Fuji S4800 Preview
by Mike Tomkins
The Fuji S4800 is closely related to the S6800, but like last year's S4500, sticks with a slower, less sensitive, but also slightly less expensive CCD image sensor. Other differences from the S6800 include a lower resolution for the camera's LCD monitor, and the lack of support for high-speed UHS-I cards -- which wouldn't be necessary given the camera's significantly lesser performance than its sibling in terms of capture rate.
The Fujifilm FinePix S4800's image sensor now has an effective resolution of 16 megapixels, just slightly more than the 14 megapixels of the S4500.
And like that camera, it is limited to ISO 1,600 equivalent ordinarily, and to ISO 6,400 max., even if the resolution is greatly reduced. That trails a long way behind the ISO 12,800 equivalent of the S6800, but not as much as does the burst speed. The Fuji S4800, like the S4500 ca manage only 1.2 frames per second at full resolution from its CCD, where the CMOS chip in the S6800 can manage to shoot at a full eight frames per second. And even then, the burst depth of five frames is just half that of the S6800. Startup time is manufacturer-rated at 1.3 seconds.
In front of the image sensor is what would appear to be the same lens from the S4500. With a 30x optical zoom range, it offers everything from a very generous 24mm-equivalent wide angle to an extremely powerful 720mm-equivalent telephoto, once the focal length crop of the 1/2.3-inch image sensor is taken into account. Maximum aperture starts from f/3.1 at wide angle, and falls to f/5.9 by the telephoto position.
The lens has 17 elements in 12 groups, including an unspecified number of aspherical and extra-low dispersion elements. The Fuji FinePix S4800 includes a contrast detection autofocus system, and the company rates it as capable of achieving a focus lock in around 0.3 seconds. It can focus to as close as 0.78 inches (2cm) in super macro mode.
On the rear panel, an LCD screen with a 3.0-inch diagonal caters to framing your subject, and reviewing the results. (And it's the sole method for either, as there's no optical or electronic viewfinder.) It's the same size and resolution as the screen used in the S4500, and has half the dot count of that used in the Fuji S6800, at around 230,000 dots. That roughly equates to a 320 x 240 pixel array, with each pixel made up of separate red, green, and blue dots.
On top of the camera, in the location that would be occupied by the pentaprism if this were a real DSLR, you'll find a popup flash strobe. The flash is manufacturer-rated for 22.9 feet (7m) at wide angle, or 11.8 feet (3.6m) at telephoto, using auto ISO sensitivity.
The Fuji S4800 caters to your creative side by providing not only program autoexposure, but also priority and manual shooting. If you prefer simply letting the camera do the work, you can opt for a Scene Recognition Auto mode, which detects and automatically configures for one of six different basic scene types. There's also a motion panorama function, although unlike that in the S6800, it can't manage a full 360-degree panorama. The Fuji FinePix S4800 also includes a single-lens 3D function that uses some clever math to generate pseudo-left and right eye views without separate optics for each eye.
And in addition to stills, you can also shoot high definition video. The Fuji FinePix S4800's video mode allows you to record HD (720p; 1,280 x 720 pixel) video at 30 frames per second. Capture is started and stopped with a dedicated Movie button, and sound is recorded with a built-in monaural microphone.
Images and movies are saved on Secure Digital cards, including the higher-capacity SDHC and SDXC types. Connectivity includes an HDMI high-definition video output, and a USB 2.0 High Speed data port. There's no standard-definition video connectivity though, so if you haven't yet upgraded to a modern HDTV, you'll need to do so if you want to be able to view your photos on the big screen.
Power comes from four standard AA batteries. Fujifilm says that the FinePix S4800 is capable of shooting 500 frames on a set of NiMH rechargeables, to CIPA testing standards. If you're using alkaline disposables, that will fall to 320 shots, while lithium disposables will manage 700 frames.
Available from March 2013, the Fujifilm S4800 is priced at US$230, only $20 less than the much more capable S6800. The only available body color in the US market will be black.