DCRP Review: Fuji FinePix S700
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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:
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:
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: