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DCRP Review: Fuji FinePix S700

by Jeff Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor


Originally posted: June 18, 2007
Last Updated: April 6, 2008

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The FinePix S700 ($249) is Fuji's new entry-level ultra zoom camera. It
replaces the FinePix S5200, and sits below the S6000fd, which was introduced
last summer. The S700 lacks the SuperCCD sensor, face detection, and SLR-
styling of the S6000fd, but it still has a plethora of features, including a 7
Megapixel CCD, 10X zoom lens, full manual controls, VGA movie mode, and
more. It's also one of the first Fuji cameras to have a memory card slot that
accepts the xD and SD formats.

The entry-level ultra zoom field is pretty crowded these days. How does the
FinePix S700 compare? Find out now in our review!

The S700 is known as the FinePix S5700 in some countries.

What's in the Box?

The FinePix S700 has an average bundle. Inside the box, you'll find:

• The 7.1 effective Megapixel FinePix S700 digital camera


• Four alkaline AA batteries
• Lens cap w/retaining strap
• Neck strap
• USB cable
• A/V cable
• CD-ROM featuring FinePix CX software
• 178 page camera manual (printed)

Like so many cameras these days, Fuji built memory into the S700 instead of
bundling a memory card. The S700 has 27MB of built-in memory, which
holds just seven photos at the highest quality setting. That means that you'll
want to buy a memory card right away. As I said in the introduction, the S700
supports both SD and xD memory cards, which is a big win for the consumer.
As far as I can tell, the new high capacity SDHC cards are not supported. If
you are going to buy an xD card, make sure it's a "Type H" high speed model
-- it makes a big difference. I recommend picking up a high speed 1GB card to
use with the FinePix S700.

The FinePix S700 uses four AA batteries for power. Fuji includes alkaline
batteries in the box, which will quickly end up in your trash can. Thus, you
should be a set or two of NiMH rechargeable batteries (2500 mAh or higher),
plus a fast charger. Once you've done that, you'll get these battery life numbers
out of the camera:
Battery life,
LCD on
Camera Battery used
(CIPA
standard)
4 x 2500 mAh
Canon PowerShot S3 IS * 550 shots
NiMH
4 x 2500 mAh
Fuji FinePix S700 500 shots
NiMH
4 x 2500 mAh
Fuji FinePix S6000fd 400 shots
NiMH
4 x 2500 mAh
GE X1 * 600 shots
NiMH
2 x 2100 mAh
Kodak EasyShare Z710 225 shots
NiMH
Kodak EasyShare Z712 IS
275 shots KLIC-8000
*
Nikon Coolpix S10 * 300 shots EN-EL5
Olympus SP-510 Ultra 4 x 2300 mAh
670 shots
Zoom NiMH
Panasonic Lumix DMC-
380 shots CGR-S006
FZ8 *
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H7
300 shots NP-BG1
*
* Has optical image stabilization

Battery life numbers are provided by the manufacturer

When equipped with NiMH batteries, the FinePix S700 delivers battery life
that is well above average. And it uses AA batteries, which is a huge plus in
my book. They're cheaper than proprietary lithium-ion batteries, and you can
use off-the-shelf alkalines when the rechargeable ones die.
Fuji includes a lens cap and retaining strap to protect the S700's lens. No lens
hood is available for the camera.

Unlike most ultra zooms, the S700 is hardly expandable at all. The only
official accessory is the AC-5VX AC adapter (priced from $37), which powers
the camera without draining your batteries. The lens is threaded, though, so
you could add third party 46 mm filters if you wanted to.
FinePixViewer 3.4 for Mac

Fuji includes their FinePixViewer software with the S700, which you can use
to transfer photos from the camera to your computer. The Mac version is very
basic, featuring things like slideshows, image rotating, resizing, and e-mailing.
And that's about it. Yeah, you should use iPhoto instead.
FInePixViewer 5.3 for Windows

As is often the case, Windows users get a better version of FinePixViewer.


This one does everything the Mac version does, adding image editing and
redeye reduction tools.

