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Fujifilm FinePix S2000HD with HD-S2 Kit review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : 175
inc VAT

Specifications

1/2.3in 10.0-megapixel sensor, 15.0x zoom (27.6-414mm equivalent), 386g

http://www.purelygadgets.co.uk

An easy way for camera manufacturers to make their models sound modern is to add the letters HD to the name. Fujifilm is the latest to jump on the bandwagon, but at least the S2000HD has features to justify the HD suffix.

The camera’s 1,920×1,080-pixel setting matches the resolution of the best HD TVs, although it amounts to just 2 megapixels, a fraction of its 10-megapixel resolution. Even if you view your pictures only on your TV, we recommend capturing them at full resolution.

More significant is the 1,280×720 video mode, which captures three times more detail than the usual 640×480 modes on cameras. It’s well short of the 1,920×1,080 resolution used by modern camcorders, but provides a good balance between picture detail and file size. Video quality was impressive with sharp detail, thanks to the 8Mbit/s MPEG4 bit rate. The autofocus and automatic exposure reacted promptly but, as usual for a digital stills camera, the soundtrack was a letdown, with a thin, grainy tone and unwanted noises from the autofocus and zoom motors.

You can output video and photos to an HD TV through the component video socket, which sends a high-definition video signal. The socket is proprietary, though, and the cable costs a staggering £49 as part of the HD-S2 HDTV Connection Kit, which also includes a remote control. Buying the camera and the kit together is far cheaper, so we’ve listed the price this way.

Fujifilm cameras have lagged behind their competitors for performance in recent years, but the S2000HD shows an improvement. It took 2.5 seconds on average between shots at the top quality setting and 2.8 seconds with the flash. Continuous performance is mixed; you can choose between capturing just three shots at a pedestrian 1.1fps or unlimited shots at 0.5fps – way behind the 1.7fps continuous speed of Panasonic’s FZ28. However, the options to capture 5-megapixel photos at 3fps and 3-megapixel photos at 13.5fps are useful workarounds.

The zoom ranges of ultra-zoom cameras tend to be getting bigger – with Olympus recently announcing a huge 26x zoom in the SP-590UZ. However, Fujifilm has fit a 15x zoom on the S2000HD, down from 18x on its S81000fd (What’s New, Shopper 250). Huge zoom ranges push the limits of lens design, so we’d be happier with a shorter zoom if it led to better pictures. Sadly, this lens wasn’t problem-free. Focus trailed off towards the edges of frames, while strong lens distortions made wide-angle shots appear bloated and telephoto shots pinched. The edges also suffered from chromatic aberrations, where the red, green and blue elements of the image don’t line up, leading to discoloration around high-contrast lines.

Fujifilm’s excellent automatic exposures produced balanced, flattering colours in a wide range of conditions. However, even in bright conditions at the lowest sensitivity setting of ISO 100, noise reduction processing glossed over subtle details, and some chromatic noise was still evident in shadows. In low light and at higher sensitivities, aggressive noise reduction removed both noise and detail with equal voracity. It doesn’t help that its f/3.5 maximum aperture lets in less light than its competitors’ f/2.8 apertures. Most frustrating was that the automatic settings favoured needlessly high sensitivities, aggravating noise problems unless we set the ISO manually.

These noise issues are typical of cameras with 10-megapixel, 1?2.3in sensors. Compared with similarly priced ultra-zoom cameras that use the same type of sensor, the S2000HD’s image quality is still average. It costs a little less than our current favourite, the FZ28, which also has decent 720p video capture. However, this saving disappears once you budget for four high-capacity NiMH batteries and a charger.

Basic Specifications

Rating ***
CCD effective megapixels 10.0 megapixels
CCD size 1/2.3in
Viewfinder electronic
LCD screen size 2.7in
LCD screen resolution 230,000 pixels
Optical zoom 15.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent 27.6-414mm
Image stabilisation optical, sensor shift
Maximum image resolution 3,648×2,736
Maximum movie resolution 1280×720
Movie frame rate at max quality 30fps
File formats JPEG; MPEG-4

Physical

Memory slot SDHC, xD
Mermory supplied 55MB internal
Battery type 4x AA
Battery Life (tested) 400 shots
Connectivity USB, AV, component (optional)
Body material plastic
Accessories USB and AV cables, neck strap
Weight 386g
Size 79x111x76mm

Buying Information

Price £175
Supplier http://www.purelygadgets.co.uk
Details www.fujifilm.co.uk

Camera Controls

Exposure modes program, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed 4 to 1/1,000 seconds
Aperture range f/3.5 to f/7
ISO range (at full resolution) 100 to 1600
Exposure compensation +/-2 EV
White balance auto, 6 presets, manual
Additional image controls sharpness
Manual focus Yes
Closest macro focus 1cm
Auto-focus modes multi, centre, spot, face detect
Metering modes multi, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modes single, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket, zoom bracket

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