Review: Fuji FinePix S602 Zoom
Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally posted: Thursday, April 25, 2002
Monday, July 29, 2002
last year, I started to get more and more e-mail's from people who
were trying to purchase the Fuji
FinePix 6900 Zoom. While a lot of people didn't talk about the
6900Z initially, word spread that it was a pretty nice camera, and
people started looking for them. When they couldn't find one, they
started asking questions: was it recalled? Discontinued? The answer
to both of those was no... until one day, I found out that it had
finally been retired, and a replacement was on the way.
S602 Zoom ($799). Keeping the 6900's 6X optical zoom, electronic
viewfinder, and full manual controls, the S602 adds the following:
new 3rd-generation SuperCCD sensor
do ISO 800/1600, but only at 1 Megapixel
store up to 15 mins of 640 x 480 video on 1 GB IBM Microdrive.
both SmartMedia and CompactFlash Type II
auto-focus modes: traditional contrast-based plus new passive
continuous shooting mode: camera will keep shooting as long as
shutter release button is held down and will save the last 5 pictures
that are taken when it is released
the proprietary Li-ion battery -- now uses four AAs.
cover some of those new features in more detail throughout this
review. First, a quick word about the SuperCCD sensor, and what
makes it different from traditional CCDs. Unlike a regular CCD,
the SuperCCD has hexagonal-shaped pixels, which allows Fuji to pack
more sensors into the same area, which allows the sensors to collect
more data. Using this data, the S602Z can produces those 6 million
pixel images that it's famous for. Of course, there's some interpolation
(the camera is guessing) involved in the creation of those large
images, which is why they have noise and strange artifacts sometime.
final note before we go on -- while my camera isn't a production
model, Fuji says camera operation and photo quality is complete,
so this will be a full review. The S602 will be on store shelves
in the Box?
FinePix S602 Zoom has an average bundle. Inside the box, you'll
3.1 (effective) Mpixel Fuji FinePix S602 Zoom camera
AA-sized alkaline batteries (not rechargeable)
featuring FinePixViewer, Adobe ActiveShare (Windows only) and
PhotoDeluxe, and ArcSoft VideoImpression
page camera manual (printed)
a big thank you to Fuji for getting rid of the NP-80 Li-ion battery
and letting people use AA rechargeables instead. I know not everyone
agrees with my opinion, but I think that expensive, proprietary,
and hard to find batteries like the NP-80 don't benefit consumers.
Rechargeable NiMH batteries are cheaper, easy to find, and if you're
in a bind, you can buy a set of alkalines to get you through the
said, it's too bad Fuji only gives you alkaline batteries in the
box, so getting those rechargeables will be your duty. I recommend
at least two sets of NiMH batteries plus a charger. Fuji estimates
that you'll get about 205 shots with alkaline batteries, and 265
shots (per charge) on NiMH batteries. Using an IBM Microdrive will
lower those numbers by about 15%, as it drains more power.
includes a just so-so 16MB SmartMedia card, which will hold a fair
amount of photos, and not much video. Since the S602 has both CompactFlash
and SmartMedia slots, you can buy whichever you prefer -- obviously
CompactFlash comes in much larger capacities, and that doesn't even
include the Microdrive.
includes a lens cap with strap, and a nice shoulder strap. They
even include a tool to put on the clips for the shoulder strap to
attach to -- something I haven't seen before.
far as accessories go, there's two conversion lenses available from
Fuji: the WL-FX9 (wide-angle, 0.79X) and the TL-FX9 (telephoto,
1.5X). If you want to use filters or other conversion lenses, you'll
need to buy the AR-FX9 adapter ring, which will let you use 55 mm
filters. The camera is compatible with external flashes, though
I don't see that Fuji sells one.
main product for getting photos off your camera is FinePixViewer.
While I did not try it this time, in the past I have not been impressed
with it. Other software from Adobe and ArcSoft is included as well.
For those of you running Windows, you can also use the S602 as a
"PC camera" for videoconferencing.
