Most helpful positive review
108 of 116 people found the following review helpful
Great camera for my budget
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.