The Fujifilm FinePix S602 Zoom was one of the first cameras from Fujifilm to use the new 3rd Generation Super CCD. The S602 Zoom we're looking at here is the Pro version, which is essentially the same camera with a few added features. Fujifilm haven't make any statements about the S602 Pro having improved image quality over the standard version. If after reading this review you decide this camera is what you need, but you don't need the extra Pro features listed below, you could consider the standard version.
Fujifilm FinePix S602 Pro Zoom specifications
- 3.1 Megapixel CCD
- 6x Optical Zoom (35mm equiv. 35-210mm)
- Electronic viewfinder
- 1.8 inch TFT (110,000 pixels)
- Shutter speed range: 3-1/1000sec (In Manual: 15-1/10,000sec)
- Quick Autofocus / Autofocus / AF Area Focus / Manual Focus
- Six White balance presets and one custom and one auto setting
- TIFF, JPG (Fine, Normal, Basic) image format modes
- ISO160, 200, 400, 800*, 1600* (* = only at 1,280x960 pixels)
- Movie Recording: 640x480/320x240 pixels and 30fps
- Weight: 500g
- Dimensions: 121x81.5x97mm
- Price: Around 600-700
Features which are unique to the Pro version of the S602 Zoom we're looking at here are:
- 340Mb Microdrive
- Overnight charger and four AA Ni-MH batteries
- All black finish
- PC sync socket for flash systems
- Manual cable release socket
For these added features you'll pay between 100 and 150 more than for the standard S602, depending on where you buy your camera from. With Microdrives costing upwards of 150 this makes the S602 Pro appear quite good value for money.
Handling and controls
The S602 Zoom Pro is from the band of digital cameras that try to provide some of the functionality and handling of a Digital SLR. Obviously the body is a lot more compact and the lens is not interchangeable, but the body has extended manual controls. The Electronic viewfinder provides detailed information which is lacking on the standard viewfinders found on some more basic digital cameras. The flash options of Hot Shoe and PC socket are also found on Digital SLRs. In many ways the performance of this camera is a long way off a Digital SLR, but there are also some aspects of it that come close or may actually preferable, such as the compact and lightweight body.
The electronic viewfinder certainly doesn't come close to the quality you'll get looking through an SLR viewfinder. Having said that it's at the same level as most others of this type and displays the same information as the LCD does without the problem of being affected by sunlight. Diopter adjustment is also provided for us spectacle wearers and the surround of the viewfinder is rubber which can be appreciated when accidentally banging the camera against your eye socket!
On the side of the camera are some common controls including a switch for changing between manual and autofocus. When in manual focussing mode, there is a button on the back of the camera which expands the central portion of the display, allowing you to check for focussing with a higher degree of accuracy. You can also use this option in automatic mode, and it's quite useful when doing macro photography.
Another useful button on the side of the S602 is the Shift button. Holding this down brings up the screen shown to the upper right. It allows you to quickly adjust some commonly used settings, although it does take a second or two for this menu to be displayed and some of the button combinations require some dexterity by your fingers!
Speed of operation on the S602 is not breathtakingly fast, shot to shot times are quite good and taking the autofocus system out of the equation by switching to manual focus things get even faster. That's not to say the autofocus system is particularly slow, it's fine under most circumstances. Not so impressive are write times, with the continuous mode on, there is a lengthy pause of around half a minute while the camera writes the images to the card. There is also a continuous mode that only writes the last five frames of a sequence to the card, useful if you're not sure when the event you want to photograph is going to occur. The last continuos mode is limited to 1,280x960 pixels image size and allows you to record up to 40 shots, with an interval of around 0.6 seconds between shots.
The user interface on this camera is well designed, with some of the most common settings easy to change without even entering the main menus. Fujifilm have made sure all the most important settings are available and the S602 is unlikely to disappoint anyone in this department.
||When in record view the display only shows the important information shown to the left. Another touch of the display button places a blue grid over the display to aid composition. A touch of the info button on the side of the camera and brief details of some of the main camera settings in use are shown.
The record mode setup menu is simple and some of the functions are even duplicated from the shift feature mentioned earlier.
The Setup menu provides the following options:
Picture/Movie Quality, Image Display (postview/preview/off), AF Mode (AF, AF area), Adapter Ring, Auto Power off, USB Mode (DSC/PC Cam), Sound, Primary Media, Date/Time, Reset All and Language.
The switching between images on the S602 isn't instant, with an almost two second gap between images loading.
A press of the info button and almost instantly information on the settings used taking that shot and a histogram is displayed.
For the less confident photographers who will use this camera, there are some Scene program modes which will help you to achieve the best possible results in common situations. There is also a fully auto mode. The scene modes provided are:
- Night Scene
For those photographers who want to experiment there are Program, Shutter-priority, Aperture-priority and Manual modes. There is also the movie mode which provides some of the best quality video (640x480 pixels) of any digital still camera.
The S602 has good handling and the image quality it provides is also good. Opinions will always be divided over the benefits of SuperCCD technology and the claimed six megapixels the S602 Pro provides. What is not so disputable is the good colour accuracy, pleasing skin tones and sharp images this camera is capable of capturing.
Metering, white-balance and autofocus systems were hard to fault for a camera priced as this is. The in-camera menus provide a good range of options you can change, for example if the default sharpening the camera performs is too aggressive for you, it can be toned down.
The S602 has no problem capturing rich and pleasing colours.
The crop below of the above image shows an excellent amount of detail being captured for what most would say is a three megapixel camera.
The S602 is capable of producing pleasing portrait shots, thanks largely to the excellent colour accuracy.
The S602 Pro is an easy-to-use camera that provides a flexible range of options, combined with higher image quality than most other three megapixel consumer cameras.
There are minor niggles to be found in some parts of the user interface, with the slowish image playback being the most noticeable culprit. On the whole though the handling of the camera is in the best of class league and will suit many beginner or amateur photographers well.
In summary the main positive points of the Fujifilm S602Zoom Pro are:
Well designed body with good handling
Generally very good image quality
Extra features of this Pro version add value
On the whole it is fast to operate
High quality video capture
Last five frames continuous mode
Low image noise
Good Zoom range
Negative points are:
Minor issues with playback speed
The electronic viewfinder might not be to everyone's liking
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