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VINE VOICEon March 24, 2014
Style: Camera Only|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Let me begin by saying that I have been a professional photographer for about 45 years, and I teach digital photography/Photoshop at the college level. I have several cameras, ranging from very compact point and shoot models to larger DSLR cameras. This Fuji camera is what I call a bridge model, or sometimes a prosumer camera. It is more compact than a DSLR, and does not have a removable lens, but it has the features and controls you would expect to find on the larger (and more expensive) cameras.
I will discuss features first, and then the performance. From my point of view, it has the aperture priority, shutter priority, and program modes which comprise most of my shooting. An interesting addition is the SRAUTO mode (scene recognition). Here the camera examines the field and picks an appropriate scene mode. It even adjusts for a moving subject. The camera also has the standard AUTO setting, which I typically avoid. (The textbook for my photography classes is titled Beyond Auto Mode.)
If you choose ADV (advanced) on the mode dial, you can then choose from several interesting modes, including HDR, low light, filters, and something called zoom bracketing, where the camera will take three exposures at three different zoom levels. The mode dial also has an SP (scene position) setting, which selects one of the built in scene modes. You pick which one and assign it to this position. The PANORAMA setting on the dial lets you move the camera in a complete circle and then stitches the result into a panorama, which must be at least 120 degrees of the circle, or 1/3 of the way around. There are also Manual and Custom settings on the dial.
The other controls on the top of the camera are the on/off, +/- exposure, and a button to select high speed shooting modes. The camera is able to shoot 10 frames a second. I do a lot of nature photography, and the multiple frames per second is really a help when capturing fast moving subjects. On the back are controls for flash, macro, timer, an assignable function, menu, viewing of photos, and wifi, to talk to their camera app, which I haven’t done.
The camera is 16 MP, and with a 16Gig card it will store about 2,000 photos before the card is full. The battery charges internally only with the supplied charger, so you can’t charge one battery while using another. The charger is interchangeable with my Kindle and Galaxy S3 chargers, though, and has an interchangeable plug. I assume adapters are available to use overseas.
So far I have been impressed with the photo quality. It has a superzoom lens which goes from a 35mm equivalent of 24mm to 1200mm, or wide angle to 24 power. It will focus at 1 cm for macro work. The image stabilization gives 3 stops improvement, so hand holding it at max zoom was no problem, and I got no blur from camera shake. Keep in mind that I’m a pro, and your results may vary.
Both the screen and eye level viewfinder are about 1 megapixel in resolution, which is good, and both are clear. There is plenty of info available to display on screen, including a histogram, which I use. The photos were clear at all zoom settings, and the macros were sharp as well. At wide angle, there is some barrel distortion, which is pretty much true of all wide angle lenses, and is easily corrected in Photoshop. The HDR and low light modes worked well. Generally speaking, I was impressed with the image quality.
The body is plastic, but seems solid, and is sealed well enough that they list the camera as weather resistant against dust and moisture. The fit and finish seems good.
Overall, I really like this camera. It won’t replace my DSLR for weddings, but as a “walk around” camera it is about perfect. I think this will be my choice when I am out doing the tourist thing at the zoo or beach (it has a beach mode). Good feel. Good feature set. Easy to carry. Sometimes I don’t want to be a pro, with two bodies and four lenses. This will be the one I grab on those days.
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Style: Camera Only|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
April 21/14 addition:

1. The default color setting is FinepixCOLOR: Std (for standard). If you think a little more saturation will help your photos, open the menu, scroll down to FinepixCOLOR, click on it, then choose "Chrome" from the list. This will increase the saturation, but not to an excessive degree. It is good to have this option since tastes differ.

2. If you expect to be using this camera in wet weather, take a look at the Lowepro Nova 140AW camera bag. It is a good size for this camera, even with a lens hood on, but more important, it is well protected from the rain. Lowepro is known for making good camera cases, and generally they come with a rain cover, but what sets this camera apart is that you can open the case when the cover is on. The small pockets on front of the flap and on the sides of the case are covered, the the main compartment, where the camera is kept, can be opened and closed with ease.

Original:

The Finepix S1 is not my first camera. I am an advanced intermediate and have owned a number of them. In addition to the S1, my present cameras are a Canon 60d dslr, a Canon SX280, my travel and walk around camera, a Canon camcorder, and now the S1.

I know that regardless of what else a camera does the most important is taking good photos. The S1 meets that test, so far I am very satisfied with the clarity and quality of the photos. The S1 is a keeper.

For the past couple of days I have been "playing" with the S1, experimenting with many of its offerings. I would like to share some of my findings and impression in this review.

