Fuji Finepix S6500fd Review
The Fuji Finepix S6500fd is a super zoom digital camera. It has six megapixels and a 10.7x zoom lens. The lens is a wide angle lens. This makes it a good choice if you are consider taking landscape style shots or perhaps groups of people. The telephoto capabilities of the lens lend themselves towards sports and wildlife photography. Therefore the Finepix S6500fd could be described as a good all rounder.
The camera also offers manual exposure controls for the more serious photographer.
130.9 x 97.5 x 128mm
When I see a photo I look out for three main features. These are sharpness, colour and brightness. The Finepix S6500fd scores well in each of the three areas in most situations.
The outdoor scenic type shots are certainly bright and focusing is above average. The only times I thought focusing became softer than I would like to see is towards the edges of the photos when the lens was either fully extended or not being zoomed in at all. Although I would not go as far as to describe the photos as pin sharp they are of a more than acceptable quality when it comes to sharpness.
Colours have a natural feel to them. They are strong enough for my taste without being over powering. As well as in the outdoor shots this is supported by the dedicated test for colours. This also shows strong colours with good balance, without any single colour being overpowering.
One area where I thought the camera could have done better is in coping with the glare of the sun. It is true that in the middle of winter when the test photos were taken this can cause a problem. There is a clear loss of detail showing in the boats in the first and third test shots and also in the white beams under the roof of the building in picture number one.
Balancing out the sun glare problem is the fact that the Finepix S6500fd showed very little purple fringing. In fact this camera handles this problem better than any of its competitors I can remember. Purple fringing is where a thin purple line is added to the sides of light coloured objects where they are caught by light such as from the sun. I have had to look very hard to see any evidence of purple fringing at all in my test shots.
Looking at the two portrait shots the camera produces mixed results. Outside in daylight there is no problem and the photo is a good one without being anything out of the ordinary. Inside in poorer light I had a problem getting the camera to focus correctly. Even using the face detection system that gives the camera the "fd" part of its name I struggled to get a photo as sharp as I am used to seeing. Without the face detection feature the results were poor.
The other indoor test of some beer bottle produces a better result although focusing does slip away quite quickly as you move away from the center of the shot.
As with some other Fuji digital cameras I did notice a purple tinge creeping into the macro shot. Focusing is good, but the purple tinge around the outside of the watch leads me to reduce the camera's macro score by a point.
Again as is typical of Fuji cameras the Finepix S6500fd outperforms other brands when a higher ISO setting is being used. Lower levels of noise are visible at ISO 400 than with other makes. Even so if you push the ISO rating up much higher than this noise becomes an increasing problem and reduces overall picture quality.
Shutter Lag and Recycling Times
I was able to take photos in the following time frames.
Single photo without flash: 0.25 seconds
Five photos without flash: 8.08 seconds
Single photo with flash: 0.37 seconds
Five photos with flash: 9.02 seconds
These are all good times and it is encouraging to see that use of the flash does not add much to the shutter delay.
You can compare this camera to other models by taking a look at the Shutter Lag Comparison Table.
The 10.7x zoom lens has a focal length equivalent to 28 - 300 mm on a 35 mm camera. 2x digital zoom is also available.
For composing images you can choose between an electronic viewfinder and a 2.5" LCD screen. The screen is made up of around 115,000 pixels.
The pop up flash unit has a maximum range of 4.6m. This falls to 2m when the zoom is fully extended. Flash modes are: Auto, Red-eye Reduction, Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Slow Synchro and Red-eye Reduction + Slow Synchro.
For when you would like to appear in the picture there is a self timer. This can be set to a two or ten second delay. You can also add up to 30 seconds of commentary to a photo after it has been taken. To add something different you can try the black and white and chrome colour settings. There is also a 3:2 aspect ratio. When you use this setting a photo will fit perfectly on a 6 x 4" print and there is no need to trim the picture to fit on the paper.
The Finepix S6500fd comes with a number of predefined scene modes. When you use a scene mode the camera will use what it considers to be the most appropriate settings for the shot. The scene modes are Natural Light, Natural & Flash, Portrait, Landscape, Sport, Night, Fireworks, Sunset, Snow, Beach, Museum, Party, Flower, Close-up and Text.
Single and continuous auto focusing can be used. Manual focusing can also be called upon when required. For close up photography the camera can focus from 10cm away from the subject.
As well as a fully manual mode aperture and shutter priority settings are also available. Shutter speeds can be set in the range 30 seconds to 1 / 4000 seconds. The aperture range is f2.8 to f11. This has 13 steps.
Other advanced features are: ISO sensitivity (ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200), metering (Multi, Spot, Average) and white balance (Fine, Shade, Fluorescent light (Daylight), Fluorescent light (Warm White) Fluorescent light (Cool White), Incandescent light). Images can be stored in RAW format as well as Jpeg.
You have a choice when it comes to continuous shooting. There is a standard mode where you can fire off shots until the memory card is full. You can do this at a maximum speed of 0.7 frames per second. The second lets you take three shots at a maximum rate of 2.2 frames per second. Finally there is a setting that allows you to keep firing off shots, but only the final three shots will be recorded. These are also recorded at a top speed of 2.2 frames per second.
If you are planning to attach the camera to a computer, compatible printer or television you will pleased to know that all the cables and software required are included in the box.
Movies can be recorded at a top speed of 30 frames per second. The maximum resolution is 640 x 480 pixels. Duration is only limited by the capacity of the memory card. Zoom is available while a movie is being recorded and sound can be captured as well.
Ease of Use
This is probably one of the easier super zoom cameras. The menus are laid out in a way that is easy to understand, although I find them a bit cramped for room. I really like the fact that zoom is controlled by twisting the lens rather than through buttons on the back or a ring on the top of the camera.
At the time of writing the review the Fuji Finepix S6500fd is available for around £200. Other similar cameras include Sony DSC H5 (£240), Canon Powershot S3 IS (£250) and Kodak Easyshare Z612 (£165). As you can see the Finepix S6500fd is mid price.
Out of all the super zoom cameras this one feels the most like an SLR camera. There are two reasons I can think of for this. First is the size of the camera. Owing to the size of the lens unit this is the biggest super zoom around. It has dimensions of 130.9 x 97.5 x 128.0mm and weighs 600g. This makes it a heavyweight to carry around too. It is big enough to advise you to be careful when buying a camera bag. You need a fairly large one to house this camera.
The second reason why it feels more like a SLR is because of its build quality. It feels like a solid and well made camera.
Four AA batteries are required to power the camera. Fuji supplies four standard alkaline batteries with the Finepix S6500fd. It may be a good idea to consider picking up a set of rechargeable batteries to keep running costs down.
Memory Cards and Storage
There are only ten megabytes of storage built into the camera and no memory card is supplied as standard. I was only able to take six shots before the memory card was full. This is barely enough to test the camera out. Therefore you will need to buy a memory card before you can really give the camera a thorough work out. It is compatible with xD picture cards.
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Points I like:
Ease of use
Lack of purple fringing
Where it is not so hot:
Small internal memory
Portrait shot in lowlight
Glare from the sun causes a problem
The Fuji Finepix S6500fd is one of the few super zoom cameras I have reviewed that appears to be able to avoid the dreaded purple fringing. If you have a slightly higher budget you will get more features including image stabilisation, but this is certainly a camera worth considering.
Fuji Finepix S6500fd Front View
Fuji Finepix S6500fd Back View
Fuji Finepix S6500fd Top View
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