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Color: Black|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
First impression - this camera seems light and flimsy. It's entirely made of plastic (except the lens), and I'm sure a drop from a few feet would wreck it. But that's true of most cameras in this price range. It also seems too large when compared to other point and shoots. But after looking at the features, it becomes obvious why it's so large - there's a pop-up flash and a hot-shoe for an external flash. The lens is also quite a bit larger than your run of the mill point and shoot - both in volume of glass and length.

The 3" screen is large - the same size as many DSLR's. You can switch between the screen and viewfinder by pressing a button. The viewfinder uses less power, and honestly, has a cheesy look. The screen is much clearer and easier to use. The viewfinder is nice in bright light.

The lens can be zoomed from two places - a control on the left side of the lens, and the control the shutter release sits in. That's handy. My main complaint with the zoom is using it with video - the zoom is not smooth, and stutters. It also stops at around 3x - not the full 30x. Why?

Speaking of video, it's decent quality and saves in AVI format.

Other features include an advanced panoramic mode - shoot one image, and move left to right - when a visual guide lines up (X over X) the next photo automatically shoots. Nice. But the saved image is no larger than a single image! It can stitch three full size images - the result should be at least 2x the normal image size. But the pano quality is much better than most other pocket camera panoramic modes - although it is limited to horizontal panoramics.

When zooming into the image 100%, the pixels are decently clean. Not DSLR quality, but above average. I have nice Panasonic, Canon and Nikon pocket cameras - the pixel quality on the Fuji are superior.

The combination of the super-zoom, wide angle and macro is also a big plus.

The SL300 also has full auto mode, plus several more advanced modes (Aperture priority, automatic program, shutter priority, custom, smile detect) and full manual. The full manual is limited though - only two F stops - these vary on conditions. The maximum exposure length is 8 seconds - rare in a camera of this price range.

Focusing is in a word, hinky. Zoomed in, 25x-30x, it takes forever and often fails. Even with high-contrast subjects. The anti-vibration is not as good as some other cameras. I see more blur than I like at full zoom when hand-held. Placing the camera against a solid surface fixed this.

There are also "dummy proof" measures - you are warned when there's no memory card or the lens cap in on.

The camera does use a custom battery, but it includes an external charger - that's a great feature. The cable that us used for USB and component/RCA audio and video is a proprietary mish-mash. A small connector at one end plugs into the camera. The other end has a standard USB connector, plus two RCA fittings. Strange.

If you're looking for a beginner camera with some advanced features, I'd recommend this camera. For example, you want to experiment with panoramas, long exposures and lighting. If all you want is a point and shoot, you can find cheaper - and much smaller cameras. But for quality glass, lens zoom, this can't be beat in this price range.

So I give it three stars. Some great points (lens, zoom, image quality, hot-shoe, pop-up flash, high speed and burst modes) and some misses (focus issues, all plastic body, long processing time between images.) Would I recommend it? Yes, to someone looking for a camera to learn on, and develop their skills. For someone looking for a simple point and shoot? No.
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on March 18, 2013
This camera takes beautiful photos very simply. As an amateur photographer and not having the time or funds to explore the fancy cameras, I find this camera to be perfect for my needs. I can quickly and easily photograph my daughter or scenery on vacation. This is the best money can buy if your price range is $150-200.

The only thing I dislike about this camera is that it is a tad too automatic. I wish that on the rare day I have the time to customize the settings that I would have more options. But for the price, it is a wonderful camera.

UPDATE:

I was able to use this camera over the weekend in D.C. (Two moths after purchase.) This is the first trip I've taken it on and the first time I've had the opportunity to really see what it can do.

I set it on automatic and took several pictures as we walked. If I didn't stop completely, the photos turned out blurry. I did get some beautiful photos of the Washington and Lincoln Memorial at sunset. The color wasn't as vivid in the photos, but that is an easy editing fix.

When we were at Ford's Theatre, I had the most difficult time trying to get a decent photo in low lighting. I ended up snapping a few with my iPhone - which much to my surprise turned out quite crisp and clear.

