Fujifilm FinePix S8300 Preview
by Eamon Hickey
Posted: January 7, 2013
Bridge, or superzoom, cameras have long been a specialty of Fujifilm, and the company's many bridge models are split into three tiers: The entry-level S-series, the mid-level SL-series, and the high-end HS-series. The Fujifilm FinePix S8300 is the latest model in the entry-level S-series, and it arrives with substantially upgraded features and performance compared to its predecessors. (The Fujifilm FinePix S8200 was announced alongside the S8300, and it's identical in every way except that its lens is a smaller 40x zoom, rather than a 42x zoom, and it costs US$10 less.)
The bridge camera, or SLR-like, design and styling of the Fujifilm FinePix S8300 is very similar to previous S-series models such as the FinePix S4500, although button position on the back of the camera has been shuffled around a bit.
The only really important component that wasn't upgraded on the FinePix S8300 is the electronic viewfinder (EVF), which at 200,000-dot resolution isn't all that impressive. If you move up to the mid-level SL1000, announced at the same time as the S8300, you get a 920,000-dot resolution EVF (for a US$90 higher price).
Like its predecessors, the Fujifilm FinePix S8300 features a top-deck mode dial and manual exposure mode, and also like them it does not have the hotshoe found on the mid-level SL-series models, including the new FinePix SL1000.
Fujifilm has provided worthwhile upgrades to much of the rest of the FinePix SL8300. The newly developed 42X zoom lens covers a very useful range from 24mm to 1008mm (in 35mm equivalent terms). (The 40x lens on the FinePix S8200 covers a range from 24mm to 960mm; all other specifications are the same for both cameras.) Aperture on the lens ranges from a max opening of f/2.9 to f/6.5, and it features aspherical and ED lens elements for higher image quality. The lens can focus as close as .39-inches (or 1cm).
The sensor in the Fujifilm FinePix S8300 is a new 16-megapixel back-side illuminated (BSI) CMOS device, and it has allowed Fujifilm to bump up the maximum ISO on the camera to 3,200 at full resolution or 12,800 at reduced resolution, a one EV increase compared to previous S-series models.
And while Fujifilm did not see fit to improve the FinePix S8300's EVF, it did upgrade the 3-inch LCD display, which now has a resolution of 460,000 dots.
Greater processing power boosts the Fujifilm FinePix S8300's performance, letting it capture continuous bursts at 10 frames per second at full resolution and 60 or 120 frames per second at reduced resolutions. The camera also has a new set of digital special effects filters such as Soft Focus, Pop Color, and Toy Camera.
Where previous S-series models captured 720p video with monaural sound, the Fujifilm FinePix S8300 can record Full HD video clips at 1080i 60fps with stereo sound. The S8300 can also capture slow motion clips at various frame rates ranging from 120fps to 480fps at progressively lower resolutions.
The Fujifilm FinePix S8300 will be available in March 2013 for a list price of US$309.95.
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