Zoom: All I can say is wow! I can think of many times in the past when I would have loved to have this camera in my hands. I took the Finepix S1, the Canon 60d with a 70-300 mm lens, and the Canon SX280 point and shoot with a 20X lens to the harbor to photograph a boat at anchor quite a long way out. It was not even close. The Faststone image viewer that I use reported that the focal length of the shot with the 60d was 70mm (this is not the 35mm equivalent, which would be a higher number); the focal length of the little SX280 was 90mm; and the focal length of the S1 was 215mm. A huge difference, and it was obvious when you compared the photos.

Normally I rely only on optical zoom, but for this test I turned on the digital zoom available on the S1. It is said this almost doubles the default 50X to 100X, and I could see that in the photos. With the 50X the boat was close, with digital zoom turned on, it looked like I could step on the deck.

All the photos from the 3 cameras were clear and usable, but the S1 100X photos with the digital zoom turned on were not as sharp as the others. I can spruce them up in post processing, but out of the camera the photos at S1 50X were noticeably sharper.

To get a close up of the distant boat equal to the S1 zoomed to 50X with the much more expensive 60d with 70-300mm lens would require a lens of enormous length and cost, and so heavy it would have to always to be supported by a tripod.

It should also be mentioned that the S1 makes it easy to zoom out when you are shooting. There is a lever around the shutter button that you operate with your right hand, this is common on many cameras, but on the S1 there is also a lever on the other side that can easily be operated by your left hand. This makes it possible to keep the shutter half-way down to focus with your right hand while you zoom out or in with your left hand. This is a very nice feature. It also works very well when shooting video.

Image Stabilization: I was impressed with how clear and sharp the photos were even though I was not braced when I took the photos. The S1 compensated very well for my shakiness. That is good for the confidence when using the camera.

Vari-angle LCD: The S1 uses 920K dots, which gives you a very clear view in good color of what you are shooting, if your preference is to focus using the screen. Most companies use a lower resolution display to help keep the cost down.

It is important to know that for shooting "P", "S", "A", and "M" the menu (image size) gives you the option of 4 aspect ratios: 4:3 (default), 16:9, 3:2 and 1:1. 4:3 and 16:9 are the most commonly used. If you choose 16:9, what you see on the screen will be different than what you see if you choose 4:3. The scene if you choose 16:9 is less high in relation to width than 4:3, so what you see on the screen has a black bar at top and bottom to fill the space left by the reduction in height. The image you see if you choose 4:3 fills the screen. The black that you see with 16:9 does not appear in the image you upload/print. If the black bar bothers you, this feature will be considered by you as a negative. But I like it because I can see exactly what I will get when I upload/print the photo. (Think of it as something like what happens when you anchor the left side of a piece of stretchy material and pull on the ride side. As the material stretches, it gets narrower. Same amount of material, but it looks wider and narrower.)

(If the sun seems too bright to use the LCD monitor, you can use the viewfinder. However, the S1 does have a setting for the LCD monitor for bright, sunny days, but that should be used only on days that it is really needed because it uses a lot of battery juice.)

Viewfinder: My preference is the viewfinder; the SX280 is the only photo camera I have owned that did not have a view finder, so I have seen a lot of them. I can say with certainty that the viewfinder of the S1, which also uses 920K dots, is the best I have used both in terms of the area covered and the clarity and brightness of the scene to be photographed. One negative is that color you see in the viewfinder is somewhat washed out (this is not true of the LCD monitor), but that is not how the photos will look. For some, another negative is the the scene seen through the viewfinder does completely fill the window in the same way that it does the LCD monitor. There is a wide black line around the window like a frame. This does not bother me, but it does some.

Panorama: You turn this on from the mode dial. I have done panoramas before, but never so easily. Up to now I always had to take overlapping photos then stitch them together with software. S1, however, does the work for you. The defaults are 120 degrees swinging camera to the right, but you can change them to swing to the left and/or 160 or 180 degrees if you prefer. To make the panorama, press the shutter, then immediately lift your finger, and while holding the camera in place turn your body in the indicated direction. Both on the screen and in the viewfinder you will see a white line move across the screen. When it gets to the end, it will stop automatically. If you press the shutter while this line is moving, you will end the panorama and nothing will be recorded So press, but do not hold down the shutter button. You can experiment with speed of moving your body, just don't go too slow.

(You are better able to keep the camera level if you rotate your body than if you try to rotate the camera.)

When I checked the panoramas on the Faststone photo viewer I found they were of good quality, but they were "thinner" so to speak than what I was seeing in the view finder. For example, when making a panorama of the condominium where I live, I could see the sky in the viewfinder. However, the photo had part of the roof of the 3-story buildings cut off. Taking another, I pointed the camera a little higher and ended up with the view I wanted.

But I soon found that you don't have to wait to know if you got the panorama you wanted. When the white line has crossed the screen, the result shows briefly on the LCD monitor or in the view finder, so you can tell right away whether a retake is needed.

