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Fujifilm Finepix S2500HD Digital Camera Review

A budget-priced 12 megapixel bridge camera with high definition video recording capabilities and an 18x zoom lens.

|  Fujifilm Finepix S2500HD in Compact Cameras
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ePHOTOzine verdict and ratings

Fujifilm Finepix S2500HD: Click on the thumbnail for the larger image.
Gary Wolstenholme takes a look at Fujifilm's latest reasonably-priced 18x super-zoom bridge camera.

Fuji's S2500HD sits in the middle of their range of super-zoom bridge cameras, offering 12 megapixel resolution, and 18x zoom lens, Dual Image Stabilisation and HD video recording with HDMI connectivity for a shade under £170. The camera is aimed at the more casual photographer who may be after some of the functionality of an SLR-type camera, but without the weight and more importantly cost of a full-blown SLR system.

Fujifilm Finepix S2500HD: Features
An 18x zoom lens makes up most of the bulk of Fuji's S2500HD, covering a very useful range equivalent to 27-420mm on a 35mm camera. That's quite a useful wide-angle for when you're faced with shooting in a tight spot, and an equally useful super-telephoto for isolating distant subjects. Weighing in at 337g, the camera is also very lightweight for a camera of this type, allowing it to be carted about all day without so much of a twinge of shoulder fatigue. Due to the design, and size of the 18x zoom lens, I wouldn't describe the camera as pocketable though, that is unless you have very large pockets.

A three inch TFT LCD screen fills much of the rear of the camera, and just above that is the electronic viewfinder, which is handy for when it's too bright to see the screen, or for when you want that extra bit of stability you get holding the camera to your eye. To aid the taking of sharp pictures, the S2500HD comes equipped with Fuji's Dual Image Stabilisation system, which uses CCD-shift technology and higher ISO sensitivities to ensure camera shake doesn't ruin your images, especially when using the longer end of the zoom.

Fujifilm Finepix S2500HD Key features: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
The 18x zoom lens covers a range equivalent to 27-420mm on a 35mm camera. The 3.0inch TFT LCD screen fills much of the rear.
A control dial on top allows you to quickly switch between automatic and creative manual modes. Four AA batteries supply power for this camera, which means you can pick up spares virtually anywhere if you're caught short.

Power is provided by four AA batteries, which add a fair bit of weight to the camera depending on the type used. The advantage of this system is that you can obtain spares virtually anywhere if you are short of power. Battery life seemed fairly respectable using the alkaline cells supplied, but the cost may mount up if the the camera is used extensively using these batteries. Those using the camera regularly may want to invest in some high-capacity NiMh rechargeable batteries, or some low self discharge types such as Sanyo Eneloop, or Uniross Hybrio.

Along with the usual Face Detection technology we've become accustomed to, the S2500HD sports Blink Detection and a new Smile and Shoot mode, which will only take a picture when someone is smiling. A panoramic shooting mode, which automatically stitches your images together takes care of time when the 27mm wide angle just isn't enough and ISO sensitivities up to ISO6400 are available to allow shooting without the flash in low-light conditions.

Fujifilm Finepix S2500HD: Handling
Amongst the first things to strike me about the S2500HD is how good it feels in the hand. A deep rubberised finger grip provides a firm grip of the body, which in turn helps with keeping the camera steady.

The build quality is good for its price point, with the body being made of high quality plastics, finished with a texture that shouldn't show marks too easily. Small silver accents on the control dial, zoom control and rear menu control all add to the quality feel.

All the controls feel very natural to use, with most being within easy access of index finger or thumb. Using the camera one-handed feels very natural indeed, although I would recommend using your left hand to support the camera, especially in low-light, or when using the long end of the zoom.

Fujifilm Finepix S2500HD: Performance
In use I found the S2500HD to be very responsive, focusing quickly in most circumstances, especially when the face detection system is active. However I did find the autofocus performance would drop off a little as the lens is zoomed in, sometimes taking a couple of seconds to lock onto a subject at the zoom's full extent. Moving subjects are even more tricky to deal with at the telephoto end of the zoom, but not impossible.

The exposure system copes well with evenly lit scenes, producing well-balanced exposures. In higher contrast situations I find the exposure system copes less well, especially in images with a fair amount of bright sky in them. In these conditions the camera tends to favour keeping details in the highlights, which often results in dull-looking underexposed images.

Even without setting the S2500HD to a high colour saturation mode, primary and secondary colours are reproduced vividly, giving images a punchy look. Skin tones and pastel colours are reproduced faithfully. The 12 megapixel sensor is capable of recording a decent amount of detail in ideal conditions. Images appear sharp from edge to edge and should be suitable for large reproduction.

Fujifilm Finepix S2500HD Performance: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
The exposure system seems to prefer to retain detail in highlights, which can lead to images with large bright areas looking a little dull and underexposed. Primary and secondary colours are vividly reproduced.
Focusing on this squirrel was tricky. I missed several opportunities where the autofocus couldn't keep up. The super-macro function allows you to get within 2cm of your subject at the widest zoom setting.

ISO and noise performance
The ISO performance of the S2500HD is about average for a camera of this type at this price point. There is no significant noise at settings up to ISO200. At these settings images are plenty sharp enough in most cases and should be suitable for enlargement.

