Fujifilm FinePix S1500 review

Ben Pitt
11 Aug 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

A capable ultra-zoom camera at a remarkably low price, but even better-value models are available.



1/2.3in 10.0-megapixel sensor, 12.0x zoom (33-396mm equivalent), 324g

The FinePix S1500 is the first Fujifilm camera to use only SDHC cards, with no xD card slot in sight.

This is fine by us, as SDHC cards are much faster and cheaper than xD ones, and we'll be happy to see the end of this unnecessary format. Even owners of xD cards shouldn't be too upset, as an 8GB SDHC card can now be bought online for £10 including VAT.

When we reviewed Fujifilm's S1000fd just over a year ago, we concluded that it was let down by a lack of optical image stabilisation - an essential feature for an ultra-zoom camera. The S1500 is largely identical, but it has optical stabilisation built into its sensor. It's not the most effective system, keeping only half of our shots sharp at the full telephoto zoom position and at a 1/60s shutter speed, but it's still a welcome addition.

Another new feature is a shooting mode called Scene Recognition Auto. The camera automatically detects both the subject type and lighting conditions and adjusts its settings automatically. We were impressed to see it identify landscape, portrait and macro subjects.

Scene Recognition Auto is sluggish, however. Even after we half-pressed the shutter button to lock the focus and exposure, there was a half-second delay between fully pressing it and the picture being taken. Other shooting modes didn't suffer this problem but performance was still slower than average, taking 3.3 seconds between shots. Continuous shooting was surprisingly fast, though, at 1.5fps.

It's rare to find a camera for under £150 with a 12x zoom lens, optical stabilisation, manual exposure controls and an electronic viewfinder. However, there's an even cheaper option. Kodak's Z8612 IS (What's New, Shopper 248) lacks the S1500's viewfinder but is currently available for an incredibly low £95 from the same supplier.

The two cameras are roughly on a par for image quality. Neither excelled at capturing subtle textures, and indoor shots without the flash were fairly grotty - not surprising at these prices. The Kodak's wide-angle shots were crisper, especially towards the corners, while the Fujifilm produced sharper photos at the telephoto end of the zoom and exhibited more natural colours. On balance, we'd go for the far cheaper Kodak.

With either camera you should also budget for rechargeable AA batteries and a charger, as neither comes with a convenient rechargeable Li-ion battery pack. The FinePix S1500 isn't a bad camera, but we can't recommend it while the Kodak Z8612 IS is available for so much less.

Basic Specifications

CCD effective megapixels10.0 megapixels
CCD size1/2.3in
LCD screen size2.7in
LCD screen resolution230,000 pixels
Optical zoom12.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent33-396mm
Image stabilisationoptical, sensor shift
Maximum image resolution3,648x2,736
Maximum movie resolution640x480
Movie frame rate at max quality30fps
File formatsJPEG; AVI (M-JPEG)


Memory slotSDHC
Mermory supplied23MB internal
Battery type4x AA
Battery Life (tested)500 shots
ConnectivityUSB, AV
Body materialplastic
AccessoriesUSB and AV cables, neck strap

Buying Information


Camera Controls

Exposure modesprogram, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed8 to 1/2,000 seconds
Aperture rangef/2.8 to f/6.4 (wide), f/5 to f/8 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution)64 to 1600
Exposure compensation+/-2 EV
White balanceauto, 6 presets, manual
Additional image controlssharpness
Manual focusNo
Closest macro focus2cm
Auto-focus modesmulti, centre, face detect, tracking
Metering modesmulti, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flashauto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modessingle, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket

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