You also have the option of making panoramas in the traditional way: take overlapping photos and stitch them together with a software program like Canon's PhotoStitch. With my other cameras, this was my only option.

Advanced Mode: Another option on the mode dial, besides all the the usual and panorama, is what they call "advanced" but is actually good for all users. Choose it and you are offered several options include "pro low-light", which is good for shooting in low light; "natural, where 2 photos are taken of the same thing, one with flash and one without; "zoom bracketing", where 3 shots are taken, 1 regular and 2 that are cropped to different degrees, giving you 3 options to choose from; and HDR where 3 photos are taken at different exposures and put together by the camera so that you get a photo that shows the whole range of exposure.

All of these options work well and I'm sure I will use them all on occasion.

Continuous Shooting (sometimes called burst mode): You activate this by pressing a button on the top of the camera. There are 3 options, high, medium and low, which can be read as very fast, a little less fast, and the slowest of the 3. Whichever you chose, you will get about 9 shots while you press the shutter button. High will give you 9 shots at about 10 fps, medium gives 9 shots at about 5 fps, and low is 9 shots at 3 fps. It is important to know this so you can chose the setting best for you at the time. If you are shooting a sports event and certain you can anticipate the crucial moment, then use "high" to get 9 shots of that moment to choose from. If less certain, then chose medium or low because the 9 shots will be spread over more seconds.

Which ever you choose, it takes about 4 seconds for the camera to clear so you can shoot another burst.

Exposure Compensation: With other cameras, I have tended to rely on post processing to make corrections in the exposure. This worked well with the dslr cameras because I was shooting RAW. With point and shoot cameras shooting .jpeg, it was not as satisfactory. But I didn't use the exposure compensation on those cameras because it seemed like too much work and took too much time to open the menus, scroll to find exposure compensation and make the change needed to photograph a very bright, very dark, or high contrast subject. The S1 makes it easy. Press the exposure compensation button on the top of the camera, the exposure compensation indicator will appear at the bottom of the monitor or viewfinder. Then while looking at the lcd monitor or through the viewfinder, use your thumb to rotate the dial between the movie button and the mode dial. As you rotate the dial, a yellow dot will move over the indicator, either increasing or reducing exposure, and you can see the scene or subject getting lighter or darker. When it looks right, take the photo, which when uploaded to your computer or printer will look just like it did on the screen when you took the shot. To check this out, I photographed scenes and subjects with no compensation, then photographed the same scenes and subjects after dialing in some compensation. In every case, the compensated photo was better and looked just like I expected from seeing it on the monitor before taking the shot. It is so easy to do, there really is no excuse for not making a correction before pressing the shutter button if it looks like the photo will be too dark or too light. To illustrate, I have uploaded before compensation and after compensation images so you can see what a difference a little compensation makes. In this case only +0.67. Look in the gallery.

AE Bkt (Exposure Bracketing): Another way to manage exposure compensation that some may prefer is AE Bkt, one of the options that becomes available when you press the button for continuous shooting. Press the button and you get 5 options: Continuous shooting high, medium, low, best frame capture, and AE Bkt. Using the "selector button" on the back of the camera scroll to AE Bkt and press "Ok". When you take your shot, the camera will take 3 images: 0 exposure compensation, +0.33 and -0.33. At your leisure, you can pick the one you think is best. If you think more compensation might be needed, press the exposure compensation button and follow the instruction above to chose 0.67 or 1.0, either plus or minus. Then when you take your shot the camera will follow your instructions when taking the 3 photos, for example 0 compensation, +0.67 and -0>67. +0.33/-0.33 is the default setting, however, if you expect to be mostly using 0.67 or 1.00 exposure compensation, you can change the default setting.

Camera Body: According to Fujifilm, it is safe to use this camera in the rain or dusty conditions because 70 areas of the body have been sealed. This sets the S1 apart from the other bridge cameras and is especially important to me because my son and I are booked on a cruise to Alaska the first week in June and they say there is a lot of wet weather there. I will update this review when I get back and report if I got all the shots and video that I wanted even though it meant shooting in the rain,

But the weather resistance is not the only thing that impresses me about the S1 body. It looks like a serious mid-range dslr yet is aesthetically pleasing with molded curves and rubberized matt black finish. In your hand it feels sold, like it would withstand a few knocks, but fits comfortably with a nice molded indentation for your middle finger and a rubberized patch on the back for your thumb. Also, the dials and buttons are well placed and easy to use. Once you get acquainted with them, which takes some practice as well as trial and error, you will be able make many adjustments with little difficulty as the need arises.

All in all, this is a very nice camera. It takes good photos and video; looks professional; has a lot of shooting options for photos and video, such as filters, panorama, HDR, red-eye removal, up to 10 face-detection, and interval shooting; built in WiFi; a very long zoom; and sealing that enables shooting on bad-weather days.

