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69 of 69 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A superb camera, but one needs to learn it
A powerful and capable camera in its own right, that can take stunningly good images let down only by glaring usability issues. The overall performance envelope is head and shoulders above any prosumer class camera on the market. The only cameras that can best the s9000 in performance, handling, build and image quality are current dSLR's. And even then, not by much...
Published on January 3, 2006 by Joe Pennant

versus
89 of 94 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fujifilm FinePix S9000 Review with update at the end
I had high hopes for this camera when I bought it. My goal was to find the best fixed lens digital camera (often referred to as DigiCams) on the market that fit my particular needs. I wanted a DigiCam instead of a digital SLR because I hate changing lenses often and I didn't want to deal with dust on the sensor.
My needs:
1. At least 8 megapixels
2. Fast...
Published on March 23, 2006 by James B. Hewin


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69 of 69 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A superb camera, but one needs to learn it, January 3, 2006
By 
This review is from: Fujifilm Finepix S9000 9MP Digital Camera with 10.7x Wide Optical Zoom (Electronics)
A powerful and capable camera in its own right, that can take stunningly good images let down only by glaring usability issues. The overall performance envelope is head and shoulders above any prosumer class camera on the market. The only cameras that can best the s9000 in performance, handling, build and image quality are current dSLR's. And even then, not by much.

You would have to spend real money in dSLR-land for the body and lenses (plural) to match or beat what this camera is capable of.

Unfortunately, you may not get that impression upon first use out of the box. The unintuitive menu system alone made me want to bash the camera against a hard rock. The AF system seemed to hunt all over the place. The pictures didnt seem as sharp as its predecessors. Low light performance seemed abysmal. The write speed is often slow.

This isnt a point and shoot camera for the new photographer. It is a hugely capable camera for the serious photographer. The learning curve is steep. Very steep. Reading the manual and taking the time to learn the features and capabilities is mandatory, not optional.

But once you do learn the camera, it is a delight in operation and image quality. It is super quick. You can have it powered up, up to your eye, focused and ready to take the picture in less than 2 seconds. The focusing system, used properly, is sure and fast. The images capture a wide range of subtle details. The colors are natural and are nicely punched up in Chrome mode. ISO from 80-1600 is available in all modes. You can take pictures in near darkness (ISO AND EV compensation is your friend). The handling is sweet. The camera feels like professional kit.

(Edit after 6 months of ownership for new s9000 owners)

Per my experiences :

A) Read the manual, Read the manual, read the manual. The camera is capable of quite a bit, so there is a lot to learn about what it is capable of. The initial learning curve is steep.

B) Take time to learn the menu, where all the settings are, because thats where you have to change things like the ISO, color mode and whatnot. Biggest pain in the butt of the camera.

C) For speed, shoot in JPEG mode - it slows down hard when shooting in RAW. When shooting in JPEG,you can either shoot 5mp or 9mp for speed and space. The 9mp files are big, so it can slow you down shooting, while the quality of the 5mp files is REALLY good, so unless youre shooting for full quality, you can pretty much shoot in 5mp mode.
(The 5mp images from the s9000 are better than most 5mp images.)

D) ISO characteriistics

- The s9000 gives great quality and low noise up ISO 800, where noise will start to show, 1600 is only for truly horrible lighting conditions.. If you want no noise and quality, shoot to up 400.

- The camera is very flexible and will handle most lighting conditions with ease. Until you get fading light, then the autofocus and exposure gets slow and indecisive. Recognise that point and go up on ISO, even if you think you have enough light.

Again, you have to go into the menu to change ISO, so you want to learn where it is to change quickly.

E) Image quality.

The image quality may seem not so sharp on standard settings. It is VERY sharp, but on default settings, there is no sharpening applied to the image, unlike most point and shoot cameras which applies a lot of sharpening, so it will seem the image is soft when it's actually quite sharp.
If you think you need to sharpen the images, you can change the sharpening settings in camera or just shoot on default settings (recommended) and sharpen in post processing.

F) The Lens

- Zoom is addictive, and the zoom range on this camera is very addictive. :)

Recognise that 200mm is the magic point. Over 200, small movements are amplified, low light shooting is harder and the image quality gets a bit soft. Best to shoot wide at night.

- The zoom is manual, so this makes it a two-handed camera, if youre used to motorized zoom. The manual makes the zoom very very fast.

- Remember to lock the lens hood when using it. Otherwise, its easy to accidentally knock off and lose.

