The Fuji Finepix S5600 is a five megapixel digital camera with 10 times optical zoom lens. The long telephoto lens is likely to come in handy if you are interested in sports and wildlife photography. As well as the long zoom lens the Finepix S5600 has a number of advanced features and controls. Therefore this camera is likely to appeal to someone who sees photography as a hobby rather than someone who is looking for a simple point and shoot digital camera.
113.5 x 85 x 112mm
On the whole the Finepix S5600 produced a very acceptable set of test photos. There were no areas where I felt the camera was clearly weak. In a number of the tests the camera scored very highly.
Starting with the outdoor scenic shots the camera managed to produce photos that were a very fair reproduction of each scene on the day. Areas of brightness and contrasting darker areas were handled well and the level detail in each picture was good. As with all cameras of this type I have tested an element of purple fringing occurs in the shot when the zoom is close or at full extension. This is most noticeable around the edges of white objects. Skies are a pleasant shade of blue and green vegetation also has plenty of depth to its colour.
Moving indoors this is one area where I really cannot fault the Finepix S5600. The indoor portrait is the most impressive picture out of all the tests. It is very sharp considering the conditions and there is not even a hint of red eye in the picture. This is no doubt helped by the fact that the flash unit pops up well away from the lens.
The indoor shot of beer bottles is taken in more or less complete darkness. Again the camera manages to produce a sharply focused shot. This picture is also lit very well. This suggests that the camera should be able to cope with most indoor situations and is likely to be able to produce decent photos even when the light gets low.
I like the outdoor portrait too. This was taken on a dull day and I have used the flash to give the picture a lift. The camera handles this well and manages to avoid washing out the skin tones.
The colour test also produces a good result. The colours are not quite as vivid as those produced by some of the other cameras I have tested recently though.
The macro shot highlights the fact this camera is quite versatile. It produces a clean, sharp shot that brings out the detail.
If I was being picky I would say that the images produced by the Finepix S5600 are not quite as sharp as those produced by some of the other extended zoom models I have tested. I would also say that colours produced by other cameras have a little more life as well. This is compensated for to some degree by the outstanding indoor shots I managed to take.
Shutter Lag and Recycling Times
I managed to take a single shot in 0.35 seconds. This is an average time, although I would liked to have seen a faster time. It took 5.25 seconds to take five consecutive shots. This works out at a rate of one photo every 1.05 seconds. This is a fast time.
You can compare this camera to other models by taking a look at the Shutter Lag Comparison Table.
The ten times optical zoom lens has a focal length equivalent to 38-380mm in 35mm format. There is a 5.7x digital zoom feature. For close up photography the camera can focus from 10cms away from the subject.
For composing images and accessing the menu system there is a 1.8 inch LCD screen. This is made up of around 115,000 pixels. The screen has a brightness control to help you see the screen in lowlight. There is also an electronic viewfinder.
For lowlight photography the built in flash unit has a range of 4m. The flash unit pops up and this helps to reduce problems such as red eye. The flash modes available are Auto, Red-eye Reduction, Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Slow Synchro., Red-eye Reduction + Slow Synchro.
There are a small number of preset scene modes available. These help you to take the best possible shot in a variety of different photographic situations. The scenes available are: Portrait, Night Scene, Landscape, Natural Light and Anti-Blur.
To focus the camera you can choose either manual or auto focus. If you use auto focus you can control the focusing by selecting centre, multi point or area focusing. There is an Auto Focus (AF) Illuminator to help the camera focus in poor light. The illuminator is effective up to 2.4 m.
For when you would like to appear in the photo yourself there is a self timer. This can be set to a delay of two or ten seconds. Once a photo has been taken you can add up to thirty seconds of voice memo to it to help jog your memory at a later date.
To add something different to your photos you can add black and white or chrome colour effects. You can also adjust the sharpness of the photos you take.
You can shoot TV quality movies with the Finepix S5600. You can choose between resolutions of 640 x 480 and 320 x 240. There is a top speed of 30 frames per second. Each movie is only limited in duration by the capacity of the memory card. Zoom is disabled in movie mode.
Fully manual exposure is available along with shutter and aperture priority modes. Shutter speeds can be varied between 15 seconds and 1/2000 seconds while the aperture has a range of F3.2 to F8.