Fuji also includes ImageMixer VCD2 LE with the camera, which lets you
create Video CDs (for viewing on your DVD player) and CD albums (for your
computer) of your photos. If you shell out $50 for the unlimited version you
can also burn to DVD discs.

Fuji includes a nice thick manual with the FinePix S700. It won't win any
awards for being user friendly, but you will get any question you may have
about the camera. The manual for FinePixViewer is built into the software.

Look and Feel

The FinePix S700 is a midsize ultra zoom camera made entirely of plastic.
That doesn't mean that it feels cheap, though -- Fuji used some high quality
materials here. Ergonomically speaking, the S700 is very well designed, with
maybe the exception of the awkwardly placed power button. The important
controls ar easy to reach, and the substantial right hand grip ensures that the
camera is stable.
Alright, now let's see how the camera compares to other ultra zooms in terms
of size and weight:

Dimensions (W x H
Volume Mass
Camera x D, excluding
(bulk) (empty)
protrusions)
Canon PowerShot S3 IS 4.6 x 3.1 x 3.0 in. 42.8 cu in. 410 g
Fuji FinePix S6000fd 5.2 x 3.8 x 5.0 in. 98.8 cu in. 600 g
Fuji FinePix S700 4.2 x 3.0 x 3.2 in. 40.3 cu in. 306 g
Kodak EasyShare Z710 3.8 x 3.1 x 2.9 in. 34.2 cu in. 285 g
Kodak Easyshare Z712 IS 4.1 x 2.9 x 2.7 in. 32.1 cu in. 300 g
Nikon Coolpix S10 4.4 x 2.9 x 1.6 in. 20.4 cu in. 220 g
Olympus SP-510 Ultra
4.2 x 2.9 x 2.8 in. 34.1 cu in. 325 g
Zoom
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 4.4 x 2.8 x 3.1 in. 38.2 cu in. 310 g
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H7 4.3 x 3.3 x 3.4 in. 48.2 cu in. 375 g

As you can see, the S700 is one of the larger cameras in the entry-level ultra
zoom class. It's not nearly as large as its big brother, the FinePix S6000fd,
which looks more like a digital SLR than a fixed-lens camera.

Ready to tour the S700? Let's start with the front of the camera.
The FinePix S700 has a new (to Fuji cameras, at least) 10X optical zoom lens.
This lens isn't terribly "fast", with a maximum aperture range of F3.5 - F3.7.
What this means in layman's terms is that the lens does not let in as much light
as other ultra zooms in this class. The focal range of the lens is 6.3 - 63 mm,
which is equivalent to 38 - 380 mm. The lens barrel is threaded for 46 mm
attachments, though the camera only supports filters as far as I know. The lens
does not extend out of the body -- all the moving parts are internal.

Directly above the lens is the camera's pop-up flash, which is released
electronically. Fuji gives just one flash range number for the S700, and that's
0.5 - 6.2 m at ISO 800. Keep in mind that you probably won't actually want to
take photos at ISO 800 on this camera, so the real world flash range isn't quite
that high. You cannot attach an external flash to the FinePix S700.

The only other item of note on the front of the camera is the AF-assist lamp,
which is located to the left of the Fujifilm logo. This is used by the camera as a
focusing aid in low light situations. It also doubles as the visual countdown for
the self-timer.
Fuji has been putting some very nice LCDs on their recent cameras, and the
S700 is no exception. This screen is large (2.5"), sharp (230,000 pixels), and
fluid (60 fps). Outdoor visibility is decent, though I'd avoid the "quick
brighten" feature, as it just washes the image out. This feature is more helpful
in low light, though it's certainly not necessary to use it when shooting in those
situations.

Above the LCD is a fairly small electronic viewfinder, or EVF. An EVF is


essentially a small LCD (0.24" in size) that you view as if it was an optical
viewfinder. Unfortunately, EVFs never come close to the "real thing" in terms
of quality, but you do get a 100% view of the frame and no parallax error.
Anything you can see on the LCD can also be viewed on the EVF, including
menus. The EVF has the same resolution and refresh rate as the LCD, which is
good news. One thing lacking is a diopter correction knob, which focuses the
image on the screen.

