209 of 244 people found the following review helpful
Not Fully Functional,
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This review is from: Fujifilm FinePix S4200 Digital Camera (Electronics)Note: Please take this review with a grain (or tablespoon) of salt. I am a complete novice to photography, both in technique and in hardware. With that said, let's begin.
Prior to purchasing this camera, I tried to do my due diligence in researching it, as well as its competitors. My target was a feature-packed bridge/"superzoom" camera with a few advanced/manual options, and built-in flash. The desired price point was $200 or less. When all was said and done, it appeared to be a great choice.
This camera offered a laundry list of features and shooting modes, built-in. Panorama, backlit portrait, night portrait, etc; a lot of nice presets for someone not particularly knowledgeable or skilled in photography. Add in a popup flash, 24x zoom, image stabilization, and other goodies, and you have the makings of a very nice device.
Even though it boasted a 16 megapixel resolution, the images produced were very grainy. This was true at different zoom distances, lighting conditions, and image capture stability situations (free hand, tripod, standing, kneeling, etc). Of course with the sensor being CCD (as opposed to CMOS), low light performance was tragic, at best. Even fiddling with settings (white balance, ISO, fstop, etc) made virtually no difference when it came to capturing a crisp, clear image.
The Ugly, and Unforgivable:
There was no flash, period. The built-in flash on this unit was the popup kind. Unlike most cameras, however, opening the flash was manual, rather than automatic (i.e. when the shutter button is pressed). Oddly enough, the flash would never fire, even in modes where it could be used. I discovered via the internet and the extended user's manual (read: not the little mini-manual that comes in the box) that not all shooting modes employ the flash. With the flash option set to auto, it would not fire (no matter how dark the area was where I shot. Furthermore, even with the flash mode set to fire on every shot, it would never do so. The last straw was, even where you set the camera so it had no choice but to use the flash, it seemed to disable the shutter! In short: flash on, shutter doesn't work; flash off, shutter works fine. After doing some more research after encountering this issue, I discovered that a number of others had the exact same experience. Wish I had known that sooner...
Again, please take this review with a grain of salt. I am fully aware that there exists a possibility that my difficulties with this camera could have been purely the result of my own ineptitude. However, shortly after returning this item, I picked up another camera of a different brand (which I will not name here, as I'm not reviewing that device or trying to steer buyers toward it). I unboxed it, popped in some batteries and a memory card, and took some pictures. Cleaner pictures, less grain and image noise, and the kicker: the flash just plain worked! That said, I'm inclined to believe that it was the product that couldn't cut the mustard. However, for the possibility that my potential misuse may have resulted in poor performance, I gave it two stars instead of one.
Tracked by 5 customers
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Showing 1-10 of 27 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 26, 2012 9:32:32 AM PDT
Scott R. Swope says:
I had this exact same problem with mine! For me the camera took great pictures in every setting except when it needed flash, and nothing I could do would get it to fire. I am no pro, but I'm not a novice either. Unfortunately by the time I discovered the problem, tested to make sure it wasn't user error, spoke with Fuji support and eventually decided to return it I learned I was past the vendor's policy date (I made the mistake of assuming it was the same as Amazon's policy).
What camera did you switch too?
Posted on Jun 26, 2012 1:10:26 PM PDT
Venny Lava says:
I have the same issue with the flash and it's absolutely infuriating! I also did my due diligence in researching this camera, and was super excited when it finally came. I did actually get to use the flash a couple (but really only a couple) of times before it just stopped working at all. Another thing I noticed is that when you set the camera to 'silent mode' the flash is automatically disabled. So upset with this camera.
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 27, 2012 9:57:16 AM PDT
Thanks for sharing my pain! I'm sorry to hear about your troubles with Fuji support. I sent mine back in under a week.
I ended up going with a Kodak Easy Share Z990 (a.k.a. Easy Share Max). I think it's a 12.1 MP camera, but it uses a CMOS-based sensor (which, I understand, yields superior low light performance). Zooms to 30x, and... THE FLASH WORKS!! LOL Right about the exact same price as the S4200. Took about 450 shots with it so far, and I'm pretty well pleased with it.
Posted on Jul 7, 2012 5:09:35 PM PDT
T. Mahoney says:
The flash does work. When you flip it up it will have 2 options. Forced flash and optional flash which is when the camera decides on its own when it needs flash. That may be your problem about the flash. Amazing camera for little price I absouloutly love it!
Posted on Jul 14, 2012 3:42:24 PM PDT
Tom Hanna says:
I'm an utter novice who almost didn't buy because of this review. My photos are turning out fine (not grainy at all at reasonable ISO levels), my flash works and I have gotten some great night time photos using sufficiently long shutter speeds and a tripod. Sounds like the reviewer got a camera that was damaged in shipping or something. FWIW, I did get the Square Trade Warranty in case I ended up with a broken camera, too.
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 17, 2012 7:22:14 AM PDT
Kimmie Jo Swope says:
great to hear Jay - glad you found a good one. We ultimately spent about another $100 and got a Nikon PowerShot SX40 HS and love it. Took about 1500 pics on vacation the last couple weeks and now get to sort out the good, bad and ugly - but the first glance at the results are stunning...kinda thinking after all this headache I ended up with the right camera for the job. Have fun with yours!
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 17, 2012 7:26:15 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 17, 2012 7:26:48 AM PDT
Kimmie Jo Swope says:
at Tom Hanna: do you actually think we didn't try those things? Did you even read all of Jay's comments above? if not go back and read under "the ugly and unforgivable" section. Having read a number of other forums on this camera this is a pretty significant with a number of phones in this series. Poor quality control. Glad you hear yours works, but don't presume to speak for others.
Posted on Jul 22, 2012 7:18:25 PM PDT
Same thing happened to me, Flash does not work whatsoever. Will be returning it. Really wanted to keep this but not with no flash.
Posted on Jul 28, 2012 8:39:37 AM PDT
A. Williams says:
your use of photography jargon leads me to believe you are NOT a novice... ex... "sensor being CCD as opposed to (CMOS)" ex "cleaner image, less grain and image noise".... your review is moot....
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 4, 2012 7:20:47 AM PDT
Hi. Not to forewarn you, but I purchased a Kodak Z990 late November 2011 as a Christmas present for my daughter. We hardly used the camera since the shutter speed was so slow. Several weeks ago I used it again for the first time in a while. After zooming in and out several times, the blue screen message said that the lens cap was on (it wasn't). There was no way to turn off the camera. I tried removing the batteries, but the message came right back on over and over again. I brought the camera back to Best Buy and received a call several weeks later that there were no replacement parts available. Luckily the extended warranty from Best Buy kicked in and I can get $199 store credit and purchase a camera of my choice. Since Kodak is no longer in business, I will have to steer clear of getting another Z990. My friend has taken thousands of excellent pictures with hers. Unfortunately I did not have the same experience. Good Luck to you.