Fujifilm FinePix S9100 Optics


Lens

Zoom
A wide-ranging 10.7x optical zoom range that starts at 28mm, with good performance.

28mm
300mm
2x Digital Zoom

The Fujifilm FinePix S9100 zooms over the equivalent of a 28 - 300mm range, a very generous zoom range for its class. Results are good at wide-angle, with reasonably sharp details, though some coma distortion and flare is noticeable in the leaves against the sky in both upper corners. There's a slight stippled effect at all resolutions, something we didn't see with the S6000. The 2x digital zoom actually performs better than one might expect, with low noise and only moderate blurring, but as always, digital zoom is basically just cropping-out the central pixels of the sensor's image; as a result, the image is even more stippled and soft.

Macro
A larger than average macro area in the normal mode, but a tiny area in Super Macro. Flash exposes fairly well in normal macro mode.

Standard Macro Macro with Flash Super Macro

The Fujifilm FinePix S9100's macro setting did OK in our test, but it captured a larger than average minimum area measuring 4.63 x 3.47 inches (117 x 88 millimeters). The camera's Super Macro setting captured a much smaller area, a very small 1.55 x 1.16 inches (39 x 30 millimeters), but the close shooting range made lighting difficult. Detail was strong, and resolution high, with significant softening in the corners from the lens. (Most cameras have some softening in the corners in macro mode.) The flash throttled down pretty well, but obviously can't do much in Super Macro mode due to the very short shooting distance.

Distortion
Moderate barrel distortion at wide-angle, average pincushion at telephoto.

Barrel distortion at 18mm is 0.78 percent
Pincushion at 300mm is 0.29 percent

This is the tendency for the lens to bend straight lines outward (like a barrel -- usually at wide-angle), or inward (like a pincushion -- usually at telephoto). The S9100's 0.78 percent barrel distortion at wide-angle is just a bit lower than average among the cameras we've tested (but its 28mm setting is wider than most), and not noticeable in most images. At the telephoto end, the S9100's 0.29 percent pincushion is average. It's worth noting that the S9000 manages to stay within the typical range of distortion for cameras we've tested, despite its more than 10x zoom ratio, an impressive achievement.


Chromatic aberration
High to moderate in the corners of the images. Worst at wide-angle, slightly better at telephoto.

Wide: high, top left @ 200 percent Wide: bright, top right @ 200 percent
Tele: still high, top left @200 percent Tele: still high, top right @200 percent

Chromatic aberration is rather high at wide-angle, showing about 7 - 8 pixels of very bright coloration on either side of the target lines. The effect decreases only slightly at telephoto focal lengths, but is in the opposite direction. (The green fringes are toward the outside edges of the frame at wide-angle, but toward the center of the frame at telephoto.) At intermediate focal lengths, the chromatic aberration decreases, and passes through zero. (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.) Overall, the chromatic aberration from the Fuji S9100's lens is higher than we'd like to see at both ends of its zoom range.

Corner Sharpness
Fairly strong softening in the top corners of the frame, strongest effect in the upper right corner. Lower corners soft, but effect not as strong.

Wide: Soft in the lower right corner. Wide: Sharp at the center.
Tele: Soft in the lower left corner. Tele: Sharp at the center.

The S9100 produced soft corners at wide-angle, the lower corners showing the most significant effect. This is very common at wide-angle in cameras like this, and most comparable cameras don't have a 28mm wide-angle setting. Telephoto performance is much improved, only mildly softer than the center shot.

Viewfinder

Coverage
Good accuracy with the LCD monitor, and electronic viewfinder (EVF).

28mm eq., optical viewfinder 300mm eq., optical viewfinder

The S9100's electronic optical viewfinder, and LCD monitor showed essentially identical results, with about 103 percent frame accuracy for wide-angle, and about 99 percent for telephoto.

 

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Fujifilm FinePix S9100 Photo Gallery .

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