The EVF/LCD button at the top of the photo switches between the two
displays. Moving to the lower-right, we find the playback and F-mode buttons.
F-mode menu

Press the F-mode button and you'll open up -- get this -- the F-mode menu. In
it you'll find these options:

• ISO sensitivity (64, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, Auto 400, Auto 800) -
see below
• Quality (see chart later in review)
• FinePix Color (Standard, chrome, black & white) - the chrome setting
boosts the contrast and color saturation

There are a bunch of Auto ISO modes on the S700, and basically you're
choosing the highest sensitivity the camera will use. If you're in the "auto"
shooting mode then you won't have any of those choices -- just "auto". I'll
have more on the S700's ISO performance later in this review.

Below those two buttons we find the four-way controller, used for menu
navigation as well as:

• Up - Brighten LCD + Delete photo


• Down - Self-timer (Off, 2 sec, 10 sec)
• Left - Macro mode (Off, macro, super macro) - more on this later
• Right - Flash (Auto, auto w/redeye reduction, flash on, flash off, slow
synchro, slow synchro w/redeye reduction)
• Center - Menu/OK

Below the four-way controller are two final buttons. The display button
toggles what is shown on the LCD/EVF, and is also used to "back out" of
menus. The other button adjusts the exposure compensation in 1/3EV
increments, with the usual range of -2EV to +2EV.
There's more to see on the top of the FinePix S700. First up is the camera's
mode dial, which has these options (moving counterclockwise):
Option Function
Point-and-shoot operation with some menu options
Auto mode
locked up
Picture Stabilization
Boosts the ISO in order to produce a sharp photo
mode
Natural Light mode Same concept as above but with flash unavailable
Natural Light & Flash Takes two photos in a row: one with ISO boost, and
mode the other with the flash (see comparison below)
You choose the situation, and the camera uses the
appropriate settings. Choose from portrait, landscape,
sport, night, fireworks, sunset, snow, beach, museum,
Scene Position 1/2
party, flower, and text. There are two spots on the
mode dial so you can have two separate, easily
accessible "defaults"
Point-and-shoot, with full menu access; a Program
Shift feature lets you select from various shutter
Program mode
speed/aperture combos by using the four-way
controller
Aperture priority (Av) You choose the aperture from a range of F3.5 - F13.6,
mode and the camera uses the appropriate shutter speed
Just the opposite: you choose the shutter speed from a
Shutter priority (Tv)
range of 4 - 1/1000 sec and the camera picks the
mode
aperture
You select both the shutter speed and aperture; same
Full manual (M) mode
ranges as above.
Movie mode More on this later

As you can see, the FinePix S700 has both automatic and manual controls.
The similar Picture Stabilization and Natural Light modes aren't as useful here
as they would be on a SuperCCD-equipped FinePix (the S700 has a "regular"
CCD), as those cameras are much better low light performers. I'd only
recommend using these modes if you know that you'll never make a print
larger than 4 x 6, as the photo quality isn't the best at high ISOs (example).
Instead, adjust the ISO manually, or use the Auto ISO (400 limit) mode.

My only beef about the manual controls is that the slowest shutter speed
available is 4 seconds.

Directly to the right of the mode dial you'll find a button that activates the
S700's continuous shooting modes. The first of these modes is called "top 3",
and it takes just three shots in a row at a pokey 1.2 frames/second. The long
period continuous mode is even worse -- it shoots at 0.4 frames/second,
though it doesn't stop until the memory card fills up. The LCD and EVF lag
noticeably behind the action, which makes it difficult to track a moving
subject. Finally, there's an auto bracketing feature, which takes three shots in a
row, each with a different exposure. The interval between exposures can be
±1/3EV, ±2/3EV, or ±1EV.

