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Fujifilm FinePix S2950 Digital Camera Review

Daniel Bell tests the performance of the 18x optical zoom Fujifilm FinePix S2950.

|  Fujifilm FinePix S2950 in Compact Cameras
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Fujifilm FinePix S2950 front lens

The FinePix S2950 was added to Fujifilm's range of S-Series long-zoom range of bridge cameras in January 2011. If you are looking for a camera with a large amount of optical zoom, Fujifilm have plenty to offer. The new HS20 replaces the HS10 and has 30x optical zoom, and 16Mp EXR CMOS sensor. In the S range there is the S4000 with 30x optical zoom, the S3200 with 24x, the S1950, S1850, S1800 and S2800HD with 18x and lastly the S1730 and S1700 with 15x. Available in black, the S2950 is available to order now for £169.00.

Fujifilm FinePix S2950 front with flash up

Fujifilm FinePix S2950: Features

The S2950 has an 18x Fujinon optical zoom lens, 14 megapixel sensor and 3.0in LCD screen. The lens is a 35mm equivalent of 28mm – 504mm and operated using an electric powered zoom lever, which can even be operated during video recording.

When using the lens at its longest or in the dark the camera helps to produce sharp images with a mechanically stabilised sensor, high ISO sensitivity and Dual Image Stabilisation technology. To take panoramic images the camera takes three consecutive shots, releasing the shutter automatically and stitches them together.

The S2950 is HD enabled and can playback HD pictures and videos on a HDTV via a HDMI cable, although this is not supplied with the camera.

Other features include Smile and Shoot mode, easy web uploading and the ability to select images in-camera to add to a photobook. Smile and Shoot mode release the shutter automatically when your subject smiles and the Blink Detection function will let you know if your subject has blinked so you can retake the photo. Pictures and videos can be tagged for uploading to FaceBook and YouTube via a PC and My FinePix Studio.

Fujifilm FinePix S2950 rear

Key Features:

  • 14 Megapixel CCD sensor
  • Fujinon 18x optical zoom (35mm equivalent: 28-504mm)
  • 3.0in LCD screen, 230K dot resolution
  • EVF, 200K dot resolution
  • Easy web upload to Facebook and YouTube
  • HD stills (Full HD) and 720p HD movie capture (30fps)
  • HDMI mini port
  • Up to ISO6400 (at reduced resolution)
  • Face Detection with Blink Detection and Smile and Shoot mode
  • SR Auto (Scene Recognition Auto)
  • Full Manual Controls
  • AF Tracking
  • Motion Panorama mode
  • Powered by 4x AA batteries
Fujifilm FinePix S2950 top

Fujifilm FinePix S2950: Handling

The camera feels remarking small in the hand considering its large lens, but it's not small enough to carry in your pocket. It is well built with rubber grips for your right hand's fingers and thumb. The buttons are conveniently laid out and easy to press. There are dedicated buttons for Face Detection, Continuous Shooting and the Electronic View Finder.

The EVF is bright, clear and will appeal to those who like the traditional way of shooting rather than using the screen on the rear. The cameras menus are really easy to navigate and shouldn't prove a challenge for those who are used to compact cameras.

The camera is ready to take pictures within a couple of seconds of switching on and can zoom from one end of the lens to another in around three seconds. There are various methods of continuous shooting on the S2950. Top 3 takes up to three pictures when the shutter is pressed, final three takes up to 40 pictures but only the last three are recorded, long period takes as many as possible until the memoney is full. Top 10 takes 10 pictures when the shutter is pressed, top 20 takes 20 and AE BKT takes three shots each time the shutter is pressed. One shot is taken using the metered value for exposure, one under exposed and one over exposed by the amount set in the shooting menu.

Using the AA batteries provided the S2950 is capable of shooting approximately 300 images but if you require your batteries to last longer then Ni-MH batteries are capable of approximately 500 images and Lithium batteries are capable of approximately 700 shots.

Fujifilm FinePix S2950 battery compartment

Fujifilm FinePix S2950: Performance

The S2950 takes good pictures that are well exposed and colours are reproduced faithfully. Performance at both ends of the lens is impressive with plenty of detail retained throughout with no sign of lens flare, purple fringing or chromatic aberrations. When using both digital and optical zoom the camera takes pictures that look great for use on the web but are not suitable for large prints. Using Super Macro mode the camera can focus as close as 2cm which leads to pleasing close-up images.

Fujifilm FinePix S2950 Wide-angle   Fujifilm FinePix S2950 Full optical zoom
Wide-angle, ISO100, 1/194, f/6.4, 5mm (35mm equiv: 28mm)   Full optical zoom, ISO100, 1/169, f/5.6, 90mm (35mm equiv: 504mm)
Fujifilm FinePix S2950 Full digital zoom   Fujifilm FinePix S2950 Macro
Full digital zoom, ISO100, 1/119, f/5.6, 90mm (35mm equiv: 504mm) (digital zoom equivalent to 603mm, 35mm: 3377mm)   Macro, ISO64, 1/446, f/6.4, 5mm (35mm equiv: 28mm)

The S2950 panoramic mode is excellent at stitching together the pictures taken and it is impossible to see where they have been joined. The whole process is made extremely easy with fantastic results.