G) Essential accessories

- A UV filter to protect the lens and cut down on UV light. Get one. Do not mess around.
- Bigger memory cards. xD cards are more expensive than CF cards.
- Monopod (with stand up legs) and Tripod, with a ball head.
- Cable release (the shutter is threaded for this reason).

H) Other

The camera is very very capable. If the pics arent coming out the way you want, its not the camera, its you. Just work with it.

This camera will make you a better photographer.

Like all Fuji cameras Ive ever used, once you take the time to really learn it, hidden capabilities seem to appear out of nowhere, making you glad that you chose a Fuji.
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178 of 191 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely THE BEST prosumer camera on the market!, December 10, 2005
By 
Alex Vox (Winnetka, IL) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Fujifilm Finepix S9000 9MP Digital Camera with 10.7x Wide Optical Zoom (Electronics)
Hey,l if you on a market for digital camera and some $575 does not scare you off get this camera! Don't listen to these tailored by other brands review because FUJi has here absolutely the best product you can dream of. I have a quite experience with digital cameras of any kind, I own two DSLR and they are in a bad shape comparing to this baby.
First it takes AMAZINGLY nice photos, with nice contrast, full of detail, excellent color reproduction and ALWAYS PERFECT light balance. The photographic quality of this camera is better than any so called "entry level" DSLR and they hate it!!! Hat down to FUJI for this camera it is a real photographic tool, with lens that is so good that I can't express it enough. If you will decide to go with DSLR you will have to spent AT LEAST $2000 to be on a par with this lens. Forget this stupid chi-chat of "the sensor size is smaller..., blah, blah, blah" who cares of the size if the photos are miles ahead and the convenience is untouchable by any DSLR? Ah?
Second all those who pour on this camera didn't find anything better to complain about that is "poor noisy ISO-1600". Who shot on ISO 1600 unless you are a spy ? I make some 22000 (twenty two thousands, not a typo) photos during a year 2005, I found 16 (sixteen, not a typo again) made on ISO 1600. It is pretty much useless ISO that virtually NO ONE uses. It is the same thing as to complain that your car has a poor acceleration on the altitudes above 8000 feet. May be it really does but who cares?!
Second this camera has SUPERIOR VIDEO mode. You can capture full blown videos, movies and make it as a top quality camcorder does and it is extremely nice!!! I don't take my camcorder anymore, I bring back some 15-20 minute of nice footage , because no one bother to watch longer than that anyway.
Third, the RAW mode. First of all the RAW isn't "hidden in the menus" but it is readily available with super usable, under finger "F" menu. Second no one who is not completely retarded takes RAW shots to convert them to JPEG. If you do it, take the basic photography class, read some books and do not embarrass yourself by publishing this pulp to everyone's eyes. You take in RAW something that is really worthy the effort, some super duper sunset for example and so on. And the included software converts it to TIFF because FUJI assumes that the camera users aren't morons!
Take this camera and learn to use it and enjoy photography. I use Fuji equipment for over two decades from their studio MF cameras to MF GA645-SZ and they never been anything less than THE BEST.
I can understand the fury of manufacturers of low end DSLRs but it is not a way to deal with a competition by pouring on the superior product. You should strive more and make better cameras. Fuji has its own superior sensor, they make their own superior glass, they have their own superior designers, they make unique , wonderful cameras. They have a luxury not to drag in a tail of someone else's sensor design they do on their own.
Every camera that I get from Fuji rejuvenates my interest to photography again and again. Thank you guys at FUJI.
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89 of 94 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fujifilm FinePix S9000 Review with update at the end, March 23, 2006
This review is from: Fujifilm Finepix S9000 9MP Digital Camera with 10.7x Wide Optical Zoom (Electronics)
I had high hopes for this camera when I bought it. My goal was to find the best fixed lens digital camera (often referred to as DigiCams) on the market that fit my particular needs. I wanted a DigiCam instead of a digital SLR because I hate changing lenses often and I didn't want to deal with dust on the sensor.
My needs:
1. At least 8 megapixels
2. Fast shutter response (very little lag between the time you push the button and when the shutter fires.
3. Good wide to telephoto optical zoom.
4. Good auto focus
5. High ISO
6. Low noise
7. Good color response and sharpness

I used the camera for about 2 weeks. It is 9 mega pixels so good resolution. The shutter lag was excellent... almost nonexistent. It responded like an SLR in that respect.