Moving up onto the camera grip now, we find the power switch, zoom
controller, and shutter release button. The zoom controller quickly moves the
lens from wide-angle to telephoto in just 1.6 seconds. I counted an impressive
thirty-five steps in the camera's 10X zoom range.

On this side of the S700 you'll find the camera's speaker, as well as its I/O
ports. These ports, which are under a plastic cover, include USB + A/V out
(one port for both) and DC-in (for an optional AC adapter). The camera does
not support the USB 2.0 High Speed standard, which means that image
transfer speeds will be slower than they could be.
You'll find the memory card slot on the other side of the FinePix S700. This
slot, which is protected by a plastic cover of average quality, supports both xD
and SD memory card media.
On the bottom of the S700 is a plastic tripod mount and the battery
compartment. As you can see, the battery compartment holds four AA
batteries. The door that covers it is quite sturdy, and it features a lock as well.

Using the Fuji FinePix S700

Record Mode

It takes about 1.7 seconds for the FinePix S700 to prepare for shooting. That's
not bad for an ultra zoom.

A live histogram is only available when you're adjusting exposure

Focusing speeds were good, but not best-in-class. Typically it took between
0.3 - 0.5 seconds for the camera to lock focus at wide-angle, with slightly
longer waits at the telephoto end of the lens. Low light focusing was accurate,
but quite slow, with focus times easily exceeded one second.

I did not find shutter lag to be a problem, even at the slower shutter speeds at
which it can occur.

Shot-to-shot speeds were sluggish. With a Type M xD card, there was almost a
three second delay before I could take another photo. Using a Type H (high
speed) xD card, that delay dropped to around two seconds. These times did not
change when the flash was used.

There's no way to delete a photo immediately after taking it -- you must enter
playback mode to do so.

Now here's a look at the available image resolution and quality options on the
FinePix S700:
# images # images
Approx. file on 27MB on 1GB xD
Resolution Quality
size onboard card
memory (optional)

7M Fine 3.5 MB 7 294


3072 x 2304 Normal 1.8 MB 15 586
3:2
Normal 1.6 MB 17 659
3072 x 2048
4M
Normal 980 KB 27 1031
2304 x 1728
2M
Normal 630 KB 44 1640
1600 x 1200
0.3M
Normal 130 KB 215 7996
640 x 480

And now you see why buying a memory card right away is a good idea.

The S700 doesn't support the RAW image format, nor would I really expect it
to (though it would be nice!).

Files are numbered using a simple convention: DSCF####.JPG, where #### =


0001 - 9999. The file numbering is maintained as you swap or erase memory
cards.

The S700 has a pretty basic record menu, which is in addition to that F-mode
menu that I covered earlier. Keep in mind that some of these options are only
available in the manual shooting modes. Here's the full list:

• Photometry [metering] (Multi, spot, average)


• White balance (Auto, custom, sunlight, shade, daylight fluorescent,
warm white fluorescent, cool white fluorescent, incandescent) - see
below
• High speed shooting (on/off) - reduces focus times by limiting focus
range
• Focusing mode (Continuous AF, single AF, manual) - see below
• AF mode (Center, multi, area) - the last option lets you select in area in
the frame on which to focus
• Sharpness (Soft, standard, hard)
• Flash brightness (-2/3EV to +2/3EV in 1/3EV increments)
• Bracketing interval (±1/3EV,± 2/3EV, ±1EV)
• Setup - see below

The FinePix S700 offers manual control over white balance. Select the custom
option, point the camera at something white or gray, and you'll get accurate
colors even under unusual lighting conditions. One annoyance though: the
custom WB is not previewed on the LCD as it is on other cameras.

Manual focus

The camera has three focus modes. Single AF locks the focus only when you
halfway press the shutter release button. In continuous AF mode, the camera is
always trying to focus, even when you're not touching any buttons. This
reduces focus times, but at the expense of your battery life. Manual AF is not
terribly useful. To operate it you must hold down the exposure compensation
button and then use the zoom controller to set the focus. The current focus
distance is not shown on the LCD/EVF, and there's no center-frame
enlargement either. About the only help you get is when the circle in the center
of the frame turns yellow, which is the camera's way of telling you that it
thinks the subject is in focus.

