Full review posted for Fuji FinePix S7000|
(Monday, January 19, 2004 - 12:07 EST)
Last year, Fuji's S602 was one of the sleeper hits of the marketplace, a very nice-handling 3 megapixel digicam with a 6x zoom lens, very fast shutter response, and great-looking pictures.
As a result, people snapped them up in huge numbers. The apparent follow-on to that model is this year's S7000, with a 6.2 megapixel SuperCCD, the same 6x zoom ratio, and revamped electronics. While the S7000 *is* now officially one of the highest-resolution digicams we've tested to date, it unfortunately lost a number of the S602's desirable attributes along the way, and the high image noise causes it to lose some of the subtle subject detail it might otherwise record. The larger CCD (and longer time required to clock data off of it) means the S7000 is only a little better than average in the shutter lag department, falling a bit short of the S602 in that regard.
While the S7000's color is generally good (although I didn't like its handling of Marti's skin tones in the Outdoor Portrait test), its image noise is very high, well above most of the competition. (Why oh why won't Fujifilm give us SuperCCD cameras with minimum ISO settings of 100 or 50 like most other manufacturers do? While high ISO is nice when you need it, most of us would like the option to trade away ISO for lower image noise when where there's plenty of light.)
The S7000 still has the impressive Top 5 / Final 5 continuous shooting modes of the S602, so it would still be a good choice for sports shooting, even with its only-average shutter lag performance. Overall, this could have been a really great camera, if Fujifilm could only have gotten the image noise under control. As it is, while it has a lot of very nice features, I suspect most users won't be able to get past the image noise. Read our review for more information...