I still must say, for the price, I am quite pleased with this purchase.
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on July 9, 2012
First of all, I am not a professional photographer, nor do I expect professional photos from this camera. I am an artist however. One reason in which I needed a camera is for occasional reference photos in which I will make paintings from. As I do not do photo-realism, great photos with perfect detail retention are not necessary for this purpose. The 24 mm wide angle of the lens is nice when I need a photo of the bigger picture. And the panorama feature provides an even wider view...at an extremely easy to use method. It practically does it for you if you keep it set on auto panorama. And the 30x zoom is wonderful to bring distant objects closer. Like I said, they only are required to be used as a reference, so the quality doesn't need to be great. The "dual image stabilization" feature is a bit of a farce. "Dual" means sensor shift, coupled with high ISO, so that the shutter speed can be faster, thus less blur. So with the high ISO, it produces quite grainy pictures. It would be nicer if the camera had the option to separate the "dual" into "just sensor shift," "just high ISO," or "both," so that you wouldn't be forced to get a grainy picture. But that is not an option, so I question its effectiveness.

The other reason why I needed a camera was to take photos of my artwork. For this purpose, I set the camera to P "Programmed Auto" so I can chose the ISO, and set it to 64 or 100 ISO. I set the painting in an outdoor courtyard on a bright sunny day...in the shade. I use a tripod (this camera has a tripod mount) to get it framed just so, and use the 10 second delay to avoid shake when pushing the shutter button. One problem I had was there was sometimes a bit of pincushion distortion on a few shots. But at other times it was perfectly square with no such distortion. So I think that it depends on how much you zoom, for such distortion is apparently avoidable. I have a large format printer that prints 13 x 19 size paper, and the quality of the prints of my paintings is acceptable after photo editing (cropping etc.) and minor color correcting. It seemed that emeralds and teals were a bit cool and washed out. But that may just require me finding the proper settings for white balance and saturation, for which the camera is adjustable. But photo editing and color correcting is almost always necessary even with a much more expensive camera, so this is not a big deal. I use Adobe Photoshop Elements 6.0 to manually color correct and crop. This program also lets you eliminate any pincushion or barrel distortion that such a camera may impart. So for such a procedure, this camera produces quite acceptable results...although I do intend to upgrade to a DSLR for this purpose in the distant future. But for now, this camera suits its intended purposes.

There is a product video on Amazon which does outright state some incorrect information. It says that this camera has manual focus...it does not. It says it has 60 X intelligent zoom...it does not. It does have a regular digital zoom however, and it is up to 201 X digital zoom...I just don't recommend using it. The video also says that the camera has a back-side illuminated EXR Cmos sensor...it does not. It is a CCD sensor. It also shows that the camera has "advanced anti-blur mode," which takes several pictures at once and merges them together. This is also not true. It also claims that you can take 360 degree panorama pictures both side to side and up and down. It can only do up and down panorama pictures if you hold the camera sideways. And either way, it is definitely not 360 degrees...maybe 180. And one huge misleading bit of information that the video shows is that the 3" LCD screen tilts. This is also not true, as it is completely fixed. As I researched for a camera for some time, I already knew that these misleading claims were not true and actually apply to the higher end Fuji models HS25EXR and HS30EXR cameras. Since I wasn't expecting these features, I wasn't fooled or disappointed. But for the price, I wasn't expecting everything, even if these features were stated to be on this camera according to the video.

