The Fuji FinePix S8000fd ($399) is one of three "mega zoom" cameras
introduced in 2007 (the others being the Olympus SP-560 and the Panasonic DMC-FZ18).
While most ultra zooms were hanging around 12X, these three cameras jumped
all the way to 18X. The FinePix S8000fd offers that, plus image stabilization,
a 2.5" LCD display, full manual controls, VGA movie mode, face detection
with automatic redeye removal, and more.
As luck would have it, the S8000 has been replaced (less
than five months after its introduction) by the new S8100fd. Still, that
camera won't be shipping until March, so the S8000fd still has some life left
Is the FinePix S8000fd a good choice for those who just can't
get enough zoom? Find out now, our review starts now!
What's in the Box?
The FinePix S8000fd has an average bundle. Inside the
box, you'll find:
- The 8.0 effective Megapixel FinePix S8000fd digital
- Four alkaline AA batteries
- Lens cap w/retaining strap
- Shoulder strap
- USB cable
- A/V cable
- CD-ROM featuring FinePix software
- 163 page camera manual (printed)
Like so many cameras these days, Fuji built memory into the
S8000fd instead of bundling a memory card. Unlike most of those other cameras,
Fuji actually gives you a decent amount of memory -- 58MB to be exact. You'll
still want to buy a memory card, though, and you've got several choices of
format with the S8000fd. You can use xD, SD, or SDHC cards, and I'd lean toward
the last two, as xD cards are quite slow. If you do get an xD card, make sure
it's a "Type H" model. A 1GB
card should be enough for most folks to start out with.
The S8000fd uses four AA batteries for power. Fuji includes
four alkaline batteries with the camera, which will quickly end up in your
trash or recycling bin. Thus, you'll want to buy a set or two of NiMH rechargeables
(2500 mAh is good), plus a fast charger. Here's what kind of battery life you're
looking at with those batteries installed:
||Battery life, LCD on
S5 IS *
x 2500 mAh NiMH
x 2500 mAh NiMH
x 2500 mAh NiMH
Z812 IS *
Ultra Zoom */**
x 2500 mAh NiMH
Lumix DMC-FZ18 */**
Has optical image stabilization
** Has an 18X zoom lens
Battery life numbers are provided by the manufacturer
In this group of ultra zooms, the FinePix S8000 pulls off better-than-average battery life.
As you may know, I'm a big fan of cameras that use AA batteries.
They're cheaper than their proprietary counterparts, and
if your rechargeables die, alkaline or lithium AAs are readily available.
As you can see, Fuji includes a large lens cap (and retaining
strap) with the FinePix S8000fd. It's designed to only fit "correctly" (not
upside down) -- which can be annoying -- though it stays attached fairly well.
For an ultra zoom, the FinePix S8000 is pretty lacking in
terms of accessories. The only accessory of note is the AC-5VX AC adapter,
which is priced from $34. No conversion lenses, external flashes, or underwater
cases are available -- at least not from Fuji.
FinePixViewer 3.5 for Mac
Fuji includes their FinePixViewer software with the S8000fd, 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 for Windows
As is often the case, Windows users get a much better version of FinePixViewer. This one does everything the Mac version does, adding image editing and redeye reduction tools, not to mention a slicker interface.
Fuji includes a thick, fairly detailed manual with the
FinePix S8000fd. It's not the most user-friendly read, but it will answer most
any question that might come up about the camera.
Look and Feel
The FinePix S8000fd is a medium-sized ultra zoom camera. While
the outer shell of the camera is plastic, there appears to be a metal frame
beneath it. In other words, it feels quite solid for a "plastic" camera.
Even the battery compartment door is well built. The S8000 has a substantial
right hand grip, so it's easy to hold. The important controls are logically
placed, and Fuji didn't go overboard with buttons either. My one complaint
is that it's pretty easy to accidentally bump the F-mode button with your thumb.
Now, here's how the S8000 compares to other big zoom cameras
in terms of size and weight:
(W x H x D, excluding protrusions)
|Canon PowerShot S5 IS
||4.6 x 3.2 x 3.1 in.
||45.6 cu in.
||450 g |
|Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd
||4.4 x 3.1 x 3.1 in.
||42.3 cu in.
||412 g |
|Fujifilm FinePix S8100fd
||4.3 x 3.1 x 3.1 in.
||41.3 cu in.
||405 g |
|Kodak EasyShare Z812 IS
||4.3 x 2.9 x 3.0 in.
||37.4 cu in.
||330 g |
|Olympus SP-560 Ultra Zoom
||4.6 x 3.1 x 3.1 in.
||44.2 cu in.
||365 g |
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18
||4.6 x 3.0 x 3.5 in.
||48.3 cu in.
||360 g |
|Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H7
||4.3 x 3.3 x 3.4 in.
||48.2 cu in.
||375 g |