Fujifilm S8000fd Review
Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd Exposure
Saturation & Hue Accuracy
Slight oversaturation in bright reds, blues and some greens, though good overall color, and hue accuracy.
Skin tones. The Fujifilm S8000fd did render skin tones just slightly on the pink side, but almost certainly within the range that would be acceptable to most consumers. Where oversaturation is most problematic is on Caucasian skin tones, as it's very easy for these "memory colors" to be seen as too bright, too pink, too yellow, etc.
Hue. Here, the Fuji S8000fd also performed fairly well. Depending on the white balance setting, the Fujifilm S8000fd had a tendency toward slightly reddish, or slightly warm overall color. On the color error chart above right, we see that, as with most digital cameras we test, the S8000fd shifts cyans toward pure blues, a very common tactic to improve sky colors. Orange hues are shifted slightly toward yellow, but all other colors are quite hue-accurate, and the S8000's average hue accuracy overall puts it in the top rank of cameras we've tested. The other important part of color rendition is hue accuracy. Hue is "what color" the color is.
Exposure and White Balance
Indoors, incandescent lighting
Warm casts with both Auto and Incandescent white balance settings, but the Manual option produced very good results. Slightly lower than average exposure compensation required.
|Auto White Balance
|Manual White Balance
Color balance indoors under incandescent lighting was quite warm and pinkish in Auto white balance mode. Incandescent was also quite warm, but with a yellow cast. The Manual setting produced much more accurate results. The FinePix S8000fd required a +0.7 EV exposure compensation boost to get a good exposure, which is a bit lower than average for this shot. Overall color with the manual setting looks good, if a little reddish, though the blue flowers are dark, and purplish, a very common outcome for this shot. (The slight reddish cast isn't necessarily a bad thing at all: It preserves some of the warmth of the original scene, without looking like an obvious color cast. We think most users would find this rendering very appealing.) Our test lighting for this shot is a mixture of 60 and 100 watt household incandescent bulb, a pretty yellow light source, but a very common one in typical home settings here in the U.S.
Good color, and average to better-than-average exposure accuracy, but rather high contrast.
|Auto White Balance, +0.3 EV||Auto White Balance,
Outdoor shots generally showed fairly accurate exposure, though highlights were easily blown-out, and the deep shadows lost some detail. The Fuji FinePix S8000fd generally required less exposure compensation outdoors than most cameras we test. Color is quite good, vivid without appearing too overdone, although bright yellows, and greens were a bit more muted than with many consumer-level digital cameras.
High resolution, 1,300 lines of strong detail.
|Strong detail to 1,300 lines horizontal||Strong detail to 1,300 lines vertical|
Our laboratory resolution chart revealed sharp, distinct line patterns down to about 1,300 lines per picture height, in both the horizontal and vertical directions from the Fuji S8000fd. Extinction of the pattern occurred between 1,600 and 1,700. (Some reviewers will doubtless argue for higher numbers, but past 1,300 lines, the level of artifacts, and aliasing starts to swamp the target detail itself.) Use these numbers to compare with other cameras of similar resolution, or use them to see just what higher resolution can mean in terms of potential detail.
Sharpness & Detail
Fairly sharp images, with moderate blurring of detail from noise suppression.
|Pretty good definition of high-contrast elements, though with slightly visible sharpening artifacts.||Subtle detail: Hair
Noise suppression tends to blur detail in areas of subtle contrast, as in the gentle shading of Marti's hair here.
The Fujifilm S8000fd's images are reasonably sharp, with relatively little over-sharpening, or excessive edge enhancement on the camera's part. (Edge enhancement creates the illusion of sharpness by enhancing colors, and tones right at the edge of a rapid transition in color, or tone.) Though some edge enhancement is at play here, results are still very good, and the camera's images take strong/tight unsharp masking in Photoshop very well.
Noise-suppression systems in digital cameras tend to flatten detail in areas of subtle contrast. The effects can often be seen in shots of human hair, where the individual strands are lost, and an almost "watercolor" look appears. The crop at far right shows this, with darker areas of Marti's hair showing limited, blurry detail, though individual strands are visible where a lighted strand passes in front of a darker shadow area. The Fuji S8000fd is on the high side of average, in the amount of subtle detail it trades away for lower image noise.