Fujifilm FinePix S2950 Panoramic mode
Panoramic mode, ISO64, 1/137, f/6.4, 5mm (35mm equiv: 28mm)

Noise is not noticeable at ISO64 and ISO100 but it is starting to creep in at ISO200. Noise isn't too bad at ISO400 but some detail is starting to get lost. At ISO800 noise is very clear, with it getting worse at ISO1600 but images remain quite sharp. As expected at ISO3200 and ISO6400, noise is pretty bad, the image size is limited to 3Mb, with images produced here best used on the web.

Fujifilm FinePix S2950 ISO64 Fujifilm FinePix S2950 ISO100 Fujifilm FinePix S2950 ISO200 Fujifilm FinePix S2950 ISO400
ISO64, 1/4, f/5, 25mm (35mm equiv: 140mm) ISO100, 1/6, f/5, 25mm (35mm equiv: 140mm) ISO200, 1/12, f/5, 25mm (35mm equiv: 140mm) ISO400, 1/20, f/5, 25mm (35mm equiv: 140mm)
Fujifilm FinePix S2950 ISO800 Fujifilm FinePix S2950 ISO1600 Fujifilm FinePix S2950 ISO3200 Fujifilm FinePix S2950 ISO6400
ISO800, 1/45, f/5, 25mm (35mm equiv: 140mm) ISO1600, 1/91, f/5, 25mm (35mm equiv: 140mm) ISO3200, 1/180, f/5, 25mm (35mm equiv: 140mm) ISO6400, 1/91, f/10, 25mm (35mm equiv: 140mm)

Here are some sample pictures taken with the S2950.

Fujifilm FinePix S2950 portrait with flash Portrait with flash   Fujifilm FinePix S2950 sun in shot Sun in shot
Portrait with flash, ISO100, 1/64, f/4.4, 15mm (35mm equiv: 84mm)   Sun in shot, ISO64, 1/446, f/6.4, 5mm (35mm equiv: 28mm)
Fujifilm FinePix S2950 pet detection mode Pet portrait   Fujifilm FinePix S2950 beach mode
Pet portrait, ISO64, 1/181, f/8, 12mm (35mm equiv: 67mm)   Beach mode, ISO64, 1/150, f/8, 12mm (35mm equiv: 67mm)

Auto white-balance does a good job and under our lighting setups in the studio, both fluorescent and incandescent the respective presets don't improve on the AWB setting.

Fujifilm FinePix S2950 Auto White Balance - Incandescent Lighting   Fujifilm FinePix S2950 Preset Incandescent WB - Incandescent Light
Auto White Balance - Incandescent Lighting, ISO100, 1/16, f/3.8, 9mm (35mm equiv: 50mm)   Preset Incandescent WB - Incandescent Light, ISO100, 1/17, f/3.8, 9mm (35mm equiv: 50mm)
Fujifilm FinePix S2950 Auto White Balance - Fluorescent Light   Fujifilm FinePix S2950 Fluorescent White Balance - Fluorescent Light
Auto White Balance - Fluorescent Light, ISO100, 1/5, f/3.8, 9mm (35mm equiv: 50mm)   Fluorescent White Balance - Fluorescent Light, ISO100, 1/5, f/3.8, 9mm (35mm equiv: 50mm)

Video Mode

The S2950 can shoot HD videos at 1280 x 720 pixels, as well as 640 x 480 pixels and 320 x240 pixels VGAs, all at 30fps. Digital zoom can be used during recording, shooting at 3x the zoom the camera is set at before recording, for example, if the camera is at 9.6x and the shutter button is pressed, the zoom can reach up to 28.8x. Sadly it's not optical zoom and it skips from each stage rather than being smooth. For a test video using the zoom please visit the ePHOTOzine YouTube page.

Value For Money

The S2950 is currently priced at £169. Fujifilm has released other cameras with 18x optical zoom such as the S2800HD at £164.00 and S1800 at £136.99, with 14Mp and 12Mp sensors respectively. The 2800HD is very similar in many ways, the S2950 is smaller and has a higher resolution LCD screen. The Nikon Coolpix S9100 is priced at £244.99 with 18x optical zoom but is a much slimmer design. If you fancy even more optical zoom, the Olympus SP-610UZ has 22x and is priced at £159.00.

Fujifilm FinePix S2950: Verdict

The S2950 packs plenty of features, such as an electronic viewfinder, manual controls and large optical zoom which all combine to take pleasing pictures with ease. Noise performance above IS0400 isn't great and the zoom on videos is a let down. Overall the S2950 is a good introduction to compacts with large zooms or those who want an SLR style camera without the bulky size and bag of lenses all at a much lower price.

