Fujifilm FinePix S1 Review

Daniel Bell reviews the Fujifilm FinePix S1 - a bridge camera with 50x optical zoom, Wi-Fi and a range of advanced filters for creativity photography.

| Fujifilm FinePix S1 in Compact Cameras

Fujifilm FinePix S1 Review: Fujifilm FinePix S1 Bridge Camera (8)

The Fujifilm FinePix S1 is a weather resistant 50x optical zoom bridge camera. Other features include Wi-Fi for easy sharing and remote shooting, a rotating LCD screen, full manual controls and RAW shooting. The Fujifilm FinePix S1 is available for £399.99.

Fujifilm FinePix S1 Review: Fujifilm FinePix S1 Bridge Camera (5)

Fujifilm FinePix S1 Features

The Fujifilm FinePix S1 has a 16.4 megapixel CMOS sensor and a 50x optical zoom lens, which is a 35mm equivalent of 24-1200mm. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of just 1cm and has 3.0 stop optical image stabilisation to help take the sharpest shots possible. Continuous shooting records a maximum 9 full resolution images at 10 fps. The S1 is weather resistant and dustproof. As well as the 3.0 inch LCD screen there is a 0.2 inch electronic viewfinder which has a 920k dot resolution.
To make picture taking simple there is an Auto mode. There are also plenty of scene modes as well as full manual controls and RAW shooting. There are a number of creative shooting modes with advanced filters and interval shooting for time-lapse photography. The advanced filters include Toy Camera, Miniature, Pop Colour, Soft Focus, Cross Screen, Partial Colour, High Key, Low-Key, Dynamic Tone and Fish-Eye. The S1 can also shoot 360 panoramas and HDR images, with three shots combined at different exposures.
The camera has built-in Wi-Fi which allows you to transfer images wirelessly to a smartphone or tablet using the Fujifilm Camera Remote app and can also be used to save pictures wirelessly to your PC. The app also allows your smartphone to remotely control the camera. You can activate the shutter and adjust the zoom.
Videos are recorded in full 1080p HD at 60 fps with stereo sound and can be connected to a HD TV using a HDMI cable. You can use the optical zoom during recording and there is 5-axis image stabilisation to reduce shake. High-speed movies can also be recorded at 480 fps (240 x 180 pixels), 240 fps (320 x 240 pixels) and 120 fps (640 x 480 pixels).

Fujifilm FinePix S1 Review: Fujifilm FinePix S1 Bridge Camera (9)

Key Features

  • 16.4 megapixel CMOS sensor
  • 50x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 24-1200mm)
  • Optical image stabilisation
  • 3.0 inch 920k dot LCD screen
  • 0.2 inch 920k dot LCD viewfinder
  • Full manual controls and RAW shooting
  • Wi-Fi sharing and remote smartphone control
  • Full 1080p HD video recording with stereo sound
  • ISO 100 - 12800
  • 1cm minimum focusing distance
  • 360° motion panorama mode
  • 10 fps continuous shooting
Fujifilm FinePix S1 Review: Fujifilm FinePix S1 Bridge Camera (11)

Fujifilm FinePix S1 Handling

As you'd expect with a bridge camera, the Fujifilm FinePix S1 has the look of a DSLR camera. It has a good sized rubber handgrip and a large rubber patch on the rear for your thumb. The lens barrel has a band of rubber around it which also aids grip. Also on the lens barrel is a zoom lever and the zoom assist button which helps recompose your images by quickly zooming out and back in again.

On the top of the camera are the self-timer, continuous shooting and on / off buttons as well as the zoom rocker, shutter release and mode dial. Just down from the mode dial is the button which switches between the LCD screen and EVF. There is also the wheel for adjusting the shutter speed and aperture when in the relevant mode. The pop-up flash also has a button to activate it.

Buttons on the rear of the camera include movie record, playback, display and Wi-Fi. There is a d-pad for using the menu - the menu button is in the centre and the d-pad also gives access to the self-timer, flash, macro mode and function. The function button can be changed between a number of settings such as ISO, image quality, white balance and more. The menu system is clearly laid out and easy to use.

Fujifilm FinePix S1 Review: Fujifilm Finepix S1 App Screenshot 2 Fujifilm FinePix S1 Review: Fujifilm Finepix S1 App Screenshot 3 Fujifilm FinePix S1 Review: Fujifilm Finepix S1 App Screenshot 4

The 3.0 inch screen has an excellent 920k dot resolution and can be rotated to any angle and when not in use can be turned around so it won't get scratched. When in this position the EVF is automatically switched on. The EVF is bright and also has an excellent 920k dot resolution. It also has a dioptre wheel for users with eyesight problems. 

Prior to connecting to the Wi-Fi you need to download the Fujifilm camera app, then switch the camera on and hit the Wi-Fi button. Then you connect to the Wi-Fi via your smartphone or tablet and go to the app. The app is easy to use, but if you go to remote control, then want to switch to image transfer you need to reconnect each time, which is rather frustrating.

Battery life is rated at 350 shots according to CIPA test results, which is excellent for a bridge camera. 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.

Shutter Response   0.09 secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.2 secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.6 secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   1.5 secs
Shot to Shot without Flash   0.7 secs
Shot to Shot with Flash   1.5 secs
Continuous Shooting - H   8.4 fps
Continuous Shooting - M   5.1 fps
Continuous Shooting - L   3.0 fps

All the continuous shooting modes record in full 16.4 megapixel resolution, but you can't shoot in RAW or with the flash.