S602 is compatible with Windows XP, Mac OS X, and iPhoto.
unfinished manual included with my camera seemed about the same
as previous Fuji manuals, which is better than average.
are some cameras which try to look like film cameras, and some which
don't. The FinePix S602 Zoom is in the second category. While it
sort of looks like an SLR, I don't think anyone will mistake it
for a film camera. The camera is good-sized and will certainly not
fit in your pocket, but it isn't bulky either. There's a large grip
for the right hand, and the large lens barrel provides plenty of
room for the left. Just make sure you don't accidentally press any
of the buttons on the side of it.
body is made of metal and plastic and feels very solid -- and professional.
official dimensions of the camera are 4.8 x 3.2 x 3.8 inches (WxHxD),
and it weighs 500 grams totally empty. Let's begin our tour of the
of the "big deals" about the S602 and its predecessors
is the big 6X optical zoom lens. The F2.8 lens has a focal range
of 7.8 - 46.8 mm, which is equivalent to 35 - 210 mm. The lens is
threaded (58 mm I think) but you'll need that adapter ring I mentioned
earlier, if you want to add anything.
the lens is a manual focus ring. This isn't a mechanical ring --
rather, it's a "fly-by-wire" design, which electronically
makes the camera adjust the focus.
above the lens is one of the new additions to the S602 -- an infrared
autofocus-assist sensor. This is in addition to the regular contrast-detection
AF system. Apparently, the infrared system is used first for general
focus, and then contract-detection is used for further adjustments.
to the northeast of the lens barrel, you can see three holes. That's
S602 has a nice popup flash, which is released via a button on the
side of the camera. The flash has a working range of 0.3 - 5.4 m
(wide-angle) and 0.9 - 5.0 (telephoto). As I mentioned, you can
use an external flash as well. Next to the flash is a "flash
the back of the S602. The camera has a normal-sized, 1.8" LCD
display, which is easy to see, except when you're outdoors.
the other "big zoom" cameras, and like its predecessor,
the S602 has an Electronic Viewfinder. This is basically a 0.44"
LCD where the optical viewfinder normally is. The advantage of the
EVF is that you can see exactly what the CCD is seeing, and also
that you can see lots of info about your photos that you wouldn't
see on a regular viewfinder. The downsides are increased power consumption
vs. the optical viewfinder, plus they too are hard to see outdoors.
The EVF on the S602 is one of the better ones that I've used. A
diopter correction knob is available for those will less than perfect
to the right of the LCD, there are two buttons:
- toggles between the two. You cannot use both at the same time.
- toggles what's on the LCD and EVF (including framing guidelines)
to the right, there are there more buttons:
(for menu usage)
switch + Menu/OK (for menu usage)
Focus Check feature should be familiar to FinePix 6900Z users. This
will blow up image on the LCD so you can see if things are in focus
or not. This feature is also used when in manual focus mode.
those three buttons, you'll find the zoom controls. The zoom on
the S602 is a little weird... it'll be zooming slowly and then suddenly
it will speed up. This takes some getting used to.
final button on the back of the camera is the AE-L button. This
will lock the exposure settings for as long as the button is held
here's the top of the camera. Normally, I'd comment on the lack
of an LCD info display, but since you're always using an LCD, there's
no need for one here. As I mentioned before, the S602 has a hot
shoe for an external flash. Fuji has three requirements for flashes
that you can use with this hot shoe:
aperture can be set
flash synchronization can be used
sensitivity can be set
your flash can do all those things, you're set. Synchronized shutter
speeds as fast as 1/1000 sec can be used.
to the right, you can see the mode wheel. The choices here are:
are some more details about some of these. Full auto mode will let
the camera call all the shots (no pun intended) with a few exceptions
(like self-timer, flash, and macro mode). If you want the camera
to still pick the best exposure settings, but you want to have more
control, use Program mode. You can rotate the command dial (see
in the photo above) to move between various shutter speed and aperture
combinations -- this is known as Program Shift.
shutter priority mode, you can choose a shutter speed between 3
sec - 1/1000 sec, and the S602 will pick the appropriate aperture.