The S700 also has a setup menu, and it contains these options:

• Shooting options
o Image display (1.5, 3 secs, continuous, zoom/continuous) -
post-shot review; continuous shows the image until you hit the
Menu button; the zoom option enlarges the image automatically
o Frame numbering (Continuous, renew)
o AF illuminator (on/off)
o Digital zoom (on/off) - I highly recommend keeping this off
o EVF/LCD mode (30, 60 fps) - refresh rate
• Setup 1
o Date/time (set)
o Beep volume (Off, 1-3)
o Shutter volume (Off, 1-3)
o Playback volume
o LCD brightness (-5 to +5 in 1-step increments)
o Format (Internal memory or memory card)
• Setup 2
o Language
o Auto power off (Off, 2, 5 mins)
o Time difference (Home, travel) - for when you're on the road
o Background color (Blue, purple, pink, orange, green, black) -
choose the menu background color
o Discharge - discharges NiMH batteries
o Video system (NTSC, PAL)
• Setup 3
o Reset - back to defaults

Enough menus, let's talk about photo quality now!


The S700 turned in a pretty good performance in our macro test. About the
only complaint I have is that the "cloak" is too orange -- it should be a lot
redder. Aside from that, the news is good -- there's plenty of detail captured,
and no sign of any noise.

There are three macro modes on the FinePix S700. In normal macro mode, the
minimum focus distances are 4 cm at wide-angle and 60 cm at telephoto --
both pretty good numbers. If you want to get even closer to your subject, put
the camera into super macro mode. This locks the lens at the full wide-angle
position and lets you be just 1 cm away from your subject.

The S700's night scene performance was just fair. The slow lens and 4 second
maximum exposure time didn't bring in as much light as I would've liked.
There's not much in the line of noise here, and plenty of detail was captured.
There is strong purple fringing, however -- definitely worse than on your
typical ultra zoom camera.

I have two ISO tests in this review, and the first one uses the night scene above
to illustrate how the camera performs in low light situations. Since these
photos came out pretty dark, you may want to view the full size images and
look in other areas of the image in order to compare the noise levels at each
ISO setting.
ISO 64

ISO 100

ISO 200

ISO 400
ISO 800

ISO 1600

Not surprisingly, there's little difference between the ISO 64 and 100 shots. At
ISO 200 noise becomes visible, limiting you to smaller print sizes. At ISO 400
we see a noticeable loss of detail, and things only go downhill from there.
Thus, in low light situations I'd keep the ISO at 200 or below when possible.

I'll show you how the camera performs in better light in a bit.
There's moderate barrel distortion at the wide-end of the FinePix S700's 10X
zoom lens. If you want to see what this does to your real world photos, look
no further than this picture. While the camera had no problems with vignetting
(dark corners), it did have a problem with blurry corners (example), which is
something you don't normally see on a big zoom lens.

As you can see, the FinePix S700 has a pretty big problem with redeye. The
lens and flash are fairly close together, which tends to worsen this
phenomenon. While your results may vary, odds are that you'll deal with this
annoyance at least occasionally.
Here now is our studio ISO test, which can be compared between cameras that
I've reviewed. While the crops below give you a quick idea as to the noise
levels at each setting, viewing the full size images is always a good idea. Here
we go:

ISO 64

ISO 100
ISO 200

ISO 400

ISO 800

ISO 1600
Everything's nice and clean through ISO 200. We pick up some visible
noise/grain at ISO 400, but that shouldn't stop you from making midsize to
large prints at that setting. While not quite as crisp as the FinePix S6000fd, the
S700 definitely does a better job than the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 at this
setting. At ISO 800 we get a drop in color saturation, and detail loss due to
noise reduction. It's here where the SuperCCD-based FinePix S6000fd really
shows its stuff over the traditional CCDs used by the S700 and FZ8. The ISO
1600 shot is filled with both noise and noise reduction artifacting, and I would
recommend not using this sensitivity.

