Fujifilm are an established camera manufacturer, and one of the first to develop bridge cameras (so called as they attempt to ‘bridge’ the gap between a point and shoot and DSLR). Fuji currently offer a wide range of compacts, from the budget friendly to the high-end. Fuji have maintained a reputation for their superior low light performance across many models in their compact range, so if you envisage wanting to take photos at night or at partys/bars/clubs without relying heavily on the flash then you should seriously consider Fujis offerings.
The Fuji compact range is split into three categories, Fun and Easy, Slim Compact and Advanced Compact. The Fun and Easy range is the simplest entry-level range, and models such as the Finepix A170 remain popular with users who merely want an easy to use point and shoot. Don’t let the Fun and Easy badge put you off completely though, whilst these cameras won’t offer complete creative freedom some models are feature-rich. The Finepix JZ500 manages to pack a 10x zoom and 14Mp sensor for example. The Advanced Compact line is very popular with photographers who want a smaller camera to compliment their DSLR, and for good reason. In fact, Mark uses the acclaimed FinePix F80EXR whilst Matt uses the now discontinued FinePix F50FD. Low light performance is the big seller in these cameras, as is the impressive level of manual control available. The final range of Slim Compacts focuses on the ultra small and colourful, perfect for travelling light. As always expect a compromise though, these cameras offer limited zoom (5x at best) and are not going to produce as good results as the Advanced Compacts, though don’t let the pretty looks fool you into thinking these cameras are just a toy.
If you’re after a bridge camera then Fuji is a great place to start! Though they market their bridge cameras as true DSLR competitors, the fixed lens means in some respects they can’t be. However, a bridge camera can still give fantastic results and in a more compact and cheaper package than a DSLR kit, and Fuji are market leaders in this field. For those looking for a capable camera on a budget, the FinePix S1800 is a fantastic choice. Its larger than compact size means you get much of the benefit DSLR users get from a larger sensor, including HD video, and at around £150 it won’t break the bank. The range-topping FinePix HS10 goes even further by adding a 30x zoom, RAW image capabilities and 1080p video, and still it comes in cheaper than an entry-level DSLR.
Also of note for those with specialist requirements are the two specialised cameras in Fujis range, the FinePix XP10 and FinePix Real 3D W1. The XP10 is waterproof, shockproof, dustproof and freezeproof, making it perfect for taking to the beach, skiing holidays or as a general camera for the clumsy photographer! It manages decent specs and impressive photos too though, for not a whole lot more than a lesser branded waterproof camera or even a waterproof housing for some other compacts. The Real 3D W1 is very interesting from a technical perspective, offering consumers the ability to take 3D photos and videos. The way the 3D system works though (essentially by having two cameras in one) means that in 2D mode Fuji allow you to use these cameras independently, so you can take two versions of a photo at a time, say at different sensitivities or with different zoom levels.
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