In the box is an abbreviated manual that gives setup instructions, but there is a full user manual on the CD. I highly recommend that you download it. The user manual is good, but you will still need to play around with camera to make full use of many of the options. More than a little of what I have told you above was not in the manual, but discovered through use of the camera.
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Style: Camera Only|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Fujifilm FinePix S1 is a camera made for photographers of all levels who want the versatility of a DSLR in a slightly smaller package without the hassle of carrying around multiple lenses. The impressive (24-1200 mm) 50x zoom, DSLR styling, 3" articulated LCD, weather sealing, 3-stop image stabilization, extra features like Panorama and HDR modes, and HD video quality (with High Speed modes) are what I feel its greatest draws. Keep in mind that performance from the S1 will not be that of a true DSLR.

My older bridge camera that I've enjoyed using for many years is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50. The FinePix S1 compares favorably to it. While I basically find them close in general performance and image quality, the S1 is usually at least as good -- or even much better in some cases. The S1 is a lighter and more compact camera with more shooting and customization options. While I won't get rid of my FZ50, the S1 will likely replace it as a go-to camera for general use. The main thing I would miss from the FZ50 is the manual zoom control on the lens.

S1 Pros:

1. Small and light for a superzoom
2. 50x stabilized (fast) optical zoom
3. Articulated high DPI rear LCD
4. Wi-Fi connectivity and control
5. 16MP sensor (1/2.3 backlit)
6. 1cm macro mode
7. Respectable battery life
8. Great ergonomics for the most part
9. Images showcase the great Fujifilm color balances
10. Fast power on and off

S1 Cons:

1. The 1/.23 sensor gets noisy at higher ISOs and overall image quality just decent
2. The EVF is okay but not great, and doesn't have an eye sensor like that on the Fujifilm X-S1
3. Plasticey construction materials and awkward USB and HDMI port cover
4. No manual zoom or focus
5. Somewhat high price point at launch
6. No lens shade or separate charger included. Lens shade and filter adapter are extras and cost a fair bit of $.
7. Not quite as compact as some other super zoom offerings
8. Memory card resides in the battery compartment which is blocked when using a tripod shoe
9. Gear noise while zooming during video recording is somewhat intrusive

The S1 is an all-in-one camera that can handle just about anything you throw at it; including sports, nature, macro, scenic and portrait photography. It handles much the way a typical DSLR camera would with the obvious advantage of not having to lug around a variety of lenses for different applications. While good in most situations, image quality could be better. However given the lens/sensor combo, it really does a good job, especially in the mid-zoom range. The S1 takes great video and offers RAW format for additional flexibility. I've test the camera's movie taking aspect and while you get a bit of mechanical noise if you want to zoom in and out, the results are almost as good as any digital videocamera I've used. In many ways it has most of the features of both a DSLR *AND* a video camera in one compact and user-friendly package. While I've not used it long, battery life seems good for a camera in this class. If I were taking it out all day as my only camera, I'd bring a back-up battery. You may want to get an external charger for convenience sake when purchasing a spare battery. Make sure you have plenty of fast memory (I recommend at least one 64GB SDHC card). I've had no problems downloading images and video to my older home iMac running OSX 10.5.8 (Leopard). I've yet to try out the Wi-Fi but will update this review when I do.

Fujifilm's FinePix S1 is a very capable, feature packed "do-it-all" super-zoom camera that should satisfy a lot of people's needs. Discerning pixel-peepers might be let down by the image noise at ISO speeds 400 and above, but for a bridge camera in its class, the S1 performs admirably. While it may look like a DSLR, it certainly isn't. As a general use super-zoom bridge camera for the casual user I give it 5 stars. Factoring in other bridge camera aspects and comparing it to the competition, I'd give it 3. I'm rounding it up to 4 stars because it shines in some key areas even though it drops the ball in others.

Edited: 04/10/2014

Edit: 04/13/2014 - I had some issues with the zoom not working on my camera after a couple of weeks of use, and when I contacted Fujifilm, they were very responsive and over-nighted me a new camera. So far the new one is performing well, so it may have just been a glitch in the other unit. Time will tell. Than you Fuji for your customer focused service!

Edit: 05/01/2014 - I've just noticed some odd banding issues with the 2nd camera when photographing in HDR mode. I don't see it in every photo I take in that mode, but I noticed that when shooting a flat surface in somewhat low light, some odd linear bands appear on the images. At first I thought they were due to light coming in though the window blinds, but I shot the same image in a different mode and they disappeared. I'll post sample images when I have the opportunity.