So for the price, and for my needs, I believe that this camera does just fine. If I expected to sell landscape or birding photography, I would be disappointed. But that is not what I expected or required from this camera. The pictures of grass and leaves are a bit "watercolory" looking (Is that a word?) when looked at closely. But even those photos will look just fine printed on 8x10 paper. The lithium ion battery works well and really lasts a pretty long time. It would be nice if I could put on a UV filter to protect the lens, or a polarizer filter to make skies blue and to adjust reflections...but there is no filter thread. One part that bugs me is the lens cap...it jams if you turn on the camera and attempt to zoom if you forget to take it off. But I think I will learn to get used to that. I looked at other cameras that just had the LCD screen, but I like the fact that this camera can use either the 3" LCD screed or the electronic viewfinder, for there are times when the viewfinder just works better...such as in bright light. I will not comment on the video feature, as this is not something that I use or need. It also has other features that I probably will not use, such as smile and blink detection. But they are nice features to have if your camera is meant as a Facebook tool. I also do not like the fact that the full manual is on CD only. Before I received the camera, I went on the Fuji website and downloaded and printed the manual for this camera so I could read up on it...but I did kind of expect a nice printed book with the camera, but there was just the CD.

But for a capable camera at an affordable price, I give this camera four stars. High ISO pictures are pretty grainy, but low ISO pictures in good light still takes quality pictures of my artwork. So for what I use it for, and for my budget, I think I made a good choice.
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on August 29, 2013
I have owned three versions of this same camera. I bought this one a few months ago to replace the 7mp version and was surprised when it showed up and is physically larger than the old version.
Used it on a several week international trip and here's what I noticed:
PRO-
The zoom is very good. I can take pictures that come out very good from very far away.
Has many different settings, that allow you to adjust for different settings like sunset, fireworks, flowers, etc. These settings work well and the pics come out very nice. Love the sunset setting.
It's easy to operate and the direction book is very clear if you are not sure what to do.
Long battery life.
CON-
I HATE that the lens cap MUST be removed to do ANYTHING or the camera doesn't turn on, even just review the pics you have already taken. Other reviewers have commented on this and I didn't think it would be a big deal, but it annoys me more than I thought it would.
I don't like that it takes "special" batteries, not just the standard buy-them-anywhere double AA's as the old version did. I bought a spare one so I wouldn't get caught without one that was charged.
SUMMARY:
It's a good camera, if you don't mind the size & the annoying lens cap that must always be removed. It is easy to operate and takes nice pictures, even from very far away.
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on June 15, 2013
My review is from the POV of someone who is a complete beginner to photography. I didn't buy this camera because I enjoy photography, I bought it because I wanted something to catalog memories with a picture but also wanted to have a camera that could zoom in more than my Sony Cybershot. If you're interest are similar, this camera is definitely for you!

The price is great, I bought it new (open box) so there are no defects that I'm aware of. The picture quality is above average when you're shooting a picture under the right setting. After a couple weeks of familiarizing myself with the settings I think I'll have it down better. I bought the red model and I love the way it looks! Here are a few pros and cons:

Pros:
Great outdoor/indoor picture quality (better outdoors though)
Lightweight but sturdy
Easy to use
Under priced

Cons:
Inconsistent picture results
Hard to photograph a moving target
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on January 12, 2013
When Fuji came out with their first digital camera, it was absolutely great for what it was. It was so great that Kodak had them make a who bunch of them and sold them under their name. Anyway, the 14MP with physical zoom is the original all grown up. Now it's NOT a NIKON top of the line, but then, who's got 3,500 Euros to dump into a professional camera. But if your ambient light source is strong or daylight, you can get great sports stop-action shots. The close-up feature (I know, I'm using actual English, instead of photography-speak) is wonderfully easy to use, as is the switching from mode to mode.

Let's say I'm completely insane and that I come from the planet Zippzoid and I don't know crap about photography. Or you could believe the truth and some of my photos rest in the homes of some very big-time interesting people. Either way, you should buy it, try it, and marvel at its abilities. And if you don't like it, DANG, PEOPLE, you can send it back to AMAZON.
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on November 17, 2012
Amazon's gold box deal couldn't have come at a better time! I could not afford to replace my late, much lamented DSLR camera. So I've been trying to adapt to birding without a camera and just enjoying the sights as they happen rather than recording them for study and identification later. Definitely lessened the pleasure for me. So when the Fujifilm Finepix SL300 came available at a price I could squeeze out of my budget, I jumped at it!

