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Fujifilm FinePix SL300 Digital Camera Review

Daniel Bell reviews the Fujifilm FinePix SL300, a bridge camera with a large 30x optical zoom lens.

|  Fujifilm FinePix SL300 in Compact Cameras
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Fujifilm Finepix Sl300 With Lens Cap

The FinePix SL300, announced in January 2012, is a bridge camera from Fujifilm, with a massive 30x optical zoom lens. It also has a 14 megapixel sensor, 300 shot battery and it is available now, in black, for £234.

Fujifilm Finepix Sl300 Lens Extended

Fujifilm FinePix SL300 Features

The SL300 has a 14 megapixel sensor and 30x optical zoom lens, a 35mm equivalent of 24-720mmm making it ideal for wide landscapes and zoomed in close-ups. The lens elements have been treat with multilayer Super EBC to reduce ghosting and lens flare. The lens also has a 45 step electronic powered zoom, making it easier to frame each shot with accuracy. When in Super Macro mode, the minimum focusing distance is 2cm. To help take sharp pictures, there is CCD-shift image stabilisation.

As well as auto mode, there is custom, manual, aperture priority, shutter priority and Program modes, as well as 6 Scene Recognition Auto, which chooses from Portrait, Landscape, Night, Macro, Night Portrait and Backlit Portrait. Other scene modes can be chosen, which includes Natural Light, Portrait, Baby Mode, Smile & Shoot, Landscape, Sport, Night, Night (Tripod), Fireworks, Sunset, Snow, Beach, Party, Flower, Text. When shooting portraits there is Face Detection, Red-eye Removal, Blink Detection, Smile & Shoot Mode and Face Recognition. Motion Panorama automatically stitches together three shots in-camera. Other modes include Natural Light and with Flash, Tracking Auto Focus, Instant Zoom and Zoom Bracketing Mode.

You can prepare you images for sharing on Facebook and YouTube by tagging them. When you next connect the camera to your computer, images and videos will be uploaded automatically. You can also rank images between 0 and 5 stars so you can quickly search for your favourite pictures.

Movies can be recorded in 720p HD, if your're short on space on your memory card you can also record in 640 x 480 and 320 x 240 pixel resolution.

Fujifilm Finepix Sl300 Top

Key Features

  • 14 megapixel sensor
  • 30x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 24-720mm)
  • CCD-shift image stabilisation
  • 3 inch LCD screen
  • Scene Recognition AUTO
  • 720p HD video recording
  • ISO 64-6400
  • 2cm minimum focusing distance
  • Electronic viewfinder
  • 300 shot Li-ion battery
Fujifilm Finepix Sl300 Rear

Fujifilm FinePix SL300 Handling

The SL300 looks very much like an SLR, it is made of plastic and has a substantial rubberised hand grip and lens barrel with a dotted groove for your right thumb. The zoom can be controlled in two places, with the zoom rocker around the shutter release and also a button on the side of the barrel. The focal length is displayed on the lens, with the 35mm equivalent also shown. There is also a TTL hot-shoe so you can also use an auxiliary TTL flash. The SL300 comes supplied with a lens cap and camera strap.

There isn't a dedicated movie record button, video can be found on the mode dial and requires a press of the shutter button to commence recording. Other buttons include instant zoom, burst mode, function as well as other buttons which are typically found on most digital cameras. The SL300 has an easy to navigate menu systems.

The 3 inch LCD screen has a resolution of 460,000 dots, it is bright a clear and is easy to view, with a viewing angle of 160 degrees. If you prefer, there is also an electronic viewfinder, which is activated by the press of a button and is also extremely bright and clear.

The battery has a CIPA rating of 300 shots, we managed just over 350 during testing. We tested the camera's performance at focusing, shutter response, shot-to-shot time, continuous shooting etc. and have posted the results below. To test this we took 6 or more shots and calculated the average, so that consistent results were produced.

Shutter Response   0.1 secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response
  0.6 secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.9 secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   2.75 secs
Shot to Shot (without flash)   3.0 secs
Shot to Shot with Flash   3.7 secs
Continuous Shooting
  0.8 fps
Continuous Shooting M
  4.7 fps
Continuous Shooting H
  10 fps

Continuous shooting records at full 14 megapixel resolution, with Continuous shooting M restricted to 7 megapixels and Continuous shooting H to 3 megapixels. Fujifilm claim the camera is ready to shoot in 1.8 seconds of switching on, the quickest time we managed was 2.75 seconds.

Fujifilm Finepix Sl300 Battery And Memory Card

Fujifilm FinePix SL300 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review and product ratings.

Fujifilm FinePix SL300 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Despite it being a fairly sunny day, landscape mode hasn't done a particularly good job with the blues and greens. The SL300 can take pictures at three different exposures, the example above has been combined to create a HDR image. Portraits have decent skin tones, but the flash is strong enough to reflect on your subject. Colour reproduction is OK, but not as good many of cameras we have reviewed recently and we did find images are quite often slightly underexposed. When shooting close-up, there is clearly some barrel distortion, which can be seen in the ISO tests shows below.

Fujifilm FinePix SL300 Lens test images

Lens Performance - Images have a decent amount of detail, although they are softer in the corners, which is visible in the wide-angle shot above. When shooting with the full zoom, chromatic aberration and purple fringing are present in contrasting areas of the image. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 2cm which allows the camera to get close enough to take an impressive macro shot.