~ Kort
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6666 comments|103 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I purchased this camera as a secondary video camera... why would I buy a still camera as a video camera, you may ask? Because the resolution on this camera 1920x1080 @ 60p is unbeatable for even twice the price (the description on the Amazon page says it's 60i, but the specs on the Fujifilm site says it's 60p and my tests indicate that it is in fact progressive - p, not interlaced - i.) Seriously, it's really hard to find an affordable video camera that shoots 1080/60p. You can find 1080/30p or even 1080/60i (which is completely different and can leave your digital videos with "rake-marks" across them if you don't process it just right.) In this price range it's pretty common to still see 1280x720/60p which is almost 30% smaller than 1080. The quality of the video on this is absolutely beautiful with even, natural saturation and contrast (lower price camcorders tend to bump up the saturation and contrast to make the colors "pop" more, which tends to give the video an artificial, amateurish look - this camera doesn't do that) and sharp details. I'll add some video to this review, but Amazon tends to process the crap out of the videos that we attach to reviews so it will not accurately express the output of this camera... try searching "Fujifilm FinePix S1 sample video footage" on Youtube and you may be able to find my footage there... youtube compresses also but not to the extreme that Amazon does.

Along with the 1080/60p, this camera has a massive optical zoom which is an excellent bonus. I would have loved it if this camera had an audio jack for an external mic, but I can live with that since I record most of my audio onto an external Tascam DAR. The internal mics record in stereo and are decent quality - nothing to rave about, but a little better than you'd expect for built in mics at this level. The only thing I don't love about this camera is that when you are recording video you can't use the manual focus. Regardless of what you have it set on, the auto focus kicks in when you hit the record button. This can be an occasional problem: once in low light it had a hard time focusing, but I zoomed all the way it (so the face of the person I was shooting completely filled the viewfinder) this forced it to focus on the detail of the face so when I zoomed back out to the proper framing the face was still in focus. I did have it shift the focus for a few seconds almost randomly while I was shooting close up in daylight one time, but that hasn't happened since. I show an example of this camera's ability to do an auto-rack focus, which impressed me quite a bit (though I haven't used it extensively yet so I don't know it's limitations.)

The only other limitation when shooting video on this camera - and this might be a deal-breaker for you - it has a 15 minute cut off on the video (24 minutes if you're shooting 720/60p). So you can't just set it up and let it run (as I would normally do with a secondary camera) you have to make sure you check it at least every 13 or 14 minutes and end the shot and then hit the record button again. I've had cameras with 15 minute file-size limits before and on those the camera would just keep shooting regardless of how long but instead of saving the entire shot as one file they would save the shot in 15 minute increments, so if you shot for an hour you'd end up with four sequential files instead of one. This camera doesn't do that - it just turns off the recording at the end of 15 minutes. Period. I'm pretty diligent about constantly checking my equipment to make sure it's operating properly, so it's not that big of a deal for me, but if you tend to just turn on your equipment and let it roll it might end up being a problem for you.

A couple of nice features that might be important to you - it has wifi capabilities so you can use your ipad or phone as a remote control and monitor. That's a big bonus that helps with the 15-minute-video problem - I can set the camera up in a secondary location and manage it from an ipad mini attached to the tripod of my primary camera. The other feature, if you use your camera for blogging or tutorial videos - you can flip the 3" monitor on the camera completely out and flip it around so it faces you allowing you to check your framing. You can also flip the image on the monitor so what you see is like a mirror rather than the opposite which can be annoying.

The bottom line for me is that I couldn't find this combination of features that were important to me (1080/60p and a big optical zoom) on any kind of camera (either video camcorder or primarily still camera) for anywhere near this price, so I'll deal with the 15 minute cut off and the lack of an audio jack to get the high resolution video.

PS - Writing reviews has become an accidental hobby for me, and it always makes my day to know that people find my reviews helpful (and if not, why.) Also, if you have any questions, clarifications, or comments please feel free to leave a comment below. I usually respond pretty quickly and almost always within 24 hours. This item was provided for review consideration.

Cheers! Claire
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on December 28, 2014
I am not a professional photographer. I won't even try to claim to be. However, I researched cameras for almost a year before finally breaking down and spending the money for this product. I love taking pictures. It's my favorite hobby. So far, I've taken over 500 with this camera since I received it 12/26/2014. I've been mainly just playing with it, seeing what each feature does, and testing out the type of pictures it will take. As of yet, I am in love. I am not sure if my pictures could be considered profound or professional quailty or not, but I will say I used to edit like crazy on photo editing sites, and I have not yet edited one picture I've taken! I highly recommend this camera!!! If anything changes, I will update.

