Fujifilm FinePix S9500


      In summary

      Fujifilm’s new FinePix S9500 targets enthusiast buyers who want a high-resolution, feature-rich camera without the bulk, weight, hassles and expense of a high-resolution digital SLR. With its 9-megapixel imager and 10.7x optical zoom lens – and under-$1000 price point – this new model meets at least some of these requirements. . . [more]

      Full review


      Rating (out of 10):Build: 8.5Ease of use: 7.0Image quality: 7.5Value for money: 7.0

      Fujifilm’s new FinePix S9500 targets enthusiast buyers who want a high-resolution, feature-rich camera without the bulk, weight, hassles and expense of a digital SLR. With its 9-megapixel imager and 10.7x optical zoom lens – and under-$1000 price point – this new model meets at least some of these requirements.

      The S9500’s Super CCD HR image sensor is the fifth generation of Fujifilm-developed imagers, and the first to offer 9-megapixel resolution in a compact digital camera. The lens covers a focal length range equivalent to 28-300mm on a 35mm camera, making it ideal for general-purpose picture-taking. It’s also relatively fast.

      The camera’s body is marginally heavier than the S7000’s, with a more solid feel, and the grip is large and somewhat squarer. The lens is less integrated into the camera body and the LCD monitor is hinged and extendable but, otherwise, the two cameras are quite similar. The S9500 has a bright electronic viewfinder which, interestingly, has a higher resolution than the LCD monitor and is dioptre-adjustable. Viewing quality is reasonably good and the ‘finder covers the same field of view as the sensor.

      Much of the functionality of a DSLR is provided, including dual card slots for xD-Picture Cards and CompactFlash/Microdrive media, and P, A, S, M exposure modes. Controls are logically located and most are reasonably easy to use, considering the complexity of the camera. However, some key settings can only be reached with multiple toggling. Fujifilm camera users will be familiar with the ‘F’ Photo Mode button, which provides quick access to the Quality mode (image size with pre-set compression), ISO and colour settings (black and white, chrome and sepia). The Menu button accesses just about everything else, including the white balance; contrast, sharpness and saturation adjustments; bracketing; multiple exposures; self-timer; and flash output adjustments. Most of these settings can only be accessed in the P, A, S, M exposure modes.

      The pop-up flash rises well above the lens axis, and a hot shoe is provided for accessory flash units. Unlike some hot-shoe-equipped cameras, the S9500 can be used with external flash units from most other manufacturers – although only with the P, A, S, M exposure modes. A synchronising terminal is provided on the lower front panel.

      Two resolution settings are provided for movie clips: VGA and QVGA, with frame rates fixed at 30fps. You can use the zoom while recording video and recording times depend on the available memory. A microphone on the upper left side panel records audio with video clips and also allows voice memos of up to 30 seconds to be added to still photos – but not video clips. Sound bites are captured as WAV files, with a size of approximately 480KB.

      Four AA-size batteries power all camera functions and the S9500 is supplied with alkalines; not rechargeables. Our tests depleted the supplied batteries after roughly 60 shots and a set of rechargeables within 40 shots. Buyers should consider at least two sets of rechargeables when purchasing the camera. No memory card is supplied and at least 250MB is required to use the S9500 effectively.

      The FinePix S9500 comes with Fujifilm’s Real Photo Technology, which integrates the sensor, lens and image processing to improve picture quality and camera responsiveness. However, the test camera produced variable results for both parameters. Imatest showed image resolution to be generally quite low and chromatic aberration was severe at both ends of the zoom range, although negligible between 100 and 180mm with an aperture of f5.6 or f8. Image noise was obvious at ISO settings of 200 and 400, particularly with long exposures, and noise-reduction artefacts were visible at higher sensitivities. However, overall colour accuracy was very good, saturation was not elevated excessively, and the camera’s white balance control handled most types of lighting competently.

      Capture lag times varied between 1.3 and 0.4 seconds, depending on how hard the camera had to work to find focus. On location, this led to numerous missed shots. Pre-focusing reduced the lag to an average of 0.1 seconds, which is excellent. The burst mode recorded shots at 0.6 second intervals up to the memory capacity.

      In summary: Fujifilm’s FinePix S9500 goes some way towards providing the same features and functionality as an entry-level digital SLR, but without delivering SLR image quality. [26]






      Image sensor: 1/1.6-inch type (~8.6 x 6.4 mm) Super CCD HR with 9.24 million photosites (9.0 megapixels effective)
      Lens: Fujinon 6.2-66.7mm f2.8-4.9 zoom (28-300mm in 35mm format)
      Zoom ratio: 10.7x optical, 2x digital.
      Dimensions (wxhxd): 128 x 93 x 129mm
      Weight: 645g (without batteries and card)
      Image formats: Stills – CCD-RAW (RAF, uncompressed), JPEG (Exif 2.2); movies – AVI/WAV (VGA/QVGA at 30fps with sound)
      Shutter speed range: 30-1/4000 second plus bulb
      Focus system/range: TTL contrast-based AF; range 50cm to infinity; macro 10-300cm; super macro 1-100cm.
      Exposure metering/control: TTL 265-zone metering with multi, spot and average modes; Auto, P, A, S, M plus Anti-Blur, Natural Light, Portrait, Landscape and Night modes
      White balance: Auto, fine, shade, fluorescent (x3), Incandescent, custom (x2).
      Flash modes/range (ISO auto): Auto, red-eye reduction
      ISO range: Auto, ISO 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600.
      Sequence shooting: Top/end four frames at 1.5 fps; long period continuous up to 40 frames at 1.1 fps.
      Storage Media: CompactFlash/Microdrive and xD-Picture Card slots; 16 MB xD-Picture Card supplied holds 3 high-resolution images or up to 122 VGA shots
      Viewfinder: 0.44-inch EVF with 235,000 pixels
      LCD monitor: 1.8-inch low-temperature polysilicon TFT LCD with 118,000 pixels
      Power supply: 4x AA alkaline or NiMH batteries






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