The telephoto on the FinePix S9000 is a 10.7x optical zoom (28-300mm), very good. The only thing I wish the FinePix S9000 had is image stabilization. I believe there is only one 8 MP DigiCam on the market with a longer optical zoom, the Samsung Digimax Pro815. I decided against the Samsung because even though it has a longer telephoto, reviews said it had long shutter lag, focusing can feel slow, and hunts - and often fails - at long end of zoom, especially in low light, and no high ISO capability (400 was top).

The auto focus on the FinePix S9000 is excellent. And, it has an AF illuminator which focuses very quickly in low light.

The FinePix S9000 has a high ISO of 1600. However, noise starts to be a problem at any ISO higher than 400. That was a bit of a disappointment.

The color response and sharpness was a bit of a disappointment at first. Using it in "Standard" mode, the photos were a bit dull looking. However, it has a "Chrome" mode which supposedly mimics slide film like Kodachrome or Ektachrome. In that mode, essentially the color saturation and sharpness are turned up. I got good sharpness and color in Chrome mode, although noise was increased ever so slightly. I eventually started just using the camera with the setting always on Chrome.

I tested the FinePix S9000 both outdoors with landscape type stuff and some shots of birds at a distance to test the telephoto. And I tested it indoors shooting models in a studio setting with mono lights and umbrellas. I was over all happy with the outdoor results, although I still hunger for an even longer telephoto and image stabilization. In the studio I was very happy with the results. In Chrome mode, good color and sharpness and very good skin tones.

My other DigiCam is the Canon Powershot Pro 1, a very good little camera. Comparing the 2 cameras:
1. The Canon has a shorter telephoto.
2. Shutter lag and auto focus on the Canon are very slow. A disappointment if you like to fire fast and catch what you see, like with sports or anything where the subject is moving fast. The Fuji was excellent.
3. The Canon only goes up to ISO 400 and gets noisy at 400. The Fuji goes to 1600. Noise on the Fuji starts to be a problem around 400 to 800, but still if you want very low light capability the Fuji beats the Canon. And the Fuji has the AF illuminator which makes focusing in low light a dream.
4. The Canon has excellent color and sharpness right out of the box. The Fuji needs a little help, either with Chrome mode or PhotoShop after the fact.
5. The Canon popup flash is excellent and powerful. The Fuji popup flash is dismal. Not very powerful and color quality on flash photos iffy at best.
6. In the studio you can't use an external flash with the Canon. None of my external flashes or infra red slave triggers worked with the hot shoe on the Canon. You have to buy Canon brand TTL external flashes for the hot shoe to work. And, there is no PC connector on the Canon. The only way to fire external flashes with the canon is to use the popup flash in Manual mode to fire slave flashes. With the Fuji, I can use my infra red slave trigger in the hotshoe and fire slave flashes that way. And, there is a PC connector on the Fuji if needed.
7. The Canon has a large pull out rotatable LCD on the back, which is great for shooting holding the camera at any angle. The Fuji has a smaller LCD and although it folds out from the back slightly, you can't twist it for odd angles. It is especially a problem if you like to hold the camera low and shoot vertically. You just can't see the LCD on the Fuji if the camera is low and vertical.

Overall I was satisfied with the Fuji FinePix S9000. But here is the kicker. I picked up the camera yesterday and turned it on and... Houston We Have A Problem... it was dead. Nothing in the viewfinder or on photos I took but purple hazy fuzz. Apparently the sensor has malfunctioned. I am not sure if I got a Lemon or if it is just a fluke. But it doesn't say much for the Fuji folks if a camera freaks and dies 2 weeks out of the box. So my review on this camera is this: at first, great camera but not perfect. Someday I hope to own a DigiCam with an even longer telephoto, image stabilization and low noise at higher ISOs. But for now, for my needs, this is probably the best camera on the market. I was just getting happy that I bought the Fuji when it died.
So... As DigiCams go, buyer beware. A lot of very good features, but may have a problem. I would give it a 4 Star rating but I am only giving it 3 since it died on me. I'm just glad I didn't sell my Canon Powershot Pro 1. For now, I like the Fujifilm FinePix S9000 enough to get the place I purchased it from (Adorama through Amazon) to replace the defective FinePix S9000 with another one and try again. So we shall see.

Update: Since I wrote this review a while back I thought it was time to update it.
I bought the original camera from Adorama through Amazon. I contacted Adorama via phone and they graciously and quickly took care of the problem by sending me another FinePix 9000 within a couple of weeks. Good service from Adorama.

