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Fujifilm FinePix SL300 Digital Camera Review

fujifilm20120516aa.jpgDigital Camera Review by: Ashley Akers 

 

Buying a digital camera tends to involve the same process as buying a car. While some may believe that the purchase of a red car will be satisfactory, others may be more focused on the technical features such as engine size and power output. It’s a lot the same when purchasing a digital camera. Appearance isn’t always everything. An ugly camera might be able to push all the right buttons and a beautiful camera may be missing any buttons to press. Where do you find a nice balance between comfort and functionality? The Fujifilm Finepix SL300 is your balance. It does a little bit of both.

 

Appearance and Functionality


When playing with a camera like the Finepix SL300, you can’t help but notice it’s resemblance to a more expensive DSLR. It has the look and feel of a camera that has enough bells and whistles to to wake up any sleeping child. While it differs to a DSLR in many ways, you’d be wrong to think that it didn’t incorporate enough features to make the purchase worthwhile.

The SL300 feels solid and is assembled well, although it does tend to have the feel of cheaper plastic parts. All the buttons you’d need are located on easily accessible buttons on the right hand side back and top of the camera.

fujifilm20120516ac.jpgThis feels like a halfway camera in terms of aesthetics. While a compact camera will have you twiddling a little tilt switch to zoom in and out and a DSLR will require you to rotate the lens for the same effect. The SL300 provides a mimic of both options. It provides a tilt switch around the shutter button, like any standard, compact digital camera. It also provides the option to pretend like you’re shooting on a DSLR. The up and down switch located on the left side of the lens seems like a cool idea for a zoom feature however it’s positioning makes it a little awkward to use. In a natural hand position the switch rests right under your palm and to reach it with your finger requires rotating your hand awkwardly below.

This Fujifilm SL300 has all the usual shooting modes you’d naturally expect to find in any more advanced compacts and DSLRs. There’s also the addition of a few gems, that tend to work well and give you many more options to impress that special someone with your sweet photography skills.

Intelligent auto settings and full manual mode make an welcomed appearance; there’s also a mode for shooting panoramas. Starting with the left photo you can take up to three images, after each photo you move slowly across until the tracking pointer lines up with the circle at which point you can easily take the next shot. A few seconds after taking the final image the SL300 will automatically stitch them together creating a seamless rendition of the panoramic view that you’ll send to your family claiming it’s right outside your front door of your holiday hotel.

When you’re driving the hour back down the road to your actual caravan park accommodation in the middle of nowhere, you can rest easy knowing that your panoramas, 14mp images and HD video will be easily up-loadable to Facebook and Youtube with the built in upload selection mode. This allows you to browse through the images on the SL300 and choose those which you think are worthy for the upload, allowing the transition to the internet to be quick and easy.

Continuous shooting is available on the SL300 and on certain modes, although it lowers the quality of the photos considerably, can shoot with ridiculously fast speeds.

 

Image Quality / Lens Quality


fujifilm20120516ad.jpgWhen you need numbers to add up, they will with the Fujifilm SL300. When you’re talking 30x zoom, you’re talking a very long zoom. A person half the size of frame when wide; at 30x will have their face more than fill the frame. When you need options that’ll allow you to zoom across land and sea this’ll be very useful. Some sharpness does appear to be lost when at high zoom levels but images are still of a high quality.

Although colour and shape is ‘extremely important’, one of the most important aspects of a digital camera that you’ll need to consider before purchasing is it’s ability to handle low light situations. The SL300 does this well enough for it’s price range and market classification. This Fujifilm will handle images well at ISO64, ISO100 and ISO200 with no loss of quality and no evidence of grain in images. Perfect for any sunny or even dismally overcast day at the beach. Push it up to ISO400, and if you tilt your head and strain your eyes you’ll be able to make out minimal grain within the image. A little less strain is needed at ISO800 as noise becomes more evident but images are still usable. If you’re in a significantly low light situation and need to push the ISO up to ISO1600, you’ll encounter grain and noise.

The addition of last resort settings such as ISO3200 and ISO6400 are useful when considered against the alternative. While your image size will be dropped down to be able to compensate for the grain, you’ll still be able to capture images in low light and at such a high sensitivity, we’re talking very low light. A grainy image after all is always better than  no image. If a picture says a thousand words then you’ll need more than a thousand words to explain to your friends just how amazing it actually was if the SL300 didn’t include this sensitivity and you had no images at all!

fujifilm20120516ab.jpgSkin tones and colours are captured natural and appear vibrant.

 

LCD / Viewfinder


The LCD on the SL300 represents colours vividly and at 7.5cm is large enough to show previews to your friends. When glare becomes a slight problem in high intensity light settings, like outside in the sun, then there’s a handy viewfinder above. Just press the screen toggle button, put your eye up to the eye piece and marvel at the glare-free beauty. No more guess work needed with photos here. 

