Fujifilm FinePix S1

The Fujifilm FinePix S1 is a super-zoom camera with a 50x optical range, built-in Wifi and a weather-resistant body. Announced in January 2014 it doesn’t replace an existing model, but is very close to the SL1000 in specification.

The FinePix S1 has a DSLR-styled body with a 50x zoom equivalent to 24-1200mm. Behind this lies a 16 Megapixel backlit 1/2.3in CMOS sensor with 1080p video, a maximum sensitivity of 12800 ISO and continuous shooting up to 10fps. Composition is with either a fully articulated 3in / 920k dot screen or a 920k dot electronic viewfinder. So far these specifications essentially match the earlier SL1000, but the new S1 adds Wifi (for wireless remote control and image sharing), a slightly quicker focal ratio of f2.8-5.6 vs f2.9-6.5, and most importantly the weather-proof body.

Weather-proofing is Fujifilm’s headline message for the S1, describing it as the World’s first weather-resistant bridge camera, although Sony got there first with the Cyber-shot RX10. That said, the RX10 is a much higher-end camera with a brighter but shorter zoom range, bigger sensor and comfortably more expensive price tag. Instead the FinePix S1 goes up against more affordable models like Canon’s PowerShot SX50 HS and Panasonic’s Lumix FZ70 / FZ72, delivering similar zoom ranges but with the benefit of wireless connectivity and weather-proofing for around 25% more. I hope to compare the FinePix S1 against its rivals as soon as it’s available, and for now will leave you with the price (399 GBP), availability (later this month) and Fujifilm’s official press release, below.

Fujifilm FinePix S1 review

Fujifilm launches the world’s first weather-resistant bridge camera, the FinePix S1

FUJIFILM is delighted to announce the launch of the world’s first weather-resistant bridge camera in the shape of the new FinePix S1. Brimming with new technologies to improve picture taking and advance creativity, the S1 offers everything you could want from a bridge camera, including a powerful 50x image-stabilised optical zoom lens, wireless communication, Full HD movie function – all wrapped in a robust dust and water-resistant body.

Keep on shooting when others quit

When the heavens open, most compacts and bridge cameras will find themselves quickly stowed in bags and pockets for protection, but the S1 is different. Thanks to its weather-resistant body .It can be used in wet weather or dusty conditions without the usual worries, and keep shooting while other photographers miss those all-important shots. The lens-body integrated design and sealing on approximately 70 areas are designed to allow field photography without typical worries about the weather, season or general shooting environment.

High quality, versatile lens design

The S1 features a newly developed Fujinon 50x optical zoom lens (24-1200mm equivalent) with a bright F2.8-F5.6 aperture range and 3.0-stop lens-shift image stabilisation. The wide zoom range and additional Super Macro mode (which allows users to focus on subjects as close as 1cm) offers a huge array of shooting styles from wide angle scenic shots to tightly cropped telephoto framing.

By effectively arranging the 2 aspherical and 4 ED lenses in a structure of 13 elements in 11 groups, high image quality is successfully achieved with reduced aberration, while superb sharpness is achieved from the centre to the edges throughout the zoom range. Fujinon’s unique multi-layer coating technology, Super EBC, is applied to reduce ghosting and flare, and crisp, clear photos can be shot even under severe shooting conditions such as backlighting.

Taking the possibilities even further is Fujifilm’s 100x Intelligent Digital Zoom, which due to its newly developed signal processing, offers image quality comparable to that achieved with the optical zoom. And to make working at such high magnifications even easier, there’s a new zoom-out button which lets users check the framing by quickly widening the field of view when the subject is lost.

Smoother pictures and faster shooting

By combining a newly developed noise reduction system with its 1/2.3-inch 16.4 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor, the S1 can shoot bright, clear photos in dark scenes at sensitivities of up to ISO 12,800. The parallel processing of the S1’s new multi-CPU processor has also improved responsiveness with a maximum AF speed of 0.14secstart-up time of approximately 0.68sec, shooting interval of approximately 0.65sec and maximum continuous shooting speed of approximately 10.0fps. This, aided by the S1’s use of SD cards that comply with the high-speed interface standards UHS-1, meaning it’s possible to shoot images at a fast speed and not miss any shooting opportunities.