Overall, the photo quality on the FinePix S700 was good but not spectacular.
While photos were generally well-exposed, I did notice that the camera had
the tendency to "blow out the highlights". Colors were accurate, and sharpness
was pleasing, except for in the corners of the frame. Noise isn't much of a
problem until the higher ISOs settings, but I'd still try to keep the sensitivity at
400 or less unless you're really desperate. The camera does exhibit strong
purple fringing at times, which I wouldn't expect to see on a ultra zoom in
2007.

Now, I invite you to check out the S700 photo gallery. There you'll find twelve
lovely photos, which I recommend printing if you can. After you've had a look
at the samples, you should be able to decide if the camera's image quality
meets your expectations.

Movie Mode

The FinePix S700 has a nice VGA movie mode. You can record video at 640 x
480 (30 frames/second) with sound until your memory card fills up. That takes
just 30 seconds with the built-in memory, so you'll want a large, high speed
memory card for longer movies. A 1GB card holds about 19 minutes of VGA
quality video.

For longer movies you can reduce the resolution to 320 x 240, which doubles
your recording time.

One of the nice features on the S700 is the ability to operate the optical zoom
while you're recording a movie. There's also a digital image stabilization
function available, which helps reduce the effects of "camera shake" in your
video clips.

Movies are saved in AVI format using the M-JPEG codec.

Here's a sample movie for you, complete with zooming!


Click to play movie (6 MB, 640 x 480, 30 fps, AVI format)
Can't view it? Download QuickTime.

Playback Mode

The S700 has a pretty standard playback menu. Basic features include
slideshows, image protection, 30 second voice captions, DPOF print marking,
thumbnail view, and zoom & scroll. This last option lets you enlarge the frame
by a factor of up to 4.5 times and then move around in the zoomed-in area.
Photos can be viewed one at a time sequentially, or by date (see above). You
can rotate and crop photos right on the camera. A copy feature lets you move
images between the internal memory and a memory card.

By default, the camera doesn't tell you much information about your photos.
But press the exposure compensation button and you'll get the screen shown
on the right, which includes a histogram.

The S700 feels a bit sluggish when you're viewing photos. It takes about one
full second to move from one image to another.

How Does it Compare?

The FinePix S700 is the entry-level ultra zoom camera in Fuji's lineup, and it
has a lot to offer for its $230 street price. It has a solid design, good photo
quality, full manual controls, and a nice movie mode. It's not without its flaws
though: the camera lacks image stabilization, has problems with purple
fringing, corner softness, and redeye, and has a lens that's slow at the wide-
angle end. Still, if you're looking for a budget ultra zoom camera, the FinePix
S700 is well worth a look.

Despite its low price, the FinePix S700 is a well built camera. It's made of
plastic, though it never feels cheap. The camera has a large right hand grip, so
it's easy to hold. The important controls are in the right places, and the camera
is easy to figure out without having to read the manual from cover to cover.
The S700 has a rather slow F3.5 - F3.7, 10X optical zoom lens -- most ultra
zooms start at F2.8. This lets less light through the lens, making this not the
greatest low light camera. The camera does not have optical image
stabilization, though it offers several shake reduction features, which boost the
ISO in order to ensure a sharp photo. These modes are best left alone, as they
can boost the ISO to a point where the image quality is noticeably degraded.

On the back of the camera you'll find a beautiful 2.5" LCD display, with
230,000 pixels and a fluid 60 fps frame rate. Outdoor visibility is about
average, while in low light the screen brightens automatically, so you can see
your subject. If you need a little extra help in low light, you can press up on
the four-way controller and the screen will brighten even more. The S700's
electronic viewfinder shares the same traits as the main LCD, though it's small
and lacks diopter correction controls. One other nice design-related feature on
the camera is its dual xD/SD memory card slot -- thank you Fuji!