Aperture priority mode is just the opposite: choose an aperture
between F2.8 - F11 (in 1/3EV steps), and the camera will pick a
shutter speed to match.
you want control over both the shutter speed and aperture, you can
use full manual (M) mode. This will give you a larger shutter speed
range of 15 - 1/10000 sec (the aperture range is the same).
Position mode lets you choose between five different scenarios,
and the camera will pick the best settings for the job. The available
scenes include portraits, landscapes, action shots, night scenes,
and black & white.
will discuss the S602's excellent movie mode later in the review.
back to our tour now: at the bottom right of the photo, you can
see the command dial. Turning this will change the various manual
settings and is also used with the "Shift shortcuts" that
I'll describe in a minute.
three buttons above that are for continuous shooting, flash, and
exposure compensation (the usual -2EV to +2EV in 1/3 EV increments).
S602 has several continuous shooting options, some of which are
5-Frame: five frames are taken sequentially at an interval of
Bracketing: three shots in a row taken with varying exposure compensation
values (± 1/3 EV, ± 2/3 EV, ± 1 EV)
5-Frame: You hold down the shutter release button for up to 25
shots. When you release the button, the camera saves the last
five images recorded. I guess this is good for situations where
you're waiting for something exciting to happen. The interval
between shots is 0.2 secs here as well.
continuous shooting at 1280 x 960: This will take up to 40 shots
at a 0.6 sec interval at 1280 x 960
final item of note on the top of the camera is the shutter release
button, with the power/record/playback switch wrapped around it.
are even more buttons on the side of the FinePix S602Z. I will start
on the left with the Macro and Shift buttons. I will cover the macro
feature later, but here's the deal with the shift button first.
the shift button, you can quickly change many settings, without
a trip to the menus. The settings you can "shift shortcut"
will have more on these settings in the next section of my review.
I found the shift shortcut feature very helpful, though the placement
of those buttons could be better.
to the right, we reach the AF/MF switch. When you switch the camera
into MF mode, you use the electronic focus ring to adjust the focus.
The LCD gives hints as to which way to turn it to get the image
in focus. To have the AF help out, you can press the button which
is inside this switch.
you'll see when you press Info in record mode
that is the Info button, which shows the current camera settings
in record mode, and more details about your photos in playback mode.
the AF/MF switch, under a rubber cover, is the DC in port, for an
optional AC adapter. Over to the right of that, under a fairly sturdy-feeling
plastic door, you'll find the USB and A/V ports. Above that is the
may look like there's nothing on this side of the camera, but when
we flip open the door...
we find not one, but two memory card slots! The S602Z has both SmartMedia
and CompactFlash slots. Even better, the CF slot is Type II, and
the Microdrive is fully supported. I used my 1 GB Microdrive in
the camera without any problems. You can see the included 16MB SmartMedia
card in this picture, as well.
here is the bottom of the camera. You can see the battery compartment
as well as the well-placed metal tripod mount.
the Fuji FinePix S602 Zoom
having a big lens to "roll out", the S602 still starts
up in about three seconds. The camera locks focus in a second or
less, and despite a few hiccups in low light, did a good job overall.
Shutter lag is minimal on the S602.
see the same thing regardless of whether you use the LCD or EVF
speed is excellent -- you'll wait just two seconds between shots,
even at 6MP/Fine. When you take a TIFF image (known as 6MP/High
in Fuji speak), you will be able to take another shots soon after,
but the menus will be locked until the image is written to the card
(about 20 seconds total, which is much faster than normal).
take a look at the many image size and quality choices on the S602:
photos on 16MB card (included)
photos on 1 GB Microdrive
2832 x 2128
2048 x 1536
1280 x 960
640 x 480
to say, the Microdrive holds one heck of a lot of photos.
just love that snazzy design
let's talk menus. The FinePix S602 Zoom has easy to navigate menus
which contain almost all the camera's functions. Here's a look:
(Off, 2 sec, 5 sec) - setting is saved for one photo only... grrr...
