The Fujfilm FinePix SL1000 is the latest camera to offer 50x optical zoom, as well as the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS and Sony CyberShot HX300. The biggest advantage the Fujifilm has is the price, it is cheaper than both the other models with 50x zoom and also packs other features such as RAW shooting, a tilting screen and EVF. It is available to purchase for £299.99.
Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 Features
The SL1000 has a 16 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor and a massive 50x optical zoom lens, which is a 35mm equivalent of 24-1200mm. With its minimum focusing distance of 1cm it's ideal for shooting subjects that are very close or a long way in the distance. Autofocus has a speed of 0.2 seconds and can shoot at up to 10 fps in full resolution. There is optical image stabilisation to keep your pictures free from blur.
When shooting there is six scene SR Auto (Scene Recognition Auto) which automatically detects a portrait, landscape, night, macro, night portrait and backlit portrait and adjusts the camera settings automatically. The SL1000 also offers full manual controls and RAW shooting. Other modes include motion panorama and advanced mode which includes HDR.
There is a 3 inch 920k dot tilting LCD screen and 920k dot electronic viewfinder (EVF) with an automatic eye sensor. To activate the zoom there is a lever on the side of the lens barrel.
Videos are recorded in full 1080p HD at 60 fps with stereo sound. You can also record high-speed movies at 480fps (240 x 180 pixels), 240fps (320 x 240 pixels) and 120fps (640 x 480 pixels). The SL1000 can be connected to a HDTV via a HDMI cable.
16 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor
50x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 24-1200mm)
Optical image stabilisation
3 inch 920k dot tilting LCD screen
920k dot electronic viewfinder (EVF)
Full 1080p HD video recording with stereo sound
1cm minimum focusing distance
HDR & panorama modes
Full manual controls and RAW shooting
10 fps continuous shooting
Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 Handling
The SL1000 very much has the look and feel of a DSLR camera. It has a substantial rubberised hand grip and rubber grip for your right hand thumb. The lens barrel is also rubberised, so there's certainly no issues when holding the camera. There is also a hot shoe socket and an electronic viewfinder (EVF) with a dioptre control, which is reasonably bright and is automatically activated when you hold the camera to your eye, but there is also a button to switch between it and the LCD screen.
There is a mode dial on the top of the camera alongside the on / off switch, shutter release, zoom rocker as well as the continuous shooting and exposure control buttons. On the left hand side is a button to raise the flash and a button on the lens barrel which acts as a second way to control the zoom. On the rear of the camera is a rotating wheel for cycling through menu options. This also gives quick access to the flash, self-timer, focusing mode and Fn, which can be customised to set the ISO, image size, image quality, white-balance and more.
The 3 inch LCD screen has a respectable 920k dot resolution and tilts to make it easy to shoot with the camera higher up or lower down. The SL1000 has an improved menu system from previous FinePix cameras, it looks much better and is easy to navigate.
Battery life is rated at 350 shots according to CIPA test results, we were able to take over 500 shots before the battery went flat. We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.
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
Continuous Shooting - H
Continuous Shooting - M
Continuous Shooting - L
Continuous shooting is not available when recording in RAW, but all the continuous shooting modes record in full resolution.
Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 Performance
Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.
Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 Sample Photos
Sample Photos - Portraits have decent skin tones and are free of red-eye. Images are well exposed and have good colour reproduction. The SL1000 creates impressive HDR pictures.
Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 Lens test images
Lens Performance - Detail is good when shooting wide and remains good when using the zoom, even at its full 50x range, although there is purple fringing in contrasting areas. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of just 1cm, this allows for a good, well detailed macro shot to be taken.
Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 ISO test images
ISO Noise Performance - Images are noise free at ISO 100, with a small amount of noise appearing at ISO 200, with slight but steady increases at ISO 400 and 800. Noise causes images to become soft at ISO 1600, which becomes much worse at ISO 3200. At ISO 6400 and ISO 12800 images are extremely noisy, with detail lost and the image size has a reduced resolution at these two settings.
Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 White-balance test images
White Balance Performance - The auto white balance (AWB) handles our studio lighting well. Under the incandescent lights, the incandescent preset also performs well, taking a very similar picture as when using the AWB setting. Under the fluorescent lights, all three fluorescent presets produce a slight colour cast.
180 Panorama | 1/300 sec | f/8.4 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
Panorama mode - Panoramas have a decent amount of detail and are well stitched together.
Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 Digital filters
Digital Filters - The SL1000 packs a range of FinePix colours as well as Advanced Filters which allow you to easily take creative pictures.
Video - Below is a video shot in full 1080p HD. We have uploaded a range of videos to the ePHOTOzine Youtube page. There is an video using the optical zoom and high-speed videos at 120 fps, 240 fps and 480 fps.
Value For Money
The Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 is available for £299.99. Other cameras with a 50x optical zoom lens are the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS at £359.00 and the newly released Sony CyberShot HX300 which is due to be priced around the £419.00 mark. The Nikon Coolpix P520 has 42x optical zoom and is expected to set you back around £399.00 and the Olympus SP-820UZ has 40x, available for £199.99.
Fujifilm have been keen producers of compact cameras with large amounts of zoom at a low price for a while now, the downside is the image quality is not generally all that good. We are pleasantly surprised to find that you can take decent pictures with the SL1000, they even have impressive detail at 50x optical zoom.
When you consider the massive range of features on the camera, its price tag of £299.99 looks quite generous, this is also cheaper than the two other 50x optical zoom cameras available from Sony and Canon. If you want a camera with lots of zoom, the SL1000 is worth considering. Its feature set is comparable to a DSLR, so if you are looking for a camera with DSLR functionality without spending a large sum, again, the SL1000 is an ideal option.
The Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 has an impressive 50x optical zoom lens and image quality is also good.
Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 Pros
Large optical zoom lens
Full manual controls and RAW shooting
Decent electronic viewfinder
Good battery life
Solid SLR style body
Good image quality
Very good value for money
Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 Cons
Images are noisy from ISO 1600 upwards
Purple fringing is common
No RAW continuous shooting