I ordered the red body - doesn't affect the camera in any way, but I love the cheery brightness of it. I've taken it out birding several times now, and have to say I am quite happy with it. I'm not a camera pro, so all the technical stuff is beyond me. It doesn't have quite the performance of my Canon EOS Rebel T1i, nor did I expect it to. But it easily outperforms my first digital camera, the Olympus SP510-UZ, and it was a darn sight less expensive than either of those.

I've been able to take identifiable photos of small birds in trees up to 25 - 30 feet high above me, even in dim light, and the burst shooting has helped me record several really cool in-flight shots as well. The optical zoom stays clear and focused the whole way to 30x although the pictures get a bit grainy in low light. The controls are easy to use, basically consistent with both of my previous digital cameras, so the learning curve is not too steep. There are lots of options to tailor your photography to difference circumstances, and the SR-Auto mode selects the options that best match conditions in most cases. As with all auto-focus cameras, there is sometimes a discrepancy between what you think you're taking the picture of, and what the camera thinks (and focuses on). But less frequently than I expected. SR-Auto seems to know what it's doing.

That's the good part. The most significant drawback I've noticed is that the battery doesn't hold the charge very long. I had to recharge after 82 shots. With the Canon I usually got over 1000 shots on a single charge, and the Olympus was usually good for at least 500 or so. If that continues, I will have to get a case of extra batteries, as I routinely shoot a thousand pictures or more per outing.

Also, I miss the 400mm lens, and the digiscope conversion capability that I had with the Canon, so I will probably continue to save up for the dream DSLR setup, but in the meantime, I expect to spend several years of good birding, taking perfectly adequate shots with this camera. And if I ever get the dream setup, I know I will have a reliable backup to take along when I go out.
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VINE VOICEon August 31, 2012
Color: Black|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )|Verified Purchase
I'm back to update this review just a little and note that over time I found myself more and more happy with this camera, enough so that I opted to get one (with the red body) for my brother's widow. She'd taken some pictures with mine (with the black body) when we were all on a vacation at the beach back earlier this fall and found herself very much enjoying the experience. In her words, she'd never had a nice camera herself, so getting to use this one (mine) was a treat for her. The photos she took were all quite nice and demonstrated that she had a decent eye for getting nice pictures.

There is NO difference between the red and black bodies other than the paint finish. The red looks very nice and does match the pictures you see here at Amazon. By getting the red one for my brother's widow it remains easy for either of us to pull out our camera's at family gatherings without worrying over mixing the two cameras up. On the other hand, having two cameras that are otherwise exactly the same makes it very easy for either of us to pick up the other camera and just start snapping photos.

I remain awed by the relative value of these cameras. With typical Amazon pricing these cameras deliver great value for the purchase price. They do "feel" a little flimsy, but again, I'd soften my original review a bit by saying these are good quality cameras that are easy to operate and light enough to carry around while being out and about where you think you might want to capture some pictures.

Still not quite perfect, but closer than I might have said earlier. :-)

Original review follows:

Yet again I'm left wishing that I could give a product a rating somewhere between "I really like it" and "I absolutely love it". Sadly that isn't possible, so I'm left rounding down a little as I try not to hand out perfect ratings unless, well, I'm dealing with perfection.

It is hard for me to put my finger on exactly why I couldn't rate this item perfect, perhaps it's the bulk and heftiness; perhaps it's the "feel" of this camera which somehow misses on feeling as sturdy and durable as the Sony DSC HX1 (Sony Cybershot DSC-HX1)) that started me down lovers lane with the whole range of high-zoom digital cameras. Even compared to the Nikon Coolpix P100 (Nikon Coolpix P100) that I later bought as I wondered if it was any better (for my uses) than the Sony, well, I'm still not sure... it's just this Fujifilm FinePix SL300 feels obviously different than either of those two cameras. Note, even in comparison to the Sony DSC HX30V (Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX30V) that I've grown to like more than I originally thought I would, this feels much more cheaply made even though I don't think it really is.