 

Video


HD video is an increasingly common addition to digital still cameras in todays market. The SL300 is no exception to this rule. While there’s no Full HD option available this camera does shoot up to 720p HD videos. Be sure to start filming at a wide angle because despite the amazing zoom length, there is no ability to optically zoom while recording. This only allows a digital zoom in and no zoom out. The image stabilization makes the video a worthy addition and increases smoothness and watchability considerably.

 

 

 

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Conclusion


As the digital camera market expands and the costs of materials decreases you’ll need to be careful not to purchase a digital camera based on appearance alone. The SL300 can put you at ease as it not only proves to provide a pleasing professional feel in your hands it will also give you plenty of options to succeed with your images. With HD video, lowlight capabilities, 30x optical zoom and easy sharing and panorama modes you almost can’t go wrong. There’s little need to hesitate when jumping aboard the Fujfilm Finepix SL300 wagon.

 

Accessories Used During Testing:

SanDisk Extreme 30MB/s SD Card 

Tamrac Aero 40 / 3340 Camera Bag 

 

Recommended Retailer:

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View / Buy The Fujifilm S4000 

 

 

Appearance rating 3.5 stars
Functionality rating 4 stars
Image quality
3 stars
Video quality
3 stars
Lens quality
4 stars
View finder (EVF)
4 stars
LCD screen (Rear)
3.5 stars
Value for money 3.5 star
Street Price $369.00
SPACER.GIF  
Effective Pixels 14.0 million pixels
Sensor Type
1/2.3-inch CCD with primary color filter
Image Sizes 3 Sizes / 3 ratios
Lens Fujinon 30 x optical zoom lens, f=4.3mm - 129.0mm, equivalent to 24 - 720mm on a 35 mm camera
Lens Mount
-
Resolution Settings - Stills L : (4:3) 4288 x 3216
L : (3:2) 4288 x 2864
L : (16:9) 4288 x 2416
M : (4:3) 3072 x 2304
M : (3:2) 3072 x 2048
M : (16:9) 3072 x 1728
S : (4:3) 2048 x 1536
S : (3:2) 2048 x 1360
S : (16:9) 1920 x 1080
ResolutionSettings - Video 1280 x 720 pixels / 640 x 480 pixels / 320 x 240 pixels (30 frames/sec.) with monaural sound.
Face Detection Yes
Manual Focus No
Auto Focus Yes
Aperture Priority Yes
Shutter Speeds (Auto mode) 1/4sec. to 1/2000sec., (All other modes) 8sec. to 1/2000sec. (with mechanical shutter)
Shutter Priority Yes
ISO Auto,Equivalent to ISO 64 / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200* / 6400* (Standard Output Sensitivity)
LCD Monitor 0.2-inch, approx. 200,000 dots, color LCD viewfinder, approx. 97% coverage
Viewfinder Electronic viewfinder (colour), 0.26-inch., approx. 920,000 dots, approx. 100% coverage
Flash Auto flash (i-flash). Effective range : (ISO AUTO)
Normal: Wide : Approx. 40cm - 8.0m / 1.3ft. - 26.2ft.
Telephoto : Approx. 2.5m - 4.1m / 8.2ft. - 13.4ft.
Macro: Wide : Approx. 30cm - 3.0m / 1.0ft. - 9.8ft.
Telephoto : Approx. 2.0m - 3.0m / 6.5ft. - 9.8ft.
Hot Shoe Yes
White Balance Automatic scene recognition, Fine, Shade, Fluorescent light (Daylight), Fluorescent light (Warm White), Fluorescent light (Cool White), Incandescent light, Custom
Self Timer Approx. 10 sec. / 2 sec. delay / Auto release / Auto shutter (Dog, Cat)
Stills Format/s
JPEG (Exif Ver 2.3), (Design rule for Camera File system compliant / DPOF-compatible)
Video Format/s AVI (Motion JPEG)
Video Recording Time/s -
Storage Type - External SD / SDHC / SDXC memory card
Storage Type - Internal
-
Connectivity USB 2.0 High-Speed, HDMI Mini connector, NTSC / PAL selectable with monaural sound
Power Source Battery charger BC-85
Battery Options Li-ion battery NP-85
Battery Life Approx. 300 frames (AUTO mode)
Dimensions 122.0 mm (W) x 93.0mm (H) x 100.0 (D)
Weight 470 g / 16.5 oz. (excluding batteries and memory card)












 


 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

About Fujifilm

 

FUJIFILM brings continuous innovation and leading-edge products to a broad spectrum of industries, including electronic imaging, photofinishing equipment, medical systems, life sciences, graphic arts, flat panel display materials, and office products, based on a vast portfolio of digital, optical, fine chemical and thin film coating technologies. The company was ranked number 15 for U.S. patents granted in 2006. Fujifilm is committed to environmental stewardship and good corporate citizenship.

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