The Fuji Finepix S3500 is a 4 megapixel digital camera with a 6x optical zoom lens. It is priced to give people the opportunity to buy a digital camera with an extended optical zoom lens without breaking the bank.
It is a straightforward camera to operate and is not loaded down with features you are unlikely to use. Therefore I would say that the Finepix S3500 is likely to appeal to anyone who is looking for a standard digital camera that will handle all the usual holiday photos, social gatherings and shots for the family album, but with the ability to get in that bit closer than the average camera.
99.7 x 77.3 x 69.3mm
Overall the outdoor shots that the Finepix 3500 were good without being anything out of the ordinary. One weakness that I found was that the camera struggled when there was sharp contrast in the shot. An example of this can be found in the Outdoor 1 and 2 shots. The area to look out for is in the trees and bushes. They tend to come out darker than I would like to see and this leads to a loss of detail especially in a final print.
Digital cameras find indoor shots more difficult. The Finepix S3500 sits somewhere in the middle rank when it comes to indoor shots. You should be able to produce acceptable indoor shots with this camera.
The colour reproduction was passed. It reproduces red, yellows and blues well. One colour where I though it could do better was on greens.
The Finepix S3500 scored above average marks for macro or close up photography. Digital cameras can add a tint to the image when working close up. This camera produced a clear image with true colours.
The camera has a 1.5" LCD screen for composing and reviewing images as well as accessing the menus. The LCD screen has a brightness control plus a feature that brightens the screen in lowlight. This does make a considerable difference in twilight, but when the light is very low it has little effect.
The Finepix S3500 has a pop up flash unit that has a range of 3.5m. The flash modes available are automatic where the camera decides if flash is required, always on, always off, red eye reduction, slow synchro and slow synchro with red eye reduction. You can also adjust the brightness of the flash. This is useful for when you are using fill in flash. This is where you are looking for the camera to fill in shadows rather than give a bright blast of light.
Taking a step up from simply placing the Finepix S3500 in automatic mode you can use scene modes. There are four available and their role is to help you to take the best possible picture in challenging lighting and composition situations. The four are portrait, landscape, sports and night shots.
For close up work there is a macro mode that lets you get in as close as 10cms from the subject.
When you would like to appear in the picture yourself there is a self timer with a ten second delay.
A further step up offers a semi manual mode for wont of a better description. By setting the camera in this mode you can use features such as exposure compensation, white balance and aperture priority. You can also adjust the sharpness of each image.
Movies can be shot by the Finepix S3500, but they are limited. There are two resolutions you can choose from 320x240 and 160x120. In either resolution footage is captured at a rate of 10 frames per second.
Fuji supply all the necessary cables and software to connect the Finepix S3500 to a computer and a television set.
To further enhance the camera you can buy separately a wide angle and a telephoto lens adapter.
Ease of Use
Aside from its extended zoom lens I would say that the Finepix S3500 also scores very highly for ease of use. I have always like the colour coded Fuji menu systems and I find them less intimidating than any other brand. I will admit that this camera offers less features than some of its competitors, but this upside of this is that it gives you a camera that is a lot easier to get started with.
You can pick up the Fuji Finepix S3500 for around £190.
The Fuji Finepix S3500 looks more like a traditional SLR camera than a compact digital camera. I like the design of the camera. It has a good solid feel in the hand and the good sized grip on the front helps to steady the camera and produce sharp images rather than shaky blurred photos.
It weighs in at 285g and has dimensions of 99.7(W) x 77.3(H) x 69.3(D) mm. So not exactly a small, slim digital camera. I would advise picking up a case when you buy this model.
Batteries and Memory Cards
Four AA style batteries are used to power the camera. As with all digital cameras that run on AAs it is worth buying a set or two of rechargeable batteries to keep the running costs down.
Images are stored by the Finepix S3500 on xD Picture cards. Fuji supply a 16mb card in the box, but ideally you should buy a high capacity card with the camera. I would suggest an absolute minimum of 64mb, but preferably either a 128mb or 256mb card.
Points I like:
Ease of use
Extended zoom camera at an affordable price
Very good grip on the front of the camera to hold it steady
Good overall build quality
Where it is not so hot:
Outdoor shots with high contrast lose some of the fine detail
Movie mode is limited
Overall the Fuji Finepix S3500 offers you a fairly cheap route to digital camera with an extended zoom. I like the design of the camera and compared to some similar models it wins hands down for ease of use. Outdoor shots with high contrast in the pictures (both light and dark elements) are a cause for concern though and it stops the Finepix S3500 from scoring higher marks.
Fuji Finepix S3500 Front View
Fuji Finepix S3500 Top View
Fuji Finepix S3500 Back View
Fuji Finepix S3500 Side View
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