The new one they sent me has one small problem. There is a small spot on the sensor (part of a assembly line fingerprint perhaps?) It doesn't show on most normal photos, but when I take shots with a neutral gray background, or blue or some other mid range color, which I often do in the studio for portraits, it shows in every shot. Fortunately it is a very quick fix in Photoshop.

The bottom line is this: I love this camera. Because the camera in every other respect is so good, I have accepted this small shortcoming as something I can live with.

The real advantages I have found with this camera is the quality of the lens and auto focus, and the extremely fast shutter (no lag when you press the button). I can happily fire away as fast as I want and capture the exact moment I wanted (in JPG mode... If you shoot in RAW mode it's slower and you often have to wait a bit to fire your next shot). No lag is very important to me.
Although every once and a while the auto focus goofs, for the most part is extremely fast and accurate, superior to most Prosumer cameras I have tried, especially in low light due to the auto focus sensor.

I suspect the makers of this camera decided they wanted to mix superior features with inexpensive parts to keep the price down. For what I need, it works great, but the camera does seem cheaply made in some respects. A lot of the body is plastic for example. It wouldn't surprise me if some of the internal parts are cheaply made as well. But, the fact that the camera takes great photos overshadows that for me.

My next camera will probably be a digital SLR, but for now, the camera is just what I needed. I would highly recommend it to anyone who needs a more sophisticated camera than just a "point and shoot". For now it is probably in the top 2 Prosumer cameras. The only one that might be better is the Sony Cybershot DSCR1, which I have yet to try but is getting good reviews. My rating for this camera should now be 4 stars instead of 3.
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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You "Professionals" that rate the S9000 less than average are out of your minds, March 26, 2006
This review is from: Fujifilm Finepix S9000 9MP Digital Camera with 10.7x Wide Optical Zoom (Electronics)
I have owned this camera for three months now. When I purchased the camera, I almost did not due to (a) lack of knowledge of photography along with (b)the fact that some of the so called "professionals" were giving this camera a less than average rating. I figured that due to the number of bad reviews by the "professionals" that there had to be something wrong with the camera.
As I did more and more homework, I noticed that everyone that bought the camera for the most part loved it. Those that did not, I noticed turned around a few weeks later and stated that the S9000 was actually the best camera they had ever owned and that the problems they were having were user related.
So, with this in mind, I went ahead and purchased the camera. I wanted a camera that would give me excellent quality pictures but not have the cost of an SLR (professional) camera, and this camera fit the bill.
This camera is awesome! it takes pictures that are good enough quality to blow them up and frame, be in magazines, and I cannot tell a bit of difference between the pictures I take with this camera compared to the pictures my Uncle takes with his SLR. It has features that no other prosumer camera has, it's zoom capabilities are awesome for a prosumer, 9 megapixels, macro and super-macro, and manual focus capabilities... you name it, they tried to fit it into this package... and did.
While I am just a beginner, I have done my homework enough over the last few months to finally understand why this handfull of "professionals" gave this camera a bad rating. They are comparing this camera to their professional SLR setups that probably have cost them thousands upon thousands of dollars instead of comparing this camera to the class of camera that it belongs in, the "Prosumer" class of cameras.
Why is this? I don't know for sure, but I bet it is because they picked up this camera and it has an SLR feel, can do about 90% of everything their SLR setup can do, and for a prosumer camera it has a ton of functions that until this camera came out, only SLR's had the capability of.
What does this mean? The S900 is a "Prosumer" camera that is actually closer to an SLR than a prosumer camera!
I will put it to you this way: anyone that knows a little about cameras that have looked at comparisons and reviews know one major rule: you have comparisons between one prosumer camera and another, or you have a comparison between one SLR compared to another. The S9000, a "Prosumer" camera, is being compared to the SLR's!!!!
Now, for those of us who are thinking rationally about a camera that is worth spending our hard-earned money on, this is huge if you ask me. I can buy a camera in the prosumer costrange (all be it the high-end of that range) of cost that will do most everything an SLR can do! There are of course some limitations such as not being able to change out lenses, but the lense that is on there has such a huge range of capabilities that changing the lense is not necessary for over 90% of the pictures cameras can take!
But, to the "professionals", the fact that there is some "noise" in the 1600 iso setting range on this camera makes it an inferior product???!!!! Come on here guys... name some other prosumer cameras that even have this range! There are none that I know of, and if there are some out there, let's see some comparisons!
The fact that you "professionals" try to place this "bridge camera" in the same class as your professional equipment speaks an incredible amount of superiority of this camera compared to anything in the class of cameras the S9000 truly belongs in (in my opinion of course). Why? because the professionals won't even attempt to compare another prosumer camera with the SLR's. Not only is the S9000 of good enough quality to be compared to the SLR's, it actually held it's own in a number of those comparisons and was even considered a worthy advesary in some of them.
So, let's stop bashing this camera you professionals. I know it stings when you pick this camera up and for $600.00 can do 90% of what your $10,000 setup can do, but let's give credit where credit is due.
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56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good and sturdy camera, November 9, 2005
By 
TTV "TTV" (Amsterdam, Netherlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Fujifilm Finepix S9000 9MP Digital Camera with 10.7x Wide Optical Zoom (Electronics)
I'm quite amazed about how some users rate this camera. The S9000 (or S9500 for Europe/Asia) is not a DSLR. So comparing the S9000 to a DSLR is, at least, misleading; it's like comparing apples to oranges. The S9000 is a high-end fixed lens camera for around $600. If one would even buy an entry-level DSLR and wants the same lens performance, one has to buy 3 separate lenses: a wide-angle, normal and zoomlens. You end up paying $2000+

