FujiFilm FinePix S6000fd Hands On

You’re past that awkward point and shoot stage but you’re not yet ready to pull the trigger on a full DSLR. What’s a poor photo buff to do? What you need is a super-zoom camera, something like a DSLR and something like a point and shoot but with a powerful zoom lens and some high-end features. What you need is the FinePix S6000fd from FujiFilm.

The hardest part about talking about a super-zoom camera like the S6000fd is figuring out who it’s for. Its base specs are fairly impressive: 6.3-megapixels, 10x optical zoom, and automatic exposure, shake stabilization, and face detection. The lens offers an equivalent of 28 to 300mm on a standard camera and has a number of pre-sets and modes to grab photos in almost any situation.

Best of all? It’s only about $499.95 online and in stores, and should be considerably less this holiday season. So how did it shape up in our tests?

The first thing we have to remember is that this isn’t a DSLR. Pictures were sharp, but the automatic modes were much easier to use than the manual modes but the quality was adequate but not perfect in odd lighting conditions. With a flash, pictures come out crisp and clean and FujiFilm’s i-Flash system can asses important objects in a scene and light them properly without blurring or flash wash-out.

As we see in the comparison below, the quality is there, but not quite on par with a camera twice its price. That’s essentially what we’d expect. When I took this camera out, however, I got quite a few good pictures. Indoors, with a flash, the images look about as good as a standard point and shoot. But, as you can see in some of the detail below, the images are excellent in good light.

Image from Canon Rebel XT on automatic.

Image from S6000fd on automatic.

The S6000fd’s face detection feature is another interesting perk for amateur photographers. It automatically find up to 10 faces on a background and changes to focus to that depth, ensuring that your prom photos don’t focus on a bunch of corsages in the foreground and instead on your friends and their dates. Lots of cameras have this feature now, but the S6000fd has a dedicated chip to identifying one main face and 9 auxiliary faces. Quite a step up.

Ultimately, the S6000fd is a strong camera at a nice price. While it doesn’t beat a monster like the D40 or the Rebel, it’s a great bridge device for photo fans and a great second camera for those who tapped out their point-and-shoot’s potential.