ISO & Noise Performance
Low to moderate noise below ISO 400, though high noise and drastically blurred detail at the higher settings.
|ISO 100||ISO 200||ISO 400|
|ISO 800||ISO 1,600||ISO 3,200 (4 MP)|
|ISO 6,400 (4 MP)|
The Fuji S8000fd's lower ISO settings produced low to moderate noise, with only slightly blurred detail in the dark areas, but a fair bit of chroma noise was already visible in the shadows at ISO 100. (Sorry, no ISO 64 shot - shutter speeds at ISOs below 100 are generally too slow for sharp results with a human subject in this type of lighting.) As the ISO setting increased, so did the noise level, and the amount of blurring caused by the noise reduction processing. Images at ISO 400 are visibly soft on-screen, with moderate color blotching. At ISO 800, fine detail is almost nonexistent, and we start to see bright pixels as the camera struggles to reduce noise while trying to keep as much sharpness as possible. At ISO 1,600 detail completely falls apart, with heavy chroma noise, very bright noise pixels and other visible noise reduction artifacts. ISO 3,200 and 6,400 are reduced resolution (4 megapixels) and appear to be pixel binned, containing very little detail with a strong watercolor look to them. See the Output Quality section below for more on printed output from the Fujifilm S8000fd.
Extremes: Sunlit, and low light tests
High resolution with good overall detail, but high contrast limits both highlight and shadow detail. Somewhat limited low-light performance.
|Default Exposure||+0.3 EV||+0.7 EV|
The Fujifilm S8000fd handled the above challenge fairly well, but its somewhat high contrast resulted in limited highlight and shadow detail. The effect of noise suppression is visible in the deep shadows, and does contribute to the moderate loss of detail there. The default exposure preserved the strong highlights in this shot, but the +0.3 EV image is just a bit brighter and better-looking overall, despite the loss of some highlight detail. Though Marti's face is still a bit dark at +0.3 EV, the +0.7 EV shot had too many blown highlights for my taste. (In "real life" though, be sure to use fill flash in situations like the one shown above; it's better to shoot in the shade when possible.)
Because digital cameras are more like slide film than negative film (in that they tend to have a more limited tonal range), we test them in the harshest situations to see how they handle scenes with bright highlights and dark shadows, as well as what kind of sensitivity they have in low light. The shot above is designed to mimic the very harsh, contrasty effect of direct noonday sunlight, a very tough challenge for most digital cameras. (You can read details of this test here.)
The Fujifilm S8000fd struggled a bit in our low light test, mainly because its longest shutter speed is limited to four seconds. At ISO 64, only the 1 foot-candle image was bright. At ISO 100, images down to 1/2 fc were bright, and so on. Only shots at ISO 800 and above were bright at the 1/16 foot-candle level, the lowest level we test at. That said, the S8000fd should do reasonably well with typical city night scenes, since those usually correspond to the 1 foot-candle level we start at here. Just be sure to shoot at lower ISO settings to avoid image noise, and use a sturdy tripod to stabilize the camera for the long exposures.
Color balance looked good with the Auto white balance setting, but noise and the detail-robbing effects of noise reduction can be quite high at the higher ISO settings needed to capture bright images at the lowest light levels of our test. The camera's autofocus system worked unusually well, able to focus on the subject almost down to the darkest light levels we test at, even with its AF-assist light turned off. With AF-assist on, the camera easily handled the darkest level we test at.
How bright is this? The one foot-candle light level that this test begins at roughly corresponds to the brightness of typical city street-lighting at night. Cameras performing well at that should be able to snap good-looking photos of street-lit scenes.
NOTE: This low light test is conducted with a stationary subject, and the camera mounted on a sturdy tripod. Most digital cameras will fail miserably when faced with a moving subject in dim lighting. (For example, a child's ballet recital, or a holiday pageant in a gymnasium.) For such applications, you may have better luck with a dSLR camera, but even there, you'll likely need to set the focus manually. For information, and reviews on dSLRs, refer to our SLR review index page.
Coverage and Range
The FinePix S8000fd's flash has somewhat uneven coverage (not unexpected for such a wide angle), but with good range. Our standard shots required a little less exposure compensation than average. Limited flash exposure compensation adjustment though.