At ISO400 there still isn't much noise present but the noise reduction system reduces colour saturation and smooths over fine detail. As the sensitivity is increased the level of noise becomes more apparent and more detail is smoothed over by the camera's noise reduction system. Images taken up to ISO800 should be suitable for sharing at small sizes on the web, but the noise levels and lack of detail will be apparent in prints of almost any size. At the maximum ISO setting the noise reduction has reduced colour saturation so much that the outdoor test image almost looks like a toned black and white photograph, with grain the size of golf balls. I'd only recommend using this setting as a last resort.

Fujifilm Finepix S2500HD Outdoor ISO speed test: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
ISO64 ISO100 ISO200 ISO400
ISO800 ISO1600 ISO3200 ISO6400

Fujifilm Finepix S2500HD Test chart ISO speed test: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
ISO64 ISO100 ISO200 ISO400
ISO800 ISO1600 ISO3200 ISO6400

Under either incandescent or fluorescent lighting, the Auto White Balance system works reasonably well, leaving a slight colour cast in each situation. Using the incandescent preset under the appropriate lighting conditions doesn't lead to more accurate colour under the conditions in our studio, but the fluorescent preset is well-matched to the warm white fluorescents we have in there.

Fujifilm Finepix S2500HD White-balance test: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
Auto white-balance in incandescent lighting Auto white-balance in fluorescent lighting
Incandescent preset in incandescent lighting Fluorescent preset in fluorescent lighting

Buffer read/write times
The delay from shot to shot took an average of 2.4seconds with a class 6 SDHC card, which isn't the fastest I've tested, but shouldn't cause most people too many problems. A variety of continuous shooting options are available, most of which will allow three full resolution images to be saved to the card. An ultra high speed shooting mode is also available, which takes a burst of 20 shots in around two seconds, although to use this mode the resolution is reduced to around three megapixels.

Lens performance
The 18x zoom lens performed well during testing, producing images with adequate sharpness and contrast, with little flare ghosting and only minor signs of chromatic aberrations in very high contrast situations.

The 18x zoom covers a very useful range equivalent to 27-420mm on a 35mm camera, which is ideal for a range of subjects, and especially for travel where you can never be sure what focal length will be ideal.

Fujifilm Finepix S2500HD Lens quality: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
At it's widest the 18x zoom lens is ideal for capturing a wide view of the scene. Even with the harsh backlighting, there is no flare and only a little colour fringing around high contrast areas.
Fine detail is rendered well by the 18x zoom lens. The 420mm equivalent telephoto is great for isolating distant subjects.

Fujifilm Finepix S2500HD: Verdict
For the price, Fuji's S2500HD is a very well featured camera indeed. The 18x zoom lens, creative manual and easy to use automatic features should suit a wide range of people.

Some features could be improved such as the ISO performance, but if you are the kind of photographer who takes many of their images in good light on holiday, this shouldn't pose too many issues for you. Other than that the image stabilisation, face detection large zoom range, relatively compact size and keen price should ensure this camera pleases much of its target audience.

Fujifilm Finepix S2500HD: Pros
Large zoom range
Relatively compact and lightweight
Good build quality
Good image quality at low sensitivities
Image stabilisation
Large LCD screen and electronic viewfinder.

Fujifilm Finepix S2500HD: Cons
Poor quality at high sensitivities
Lacklustre AF speed at maximum telephoto


Fujifilm Finepix S2500HD: Specification
Price £170.00
What comes in the box Strap, 4x Alkaline Batteries, Software, Manual
Lens 5.0 - 75.0mm, equivalent to 28 - 420mm on a 35mm camera, Maximum aperture f/3.1-f/5.6
Resolution 12.2Mp
Sensor size 1/2.3-inch
Max. Image size 4000x3000
Aspect ratio 4:3
LCD monitor size 3.0inch
Electronic viewfinder Approx 97% field coverage for shooting and 100% coverage for playback.
Focusing modes Single AF, Continuous AF
File types JPEG
ISO sensitivity ISO64-6400
Metering modes Single AF, Continuous AF SR AUTO, Auto, P, S, A, M, Custom, Movie, Panorama, SP SP: Portrait, Landscape, Sport, Night, Night (Tripod), Fireworks, Sunset, Snow, Natural Light, Natural Light & with Flash, Beach, Party, Flower, Text, Smile, Zoom Bracketing
White-balance Fine, Shade, Fluorescent light (Daylight), Fluorescent light (Warm White), Fluorescent light (Cool White), Incandescent light, Custom
Exposure compensation +/- 2EV
Shutter speed range 1/2000-8secs
Anti-shake mode Dual Image Stabilisation
Movie mode HD Video Recording
Monitor 3.0-inch, approx. 230,000 dots, color LCD monitor
Media type SD, SDHC
Interface USB, HDMI
Power 4x AA batteries
Size (wxdxl) 4.3 x 2.9 x 3.2 inches
Weight 337g

The Fujifilm Finepix S2500HD costs £170 and is available from Warehouse Express here:

Fujifilm Finepix S2500HD

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Photographs taken using the Fujifilm Fujifilm Finepix S2500HD

Indian Vulture portraitSteel Band DrummerYorkshire Dales FarmsteadAutumnGrey HeronChameleonTower Bridge

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