Featured pics are of: at 100x distance, blurring background,and my first ever macro shots!
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on October 19, 2015
This camera is amazing. I really, really love it. Comes with a manual that doesn't tell you much more then how to insert the battery and turn it on.
BUT, you can download a 131 page manual that explains just about every detail. I printed out the manual so I could read it and try the different features in a comfortable chair, instead of sitting in front of my computer. I was a little concerned that the camera uses a special (probably can only get on line) battery. And the only way to charge the battery is to plug in the camera and wait several hours for the charge to take place. So I ordered WITH the camera, the [ BM Premium 2-Pack Of NP-85 Batteries And Charger Kit For FujiFilm FinePix S1 ] which is also great. You can check out my review of the charger & batteries on Amazon.com. To increase the number of pictures the camera could take at one time I also purchased the [ Transcend 32GB SDXC Class10 UHS-1 Flash Memory Card Up to 90 MB/s (TS32GSDHC10U1E) ] with the camera and battery charger. I did photography as a hobby 40 years ago, using a 35mm SLR Canon camera, and developed my own B&W pictures. So I'm experienced some what, to do this review. The things this camera can do is really amazing. I took a picture of a deer at 200 yards at dusk in very low light (my 35mm SLR couldn't do that) and it came out really well. Takes great pictures in low light without flash. You can actually crop pictures while they are in the camera and save them as a new picture, keeping the original in tack. It does panorama photos, simple as turn the selector, point, depress the shutter, turn and done. Has many selections for picture and resolution sizes.
Transfers pictures via Wi-Fi or cable to your computer, by default it will only transfer those pictures which haven't been transferred before to your computer. It has a "flash shoe" for an extra flash if you need it for some reason, a selectable view finder for those people that desire it. And the large color screen used to take/view pictures folds in towards the camera to protect it, as well as allows positioning it for over head shots. (Similar to some video cameras) Want video, GOT IT ! I looked at several other like priced cameras, even more expensive (slightly newer) Fujifilm cameras, and chose this one, mainly for the "tuck away" screen, built in view finder, normal to telephoto lens. And now that I got it, the special battery (for extended use and rechargeable to save $$$) if anything happens to my camera other then total defect failure, I will buy another one in a heart beat.
Can't make up your mind, buy it, you won't be disappointed. NO I DIDN'T GET THIS CAMERA FREE for reviewing it. Wish I had.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon April 6, 2014
Style: Camera Only|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This camera seemed like it was going to be an improvement over our Canon PowerShot SX50 HS 12MP Digital Camera with 2.8-Inch LCD (Black) because of its added features and higher pixel count. In reality, I still prefer the Canon for its much better picture quality.

The ability to use this camera with your smart phone is cool and useful. For some people, who like to post everything they take immediately on social media sites, this might be enough reason to get it. Being able to use your camera as a remote control for it, is also pretty cool. For anyone that is used to using the newer GoPro cameras with your tablet or smart phone, this has similar functionality.

The 50 power zoom is the same as our Canon overs and works just as well. The lens on this camera is great, and is about equal to that on the Canon.

The thing that I don't like about this Fujifilm camera is the image quality. The image sensor seems like it should be on a $200 point and shoot, not something that is just a step away from a DSLR. Several of my pictures came out grainy and others were noisy. For such an expensive camera, I'd expect better. For me to lug something this big (compared to a point and shoot or a smart phone) around, it needs to take a lot better pictures than this does.
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on May 5, 2015
From my personal blog on rybird.com

Review Fuji S1 Backyard Birding Camera
I'll explain the title in a minute, but first will start with an older and less expensive model the Fuji 4200S. It was the first camera I purchased for birding. I bought it in 2013 for $175 at walmart, and it was enough to be enthusiastic about, and get involved, but had some limitations. The main issue was excessive noise at the full zoom of 30x and low light like in the mornings and evenings when birds are most active. This review is based on experience in backyard birding, and zoom, fast focus, fast pics, long battery life, and low noise is important.
It wasn't long before I wanted to upgrade, which was the Fuji 8200S. This was a great birding camera, it was almost there, still a little noise, and the 40x zoom was about where the camera stayed, I loved that it would take eight shot bursts which would capture several frames, which birds don't just sit there while getting their picture taken very often. And take pictures I did, took about 50,000 pics on one year, which is about 400 per day.
But the weather was hot and humid in the summer, and the house cold, so taking the camera outside brought in plenty of condensation. I began to see artifacts, or blurs that weren't always obvious, til I did a macro shot and the focus was such, I could see the water drops on the lens directly on the picture.
I purchased a Fuji 9500W which is real similar to the S1, “I am getting to the S1” but the flash didn't work so I returned it. But the weekend with it was great, the 50 zoom and 10 picture bursts were great.
At this time I had my eye on the S1, but they were 500 dollars in 2014, so I had to wait.
The weatherproof, “resistant” feature of the Fuji S1 was the calling card. Being it was almost a third more for that feature, which I knew very little about the camera before buying it, I was hesitant, but in 2015, Amazon had one for $339, so I got it. Now for the run down.
I got a lot more than just weatherproof, in addition to what I had with the 8200S and 9500W. In many ways it was similar to the 9500W, but the big differences were the sensor, and the RAW images. The sensor, a 16M BSI-CMOS, was great in low light, and very little noise. I rarely have to use median, which was my go to noise reduction on the earlier cameras. Nor do I need the unsharp mask. The colors are great, which I put it on Chrome, which basically turns the colors up, but with more green. The tone is great and for nature is preferable to me over the standard setting. The camera also has image stabilization and it must be working great, for that is one of those things, that if it works, you don't notice it, simple because the pictures turn out great.
But the feature that I like most about it is the RAW file feature. It can be set for RAW, or FINE, which FINE is high quality Jpeg, or for both. The advantage of RAW is readily evident when rendering large images for art, for it is 300dpi instead of 72, and makes a big difference in prints. For this reason alone, it is worth the upgrade.
But there is a downside, two issues come to mind. One is if it is set on RAW, or RAW and FINE, then the digital zoom past 50 by 2x is disabled. This is not a big deal, for image quality is reduced when using that feature, but the burst mode is disabled. This is probably due to the ability to store the files as they are many times larger than Jpegs. I imagine this will be solved in the near future and may be already on more expensive cameras. The other issue is Windows 7 does not show thumbnails for the RAF files, which is the file extension. for the Fuji Raw files. I was not able to find a free Fuji supported or third party codec which is needed for the thumbnails to show. I did see one for sale, but I did not buy it. I am simply shooting both, and they appear side by side in window explorer.
I did discover for free something interesting for RAW files that many people should like.
That is the Silkypix Raw File Converter EX. It was on the Fuji Website, installed easily enough, and is great for basic editing such as color temp, contrast, sharpness, with some preset color styles. It then can save the file in a number of formats, including JPEG and is a very functional program. It is at least as good as the RAW camera filter in Adobe Photoshop, but it is slight different, and might compliment it or replace that function depending on personal preference.