Coverage. Flash coverage was uneven at wide-angle, but pretty good considering the 27mm eq. wide angle focal length. At telephoto, coverage is quite a bit more even, but the size of our test target would have required shooting from such a great distance that the flash wouldn't illuminate it - Hence, we show no test image above. In the Indoor test, the flash on the Fuji S8000fd underexposed our subject at its default setting, requiring a +0.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment to get reasonably bright results. Even here, the exposure is a little dim, but that's as far as the camera's exposure adjustment would let us boost the flash output. The camera's Slow-Sync flash mode produced only slightly brighter results, though with a stronger pinkish-orange cast from the room lighting. The Slow-Sync flash also required a +0.7 EV exposure adjustment for bright results.
ISO 100 Range. Even at six feet at wide angle, our closest test range, the S8000fd's flash underexposed the target somewhat, but this must have been caused by a specular reflection, because the flash exposure then rises and falls as we get out further, finally only falling at around 14 feet. At full telephoto, flash exposure also starts out a bit dim, but doesn't fall until about 10 feet.
|Manufacturer-Specified Flash Range|
Auto ISO 400
Auto ISO 400
Manufacturer Specified Flash Test. In Auto ISO mode, Fujifilm rates the S8000fd's flash range at 8.8m / 28.9 ft at wide angle, and 5.6m / 18.4 ft at telephoto. As you can see, the 28.9 foot distance is out the door of the studio and well into the rest of the lab area. (That's Rob on the left, who helps Luke with a lot of the lab work.) The target is very dim here, because the metering system was responding to all the light bouncing off the light-colored walls of the outside of the studio. (On the we'll-get-to-it-someday list is the task of painting the white walls a dark grey.)
Note: Our standard test method for flash range uses a fixed setting of ISO 100, to provide a fair basis of comparison between cameras. We also capture two shots using the manufacturer-specified camera settings, at the range the company claims for the camera, to assess the validity of their claims.
Good print quality, good color, good prints at 11 x 14 inches, though not as good at higher ISOs, as ISO 800 images only make passable 4x6 inch images.
The Fujifilm S8000fd produced reasonably sharp 11 x 14 inch prints at ISO 64. The image softens at ISO 100, and worse at ISO 200, making for better 8x10-inch prints at that setting. ISO 400 shots are okay at 8x10, but noise starts to appear again, and both oversaturated color and detail loss start to create an almost posterized look in bright colors. ISO 800 shots are just okay at 5x7, but usable at 4x6. ISO 1,600 shots are only usable at 4x6 if you don't look closely. ISO 3,200 and 6,400 shots aren't useful at any size, except for very small Web images.
Color saturation is way too high, pumped at the expense of detail as you move up the ISO ladder. It's a surprisingly disappointing result, and worse than the Olympus SP-560. We advise staying to ISO 400 or below.
Testing hundreds of digital cameras, we've found that you can only tell just so much about a camera's image quality by viewing its images on-screen. Ultimately, there's no substitute for printing a lot of images, and examining them closely. For this reason, we now routinely print sample images from the cameras we test on our Canon i9900 studio printer, and on the Canon iP5000 here in the office. (See the Canon i9900 review for details on that model.)
The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd Photo Gallery.
Recommended Software: Rescue your Photos!
Just as important as an extra memory card is a tool to rescue your images when one of your cards fails at some point in the future. We get a lot of email from readers who've lost photos due to a corrupted memory card. Memory card corruption can happen with any card type and any camera manufacturer, nobody's immune. A lot of "lost" images can be recovered with an inexpensive, easy to use piece of software though. Given the amount of email I've gotten on the topic, I now include this paragraph in all my digital camera reviews. The program you need is called PhotoRescue, by DataRescue SA. Read our review of it if you'd like, but download the program now, so you'll have it. It doesn't cost a penny until you need it, and even then it's only $29, with a money back guarantee. So download PhotoRescue for Windows or PhotoRescue for Mac while you're thinking of it. (While you're at it, download the PDF manual and quickstart guide as well.) Stash the file in a safe place and it'll be there when you need it. Trust me, needing this is not a matter of if, but when... PhotoRescue is about the best and easiest tool for recovering digital photos I've seen. (Disclosure: IR gets a small commission from sales of the product, but I'd highly recommend the program even if we didn't.) OK, now back to our regularly scheduled review...
Not sure which camera to buy? Let your eyes be the ultimate judge! Visit our Comparometer(tm) to compare images from the Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd with those from other cameras you may be considering. The proof is in the pictures, so let your own eyes decide which you like best!
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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.