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: 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.
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
Motion Panorama mode
Powered by 4x AA batteries
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: 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.
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.
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)
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.
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)
Pet portrait, ISO64, 1/181, f/8, 12mm (35mm equiv: 67mm)
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
HDMI connection to HD TV
Fujifilm FinePix S2950: Cons
Noise performance from ISO800 upwards isn't great
No optical zoom on videos