Fujifilm today announced the release of the FinePix S9600, replacement to the critically acclaimed FinePix S9500 and the new flagship in Fujifilm's range of 'prosumer' digital cameras. The new model features carefully considered modifications designed to improve image quality as well as making it easier to use and better performing in low light. Refinements include increased image sharpness, a more generous LCD screen, faster autofocus in low light and improvements to the camera's flash capability. These features combine with existing Fujifilm technologies to result in user-friendliness more usually associated with compact digital cameras, and a performance to challenge entry-level digital SLRs.
An incredibly versatile camera designed for serious hobbyist and enthusiast photographers, the nine megapixel FinePix S9600 features Fujifilm's successful Super CCD HR sensor and Real Photo Processor II, delivering IS0 1600 performance and enabling capture of crisp and clear images even in low light conditions.
Fujinon 10.7x optical zoom lens
The camera's 10.7x (28-300mm 35mm equivalent) zoom lens incorporates aspherical elements that result in a sharper image. The aspherical elements in the lens ensure that the path of light is as precise as possible, which in turn minimises distortion and aberrations. The lens is easily controlled via a manual zoom ring to give pinpoint accuracy when composing images. Furthermore, its fixed housing ensures that users do not have to contend with specks of dust or dirt collecting on the sensor. This can compromise image quality and is a drawback often associated with conventional digital SLRs.
Improved image quality and autofocus
Image quality in the FinePix S9600 has been enhanced through improvements to its processing algorithms, which result in improved image sharpness and resolution. Composition of photographs is made easier with an increased-size two-inch tilting LCD monitor, providing even clearer, flexible shooting at awkward high or low angles. A higher resolution of 230,000-pixels gives greater screen clarity. Composition of photographs using the LCD screen further differentiates the camera from conventional digital SLRs, which rely solely on a viewfinder for composition and make use of the LCD screen for image playback only.
Fujifilm continually strives to achieve better performance in low light. In these conditions, the FinePix S9600 has an autofocus response time that is up to 40 per cent quicker than its predecessor. In addition to the camera's 0.01 second shutter-lag and 0.8 second start-up time, this means that images can be composed and captured almost instantaneously. Combined with Fujifilm's acclaimed high ISO performance, which combats image blur caused by subject movement as well as camera shake, the FinePix S9600's responsiveness makes it an ideal tool for enthusiast photographers looking to photograph fast paced subjects such as those at sporting events or in the wild.
Intelligent Flash system
In another advance on its predecessor, the FinePix S9600 features Fujifilm's Intelligent Flash system, which delivers balanced flash power output. Historically, using flash at night has resulted in unsatisfying backgrounds, be it the black, underexposed appearance of conventional flash or the blurred 'swirl' of slow-sync flash. By comparison, Intelligent Flash means that images captured in low light have not only a blur-free well-exposed background but also natural-looking foreground illumination, free from the stark brightness that can be a by-product of flash photography.
Software and optional accessories
Enthusiast photographers will appreciate the Hyper Utility Software HS-V2 version 3 that is bundled as standard for the first time with the FinePix S9600. This software gives full functionality in RAW file conversion, which enables the photographer to explore the control and flexibility enjoyed when working with a 'lossless' file format.
The FinePix S9600's optional Wide Conversion Lens, WL-FXS6, expands the camera's wide-angle capability without compromising image quality. It allows the extreme angles of view normally only available with changeable lenses on an SLR camera. Also available is an optional premium leather case.
The camera comes with shoulder strap, USB and A/V cables, Lens cap and hood and, in addition to the new Hyper Utility Software, also comes with USB driver, FinePix Viewer ImageMixer VCD2 for FinePix and RAW File Converter LE.
Adrian Clarke, Fujifilm's Director of Photo Products, said: "Digital SLRs are steadily dropping in price, which has increasingly made them an option for non-professional photographers. However, this affordability does not necessarily mean they are the best choice of camera, especially if the photographer is used to the flexibility and convenience that compact digital cameras can offer. The FinePix S9600 fills the gap between two worlds by combining the usability of a compact with performance that can challenge an entry-level digital SLR."
FinePix S9600 features at a glance:
- Super CCD HR sensor delivering nine million effective pixels
- Real Photo Processor II reduces noise and delivers enhanced colour reproduction
- New Fujinon 10.7x (28-300mm) fixed optical zoom lens with manual twist barrel control
- Sensitivity setting of ISO 1600 at full resolution for low light photography with reduced noise
- Low sensitivity of ISO 80 for ultra-high quality photography
- Ultra-fast response times (0.01 second shutter lag and 0.8 second start-up)
- Improved autofocus response time in low light conditions
- Improved image processing algorithms resulting in increased image sharpness and resolution
- Intelligent Flash system
- 2.0" (230,000 pixel) tilting LCD screen for easy high and low angle shooting
- Hyper Utility Software HS-V2 version 3 for RAW format shooting
- Real-time histogram to assist exposure settings before shooting
- Highlight Warning feature for displaying highlight areas in playback
- TV-quality VGA movie recording of 30 frames per second with sound
- Closed unit design to eliminate dust accumulation on the CCD
- Hotshoe and PC sync terminal
- Both xD-Picture Card(tm) and Compact Flash(tm)/Microdrive compatible
- PictBridge(tm) compatible for direct printing without a PC