(160, 400, 400, 800, 1600) - explained below
balance (Auto, custom 1, custom 2, sunlight, shade, fluorescent
[daylight, warm white, cool white], incandescent)
[metering] (Multi, spot, average)
(± 1/3 EV, ± 2/3 EV, ± 1 EV) - explained
earlier in the review
(Normal, soft, hard)
(on/off) - explained below
exposure compensation (-0.6 EV to +0.6EV in 1/3EV increments)
addition to these items, here are the more interesting items found
in setup mode:
quality (see chart)
quality (VGA, QVGA)
display (Off, preview, postview)
mode (AF, AF area)
adapter ring (on/off) - turn this on if you're using the adapter
media (CompactFlash, SmartMedia) - which slot it defaults to
here are those explanations I promised. The S602 has a wide range
of ISO sensitivities available, including 800 and 1600. Of course,
there's always a catch, and here it's that those two high ISOs only
work in 1MP mode. And here's a hint for those who actually buy this
camera: if you take a picture at ISO 800 and then switch back to
ISO 160 or whatever, the camera will still be set for 1MP pictures!
I made that mistake a few times.
very happy to see that Fuji included not one, but two manual white
balance settings on the S602. You can shoot a white or gray card
or paper to get the perfect white balance setting in any lighting.
works like it does on a film camera: you overlay photos into one.
You can combine as many photos as you want in this mode.
difference between preview and postview in the Image display option
is this: postview just shows you the image after it's taken, while
preview gives you the option of reviewing and deleting it.
are two autofocus modes available: regular AF, and AF area. In AF,
the camera focuses on whatever is in the center of the frame. In
AF Area mode, you can use the four-way switch to choose the subject
to focus on. Do note that the exposure is still measured in the
center of the frame.
that's enough of that! Let's talk about photo quality now.
priority mode, 3 sec, ISO 160, 3MP/Fine
manual mode, 5 sec, ISO 160, 3MP/Fine
provided two night test shots for you in this review. Be sure to
blow them up to inspect the details. There's a decent amount of
noise in these, but nothing horrid. "Hot pixels" are at
a minimum. Overall I'd rate these as very good.
S602 did a fine job with our macro test subject, with accurate color
and good detail. The S602 has two macro modes: a regular one, which
gives you a focal range of 10 - 80 cm, and a super macro mode which
has a range of 1 - 20 cm. In regular macro mode, the camera cannot
zoom past the 2.3X position. In super macro mode, the lens is locked
S602 exhibits a decent amount of barrel distortion at wide angle,
as you can see in the shot above. Please keep in mind that this
is an unscientific example.
shot above was taken with the flash, and it came out pretty well.
If you blow up that image you'll see the whole scene (this is cropped),
and you'll see that the flash didn't totally cover the wall I took
this against. The aforementioned barrel distortion is also visible
to the lower right side.
the fabled redeye test. This shot was taken with redeye reduction
turned on, from a distance of 8 feet or so. I've blown it up 200%
so you can see the details. Redeye isn't a huge problem, at least
with the reduction feature turned on. I will add that the first
time I tried this shot, taken in relatively dim light, the camera
the whole, photo quality is generally very good. When you look at
the images on the screen -- especially those taken at the 6MP setting
-- you will see noise, artifacts, and "jaggies". Downsizing
the image gets rid of them, as does printing -- the 6MP images are
excellent when printed on a capable photo printer. The images seem
oversharpened at times (again, mainly at the 6MP setting), so you
may want to experiment with the soft sharpening setting, and let
Photoshop do the rest. In the good news department, chromatic aberrations
(purple fringing) wasn't a major problem, and the color accuracy
they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so check out our
photo galleries and judge for yourself!
be blunt: the FinePix S602 Zoom has the best movie mode I've seen
on a digital still camera. The S602 has blurred the line between
a DV camcorder and a digital still camera.
cameras let you take 15-30 seconds of 320 x 240 video. Want to record
longer movies? Sony lets you fill up the Memory Stick with video.