I have used this camera for over a month and dropped it twice on rocks while trekking in mountains and it still works fine. I remembered several occasions whereby my friend, who has a DSLR, had to change lenses for different scenes and missed out some photo opportunities, while I used my all-in-one S9000 and could zoom in and zoom out at my heart's content.

Yes, it may not deliver images as good as DSLR cameras, but then again, it is NOT a DSLR. It's like comparing a high-end bicycle to a basic motorbike and conclude that the motorbike is still faster!

But for its class, i.e. fixed lens camera, it is an excellent choice. The image quality and extensive features are (very) good enough for its class and price. Noise levels are relatively low for a non-DSLR camera, even at ISO400. At ISO1600 the noise level is comparable to ISO400 for most cameras in its class. You can't expect a zero noise image at ISO 1600 for $600!

I also like the dual card slots, which basically double the capacity of a photo session without changing memory cards.

Some users on other websites complain that at 1cm-macro, you can't use the zoom. First, 1cm macro is very close. Second, this is a camera not a microscope.

Of course, this camera is not "perfect" (no camera is), so these are the cons:
- no image stabilizer. Quite handy if it comes with 10.7x zoom
- quite high sound level at normal use
- to view images you need to switch mode
- at shutter speed priority mode, the ranges are quite limited (after 1/1000 secs it jumps quite fast to 1/4000 in very few steps). More refined steps would be better
- not so impressive continuos shooting modes
- small screen
- the 'F mode' button is underutilised. Fuji should have included more functions under this button (instead of hidden under the menu button), such as white balance control, RAW, AF mode, sharpness
- slow writing speed, especially in continuous shooting mode

What I like about the camera, the pros:
- lens performance (wide angle at 28mm and zoom 10.7x)
- dual card slots
- relatively low noise levels
- sharp images
- good colours
- good movie quality
- fast start-up and focussing
- 'natural light' function
- zoom ring instead of buttons
- value for money for the price and its class
- extensive features/functions
- flip screen (but it's quite small)
- relatively good EVF
- good layout of buttons, grip and design
- great flexibility in terms of manual controls
- good flash (and hardly any red eye cases, even without using that flash mode)
- 'information' button provide valuable data during shooting and in viewing mode

