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Fujifilm Finepix S5700 S700 Bridge Camera Review

So I broke my arm at the end of October '07, so I spent a week or so in hospital for an operation, then a long time recuperating. I read a lot of magazines and visited a lot of websites, and I was quite worried that I wouldn't really be able to do much with my arm in the long term, so I started to think about taking up Digital Photography as a hobby to replace my previous more active pass-times.

Before I purchased the S5700 I'd only ever owned one Digital Camera, a Kodak EasyShare CX4230, a 2.0 Megapixel Point and Shoot, that could take ok shots in the right conditions. I had played with Photoshop Elements (ver 2.0!) with some of the images, but never got that serious about it.

So when I started to look for a new digital camera, I didn't really know that much about the subject, but I knew about a few features I wanted. Long battery life, using ordinary batteries, not a model-specific pack, was first on my list. Next I wanted a big optical zoom, with an eye-piece view-finder. It had to be take video with sound, have a macro mode, and a tripod mount. My budget was about £100.

Having some Amazon Gift Vouchers, that was going to be my shop of choice, so I started to hunt through the dozens of different models, checking the user-reviews, then cross-referencing these with other sites. The Fujifilm Finepix S5700 immediately stood out - 10x Optical Zoom, runs off 4 AA's, eye-piece, Super-Macro, Tripod, Video, and it was on sale for £106! I had found my Christmas Present!

I've had the S5700 for almost 6 months now, and I have to say that it is a fantastic camera. Have a quick look at this video I did for one of my other sites:

Apologies for the video and sound quality, but it should give you an idea about the size and some of the functions of the S5700.

I can honestly say that the capabilities of the S5700 have amazed me. Ok, it's a point-and-shoot sensor in a posh body and lens, so you're not going to get dSLR quality straight out of it, but believe me when I say that this camera has almost all the controls a Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera would have.

You can use the Fuji in Auto mode, where the camera does all the thinking for you, or Programme, Scene Position, Aperture / Shutter Priority, Movie and Full Manual.

So if you're interested in taking up Photography seriously, but want to start off on a budget, if you learn all the features of the S5700, you'll know exactly how to get the best out of a true dSLR.
What am I talking about? Well, we've got auto-bracketing, various focusing modes, spot, average and multi photometry. Auto, preset or custom white balance. Manual focus. The list goes on - just work your way through the manual (which is excellent) and go out and shoot to learn.

Technical stuff, the S5700 is 7.0 Megapixels, 10 times Optical Zoom, takes SD cards, takes video at up to 640 x 480 at 30 frames per second. It runs off four AA batteries, has a 46mm lens thread (for filters) and doesn't come with a camera bag.

To gauge picture quality, take a look at my Gallery. Remember that these images have been edited - so contrast has been increased, colours improved, etc, the original images are a lot "flatter", but this goes for all budget digital cameras. The best shots are achieved around dusk or evening, where little editing is needed, and remember that because the S5700 can Auto-Bracket, HDR images are possible too.

Very few gadgets really impress me. Yes, the S5700 has shortcomings. Occasional purple fringing, and I worry about the build-quality of the plastic battery and sd card covers, but I assure you that I will not be changing my S5700 until I can afford a very expensive dSLR with very good lenses - the Fujifilm is that good.


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