82 of 83 people found the following review helpful
An Overlooked Beauty for an Astounding Price
, August 21, 2009
This review is from: Fujifilm FinePix S1500 10MP Digital Camera with 12x Wide Angle Dual Image Stabilized Optical Zoom (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
As an overall package, this camera is simply astounding. Besides a few minor flaws, you get a nearly perfect, highly versatile camera with a fairly expansive feature set and good image quality for less than $200. What more can you ask for? Well, there are a few things, but let me first start with the pros...
+ Excellent price. Obviously, getting this kind of technology for less than $200 is a rare find. Fuji somehow keeps prices at the low end of the spectrum, while managing to maintain quality.
+ Good construction. This thing feels solid, and fits nicely in the hands. I don't have any qualms about apparent quality or cheapness; for $200, you'd be hard-pressed to find something with comparable materials and build quality.
+ Large feature set. The feature set really is as expansive as the description says. As mentioned before, some of them aren't quite as good as they sound, but that will be discussed next. I'm not a even nearly a professional photographer, and I'm certainly still learning, but the upgrade from a 'normal' point-and-shoot is significant. Shutter and aperture priority modes are excellent, as is the full-manual mode. Automatic modes are just your normal automatic modes, with the exception of the SP 'scene selection' mode, which offers some nice settings if you find yourself in a hurry to get a shot or are unsure of how to compose a picture yourself. Fortunately, with the versatile manual modes, you'll find yourself using automatic modes less and less as you become more comfortable with the settings.
+ The zoom is great, as is the stabilization system. 12x zoom is more than enough for most realistic applications- if you need any more than that on a regular basis, you should really be looking at an SLR system anyways. When you get up to the 8x-12x range, you'll likely need a small tripod or something to set the camera on, or a very fast shutter speed, but that's pretty standard- no amount of stabilization can accommodate fully for a 12x zoom.
+ Super-macro mode takes some astounding close-ups. By far, this is my favorite mode.
+ Image quality, for $200, is superior. Although I have seen sharper images, they are usually coming from highly sophisticated SLR systems- not exactly what you'd call comparable.
+Speed, although not great, is good enough to keep up with demands from normal photographers. There's a small, but noticeable, amount of shutter lag- nothing that will detract from your photographic endeavors. Time between shots seems to be on par with most other digital cameras of the class. With the right settings, you'll be able to capture most images with reasonable success.
-Autofocus. This can be sloppy sometimes, failing to focus or focusing incorrectly. Although this might be due to my inexperience, I often find myself wishing for a manual focus. Then again, that's just something you have to deal with when you forego spending thousands of dollars on an SLR system.
-Lens. Although it's normally fine, I sometimes find myself wishing for a larger aperture and/or shutter speed range. The shutter speed range of 8-1/2000 seconds is usually more than fast enough, but I do find myself sometimes unable to compose a shot correctly because of a lack of aperture range. 99% of the time this has no relevance outside of extreme low-light or high-light imagine that as I become more competent with the settings, this issue will become less pronounced.
-Unusable features. This is one of my biggest peeves with the camera. Sure, it's great to offer ISO 6400, but why bother when any pictures taken in that mode inevitably end up as nothing more than a noisy mess? I appreciate the attempt on Fuji's part, but I would have rather had them dedicate the resources to extra shooting modes, a faster lens, a better lens cover, or any number of other, more practical aspects. Don't get me wrong- most of the features are fine. Just don't try to shoot anything above ISO 800, and don't expect high-quality video.
Overall, despite a few downfalls, this is an exceedingly pleasing camera, and one that I feel is often overlooked in the Mega-Zoom discussion solely because of the Fuji name. Nonetheless, this camera can easily compete with almost any other camera of the `SLR-like' class, regardless of brand- and the price is certainly right. Invest the $200 in this wonderful little package of technology, and you won't be sorry.
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