Overall, I'm happy with this camera and I would certainly recommend it, certainly from price-quality perspective.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fuji FinePix S9000, December 23, 2005
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Fujifilm Finepix S9000 9MP Digital Camera with 10.7x Wide Optical Zoom (Electronics)
Very pleased with the Fuji FinePix S9000 camera. Wonderful pictures and very true color. I have emailed several photographs that I have taken to my brother (who is the real photographer in the family) and he was very, very impressed to say the least. The camera is very simple to use on automatic, however, there is a learning curve to understanding all the advanced features that this camera offers if you are not already educated on such matters. Choose to learn these features or not, out of the box (on automatic) you can get incredible shots right away even on Macro and Super Macro settings. The camera has a very nice feel to it, is easy to hold, and looks very much like an SLR. If you are looking for a camera with (close to) Digital SLR performance without spending $2,000+, this is the camera for you. I won't bore you with too many camera specifics, go read the experts reviews. I did notice several other reviewers here on AMAZON and their low scores on this camera. I really wonder if they are reviewing the same camera??? Every expert opinion I have read has been minimum 4.5 and most rate it 5 stars for its incredible performance. I read the FinePix S9000 also just won the prestigious Gold DIWA Award. The camera has its limitations too, which all the experts will tell you, such as noise in the upper ISO's. If you are like me, taking pictures indoors and outdoors in the daylight or with the flash, this camera can not be beat. The Macro (close-up) pictures I've done have been wonderful too. I just recently tried some night time photography and have posted a few of the pictures above. THE CAMERA PERFORMED INCREDIBLY! I am so pleased with the value received and the performance of this fine camera.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Think I'll buy another one, May 11, 2006
By 
Avedon if only (Huntington, CT United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Fujifilm Finepix S9000 9MP Digital Camera with 10.7x Wide Optical Zoom (Electronics)
I left my Fuji Finepix 9500 (same model as 9000 in US) on the plane back from Beijing a couple of weeks ago, and it hasn't shown up. Which means someone has got their hands on a good camera, although not without its faults. I've been an 'advanced amateur' photographer for about 30 years and carried a heavy bag full of my beloved Minolta lenses and camera bodies for 25 of them. Then I went digital, first a Nikon Coolpix (great exposure algorithms, not much zoom range) then a Minolta Dimage 7 (totally disappointing) then a Fuji Finepix 602Z (amazing). I carried it around the world for four years and it's never let me down: totally dependable, sharp pix and great exposures. But when the Finepix 9500 became available in Europe with its 9MP, extrapolated to 12MP, sensor I thought I'd have to try it. And the 10:1 zoom seemed like a winner too. So I bought one about five months ago and have mixed feelings. I've been reading reviews on this site and sympathise with those who've been frustrated with the 9000's apparent lack of sharpness and slow focus, because I felt the same way. Also mine would freeze occasionally after taking a shot (always irreplaceable of course) and I'd lose the frame when I had to reboot the camera. Neverthless I've decided to buy another one. I've been looking back over my photos to check on sharpness and realise that the lens and sensor are very sharp indeed under the right conditions. Unfortunately, that means bright light if you're shooting on the long end of the zoom and a tripod if it's overcast. It's a long lens but slow, so the combination of lens shake and ISO noise starts affecting sharpness as the camera searches for the right exposure. (I know how to manually expose, but find that the camera does a better job than me unless I've got plenty of time and a tripod). The great thing about the Finepix is that it's a relatively inexpensive camera with features that belong on much more expensive cameras. The problem with the digital SLR's and replaceable lenses, is that I'm back where I was five years ago - lugging a bag of heavy stuff around with me. With the 9500 I can shoot with the equivalent of a 28mm-300mm zoom (enough for almost any situation) and if I remember its limitations I'll end up with shots that can be enlarged to 16" x 20" and look great. I've looked at Nikon, Panasonic, Canon, Olympus and Pentax but have decided to go back with the Finepix I know - and if it lets me down I've always got the 602Z to fall back on.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything I was looking for and more, October 7, 2006
By 
W. Ivey (Austin, TX USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Fujifilm Finepix S9000 9MP Digital Camera with 10.7x Wide Optical Zoom (Electronics)
I bought this camera based on several online reviews, including Steve's Digicams, and couldn't be more pleased. I've been using it since last Christmas (bought it as a present to myself after six months of looking at various brands and models). Aside from image quality (which it has plenty of) I insisted on at least an LCD viewfinder (EVF) as well as screen, a real filter ring (no adapters, please!) easy basic controls, long optical zoom, CF card, hot shoe and the ability to use ordinary AA batteries in a pinch. Also had to fit my hand and feel natural.

This had all that, plus an actual cable release socket in the shutter button! (Thus I can easily use my cable and bulb releases, as well as a long-duration timer I have in my 35mm kit.) It also has a standard pc socket for more flash options than the built in flash or hot shoe.

The heft is good, but not very heavy. You can carry it for a long time without fatigue, but it has enough mass to steady your hand, and enough size for easy gripping. I find it very instinctive to point and shoot with it. Most of the basic control locations are convenient and easily remembered. (Zoom is manual only, but that suits me. I don't like waiting for motorized zooms to get where I want, especially with a zoom range this long.)

