Super zoom cameras boasting an optical zoom with a 15x reach or more are usually prohibitively bulky, but that’s not the case with the Fujifilm FinePix S2800HD. Claiming to be the world’s smallest camera to offer an 18x reach, it’s styled to resemble a miniature digital SLR. Unlike a DSLR, though, the lens on the front of the 14-megapixel snapper cannot be changed.
Fuji would argue you wouldn’t want to make a swap anyway, thanks to the 2800HD providing a focal range that’s the equivalent of 28-420mm in 35mm film camera terms. This means that it’s as adept at taking in landscape panoramas as it is in getting up close and personal. But perhaps the best news of all is that the Fuji has a very competitive street price. It’s just £150.
Though much smaller than a proper DSLR, the Fujifilm FinePix S2800HD is still too much of a squeeze for all but a deep jacket pocket. Added weight and reassuring solidity is provided by the four AAs required for power inserted into its handgrip. These boast enough juice for up to 300 photos, which is average for its class.
Controls fall readily to hand meaning it’s easy to use. A main shooting mode dial offers a selection of manual photographic controls as well as the usual ‘auto everything’ options, which is unexpected at this price. The on/off switch is similarly chunky and obvious, located just behind the main shutter release button that is itself ergonomically encircled by a lever for operating the zoom.
The camera powers up in two seconds, while the zoom is equally responsive, though we did find the built-in microphone picked up the mechanical noise of its buzzing wasp-like adjustments.
Fujifilm FinePix S2800HD: Features
The ‘HD’ in the Fuji’s model number obviously indicates that Motion JPEG format High Definition video can be recorded, like photos straight to removable SD card. Here it’s 1280x720 pixels rather than the Full HD 1920x1080 resolution. Both stills and video are composed and reviewed via the 3-inch LCD screen provided, or, more unusually at this price, the tiny electronic viewfinder window (EVF) located directly above it, though we didn’t use that very often.
Apart from the microphone picking up lens movement, we were a little disappointed at how slow the camera was to regain focus if we made adjustments whilst filming clips. Every time we did, our footage would blur for a moment or two before coming sharp again, without the option to make manual adjustments via a separate lens ring.
We do get a mini HDMI output port provided for hooking the camera up directly to a flat panel TV, however, which is again good for the price, although as with most digital cameras the required cable is extra.
Fujifilm FinePix S2800HD: Image Quality
Shooting at maximum zoom, especially with an 18x reach, introduces the possibility – perhaps inevitability – of camera shake and blur. Fortunately Fuji has provided both sensor-shift anti shake – the internal chip vibrating to counteract any external wobble – plus shutter speed and ISO (light sensitivity, here up to ISO6400) boosting digital anti shake. Like other methods this dual option isn’t foolproof, and we sometimes needed a couple of goes to get a sharp image if shooting handheld at the lens’ furthest setting.
For low light shooting without the aid of the camera’s pop up flash we achieved impressively clear results if sticking below ISO1600. A resolution drop at ISO3200 provides a temporarily cleaner image before top whack ISO6400 re-introduces a distinctly gritty appearance as noise/grain noticeably intrudes. On the whole picture quality was on a par with what we would expect from a £100 camera, with some softening of detail, barrel distortion towards the edges of frame at maximum wideangle, and the odd colour cast suggesting auto white balance isn’t 100% spot on.
Still, for the excellent asking price it’s very hard to grumble. This ‘world’s smallest’ 18x super zoom will almost fit in your pocket and offers a far wider choice when it comes to composing pictures and video than others in its class. Image quality isn’t perfect, but for its stupendous price we feel churlish to take potshots
Fujifilm S2800HD launch date: Out now, link Fujifilm
Fujifilm S2800HD price: £150-£200 online