst with color, you could see the individual strands of grass and the various shades of green just popped off the screen of my Laptop. I tried different settings but a pro would have to explain this to me, I could not see the reason why the much more expensive Nikon appeared to be weaker in this area - after all, it is the pictures we are after, right. Perhaps, on some kind of photo analyzer the Nikon would prove to be the more accurate photo but when you put the two, same shots, together, under the exact same conditions of the exact same Elk - well, what can I say, the Fuji S8200 creamed the Nikon in my eyes. The Fuji seemed easier to navigate the outer buttons and menu control, being slightly larger on the Fuji, except for the record button -- the placement is fine on the Fuji and I have gotten used to it, but I found myself searching for it in my mad panic to get something on video -- the Nikon, however, has the record button is in a sweet spot and easy on easy off in such a natural position you have to love it. The Fuji is a bit bigger than the Nikon and this would explain the somewhat larger control buttons. The sx50 Cannon falls somewhere in between, for size. I have never used the canon, only played with it at the display table.
The on-off switch of the Fuji is a simple pull (slide) button, easy to find and use. The Nikon has a sunken push button that might give you problems is you are wearing gloves, but it has a neat feature, when it is on and LED light that lights up around the button so you can see if it is on or off.
In the beginning I honestly tried to keep talking myself into the Nikon because of all the positives the pro photo picture takers give it. After all, more money means better, tight? Plus, I do like the compact, smaller feeling of the Nikon. But in practical, side by side use, by a grandpa novice the Fuji wins and I find myself grabbing for the Fuji first.
From What I can See:
Fuji S8200 - faster start up, really quick compared to the Nikon\Zoom seem faster
Shoots just as good in low light --
Shoot HDR - for improved picture definition --
Shoots 3D pictures -
The camera bag with the Nikon is practically useless - maybe just for storing the camera
The camera bag that comes with the Fuji is practical and useful - the camera can be carried in a ready to retrieve and shoot, it has a good cover flap with Velcro fastener for quick closure and retrieval, also enough storage for extra batteries and SD cards. I guess the Nikon, in being smaller, they were thinking smaller?
I found the design excellent and after a couple of days of shooting on the beach and off the pier at New, Port Oregon, I am falling in love with this camera - Fuji S8200, that is. It has the coolest Panoramic feature that I have never seen before. First the Panoramic setting is right on top of the camera on the selector wheel, just click and shoot. Set the selector on Panoramic and press the snap button and release and begin panning around in a circle - it does it automatically. You can do a 120 degree shot or a 180, or 360, very nice.
Pricing: Either the Nikon and Canon are way over priced or there is something terribly wrong with the Fuji and I just have not found it yet -- maybe the lens will fall out after a 1000 pictures? Maybe, however, it is the Fuji that is fairly priced and it is Nikon and Canon that are trying to --- make money? Fine, I'm not against making money, but one camera is $230 and the other two are $400 plus?
Battery Powered: The Fuji uses AA batteries as its power source and if you spend $9 at Bi-Mart, or Wal-Mart you can get a charger and four Nimh batteries that the manual says will shoot 500 pics -- every bit as good as the Nikon Lithium-ion battery pack -- but if you spent the extra dough and get a charge with the Lithium recharge batters the manual says it jumps to 700 pics which beats both the Nikon and the Canon in power savings. UPDATE: I bought a RayOvac NiMh recharge kit, came with four batteries too, for the $9 I had mentioned before. After trying them out, well, the low battery light keeps coming on after a few shots, but I have ignored this for the past couple of days shooting. It seems the after a few shots and some video the batter low signal comes on. I shut the camera off and a few minutes later it seems to recover and I continue shooting. Two days not and I am on the same batteries, and I have shot at least 200 pictures and 6 or more videos and zoom, zoom, zoom - the low battery light still comes on after a few shot but keeps recovering. I think it may be due to the capacity of these cheap batteries may be lower than what is actually required. But, they are working. I am scouting out Amazon and have found some Lithium Batteries and Charger I will order with at least 2800 mh - Amazon, here I come again, no shipping charges, you have to love it. I think the NiMh I have may only be 1,100 or 1,400 mh and look as I might I cannot find anywhere on these RayoVacs the mh levels - some kind of trade secret, I guess, or they are just embarrassed to say - but, after two days of low battery warnings I am still taking pictures.
