Fuji FinePix S7000Fuji's latest electronic SLR offers a larger, 6.3-megapixel CCD that interpolates to 12.3 megapixels - one of the highest resolution consumer models we've tested to date!
<<S7000 Photo Gallery! :(Previous) | (Next): Print-Friendly Review Version>>
S7000 Sample ImagesReview First Posted: 01/16/2004
Digital Cameras - Fuji FinePix S7000 Test Images
|I've begun including links in our reviews to a Thumber-generated index page for the test shots. The Thumber data includes a host of information on the images, including shutter speed, ISOsetting, compression setting, etc. Rather than clutter the page below with *all*that detail, we're posting the Thumber index so only those interested inthe information need wade through it!|
|Outdoor Portrait: |
The extreme tonal range of this image makes it a tough shot for many digicams, which is precisely why I set it up this way, and why I shoot it with no fill flash or reflector to open the shadows. The object is to hold both highlight and shadow detail without producing a "flat" picture with muddy colors, and the FinePix S7000 did pretty well, although the high-key lighting resulted in rather high contrast.
The shot at right was taken with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which left the midtones somewhat dark, even though the strongest highlights were still blown out. The S7000's Auto and Daylight white balance settings resulted in similar color casts, but I chose the Auto setting as the most accurate, as Daylight was slightly cool. (The Manual setting resulted in a much warmer color balance.)
Marti's skin tones are pretty good, albeit a little red, and the blue flowers are darker than they are in real life. (Many digicams have trouble with this blue. The S7000 doesn't produce the strong purplish tints seen with some cameras, but the flowers are much darker than in real life.) Though slightly dark, the color looks accurate throughout the rest of the frame, with good saturation. There are a lot of pixels here, but image noise obscures most of the finer details. Detail is also fairly strong in the shadow areas, but the image noise is very high.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV, see files S70OUTAP0.HTM through S70OUTAP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
High resolution, but a somewhat "splotchy" look to Marti's skin tones.
Exposure and color balance are similar to the wider shot above, with slightly high contrast. The camera's 6x lens does a good job of preventing any distortion of Marti's features. Though dark, midtone detail is good, but detail in the deep shadows is limited, and image noise overall is again higher than I'd like to see, particularly for a daylight shot, albeit not as bad as on the image above. The shot at right was taken with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which loses detail in the bright highlights. I'm not keen on the S7000's rendering of Marti's skin tones here, a surprise since I generally like Fuji's handling of skin tones. In this case at least though, the S7000 seems to be having problems with the tonal and color gradations across Marti's face, with areas that are slightly more pink abruptly turning quite red.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +0.7 EV, see files S70FACAP0.HTM through S70FACAP2.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
Indoor Portrait, Flash:
Great intensity and performance with the built-in flash, as well as with an external flash unit.
The S7000's built-in flash does a good job at its default exposure setting, illuminating the subject well. (Even at -0.3 EV, the exposure is still pretty good.) However, I chose an exposure adjustment of +0.7 EV for the main shot, which lost the slight blue cast that the default exposure produced on Marti's face. The household incandescent lighting results in an orange cast on the back wall, which also spills onto Marti's features slightly. The S7000 also has an external flash hot shoe, for connecting a more powerful flash unit. Shooting with my cheapie Sunpak external flash, I bounced the flash off of the ceiling to dispel any harsh shadows. I found the best color with the Daylight white balance setting, though the slight orange cast is still present. (If you're at all serious about flash photography, be sure to get a camera like the S7000, that provides connections for external flash units.)
Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Very good color with the Auto and Manual white balance settings. Slightly more than average exposure compensation required though.
This shot is always a very tough test of a camera's white balance capability, given the strong, yellowish color cast of the household incandescent bulbs used for the lighting. I chose the Auto white balance for the main shot, though the Manual setting did a good job as well. Both are just slightly warm, but the Manual setting has more of a greenish cast than I'd like. The Incandescent setting resulted in a warm, yellowish cast. The main shot was taken with a +1.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which is slightly higher than the average amount required for this shot. Despite the warm cast, color is good throughout the frame. However, the blue flowers in the bouquet are dark and purplish (a common problem with this shot).