Improved movie recording

The S1 offers high-precision, Full HD (1920 x 1080, 60p) movie recording and its newly developed 5-Axis Image Stabilisation and 3D Noise Reduction have greatly improved performance when shooting video.

The optical and electronic 5-Axis Image Stabilisation reduces blurring from vertical, horizontal and rotational movement during video capture, which often occurs when walking, and further smoothness is applied by a side lever which can set the zoom speed in two levels. This side lever allows users to smoothly and freely operate the zoom with their left hand, while operating the shutter button with their right, and in its high-speed mode, the camera can quickly zoom in the subject.

The 3D Noise Reduction function uses multiple frames to improve image quality at high sensitivity settings and makes exposing your videos easier, the FinePix S1 also has a Movie Scene Recognition function, which automatically sets the correct exposure for the conditions so users can concentrate on shooting. Eight of the Advanced Art Filter modes can be applied to movies for additional creativity, and filming is quicker than ever before thanks to a dedicated Movie button. To top it off, there’s an integrated Slow Motion movie mode with high-speed shooting of up to 480 frames-per-second.

To speed up editing, the S1 also offers selected movie processing functions, such as Movie Trimming which trims parts of the movie and Movie Join which merges movies shot separately and saves them as one movie file to allow easier in-camera editing. The quality of sound recording when shooting movies has been improved, too, with wind filter and quiet lens design (during zoom and AF) integrated.

Shoot and share the wireless way

The Fujifilm S1 also offers remote shooting via a smartphone or tablet, and photos and movies can easily sent to smartphones and computers using the same Wi-Fi connectivity.

Just download and install the newly-developed Fujifilm Camera Remote app, then press the dedicated Wi-Fi button on the camera and users can make the most of wireless LAN communication with the camera, not only shooting remotely from a device, but also zooming in or out to fine-tune compositions and shooting movies, too.

Images are just as easily sent to smartphones and tablets where they can be viewed in all their glory and the S1’s Wi-Fi communication also enables easy backup of pictures and video to a computer.

Great features mean great pictures

The Fujifilm S1 is no slouch when it comes to features with everything required by today’s demanding photographers onboard and easy to use. Its electronic viewfinder has a 920k-dot resolution for better reproduction of the scene in strong sunlight and its large, clear vari-angle LCD means images can be composed more easily at low angles, such as when shooting flowers or high up when filming subjects over a crowd of people.

To ensure sharp images when focusing manually, there’s also a Focus Peak Highlight function, which emphasises the outline of the subject and any other areas with high contrast when they’re brought into focus, and the S1 also shoots in RAW mode for more latitude in the development of pictures.

Thanks to the C (custom) setting alongside the usual P, A, S, M functions on the Mode dial, the user can save regular settings and switch to them quickly, while there’s also a Function button which registers shortcuts to settings such as white balance or ISO sensitivity.

To aid creativity, multiple aspect ratios are also available, including 1:1, 3:2, 4:3 and 16:9, and the S1’s Advanced filters allow users to indulge their artistic expression in-camera; there are 10 different artistic effects to choose from, with Pop Color, Toy Camera, Miniature, Partial Color, High Key, Soft Focus, Cross Screen, Dynamic Tone, Fish Eye, Low-Key on offer.

The S1 allows high-speed, multi-frame processing too, for recording two or more shots at different exposures and then combining them to achieve High Dynamic Range (HDR) results. Alongside this, its Motion Panorama 360 mode lets users create a 360 degree panoramic shot just by pressing the shutter button and turning around in a circle. This is simple to use and the effect is superb, particularly for landscape shots.

Completing the picture is the S1’s Interval Shooting function which automatically fires the shutter at regular intervals defined by the user. Shots can be taken up to 10 minutes apart for a maximum shooting time of 6 hours.

Dedicated accessories

The S1’s lens hood (LH-S1) and Adapter Ring (AR-S1) further support picture taking by enabling the attachment of 72mm filters. Its battery charger (BC-85A) means a spare battery can be charged at the same time as using the camera, and the S1 can also be charged from a computer via a USB cable or from the outlet by using the accessory AC power adapter, meaning charging is easy at almost any time. Low power consumption and high battery capacity have enabled shooting up to approximately 350 photos.

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