When our old Kodak Easyshare digital camera seemed like it was on its last breath, my wife decided that it was time we looked at purchasing a new digital camera that was easy to use but not too complex. The majority of our pictures happen during monthly family outings anyway, so it wasn’t like we needed a super-duper, high quality camera for more than $500. Instead, we got a super-duper, high quality camera for less than $300 in the Fujifilm FinePix S800.
Picture Quality. The Fujifilm FinePix S800 is listed as producing 8.0 mega pixel pictures, but I personally believe you can get more out of this little machine. If you simply use just the “auto” function, the S800 is capable of taking your standard birthday party poses and vacation outings. However, with a press of the “f” button, you instantly upgrade your options infinitely. Set the shooting standard to Finepix Chrome and you make the picture colors pop out, especially useful in settings involving flowers or bright colors. Choose the black and white and create the classical look. You can even change the pixel quality to 8 different settings. This is just in “auto” mode.
There are also other options in the FinePix S800 that allow for two photos to take at once in natural and with flash so you can choose which one is better. My favorite simple shoot feature is the “SP1” and “SP2” special position settings. Let’s say that you know your upcoming shoot is at the 4th of July and you’re taking out a large group of people. You can set the “SP1” 1 for “Fireworks” so that the camera is already primed to take fireworks pictures, making the settings auto adjust for color and night shot at the same time. You can set the “SP2” position for Night so that when you take the group photos of everyone eating hot dogs, the camera is ready to catch every dribble.
Button Layout. Holding the camera may seem a bit clunky at first, but once you find the proper grip, the FujiFilm FinePix S800 is almost like having an extension of your hand rather than just a camera. Just be sure not to put your finger on top of the flash pop-up which I found myself doing very often.
The power button is a slide button which makes the camera turns on 10 times faster than our Kodak Easyshare. There is a rotating shot style selector at the top like most cameras. And all the special feature buttons are laid out for easy access if you decide to use the special viewfinder. The viewfinder is quite the battery saver because you get the same menu options with it as you would with the 2.5″ lcd. If you don’t want to drain your batteries by editing on the big screen, the digital viewfinder is a godsend.
Advanced Features. Warning: the advanced features in the Fujifilm FinePix 800 will require some heavy reading. The instruction manual is 178 pages, all English. Let’s just say that if you want to change the aperture, shutter speed, shoot in special situations, take film with audio, hook up a slideshow to your television using the camera, add text or even photograph text documents, the manual has every setting. For the budding shutterbugs, the different aperture settings alone will amaze you. Basically 2/3 of every editing feature you would normally use computer software to do can be found in this camera. You can even crop the photos and putting print dates on them before you download to your PC!
Ease of Use. Despite the complexities inside the FujiFilm Finepix S800, it is remarkably easy to use. The length of time between turn on and shoot is an average of three seconds, mostly because you don’t have to wait for the lens to extend and the viewfinder is digital as I mentioned before. Hooking up to the PC and the television gets easier with the advancement of technology, and there isn’t any complicated software that you absolutely have to install into your computer if you’ve bought a PC in the last three years.
This camera is probably the best digital camera for the dollar I’ve ever held because it does what every digital camera should do: take simple, beautiful pictures but allow for the budding photographer to do more advanced work and create masterpieces. FujiFilm really came up with a brilliant design in the S800.