The battery life is good, the focus is fast, although a high flying jet or bird, it might not immediately be able to focus and the shot is lost., The grip is good, but the camera is a bit heavy at 24 ounces but not bad. Why did I say birding camera? It is the camera for birding, for me, as the whole package works in concert, the zoom, the RAW files, the fast recovery to take a second picture, as in less than a second. And the weatherproof is great. It also takes fantastic pictures of the moon, by setting it on manual and adjusting the ISO for the moon at night, and auto is great for day pics. For the novice photographer, or photographer that wants the end result without having to “work” the camera, the Fuji S1 is the ideal backyard birding camera.
Rybird
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Style: Camera Only|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I had the opportunity to try this camera out. I am by no means a professional photographer, in fact prior to getting this camera I couldn't have told you the difference in f/ stops, aperture, ISO or shutter speeds or how they worked together to deliver an awesome picture. Fact is I had a Nikon COOLPIX L820 16 MP CMOS Digital Camera with 30x Zoom Lens and Full HD 1080p Video (Red) and that was to me a really great camera. Boy was I wrong. Now let me say why.

The Nikon L820 is a terrific point and shoot camera. If you don't want to have much control over the quality of the photos and shoot in good lighting then it is a perfect camera. But I learned when I went to Cumberland Falls in Kentucky to see an event called the "moon bow" where a full moon rises over the falls and generates a rainbow in the mist I looked around and saw all these high end cameras, and I had my L820 and I felt good, they all started snapping pictures and I tried and all I got was pure black in my pictures as I tried to snap the waterfall in the dark. Everyone else had these crystal clear pictures with the moonbow visible in the picture and oh it was awesome, and I had nothing... It was at that point I realized the L820 wasn't as good for dark scenarios as I had thought it would be. That being said it takes awesome pictures of the moon.

Ok, now on to the Fujifilm S1. This camera has all the basic auto modes you could want. For those times when the camera can figure out the best picture, which frankly is most of the time you have pure auto. It figures out aperture and shutter speed for you. If you want to have more control you can flip into aperture priority or shutter priority. If you really want full control you can flip it to full manual and tweak everything, this is where I have been shooting as of late. The camera takes really nice pictures, but to get those artistic effects with a blurry background and clear, crisp target, or the "movement" of the water you need to manually tell the camera to use a slower ISO, shut the aperture a bit and leave the shutter open a bit longer. In doing so I have been able to get some phenomenal pictures of the night sky with stars shining bright, something the L820 could never do. I have captured awesome pictures of waterfalls and you can sense the water moving thanks to the slower ISO, longer shutter time and higher F/ stop. The beauty of this camera is I knew nothing about these settings, and in a couple weeks I can go outdoors, push a button or two and dial in my settings and get a great picture in a few shots. It's so easy to use.

