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Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd Gordon Laing, October 2007

Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd Verdict

The Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd is certainly a powerful super-zoom digital camera. You get 8 Megapixel resolution, a massive 18x optical zoom lens delivering wide angle to extreme telephoto and built-in sensor-shift stabilisation to combat camera shake. There’s also decent manual control and good automatic options including Fujifilm’s sensible approach to adjusting the flash and sensitivity for natural-looking indoor portraits.

Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd
 









So far so good, but the S8000fd isn’t without its problems. Noise artefacts are visible throughout the entire sensitivity range when viewed up-close, the lens suffers from quite noticeable coloured fringing when zoomed-in, and unlike its 18x rivals, there’s no RAW mode.

Compare the feature-set and usability with close rivals and you’ll also find the S8000fd beaten in other respects. Panasonic’s Lumix FZ18 for instance lacks the coloured fringing when zoomed-in, has two zooming speeds and finer increments, faster startup, a more sensible approach to manual focusing and arguably better menus. So when it comes to the S8000fd, it’s not that it’s a bad camera, but its rivals are superior in many respects. So before wrapping-up, let’s see how it compares to the competition.


Compared to Olympus SP-560UZ

 
 
 
 

The Olympus SP-560UZ costs around the same as the S8000fd and shares its 8 Megapixel resolution, 27-486mm 18x optical zoom range and sensor-shift stabilisation. This is no coincidence either, as both cameras appear to be based on the same chassis and share much more besides.

For example they both share a great body design, although the S8000fd has a bigger grip, but it also means they suffer from the same coloured fringing issues when zoomed-in. In its favour though, the Olympus model adds RAW recording and a more usable manual focusing option which for many people will make it more desirable than the Fujifilm. We haven’t reviewed the SP-560UZ, but it’s virtually identical to its predecessor, so for an overview of the style and features, check our Olympus SP-550UZ review.


Compared to Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18

 
 
 
 

Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-FZ18 is likely to be the S8000fd’s arch rival as on the surface they share a similar specification, but look a little closer and the Panasonic has the edge in many respects. Both cameras share 8 Megapixel resolution and 18x optical zooms with stabilisation, although the FZ18’s range is a fractionally longer 28-504mm to the S8000fd’s 27-486mm; not that this makes much difference in real life though.

What does make a difference though is the FZ18’s faster startup time, twin zoom speeds and finer zoom increments. On top of this the FZ18 also features RAW recording, a more sensible approach to manual focusing, widescreen videos and arguably better menus. Its longest shutter speed is also 60 seconds to the Fujifilm’s four seconds and perhaps most importantly of all, the FZ18 does not suffer from the S8000fd's coloured fringing issues when zoomed-in. Ultimately some may prefer the look and feel of the Fujifilm S8000fd or perhaps its use of AA batteries, but most will find the Panasonic FZ18 a better buy for the same money. See our Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 review for more details.


Compared to Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8

If you’re on a tight budget but have your heart set on a super-zoom, you could do a lot worse than consider Panasonic’s earlier FZ8. It may ‘only’ have 7 megapixels and a 12x optical zoom range that’s missing 27 or 28mm wide angle facilities, but it’s still a great camera which costs around two thirds that of the other three mentioned here. See our Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 review for more details.




Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd final verdict

Viewed in isolation the Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd is a good super-zoom camera. The 18x optical zoom range is extremely flexible, the stabilisation really works and the image quality at lower sensitivities is more than acceptable. As such we can award it our Recommended rating without hesitation.

But compare it to its 18x rivals and you’re likely to find a more compelling camera elsewhere. Its closest rival, the Olympus SP-560UZ actually appears to be based on the same chassis, so shares the same basic shape, control layout, stabilisation system and lens specification. But the Olympus adds RAW recording and a more sensible approach to manual focusing for the same money.

Click here for the FinePix S8000fd video tour
 

Then there’s Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-FZ18 which shares the same resolution and virtually identical lens coverage, but adds quicker power-up, finer zoom increments, twin zoom speeds, widescreen movie recording, RAW files, longer exposures, and again a better approach to manual focusing. Perhaps most importantly of all though, it doesn’t suffer from the coloured fringing seen on both the Fujifilm and Olympus when zoomed-in. And crucially the FZ18 costs about the same as the S8000fd.

So while the FinePix S8000fd is a fine super-zoom camera, we’d say there’s better overall models available for the around same money. As mentioned earlier, we can still award the S8000fd our Recommended rating, but in this category the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 remains our best buy. So unless you prefer the look and feel of the Fujifilm or its AA-powered operation, we’d strongly advise a close comparison against the competition.



Good points

Massive 18x optical range with wide angle.
Effective built-in image stabilisation.
Good build quality and ergonomics.
Closest focusing distance of just 1cm.

Bad points
Coloured fringing when zoomed-in.
No RAW mode.
Quite leisurely startup and shutdown speed.
Rivals more compelling overall.




Scores

(relative to 2007 superzooms)

Build quality:
Image quality:
Handling:
Specification:
Value:

Overall:

17 / 20
14 / 20
15 / 20
16 / 20
16 / 20

78%

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All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2014 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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