High resolution, but the excessive image noise obscures much fine detail.
The S7000's Auto and Daylight settings both resulted in nearly identical, slightly warm images. The Manual setting, however, looked about right. Resolution is high, with good detail visible in the tree limbs and front shrubbery. However, as with the Outdoor Portrait above, the high image noise results in a significant loss of detail in areas of lower contrast.
Very high resolution and good detail, but a slight overexposure and high contrast limit the dynamic range.
This image is shot at infinity to test far-field lens performance. NOTE that this image cannot be directly compared to the other "house" shot, which is a poster, shot in the studio. The rendering of detail in the poster will be very different than in this shot, and color values (and even the presence or absence of leaves on the trees!) will vary in this subject as the seasons progress. In general though, you can evaluate detail in the bricks, shingles and window detail, and in the tree branches against the sky. Compression artifacts are most likely to show in the trim along the edge of the roof, in the bricks, or in the relatively "flat" areas in the windows.
This is my ultimate "resolution shot," given the infinite range of detail in a natural scene like this, and the S7000 performs pretty well, but not quite up to the level I'd expected. (Do keep in mind though, that like other SuperCCD-based cameras, the S7000's images look considerably sharper when printed than when viewed onscreen 1:1.) The tree limbs over the roof and fine foliage in front of the house show strong detail. Though slightly soft, detail in the leaf patterns and shrubbery is very good. The righthand corners of the frame show some softness, although this doesn't seem to be mirrored in the lefthand corners. The camera slightly overexposed this shot and its contrast is high, causing it to lose all but the strongest details in the bright white paint surrounding the bay window, a trouble spot for many digicams. Despite the minor overexposure though, detail is rather limited in the shadows surrounding the door, revealing a limited dynamic range. Overall color looks very good from the Auto white balance. The table below shows a standard resolution and quality series, followed by ISO, sharpness, and color series.
Color Series: The S7000 offers Black-and-White and "Chrome" color adjustments, the latter of which increases contrast and saturation slightly, to mimic the look of some slide films.
Lens Zoom Range
Excellent 6x zoom range.
I routinely shoot this series of images to show the field of view for each camera, with the lens at full wide angle, at maximum telephoto (6x, in this case), and at full telephoto with the digital zoom enabled. The S7000's lens is equivalent to a 35-210mm zoom on a 35mm camera. That corresponds to an average wide angle and a pretty substantial telephoto. Following are the results at each zoom setting.
Good color with the Manual white balance, with very high resolution.
This shot is often a tough test for digicam white balance systems, as the abundance of blue in the composition frequently tricks them into producing a warm color balance. Both the S7000's Auto and Daylight settings produced slight warm casts, with the Auto setting producing the warmest of the two. Though the Manual setting is just a hint cool in the skin tones, it had the best overall color. The blue robe looks about right, with only slight purplish tints in the deep shadows. Resolution is very high, with great detail in the embroidery of the blue robe, as well as in the red vest and beaded necklaces. (The S7000 is capable of showing a good bit more detail than is present in the original poster here.)
An exceptional job in the macro category, with great detail.
The S7000 performed very well in the macro category, capturing a minimum area of only 2.30 x 1.73 inches (59 x 44 millimeters) at the normal macro setting. Super Macro mode did even better, capturing a very tiny minimum area of 1.30 x 0.97 inches (33 x 25 millimeters). Resolution is very high, showing a lot of fine detail in the dollar bill. However, the coins and brooch are soft due to the limited depth of field that comes with such a short shooting distance. There's a lot of softness in the left corners of the frame in both shots (fairly common in digicam ultra-closeups, due to curvature of field in the macro optics), and color balance is slightly warm. The S7000's flash throttles down well for the normal macro area, though the exposure is slightly dim. The flash is ineffective with the SuperMacro setting, due to the extremely short shooting range, so expect to use external illumination in your closest macro shots.
"Davebox" Test Target
Good color, but none of the white balance settings really nailed the lighting.
