The Fujifilm FinePix S3200 is one of Fujifilm's many ultra zoom bridge cameras, and offers a wide angle 24x optical zoom lens, a 14megapixel sensor and manual controls, as well as a black design that looks a lot like an SLR style camera.
Fujifilm FinePix S3200 Features
The S3200 is somewhere in the middle of Fujifilm's ultra zoom bridge camera range, which at last count, features a huge 10 different models! The S3200 offers a lot of zoom, with a 24x optical zoom lens, and a large rubberised DSLR style camera for not a lot of money, available for around £155.
With a lot of zoom, a low price, a 14 megapixel CCD sensor with anti-shake, AA batteries, a 3 inch screen, an electronic viewfinder, and a black and rubbery appearance it certainly looks like a serious camera. Manual controls, panoramic shooting, numerous scene modes, and intelligent flash are some of the other features of the S3200, and as with other Fujifilm cameras it can shoot using the "natural light and flash" mode, this shoots without flash then straight away with flash, so you can choose which photo turned out the best.
14 megapixel CCD sensor
24x optical zoom lens (24mm - 576mm) lens
3inch screen 230k dot
EVF 200k dot
CCD-shift type image stabilisation
ISO6400 at reduced resolution
Auto Scene Recognition (SR Auto)
4 AA batteries
Fujifilm FinePix S3200 Handling
Handling, ergonomics, and buttons - the camera is quite large, larger than some 30x optical zoom cameras, such as the Sony HX100v, even though it has less optical zoom, however the price difference is quite massive between the two. The S3200 uses four AA batteries adding to the weight of the camera. With a large camera, there is a large grip as well as a rubberised surround on the lens aiding steady shots. There are a good number of buttons on the outside of the camera so you shouldn't need to use the menus too much (hopefully).
Menus - The Fujifilm Finepix S3200 menus are quite straightforward, giving you quick access to a few settings via the F (FinePix) button, and then for additional settings such as white balance / ISO etc you need to enter the photo menu. More advanced camera settings can be found in the setup menu. There are quite a few pages of settings in both the photo and setup menu, and it would be nice if you could access a few more settings in the F / finepix menu.
Battery life - The camera's battery life is rated at 300 shots according to CIPA standards when using alkaline batteries. Using alkaline AA batteries I was able to take over 380 shots before they went flat, this is good and the ability to put widely available AA batteries in could be a bonus, although rechargeable Ni-Mh batteries are recommended, as this should give 500 shots according to CIPA testing.
Speed - We tested the Fujifilm FinePix S3200 and compared it to two other recent ultra zooms, the Olympus SZ30MR with 24x optical zoom lens, and the Nikon Coolpix L120.
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo
Shot to Shot (without flash)
Shot to Shot with Flash
(full resolution, shots)
1.2fps (6 shots)
5fps (5), 20fps (70, 5mp)
Performance was quite slow with slow focusing, particularly at the telephoto end, and the switch on time was noticeably slow at 4.1 seconds. Shot to shot without flash was average matching the competition in the middle, and similarly with flash. Continuous shooting is quite slow, but reasonable for a CCD based camera.
Fujifilm FinePix S3200 Performance
We've taken a number of sample photos in a variety of settings to show you the image quality produced by this camera, you can view them full size by clicking the "High-Res" link. Additional sample photos can be seen here in the equipment database, where you can add your own review.
Fujifilm FinePix S3200 Sample Photos
There is very low amounts of red-eye in flash portraits. Colour and skin tones are pleasing, and generally when viewing web size images photos look good. Macro performance - with a super macro mode the camera lets you focus with the subject just 2cm away from the front of the lens, this gives good macro images with high levels of detail, although you are unable to use optical zoom which can mean the lens blocks the light to your subject.
Fujifilm FinePix S3200 Lens test images
Lens: noticeable barrel distortion, noticeable pincushion distortion. The trees show very little purple fringing which is impressive and greens look good.
Fujifilm FinePix S3200 ISO test images
ISO noise - with a CCD sensor, the S3200 has more noise than the backlit CMOS sensor based cameras, so images are more grainy as a result, but the camera copes well with noise processing and gives relatively low noise at ISO64,100, 200, and then at ISO400 noise starts becoming more noticeable. As you continue to increase the ISO setting, you also increase noise, and detail in images is degraded, at ISO800 and particularly ISO1600 noise is very noticeable - and these modes would be best avoided unless you are planning on resizing the images for use on the internet, or making small prints. ISO3200 and ISO6400 are at reduced resolution.
Fujifilm FinePix S3200 White-balance test images
White balance performance - auto white balance produces warm images under incandescent and fluorescent light, with the fluorescent preset producing a better, more accurate colour rendition. Using the tungsten preset produced in image with a magenta cast.
Panoramic shot - 1/140 sec | f/8.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 64
Video - 720p video sample, optical zoom is available, sound is recorded in mono. Quality is good, however, when using the full optical zoom focusing can become slow and the full zoom will amplify any camera shake.
Value for Money - Value for money is this cameras strongest feature, with a lot of zoom, large screen, and good handling, the camera is excellent value for money, available for just £155. This compares very well to other ultra zoom cameras that tend to start at around £200 or feature less optical zoom.
Fujifilm offer a huge range of ultra zoom cameras (with so many you'd think that the ultra zoom camera is Fuji's favourite kind of camera), including the smaller Fujifilm FinePix S2950, a larger version of the S3200, the S4000 features a larger 30x optical zoom lens, as does the top of the range HS20 with tilting screen and high speed CMOS sensor.
The Fujifilm FinePix S3200 packs a huge amount of camera, into quite a large package, but makes up for this with an excellent entry level price. Whilst it may not be as fast as backlit-CMOS sensor based cameras, and noise levels suffer as a result, the S3200 with built in anti-shake makes an appealing camera if price is a concern. The biggest drawback is the camera's image quality with images showing high levels of barrel distortion (at wide angle), and pincushion (at telephoto), as well as overly sharpened images, this gives white edges around objects where there shouldn't be white edges. Video is decent, although focusing at the telephoto end can be an issue. Macro performance is reasonably good, although using super macro locks the camera at the wide-angle position. Handling is very good with rubberised grips for both hands. While the camera may offer a great package that looks the part, unfortunately it doesn't deliver image quality to match, and I suspect other budget ultra zooms such as the Nikon Coolpix L120 or Olympus SP-610 will give better results.
Fujifilm FinePix S3200 Pros
Good handling, rubber grips
Lots of zoom
Good value for money
Low purple fringing
Fujifilm FinePix S3200 Cons
Menu structure could be better
Noise at ISO800 and ISO1600 is high
Over-processed images (sharpening artefacts)
Barrel and Pincushion distortion
Telephoto focus slow, hunts in video
Small electronic viewfinder with no diopter correction