Friday, October 5, 2007

Fujifilm FinePix S9000 / S9500 Review

Announced at the end of July 2005, the FinePix S9000 (S9500 in Europe and Asia) is the latest in a long line of Fujifilm 'prosumer' camera designed to bridge the gap between fixed lens compacts and interchangeable lens SLRs, and effectively the replacement for the popular S7000. With each generation that gap has been closed a little bit more, and with the arrival of the S9000 Fujifilm's marketeers have taken the brave step of openly positioning it as a true alternative to a digital SLR... even going as far as to say in many ways it's actually better... And certainly, on paper, they've got a point; it's designed to look and feel like an entry-level SLR, it has a broadly comparable feature set, and it has a big zoom covering a useful 28-300mm focal length range. It's also got an SLR-like sensitivity range (80-1600), fast startup and a screw thread for filters and add-on lenses, hot-shoe and pc-synch flash compatibility, and movie mode and live preview - something many compact users upgrading to an entry-level DLSR sorely miss. Let's find out if the S9000 really is an SLR-slayer, or merely a sheep in wolf's clothing..
Here's a quick run through of the main selling points to get us started:

  • New Fujifilm Super CCD sensor with 9.0 million effective pixels
  • New 28-300mm (10.7x) Fujinon zoom lens with manual twist-barrel zoom control
  • Class-leading sensitivity setting of ISO 1600 for photography in low light conditions
  • 1.8” tilting LCD screen for easy high and low angle shooting
  • 0.01 second shutter lag and 0.8 second start-up
  • Real-time histogram
  • Highlight Warning feature for displaying highlight areas in playback
  • VGA movie capture of 30 frames per second with zoom capability and sound
  • Closed unit design to eliminate dust accumulation on the CCD
  • Hot shoe and PC sync terminal
  • RAW format shooting
  • Dual storage options (CompactFlash and xD-Picture Card)

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