A Viewfinder Darkly

Photography tips and tutorials

Fuji Ultra Zoom Digital Camera

February 3 2008

by Phil Northeast

The new FinePix S8100fd from Fujifilm is an easy to use prosumer digital camera and is an affordable alternative to complex DSLR systems.

digital camera

Fuji Fine Pix front view

The new FinePix prosumer model sits between the consumer-oriented convenience of the pocket digital camera and the professional specs of DSLR cameras. As the name suggests the S8100fd is closer to a pro level camera in performance than the typical compact digital camera, and is still cheaper and more convenient than a full-blown DSLR camera.

“This is a work-horse camera for photographers who want the convenience of an SLR-like model, a powerful zoom, high-speed continuous shooting and the ease of use that is often relegated to more compact models,” said David Troy, senior product manager, Consumer Digital Cameras, Electronic Imaging Division, FUJIFILM U.S.A., Inc. ”

This is an ideal traveler’s camera due to its combination of convenience and capability. The FinePix is smaller and lighter than a DSLR yet the ultra zoom lens with a focal length range equivalent to 27-486mm on a35mm film camera. With this range, the one lens can replace a bag full of DSLR lenses.

rear view

Fuji Fine Pix s8100fd back view

The convenience of a sealed fixed zoom lens also does not provide an opportunity for dust to reach the sensor, a common problem when changing lenses on DSLRs. With such a large zoom range in a compact package, having affixed lens is not a disadvantage.


Another traveler’s advantage is the batteries powering the FinePix. Four commonly available AA alkaline cells are the standard batteries, although rechargeable NmHi cells provide a cheaper long-term alternative. The ready availability of batteries should make life easier for travelers.


The FinePix S8100fd can record video and sound increasing the options for travelers without having to carry two different cameras around.

Image quality

With a new 10-megapixel sensor, the S8100fd offers plenty of resolution for good image quality. There is a generous ISO range from the Fuji sensor, as travelers sometimes cannot hang around waiting for better light. These attributes make it a top performing sensor in a consumer level digital camera.

Body Styling

While the outward resemblance to a DSLR is more than marketing ploy to make the camera seem to be something it is not. The body shape and control layout make the camera body easy to hold and operate.


The Fujifilm camera has two viewing options for photographers. There is the large LCD screen for live viewing of the scene or photographers can choose to use the more conventional looking viewfinder. Unlike DSLRs, this is not an optical system; rather it is a small electronic screen. Both still show the image coming through the lens.

person taking a photograph

Easy to use digital camera

Finally, the S8100fd is set for release in March 2008 at a recommended retail price of $US399. This price really puts the camera’s capabilities into perspective and suggests the S8100fd is tremendous value for money.

originally published by suite101.com


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