Want larger? Canon has a 640 x 480 video mode on some cameras, but
clips are limited to a useless four seconds.
S602 is the best of both worlds: you can fill up the memory card
with 640 x 480 video, with sound! The chart below illustrates just
how much video you can take:
of seconds of video
(640 x 480)
(320 x 240)
that's over 15 minutes of VGA-quality video with the 1 GB Microdrive!
there's always a catch, here's one that most people can probably
live with: you can't use the optical zoom during filming, since
the lens movement would be picked up by the microphone.
I'm a nice guy, I've provided you with a VGA-sized sample movie,
that has some action in it too:
to play movie (AVI format, 6.7 MB)
view it? Download QuickTime.
few people wanted another movie sample, so I went out and took one
more. Be warned though, this one is huge. Sorry that I moved around
rather quickly throughotu this movie... I was trying to show as
much as possible in the least amount of time.
to play movie (AVI format, 33.2 MB)
view it? Download QuickTime.
FinePix S602 has a lot of advanced playback mode features, but is
missing two that almost every other camera has: slideshows and image
protection. If you can live without those, you'll be happy with
the DPOF print marking, zoom & scroll, image trimming, and extra
info about your photos.
zoom and scroll feature slowly zooms into your photo, and
you can then scroll around in the image. If you press the Menu/OK
button, you can crop your image, which is saved as a separate VGA-sized
can add a voice caption up to 30 seconds in length to your photos.
I mentioned a few thousand words ago, pressing the Info button will
show extra info (see above) about your photo. That includes a histogram,
as you can see.
amount of time between images in playback mode is just average --
about four seconds. Going to a TIFF will take substantially longer.
There is no low res placeholder shown when you're looking at images,
just the high res one.
nine thumbnail/page view is also available.
Does it Compare?
Fuji FinePix S602 Zoom is one of the most highly anticipated cameras
of 2002. Does it have the same, nice 6X zoom as its predecessor?
Yep. Does it have all the features any enthusiast could want? Yes,
got that too. Does it support add-on lenses an external flash? Sure
does. Does it have a nice movie mode? The best, in my opinion. Does
the new 3rd-generation SuperCCD sensor let the S602 leapfrog the
competition in terms of photo quality? Nope.
the S602's photos look great printed and downsized, when you look
at the raw images, especially at the 6MP (interpolated) setting,
the artifacts, jaggies, and noise will jump right out at you. Of
course, most people don't show off their photos in that form --
they print them or shrink them to a more useable size. The S602
isn't the photo quality leader, but the photos are still very good.
It's up to you to decide if the S602 is right for you. Does the
FinePix S602 get my recommendation? You bet.
6X optical zoom lens
good image quality, especially when printed or downsized
macro mode (two of them, in fact)
and CompactFlash Type II slots
startup and shot-to-shot times; minimal shutter lag
Shortcut feature saves a trip to the menus
for external flash
I didn't care for:
of noise, artifacts, and jaggies, especially at the 6MP setting
barrel distortion at wide-angle
few missing features in playback mode (slideshow, image protection)
other high-end cameras to check out (and it's a long list) include
the Canon PowerShot G2
QV-4000, Minolta DiMAGE 7i,
Nikon Coolpix 995
Lumix DMC-LC5, Sony DSC-F707
and the Toshiba
Camera models in bold have a zoom lens greater than 3X.
always, I recommend a trip down to your local reseller to try out
the FinePix S602 Zoom and it's competitors before you buy!
want photos? I've got plenty. Check out the standard
a second opinion?
more information on the S602, check out reviews at Steves
Digicams and Imaging
welcomes your comments or questions. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Due to my limited resources, please do not send me requests
for personal camera recommendations.