Fujifilm FinePix S2950: Pros

Lots of zoom
Good value for money
Lots of features
Panoramic mode
Manual controls
HDMI connection to HD TV

Fujifilm FinePix S2950: Cons

Noise performance from ISO800 upwards isn't great
No optical zoom on videos


Fujifilm FinePix S2950: Specification

Price £169
Optical zoom 18x optical zoom, 5 - 90mm (28 - 504mm in 35mm equiv.), f/3.1 - 6.4
Resolution 14.0 Megapixels
Sensor size 1/2.3in
Sensor type CCD
Max image size 4288 x 3216
Aspect ratio 4:3
Focusing system Single AF / Continuous AF (SR AUTO, Movie)
Focus points Centre, Multi, Area, Tracking
Focus type TTL contrast AF, AF assist illuminator available
Focus distance Super macro: 2cm
File types JPEG
ISO sensitivity ISO100 - 6400
Metering system TTL 256-zones metering; Spot, Multi, Average
Metering types Programmed AE, Shutter Priority AE, Aperture Priority AE, Manual exposure
Exposure compensation 1/3 EV step, +/-2 EV
Shutter speed range 8 - 1/2000 sec
Frames-per-second L : TOP-3 1.2 fps
M :TOP-10 3.3fps
S : TOP-10 3.3fps, TOP-20 8fps
Image stabilisation CCD-shift type
Electronic Viewfinder 0.2in Colour LCD, approx. 200,000 dots
Movie mode 1280 x 720 pixels (30fps)
640 x 480 pixels (30fps)
320 x240 pixels (30fps)
Monitor 3.0in TFT Colour LCD approx. 230,000 dots
Media type SD / SDHC
Interface USB 2.0 High-Speed
HD output
HDMI Mini connector
Power 4x AA batteries
Box Contents 4x AA type alkaline batteries
Shoulder strap
USB-A/V cable
Lens cap and Lens cap cord
Owner's manual
Size 110.2 × 73.4 × 81.4mm
Weight Approx. 437g with Battery and SD Memory Card

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Photographs taken using the Fujifilm Fujifilm FinePix S2950

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M_Jamal 11 Egypt
1 May 2011 7:20PM
It's great review...thank you very much

I have a question..
i'm from egypt, and s2950 isn't available yet, it will be here soon
abyway, Fujifilm FinePix S1800 is available and it's cheaper than s2950, when i searched all the difference between them i got is the iso boost is up to 6400 in 2950 but in 1800 is only up to 3200
and s2950 is 14 megapixel but s1800 is only 12 megapixel , and honestly i don't care about those two things that much
is there anything else that makes s2950 is better than s1800 ?

thank you Smile
8 May 2011 5:10PM
Thanks for the review, but I don't understand your comments about no optical zoom when shooting video. Seems to me that you had digital zoom selected in the setup menu and not optical?...

The only problem I find with video optical zooming is the sound of the zoom mechanism being picked up by the microphone.
Krizzy 11 Wales
2 Jun 2011 10:14AM
I originally had an s2800 and the noise of the zoom mechanism when videoing was awful - it made videoing a complete and utter waste of time. Due to this 'fault' my dealer exchanged the camera for an s2950 and there is no annoying sound on the video at all.

I love my s2950. I'm only a beginner, but I think it takes very clear photos, even at maximum zoom. It is so much lighter to carry around than my husband's SLR and with no lenses to change it's great. I also have a tiny compact camera and, although this fits inside my pocket making it very convenient, the feel of it is just not right. Although much larger in comparison, the s2950 just fits into my hands and is very comfortable to hold.
2 Oct 2011 2:13PM
What is the digital zoom equivalent for a 50mm lens on 35mm film?
Pete 21 18.8k 97 England
2 Oct 2011 11:51PM

Quote:What is the digital zoom equivalent for a 50mm lens on 35mm film?

On this camera it's about 9mm
3 Oct 2011 11:34AM
Thank you. How do i determine when it is at 9mm. I have digital zoom turned off, but optical zoom doesn't make sense. I don't see anything that indicates 9mm.
3 May 2012 5:13PM
I just got the finepix s2950
The only thing i will tell you is the Battery warning light is hope less.
Comes on within a day telling you low battery.
But batterys are fine when tested.???
2 Jun 2012 6:41PM
Been using the finepix s 2950 for a bit now
its video is very good.
But the pix are rubbish 14mp more like 2mp
looks good but is rubbish.
200 for rubbish
never buy again. fine pix what fine pix.
sir_hammer 10 17 Canada
17 Nov 2012 1:59PM
I really enjoy my S2950, it may not be a professional grade camera but for the amateur like myself I find it is a great upgrade from the point and shoot cameras. I recommend it.

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