The S700 has both automatic and manual controls. The auto controls include
several scene modes, plus the similar Picture Stabilization and Natural Light
modes. Since this isn't a SuperCCD-based camera, I would think twice about
using either of those ISO-boosting modes. On the manual side, the S700 offers
full control over exposure, white balance, and focus. The manual focus feature
is weak, though, with no focus distance guide or center-frame enlargement.
Operating the MF is also awkward, as you must hold down the exposure
compensation button while using the zoom controller, which is quite a stretch.
Regardless of your skill level you'll be sure to like the S700's movie mode,
which allows for continuous VGA recording, with both optical zoom and
digital image stabilization available.

Camera performance was generally good. The FinePix S700 starts up in


around 1.7 seconds, focuses quickly (except in low light), and has no
noticeable shutter lag. As I said, low light focusing was slow, but it was
accurate. Speaking of slow, shot-to-shot times were below average, with the
camera taking between 2 and 3 seconds to save an image to your memory
card. The camera's continuous shooting modes aren't worth writing home
about either. If you use the faster of the two continuous modes, you'll take just
three photos at 1.2 frames/second. The "long period" (unlimited) mode lets
you keep shooting, but at a glacial 0.4 fps. One bright spot in the performance
department is in terms of battery life: the S700 scores well above average
when equipped with NiMH rechargeable batteries.

Photo quality was good, but not without some noticeable issues. On the
positive side, the S700 generally took well-exposed photos, with accurate
colors and pleasing sharpness. The camera keeps noise down to a minimum
until ISO 400, with things going downhill after that (due to increased softness
and reduced color saturation). Now the bad news: the camera has issues with
corner softness, blown highlights, and purple fringing. None of these matter
for small prints, but if you're doing a lot of 8 x 10's or viewing things on your
computer screen then you'll certainly notice them. The S700 also has a redeye
problem, even with the flash-based reduction feature turned on.

I have a few other comments before I wrap things up. One of the big
omissions on the FinePix S700 is support for the USB 2.0 High Speed
protocol. If you're using a card reader this won't matter, but if you're connected
the camera to a PC, expect slow file transfers. Also, the slowest shutter speed
available on the camera is 4 seconds, so your night scenes may turn out dark,
as mine did.

While the FinePix S700 isn't the best ultra zoom camera, it's arguably one of
the best ultra zooms for people on a budget. It has features not typically found
on lower-end cameras, and puts them into a solid, well designed body. It's far
from a perfect camera, but if you want a lot of zoom for not a lot of dough, the
FinePix S700 is worth checking out.
What I liked:

• Very good photo quality, low noise through ISO 400 (though see issues
below)
• Good value for the money
• 10X optical zoom in a solid, well-designed body
• Gorgeous 2.5" LCD display has high resolution and fluid frame rate;
good indoor/outdoor visibility
• AF-assist lamp, good (but slow) low light focusing
• Dual xD/SD memory card slot
• Full manual controls
• VGA movie mode with zoom and digital image stabilization
• Battery life is well above average; uses AA batteries

What I didn't care for:

• Some corner blurriness, blown highlights, and purple fringing


• Redeye a problem
• Lens is slow at the wide-angle end
• Disappointing continuous shooting modes
• Sluggish shot-to-shot and image playback speeds
• Poorly implemented manual focus feature
• Electronic viewfinder is small, lacks diopter correction
• Plastic tripod mount
• No USB 2.0 High Speed support

Some other ultra zooms worth considering include the Canon PowerShot S3
IS, Fuji FinePix S6000fd, GE X1, Kodak EasyShare Z710 and Z712 IS, Nikon
Coolpix S10, Olympus SP-510UZ, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8, and the Sony
Cyber-shot DSC-H7.

As always, I recommend a trip down to your local reseller to try out the
FinePix S700 and its competitors before you buy!

Photo Gallery

See how the photos turned out in our gallery!

Buy it now
Feedback & Discussion

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If you have a question about this review, please send them to Jeff. Due to my
limited resources, please do not e-mail me asking for a personal
recommendation.