The S7000's Auto and Daylight white balance settings both produced nearly identical images, with warm color casts. However, the Manual setting resulted in a much cooler color balance. Though warm, I preferred the overall color of the Auto setting to the cooler Manual white balance. Exposure looks about right (although perhaps just slightly dim), and the S7000 has no trouble with the subtle tonal variations of the Q60 target. Aside from the warm cast, colors are pretty accurate in the large color blocks. Saturation seems about right, but the color blocks are slightly dark, giving the large, white color block a dull, gray appearance. The shadow area of the charcoal briquettes shows moderate detail, but once again with high image noise.
Excellent low-light performance, good color and fairly low noise, but limited autofocus capability.
The S7000 offers full manual exposure control, a maximum exposure time of 15 seconds, and an adjustable ISO setting. As a result, the camera performs very well when shooting in low-lit conditions. The camera produced clear, bright, usable images down to the 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) limit of my test, with good color at each ISO setting. (Actually color balance was slightly warm at the ISO 400 and 800 settings, but pretty accurate at ISO 200, at the lowest light level.) The S7000's noise reduction system automatically kicks in at longer exposures, doing a pretty good job of controlling image noise, with the surprising result that there's actually less noise visible in the flat tints of the MacBeth chart here than in shorter exposures at higher light levels. (Note though, that the more noise suppression that's applied, the more fine image detail will suffer.) Even at ISO 800, noise is surprisingly low, particularly given the S7000's poor noise figures at higher light levels.
The S7000's biggest limitation for low light shooting was its autofocus system, which only functioned down to a bit less than 1 foot-candle of illumination. The electronic viewfinder is also somewhat limited, in that it can produce a usable display down to only about 1/8 foot-candle. (And it only brightens enough to be usable at that light level when the shutter button is half-pressed.)
The table below shows the best exposure I was able to obtain for each of a range of illumination levels. Images in this table (like all sample photos) are untouched, exactly as they came from the camera.
(Note: If you'd like to use a light meter to check light levels for subjects you might be interested in shooting, a light level of 1 foot-candle corresponds to an exposure of 2 seconds at F/2.8 and ISO 100.)
Flash Range Test
One of the most powerful built-in flash units I've seen, with full intensity to the greatest test distance (and the capability to go a lot further).
The S7000 has one of the best flash ranges I've seen on a consumer digicam to date, as Fuji estimates the flash as effective to an amazing 27.9 feet (8.5 meters) at the full wide angle setting. (The range decreases only slightly at telephoto, extending to 25.9 feet, or 7.9 meters.) In my testing, the flash illuminated the test target all the way out to 15 feet, with excellent intensity. Below is the flash range series, with distances from eight to 15 feet from the target.
Very high resolution, 1,600 lines of "strong detail." A moderate amount of barrel distortion, with slightly higher pincushion.
The S7000 performed exceptionally well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 1,000 lines per picture height, in both horizontal and vertical directions. I found "strong detail" out to at least 1,600 lines, although one could perhaps make an argument for 1650. "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until about 2,000 lines, and even there, the lines were still partially visible.
Optical distortion on the S7000 was a good bit less than average at the wide-angle end, where I measured approximately 0.4 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end fared a fair bit worse, as I measured 0.7 percent pincushion distortion there. Comparing this to a typical 3x zoom digicam lens, most of them have barrel distortion in the range of 0.7-0.8 percent at wide angle, and anywhere from zero to 0.3 percent pincushion at telephoto. Most long-zoom lenses fare worse though, so the S7000's lens plays well against its most direct competitors. Chromatic aberration was a bit of a mixed bag. While the coloration from the chromatic aberration was fairly faint, the color extended eight or more pixels on either side of the target lines. (This distortion is visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.)
Resolution Series, Wide Angle
Resolution Test, Telephoto
Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity
Excellent accuracy from the electronic viewfinder.
The S7000's electronic "optical" viewfinder (EVF) is very accurate, showing almost 100% of the final frame at both wide angle and telephoto zoom settings. (The lower measurement line was just barely cut off at the telephoto setting, but accuracy was still very nearly 100%.) The rear-panel LCD monitor is also very accurate, since it shows the same view, just on a larger screen. Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the S7000's LCD monitor is essentially perfect in that regard. Flash distribution is a little uneven at wide angle, with falloff at the corners and edges of the frame. At telephoto, flash distribution is more uniform, and much brighter.