Fujifilm FinePix S1 Review: Fujifilm FinePix S1 Bridge Camera (13)

Fujifilm FinePix S1 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 S1 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - The Fujifilm FinePix S1 produces well exposed images with decent colour reproduction, although saturation could be better. To improve saturation, you could opt to shoot with the Chrome filter. Portrait shots have good skin tones and are free of red-eye when using the flash. HDR images are combined by the camera with good results.

Fujifilm FinePix S1 Lens test images

Lens Performance - Image quality isn't all that good at both ends of the lens, rather than poor optics, it appears that images are heavily processed by the camera, leading to smudged details. Purple fringing is quite strong in contrasting areas of the image. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of just 1cm, allowing for a decent macro shot.

Fujifilm FinePix S1 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - Noise is low and doesn't impact on image quality at ISO 100, 200, 400 and 800. At ISO 1600 images become a little soft and are softer still at ISO 3200. There is plenty of detail missing at ISO 6400 and ISO 12800, but image size is limited to 8 and 4 megapixels respectively.

Fujifilm FinePix S1 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Under the incandescent lights the Auto White Balance (AWB) takes an image with a slight colour cast, the incandescent preset performs much better. Under the fluorescent lights the AWB takes an excellent picture with a very slight colour cast when using the fluorescent preset.

Fujifilm FinePix S1 Review: 120 Panorama | 1/950 sec | f/3.2 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
120 Panorama | 1/950 sec | f/3.2 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100

Fujifilm FinePix S1 Review: 180 Panorama | 1/850 sec | f/3.6 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
180 Panorama | 1/850 sec | f/3.6 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100

Fujifilm FinePix S1 Review: 360 Panorama | 1/900 sec | f/3.6 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
360 Panorama | 1/900 sec | f/3.6 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100

Panorama mode - Panorama images have a decent amount of detail and the S1 does a good job of stitching the images together.

Fujifilm FinePix S1 Digital filters

Digital Filters - The Fujifilm FinePix S1 has a good number of colour modes and digital filters for unique pictures, there are a number of examples above.

Video - Below is a video recorded in full 1080p HD. Quality is good and the focus does an excellent job when zooming in and out, although the noise of the zoom is picked up and is quite loud.

Value For Money

The Fujifilm FinePix S1 is available for £399.99. There are a handful of cameras now available with 50x optical zoom, these include the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS at £335, Sony Cybershot HX400 at £425 and the Olympus Stylus SP-100EE at £350. There are also some 60x optical zoom cameras - the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ72 at £279 and Nikon Coolpix P600 at £380.

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Fujifilm FinePix S1 Verdict

The Fujifilm FinePix S1 is a feature packed bridge camera. The feature which will draw many potential buyers is the 50x optical zoom lens as well as Wi-Fi and the weather resistant body. It's an ideal camera for going out in any weather while travelling and then share your pictures to a smartphone or tablet, ready for uploading to the web. It's good that the S1 is geared towards sharing on the web because image quality is disappointing when viewing images at full size, so not ideal for great prints. It is a touch on the expensive side, but if you're happy with the image quality on offer here, the rest of the camera features more than make up and therefore is a camera we're happy to recommend.

Fujifilm FinePix S1 Review:  
  The Fujifilm FinePix is feature packed and has a superb, well-built body.


Fujifilm FinePix S1 Pros

50x optical zoom
Well-built and weather resistant
Excellent battery life
High resolution screen and electronic viewfinder
Advanced filters great for unique pictures

Fujifilm FinePix S1 Cons

Disappointing image quality
Using the Wi-Fi can be a frustrating experience
A little expensive


Fujifilm FinePix S1 Specifications

Max Aperturef/2.8 - f/5.6
35mm equivalent24mm - 1200mm
Optical Zoom50x
Image Sensor
Pixels16.4Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor Size1/2.3 inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3.2in
Screen resolution920k dots
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus1cm
Focusing modes
  • Manual
  • AF Tracking
  • Multi
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest1/4sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • A
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
  • ESP Light Metering
ISO sensitivity100 - 12800
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting10fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS60
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLi-ion battery NP-85
Battery Life (CIPA rating)350shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsLi-ion battery NP-85, AC adapter AC-5VT, Plug adapter, USB cable, Hot shoe cover, Shoulder strap, Lens cap and Lens cap cord, CD-ROM and Owner's manual

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Photographs taken using the Fujifilm FinePix S1

TwitterFood ,so scarceOld millKing of the Arctic.Failed dreamsWater hole reflectionPoor people's choiceShades of beautyTea BreakBare foot shepherdSleepy  JackalRent a DuckPolar  BearSleeping barrowIndonesia

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sasan Avatar
sasan 10 36 England
19 Mar 2014 6:46AM
In fuji bridge cams sl1000 is better.This one is not bad but when we decide to buy something often our pocket is the dealWink
MrScott Avatar
MrScott 10 United Kingdom
21 Nov 2014 7:58AM
Shoot in RAW, and the image quality improves - can reduce the noise reduction ( detail loss) and sharpening.
Nigeltraveller Avatar
Have had 2 Fuji S1 ,first one had the zoom lever seize in Madagascar ,irritating on this one off trip to see lemurs ,Fuji replaced on return,then whilst in Malaysia the same thing happened and I have to remove battery to switch off .photos etc excellent ,but this fault is infuriating ,now have to get another camera and drag this one around until back in UK.Sad

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