Fujifilm FinePix SL300 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - ISO 64 and 100 produces images which are free of noise, with only a very little appearing at ISO 200. Noise at ISO 400 becomes significant enough to cause the images to become slightly softer, with even softer images at ISO 800 that have lost quite a bit of detail. Images at ISO 1600 are full of noise and should only be used when completely necessary. The SL300 also has ISO 3200 and 6400, although the resolution is restricted to 3 megapixels.

Fujifilm FinePix SL300 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - When using the AWB preset under the incandescent lights, there is a very slight magenta cast, with the incandescent preset performing slightly better. Under the fluorescent lights the AWB preset out performs all three of the fluorescent presets, with casts appearing in each of the three pictures.

Panorama | 1/150 sec | f/8.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 64
Panorama | 1/150 sec | f/8.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 64

Panorama mode - Panoramas are good, although they aren't stitched perfectly, with the example above showing a slight mis-match in a couple of areas.

Wide Aperture | 1/220 sec | f/4.8 | 13.2 mm | ISO 100
Wide Aperture | 1/220 sec | f/4.8 | 13.2 mm | ISO 100
  Fast Shutter Speed | 1/1000 sec | f/5.0 | 15.3 mm | ISO 640
Fast Shutter Speed | 1/1000 sec | f/5.0 | 15.3 mm | ISO 640
Trees | 1/105 sec | f/3.1 | 4.3 mm | ISO 64
Trees | 1/105 sec | f/3.1 | 4.3 mm | ISO 64
  Text | 1/110 sec | f/4.5 | 11.3 mm | ISO 64
Text | 1/110 sec | f/4.5 | 11.3 mm | ISO 64

Fujifilm FinePix SL300 Digital filters

Digital Filters - When shooting you can choose between three colour modes; standard, chrome and black and white.

Video - Below is a video shot at 720p HD. You can use the optical zoom when shooting videos, an example of which can be seen on the ePHOTOzine Youtube Page.

Value For Money

The Fujifilm FinePix SL300 is priced at £234.00. Other cameras with a similar amount of zoom include the Olympus SP-810 UZ at £189.00, Nikon Coolpix P510 at £309.00, Fujifilm FinePix HS30 EXR at £329.00, Canon PowerShot SX40 HS at £329.00 and Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V at £379.00.

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 SL300 Verdict

The Fujifilm FinePix SL300's main selling points are it's 30x optical zoom lens, ample rubber grip, long life battery and electronic viewfinder, all available at a very reasonable price. Unfortunately image quality isn't fantastic, particularly as colour reproduction leaves them looking a little flat and barrel distortion is clearly evident when shooting subjects which are fairly close to the camera. If you are on a budget and need a travel camera with a good zoom range, the SL300 is certainly worth some consideration.

Fujifilm FinePix SL300 Pros

Good battery life
Decent value for money
2cm minimum focusing distance allows for good macro shots
Versatile zoom range
Comes with a strap and lens cap
Rubber on grip and lens makes it easy to hold

Fujifilm FinePix SL300 Cons

Only 720p HD
Barrel distortion when shooting close-up objects
Poor image quality at ISO 1600 and above


Fujifilm FinePix SL300 Specifications

Max Aperturef/3.1 - f/5.9
35mm equivalent24mm - 720mm
Optical Zoom30x
Image Sensor
Pixels14Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4288
Pixels (H)3216
Sensor TypeCCD
Sensor Size1/2.3 inch
Sensor Size (width)6.16mm
Sensor Size (height)4.62mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution460,000 dots
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus2cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Multi
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest8sec
Bulb modeNo
Exp modes
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Program
  • Scene modes
  • Spot
  • TTL
  • Multi Pattern
ISO sensitivity64 - 6400
White balance
  • Auto
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting8fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
  • 320x240 QVGA
Video FPS30
Stereo SoundNo
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLi-ion battery NP-85
Battery Life (CIPA rating)300shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsLi-ion battery NP-85, Battery charger BC-85, Plug adapter , Shoulder strap, USB-A/V cable, Lens cap and Lens cap cord, CD-ROM, Owner's manual

View Full Product Details

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Photographs taken using the Fujifilm FinePix SL300

Lady of FlorenceFamily Portrait - Vatican MuseumWhere do we go from here? What will happen to us?SpiralsForum-RomeNot  Tenerife  artLochinvar.UntitledUntitledUntitledUntitledhot and cold

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swa 8
27 Jun 2012 5:32AM
Good to see this camera reviewed, but there is an omission in the images, specifications list and narrative. The SL300 has an electronic viewfinder with dioptric adjustment. That feature is a godsend to those of us who covet an eye level viewfinder and wear glasses.

That said, my own brief in-store examination of an SL300 yielded a somewhat less bright and clear view through the EVF than your testing apparently did. Compared under the same lighting with an adjacent Nikon P510, the SL300's EVF view was a bit grainy and dim. Not to the point of being unusable, but noticeably less smooth and snappy. There is a chance the particular SL300 I looked at was slightly out of adjustment or at the low end of acceptable performance tolerance in the EVF department. In fairness, it also bears mentioning that the Nikon P510 cost U.S. $70 more than the SL300.

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