Other more advanced features include sensitivity settings of ISO 64, 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1600, exposure compensation (-2 EV to +2 EV in 1/3 EV-step increments), white balance (Automatic scene recognition/Preset (Fine, Shade, Fluorescent (Daylight), Fluorescent (Warm White), Fluorescent (Cool White), Incandescent)/Custom), metering (multi, spot, average), Auto Bracketing and continuous shooting. Images can be saved in Raw as well as Jpeg.
Fuji supplies all the necessary cables and software to connect the Finepix S5600 to a computer, PictBridge compatible printer and a television set.
To increase the flexibility of the camera you can purchase a wide angle conversion lens. This lens has the product code WL-FX9B. You will also need a lens adapter as well.
Ease of Use
Without quite the same wide array of features that other models like the Canon Powershot S2 IS has it is perhaps not surprising that the Finepix S5600 is relatively easy to use. I was able to work out what all the controls on the back and top of the camera do without referring to the manual at all. The menu system is pretty straightforward too. I do feel though that the latest version of the Fuji menu system looks a little crammed in.
You can pick up a Fuji Finepix S5600 for around £215. This compares to around £255 for a Panasonic DMC FZ5, £270 for a Sony DSC H1 and £315 for a Canon Powershot S2 IS.
When you compare the price of this camera against other five megapixel extended zoom models I have to say I think it offers great value for money. It certainly provides a relatively cheap entry level to this type of digital camera.
The lens unit on this camera is decidedly bigger than any other camera of this type. You will need to take this into account if you need to buy a camera bag for the camera. Otherwise I like this camera. It feels good it the hand and I find the matt black finish attractive. It tends to give it the feel of a higher quality model. I get the impression it is quite a sturdy camera. It has dimensions of 113.5 x 85 x 112mm and weighs in at 370g.
Batteries and Memory Cards
Power is supplied to the camera by four AA batteries. Running through four AA batteries at a time can soon add to the running costs. To keep the costs down it is worth using rechargeable batteries with the camera. Fuji estimates you should be able to take around 250 photos before needing to replace a set of standard alkaline batteries.
Fuji supplies a 16mb xD Picture card with the Finepix S5600. xD Picture cards are the only type of memory cards compatible with this camera. I was able to take 12 photos before the card was full. This was using the default settings. Therefore you will almost certainly need to buy a spare card to go with your camera. Click here to save money on xD cards..
Points I like:
Build and design
Value for money
Ease of use
Where it is not so hot:
Nothing really stands out
I only have positive points to make about the Fuji Finepix S5600. It is considerably cheaper than many other similar digital cameras yet it is not far behind in terms of quality. I was especially impressed by the indoor shots I managed to take and I also found the camera pleasingly easy to use. Recommended.
Fuji Finepix S5600 Front View
Fuji Finepix S5600 Back View
Fuji Finepix S5600 Top View
Top Rated Cameras in this Category
Panasonic DMC FZ48 Rating 87/100
The Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ48 is very hard to beat. It is up against some stiff competition, but the combination of features, image quality and pricing makes it the outstanding model in its category. When it comes to picture quality it has few weaknesses and its length of lens means it can cope with more or less any photo opportunity.
Read Review: Panasonic DMC FZ48 Review
Fuji Finepix HS30EXR Rating 86/100
The Fuji Finepix HS30EXR does offer a number of differences to rival Super Zoom or Bridge digital cameras. The main difference is the twisting lens barrel, but there are other handling aspects that make it that bit closer to a Digital SLR experience. In terms of features Fuji have packed in just about everything they can think of. Picture quality compares well against rival cameras and shutter response times are also impressive. This makes this camera a very attractive proposition if you are looking for a fully featured camera with a great deal of zoom power.
Read Review: Fuji Finepix HS30EXR Review
Nikon Coolpix L810 Rating 79/100
The Nikon Coolpix L810 offers something different as it gives you the power of an extra long lens, but with the simplicity of a point and shoot digital camera. This helps to make it somewhat cheaper than the more fully featured models with similar zoom power. Picture quality does not match up to the more expensive models in this category, but it is only if you are planning to make extra large prints that you are likely to see much difference between photos taken with this camera and those that give you that bit of extra quality. This camera is a good choice if you are looking for simple operation and a powerful lens.
Read Review: Nikon Coolpix L810 Review