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Fuji FinePix S602 Zoom

Fuji's latest electronic SLR offers improved image quality, fast response, high ISOs, and 30 fps movies at full VGA resolution!

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Page 12:Test Results & Conclusion

Review First Posted: 4/18/2002

Test Results
In keeping with our standard policy, my comments here are rather condensed, summarizing our key findings. For a full commentary on each of the test images, see the S602 Zoom's "pictures" page.

As with all Imaging Resource camera tests, we encourage you to let your own eyes be the judge of how well the devices performed. Explore the images on the pictures page, to see how well the S602 Zoom performed, and how its images compare to other cameras you may be considering buying.

The S602 Zoom produced very pleasing color throughout my testing, with good hue and saturation in most cases. The camera's White Balance system handled most of the test lighting well, and I typically chose the Manual and Auto settings as the most accurate. In the tough Indoor Portrait (without flash) test, the S602 Zoom's Manual white balance produced slightly greenish casts, though some tweaking produced better color. Both the Auto and Incandescent settings also produced color casts, but the overall white balance under incandescent lighting was a huge improvement over earlier Fuji cameras, and better than many competitors manage. The S602 Zoom performed well on the Davebox test target, accurately distinguishing between the subtle tonal variations of the Q60 target and reproducing the large color blocks correctly, with good saturation, although the pure yellow block was a little muted. Skin tones were pleasing in both Outdoor portraits - A little pink, but I've found most viewers seem to prefer the "healthier" look that gives. The difficult blue flowers and other colors were pretty much spot-on in those shots.

The S602 Zoom's Super CCD performed very well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 800 lines per picture height vertically and horizontally, but detail remained strong out to about 1,150 lines. "Extinction" of the target patterns occurred at about 1,450 lines.

The S602 Zoom has a full Manual exposure mode, with exposure times as long as 15 seconds. As a result, the S602 Zoom captured great images at very low light levels, with surprisingly little noise. The camera captured bright, clear images at light levels as low as 1/16 foot-candle (0.067 lux) at all of its ISO settings, though color balance was a bit warm at the lower light levels (It must be noted though, that both EVF and autofocus systems stopped working at light levels quite a bit higher than this, close to one foot-candle).

The S602 Zoom captured a very tiny macro area at its Super Macro setting, measuring only 1.49 x 1.12 inches (38 x 28 millimeters). The macro area in normal macro mode was also good, measuring 3.95 x 2.97 inches (100 x 75 millimeters). Resolution was high in both shots, with great detail in the coins, brooch, and dollar bill. Details were sharp, though some corner softness was present. Color balance was a little warm, but still good. The camera's flash throttled down well for the macro area, though the large lens produced a shadow in the bottom of the frame.

My biggest complaint about the S602 Zoom is that it tends to lose detail in strong highlights, and is also a little prone toward overexposure on some shots. That said, I was quite impressed with its capabilities throughout my testing. It's unusually fast, both in terms of shutter lag and from shot to shot, and has outstanding macro capabilities and very good low light shooting as well. Its color is accurate and pleasing, and its images show lower than average noise levels and very good resolution. All in all, it proved to be a very capable camera, particularly for the price.

I really think Fuji's hit a home run in the "enthusiast" category with this one. They've brought together a range of key features in an appealing package, and thrown in some unusual capabilities to boot. - And they've managed to offer all this capability with a surprisingly low price tag as well. The S602 Zoom will meet the needs of many "enthusiast" photographers, and its long 6x zoom, faster than average shutter lag and shot to shot cycle time, and unusual "Final 5 Frame" capture mode make it a particularly good choice for amateur sports shooters. And of course, there's the amazing 640x480, 30 fps movie mode too. While talking about all the other cool features though, it's important not to miss image quality: The S602 delivers great-looking images, with excellent color and resolution, and low image noise. (But I would really like to see less geometric distortion at the ends of its zoom range.) Finally, despite all its advanced features, it's as easy to operate in full "auto" mode as any point & shoot on the market. - A great camera to start with and gradually grow into. Long the "Rodney Dangerfield" of the digicam marketplace, with the S602 Zoom, Fuji may finally get some respect among the enthusiast crowd. Highly recommended!


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