The Manual: The manual that come with this Fuji is excellent. The Starter mini manual is definitely a Quick Starter - the real manual is on the disk and is about 130 pages. It is loaded with info about this camera and its features. Funny thing, about the Software, another reviewer said they did not like the fact you had to use their software to access you images? This was coming from someone passing themselves off as semi-pro photographer, too? This is not true at all, and I think most of us having used or not used the manufactures software know this. The Images can be load straight from the SD card to your PC or Laptop and you can use any photo software you want. You are not restricted as the other review suggested. I have owned 6 digital cameras and have not like the photo software that came with any of them. In fact I hardly ever use any of the photo software at all. Film correcting, for me, takes place on the spot, retouching is old hat and most cameras, like this Fuji will do on the spot editing, even cropping and red eye. If you want more then go for the DSLR type of camera. I hear the Nikons are really good - I did try out the Nikon P3000, but I wanted more lens ($200+) and a macro lens, and a bag of filters and --- well, you get the idea. I have all of this in the Fuji as does the Nikon and Canon SX50.
After several days of use:
The Fuji S8200 has a neat feature - located on top of the camera is a round, selector dial, and on this dial is something called the SRAuto, also where the Panoramic selection is on the same dial. The SRauto setting selects the shooting situation for you - do not confuse this with Auto, which is good for us novices, too, but this setting goes a step further and actually moves to the setting for the condition you are shooting automatically. For example, a bee lands on a flower and you hustle to get set up in Macro for a close up - bee flies off - with a DSLR you have to crack out another lens - with the Nikon and Canon you have to find the Macro setting - with the Fuji you just zoom in or move in and take the picture. With the SRAuto set, you are automatically set into the macro mode just by going for the shot, incredible - not absolutely perfect, but close and more often than not. Does it work? You bet it works. How do they do it? Beats me, but it does work. You are taking pictures of flowers and you look up and realize how beautiful the mountains are, you point the camera at the mountains and it automatically reset to the settings for shooting distant mountains.
This camera also has a "Features select" call the Adv setting on the selector wheel, and from this setting you can go crazy. Super Low Light shooting, 3D pictures and a whole range of other types of shots.
I have only begun to explore what this camera will do. If, however, you want to be the total master over your domain (God's creation, really), and you thirst for full creative license, then go buy a Nikon 7000, for over a $1,200 (on Sale), or maybe a Nikon 5100, then buy some expensive lenses to switch in and out for the particular purpose you are looking for. I would advise the pro photographer to get one of these cameras to shoot pictures with while their assistant is setting up their Pro camera for that once in a life time shot. Oh, look, a butterfly, look at that bird and those clouds, and that lizard on a rock - hey, assistant, have you finished setting me up yet?
As for me, grandpa shooting snotty nosed little grand kids, the occasional sunset, and playing like the pro photographer and getting some really great shots, this camera might be the one for you it is turning out fine for me. I have set the Nikon aside and will return it, as per the return policy Cost Co offers, with no hard feeling - I bought the Fuji at Cost Co also and see the price at Amazon to be compatible with them. If, however, you want the Nikon then by all means, buy from Amazon and save nearly $80.
I promise to update this review if the Lens falls out, or some other event, proving you pay for what you get. So far this Fuji S8200 is proving to be a reliable and well built camera with fantastic features and abilities beyond the norm. Love it. Okay, Fuji, where is my check? Only kidding, I really am a retired retail clerk and grandpa with real world experience.
UPDATE - 09/10/2013: After taking many hundreds of wedding pictures -- we traveled to Bend Oregon to attend two weddings. This camera preformed as expected -- great. Still, while the view finder was a life saver in the bright, high desert sun, if you know Bend in the summer, the view finder was a real pain. Really small and hard to see through. I felt like I was guessing a lot but it did help get me on the shot I wanted but I could not tell if it was going to be a great shot, a clear shot, until I could review it later. This has become such and issue with me, because I wear glasses, that I coughed real hard and upgraded to a Canon Rebel T3i, which I love -- then I better love it at twice the price of the Fuji. The Zoom of the Fuji was so great I had to then buy another lens for the Canon so I could enjoy the same kind of power. It helped that I found this Canon marked down, for some reason. Wal-Mart apparently did not want to carry this camera anymore and marked it down to $450, which is strange, as my home store Wal-Mart still sells this camera for $699. This Canon came with the 18-55mm lens and works great and is about equal to a 3-4x zoom. I went on line and found the 75-300mm canon lens for $100 and just got it the other day, and love it. I have nothing bad to say about the Canon Rebel T3i -- the view finder is marvelous (think Billy Crystal), just marvelous my dear. What a nice camera, pretty easy to use and under stand. Still, the Fuji was only $240, and believe me, it is a lot of camera for the money and the pictures? Well, I have everyone from the weddings requesting copies and I see some of them showing up online -- everyone was taking pictures, mostly with phone cams. I only wish I had had this Canon then. Peace, Dan