I would have to go a little further here though and note that the price tag on this Fujifilm FinePix SL300 is considerably lower and highly competitive compared to either of those previously mentioned cameras and that perhaps explains a bit of the difference in the feel of this camera versus those. I suppose it is also entirely possible that Fujifilm made this camera feel as it does because it was part of a very conscious design decision to remove some of the heft and weight that those other cameras have, knowing that on optics alone, they were already faced with a camera that could be hefty compared to what most people might typically carry around as their primary digital camera. Carrying around a good high-zoom camera can leave a user feeling a bit worn down depending on the length of time they have to carry the camera, not to mention any accessories (additional batteries, a camera bag/case, etc.) so eliminating some of the weight would be a good thing to aim for.

In a previous review of lower end point-and-shoot cameras I noted that given the continued improvements in the cameras that are built into today's smart phones the more traditional camera manufacturers needed to do more to set themselves apart and offer a highly competitive product and I would say that perhaps was a large consideration for Fujifilm with this camera.

There's an awful lot to like here. A list that I really think is a bit too long to even start on. Other reviewers and/or Amazon themselves may list those things in the product specifications or in their reviews, but I'll try to more succinct here (though I have co-workers and friends that would be amazed if I ever truly pulled that off ;-) ).

I do like the rubberized grip around the lens area. It offers a very comfortable and firm grip to the user. Go beyond that and I'd note that I like the zoom controls on the left side of the lens (when you are facing the camera at a target). It is nice to have those controls available to either hand and may help to leave lefties feeling some sense of inclusion in a world dominated by those that are right-handed.

The zoom capabilities are impressive. 30x optical is near the top end of the affordable range.

Add on affordability for that same 30x capability. The pricing of this item is incredibly competitive, especially when compared against the other cameras (or the current versions/products in those lines) that I listed.

I like the viewfinder and the option to NOT be forced to looking at the LCD screen for aiming at photo subjects.

Not necessarily an advanced high-zoom camera, but not bad at all for someone looking to get into that realm without breaking the bank. Really, when compared to other cameras feature for feature, a pretty darned competitive camera at a very competitive price. Certainly worth considering as a great beginners high-zoom camera.
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on November 27, 2012
I was very lucky to be able to buy this on a lightening deal on Thanksgiving day. My camera arrived Monday afternoon in perfect condition.

I wanted a camera with a really good, sharp optical zoom and a great macro too. I took photos yesterday and today both zoomed and in the macro mode. Learning the camera takes a little getting used to so be sure to read the manual.

The LCD shows an up close view of the item you were taking the photo of after you take the photo, if what you wanted in focus isn't just right, click to move the part you wanted in focus onto the center of the LCD screen and take another photo. Somehow, the cameras is able to sense from this action the area to focus on.

Haven't needed the flash, video or panorama yet so I cannot comment on these.

I added a 32GB flash card (be sure it is class 10) and bought two more batteries on Amazon. The camera includes a nice neck strap as well as a lens cover. The camera reminds me very much of my 35mm Pentax from 30 years ago. Seems between a true digital SLR and a point and shot digital.

I recommend this only to people who really love photography that cannot afford a higher end DSLR. Not a camera for those who only know how to point and shoot.

I can tell this is going to be my favorite of all my digital cameras! Can't wait to go to the zoo or nature area.
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on March 26, 2013
Unfortunately I had to return the 1st one. I found it had a lot of slop when fully zoomed in. It was not snug fitting between the zoom barrel and the outer barrel. When you shook the camera with the zoom extended it made a slight "clanking" noise. I called Fuji technical service and they told me this was not normal. It took excellent pictures both tele and normal and all other functions performed properly. Fuji told me the camera evidently had a defect. I called Amazon, explained the situation and they shipped me a new one overnight. This is why I buy most everything from Amazon. Ups just picked up the return and Fedex delivered the replacement. It was in pristine condition and had 50% less play than the original. Just finished putting it thru its paces and Im well satisfied. Thanks Amazon and Fuji.
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