I'll leave it to the pro reviewers to discuss the image merits, but I will say that for me they seem perfectly sharp with very good color even at the default settings. In addition, I've gotten very good results shooting at night with very long exposures. (Starry sky, clouds backlit by the moon, streets under moonlight and streetlamps, etc.) Much less noise and "grain" than I've experienced with other cameras. So far it's the closest to film I've found in such situations - at any price I can afford, at least.

The electronic viewfinder (EVF) is bright and sharp and performs well in low light. I don't miss an optical viewfinder much at all. There's a diopter adjustment to accomodate most people's visiion. (Stops just short of enough for my worst eye - comes closer than most, though - but I find I can use the EFV with my glasses on if I want).

One accessory I strongly recommend is a soft rubber, wide angle, lens shade (for a 58mm filter ring). They can be found cheap (I paid $7 at a local store) and will protect the rim of the lens when you set down the camera in addition to shading the lens. There is an included hard-plastic lens shade that clips on the outside of the lens's rim, but t's "notched" and I worry about catching it on things - I like the soft rubber ones better (they look more "pro" too). It may interfere with the supplemental illumination lamp for focussing, so you'll want to remove it when shooting close to mid-range photos in dim light.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great camera-better than I expected!, February 24, 2006
By 
J. Frantz (California, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Fujifilm Finepix S9000 9MP Digital Camera with 10.7x Wide Optical Zoom (Electronics)
The first day I began teaching a Digital Photo class, my previous camera stopped working. That put me in a hurry to find a replacement. I had my eye on Canon's Digital Rebel XT, but after adding the cost for all the extras I wanted with it, I decided I wasn't prepared to spend quite that much. I took a chance on this one after reading great reviews. A few really bad reviews made me nervous, but now that I have the camera, I have to say it's much better than I thought it would be. The picture quality is great, the options are vast, after a little time with the manual, I'm able to remember how to work all the controls. The ability to focus at close distances is excellent and being able to instantly zoom in and out by adjusting the lens barrell rather than pressing zoom buttons is a real plus. At first, I didn't like the idea of having to use standard Double A batteries. But now I'm sold-I got a couple of sets of modern high power rechargeables and they work very well. If I ever were to be without power, at least I'd be able to pick up a standard pack at a nearby gas station or grocery store. They last longer than the batery packs I used in my previous camera. The only real complaint I have is that the camera RAW format seems more like it's there just to be able to have one more feature to the list for marketing purposes. Yes, it can take pictures in camera RAW format, but getting to the format selector which is hidden in the menu system takes a while. Also, the time the camera needs between shots in RAW mode is much longer, and certain useful options aren't available while in RAW. A minor complaint is that this camera comes with such a small memory card (16 mb) that it isn't possible to take even 1 picture in RAW format with it! It's a minor complaint becausemost cameras come with too low of an amount, and it's a given that a larger card will need to be purchased. I cannot comment on FujiFilm software because I use the Macintosh OS and Photoshop for image transfer and editing. In order for Photoshop CS2 to be able toread the RAW files, you'll have to download a free software add-on from Adobe.com Do a search online for other review sites, especially one that has sample images and full details. Bottom line: I'll keep dreaming of when I can justify a major purchase of a 16 or 22 mb digital SLR or medium format camera, but this one, for the money, is the best deal I know of.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best camera so far, August 31, 2006
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Fujifilm Finepix S9000 9MP Digital Camera with 10.7x Wide Optical Zoom (Electronics)
I spent a lot of time reading reviews and posts, finally I bought it, it is the best camera I have used, I went from an old Konica 35mm film camera to a Sony Cybershot 2 mp and then to not having a camera for a while later I had a Kodak P850 (great camera also, but slow to my taste) and finally this S9000, belive me this is a great choice it is the only camera that I have found that is positivly compared to DLSR and still being a prosumer camera, that tells a lot.

The lack of picture stabilization is not a big deal, it has the anti blur mode which is almost the same, and have a full array of controls and manual settings that will help and please from amateurs to not so ameteurs.

It also has the first steps os face detection in it's multifocus mode, which focuses most of the times in subjects faces where ever they are on the frame (not necesary centered), I have to mention it has its limitations and you have to know how to compose your shot.

The User guide is easy to read, understand and follow, you don't have to know nothing about photografy with this manul you will use most of the functions in a few hours with easy.

Summary: 5 of 5!!!

Nice camera.
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