One of the greatest features I love about this camera is the weather resistance of it. I live in Tennessee and we had some nasty storms roll through yesterday. This camera has a great time lapse feature where you can set it to take pictures every X amount of time for X amount of hours. I set it to take a picture every 15 seconds for 2 hours, I put it on my tripod and pointed it up at the sky and let it go. Part way through the time lapse sequence it started to drizzle, but because this camera is weather proof I wasn't that concerned (ok I was, but it proved it could handle it!). 2 hours later I replayed the time lapse and it was so cool to see the clouds moving across the sky, 2 hours of cloud movement was sped up to run in only 60 seconds, how cool it was.

Battery life is great. I have NEVER had the battery die on me once and I have taken this hiking on multiple trips and snapped several hundred photos each time. I did buy an extra battery but feel silly now since the original has never came out of the camera. One thing I love about this camera, the battery charges with a micro USB cable, the same one my cell phone uses so I don't have to lug some proprietary cable with me. Anywhere I'm at I can plug the camera in, that includes my car as I drive around and it charges right up.

Now this camera is lacking a few things that I wish it had. One is Bulb mode. I had no idea what this feature was but it's apparently how people catch lightning. It allows you to keep the shutter open as long as you push a button. This camera has a max shutter time of 30 seconds. Now 30 seconds is a long time, but I would have loved to see them build in a bulb mode on this thing (if they did I haven't been able to find it.)

The other gripe is a lack of GPS. The pictures record the settings you shot them in so you can view the aperture, shutter speed, lighting, etc. But it doesn't tag them with GPS locations which is a bummer. Fuji did sort of solve this however by giving you a free app you can download from the google play or apple stores and actually tag pictures by using your phones GPS. It works, but its clunky and I always forget to turn that feature on.

Speaking of the app, one other thing I love about this thing is the ability to transfer pictures with the wifi feature directly to your phone. I have a high speed samsung 16gb card in my camera and it's lightning fast, I mean I take a raw picture and it doesn't even hesitate. But with my other camera the picture was stuck on the camera until I got to a computer. With this one it has a button you push to activate a wifi mode, then you fire up the app on your phone and you can actually transfer pictures from the camera to your phone for instant sharing, or even just to back them up in case your card in the phone goes belly up. It's great to remove the need for a PC with this camera.

Overall it's really a great beginners camera. It's really easy to use, it has taken some really great pictures (it's taken really bad ones to but that's the photographers fault. :) It is weather proof which means I'm taking it kayaking with me this year for capturing those pics that I couldn't have gotten with my L820, it's built solid, battery life is awesome. I just really don't have any gripes other than bulb mode doesn't appear to exist on this thing. Everything else about it I love, and truth be told I'm only missing Bulb mode because it's not on it. I would probably only use that a few times a year anyway. for me I have caught many great pictures with the 30 second shutter speed. I would definitely recommend this camera to you if you are in the market for one. I'm still mastering the various controls, but it's so easy to tweak them I love it.

I haven't even talked about the pre-defined filters like only taking pics of green and putting the rest in grey scale, the "toy camera" or "diorama" effect that blurs the top and bottom of the pic. The Macro and super macro modes. This camera just packs so much and it's so easy to use. I was afraid it would be so complicated that I would have given up on it with the various settings and stuck it in full auto mode. I love now that I don't even use auto mode at all, I like to tweak and adjust to get that perfect shot, sometimes I have to take 17 pictures to get the settings just right but when you get it, you know it and it's just so nice.
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on August 9, 2014
Read the reviews left by others. They're very informative and will explain this camera better than I can. I was looking for a weatherproof bridge camera for a trip to Florida and the specs of the S1 fits the bill.

I'm far from a camera expert. So far I find this camera very easy to use and for my needs takes great pictures.

UPDATE 8-24:

I wanted this camera to take on a vacation with the family to Florida. It worked better than I had hoped. The weatherproofing handled an afternoon T-Storm, waterparks and direct hits from Shamu. I just wiped a few drops off the lens and continued to snap away. That evening I wiped down the entire camera because the whale pool is salt water.

I was also impressed with the picture quality. As I said before, I'm far from an expert. But this camera made it easy for me to get great shots. The camera focuses and shoots so fast it's hard to miss a shot. From butterflies to whales breaching the surface the shots came in clear and sharp. SR Auto easily handled most of the shots in the parks during bright, sunny days. Filters like partial coloring look incredible. I got a shot of my son walking through a forest using the green filter. The vegetation and forest canopy are green and vivid while my son and the path he walked on are B&W. Truly amazing. Low light and evening photos where good using the flash or HDR mode. Anti-Shake was rock steady while holding the camera with one hand and the rubberized grips handled wet or lotion greased fingers. The zoom speaks for itself.

I can't speak on the video because I didn't really use it. I had trouble with the zoom during video. I don't know if it's something with the camera or me. I'll need to read the manual

The only issue I had was fogging of the lens when leaving my 70 degree room in the morning and stepping outdoors where it was 85 before 9:00am. I'm also going to order a wider neck strap.
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