Fuji Finepix S7000 Bridge Camera
You may have seen my article on Bridge Cameras,
where I mentioned that the S7000 appeared on the scene way back
in 2003. In digital camera years, that might as well be half a
century. Remarkably, the S7000 is still a desirable camera
after more than a decade, even though it's not a current-production
model. We're going to see what made it such a good camera.
First, let's look at a brief rundown of some camera specs.
35mm Zoom Equivalent: 35-210 mm
Batteries: AA, preferably rechargeable NiMH
supposed to be 400+ shots, in real life it seems less. Don't use
alkaline batteries in this camera... they run down fast.
Connectors: Mini USB, A/V out (mini earphone-style jack)
Continuous Shooting: 3.3 fps, 5-frame burst
Exposure Control: Auto, Programmed Auto (P), Aperture Priority (A), Shutter Priority (S), Manual (M), & SP modes
Flash: Built-in, plus a hotshoe to accept an external flash. Has a Red-Eye Reduction mode.
Focus: Auto, Manual Focus available via lens ring
Image Formats: JPG and CCD-RAW
Image Stabilization: None
ISO settings: ISO 200 through 800, with Auto ISO available
Lens: non-interchangeable zoom lens, 7.8 to 46.8mm, f/2.8 to 3.1
Metering: Evaluative, Center-Weighted, & Spot modes
Resolution: 6.3 MP (12.5 MP if you shoot in RAW format)
Sensor: 1/1.7 inch Super CCD HR (4th generation)
Shutter speeds: 15" to 1/10,000th (!!) (1/4 to 1/2000 in AUTO / SP modes)
Video: 640x480 px (VGA) @ 30 fps, AVI format, NTSC / PAL output
Viewfinder: Electronic (235,000 pixel EVF)
Weight (no batteries): about 500 grams (17.6 oz.)
Zoom magnification: 6x Optical (35mm equivalent: 35-210 mm)
Power-Up & Basic Use
The power-up routine is a bit slow, but that's to be expected from a camera this old.
Speaking of power, make sure you get the right batteries if you're going to use this camera. Don't even think about using alkalines in this. They run down in minutes. Instead, get yourself a pack of Sanyo Eneloops (grab some here).
Eneloops are (or perhaps were) the best battery around for any digicam that takes AA
batteries. Unlike most rechargeable NiMH's, Eneloops hold a
charge for quite a while on the shelf (or in your camera). I used Duracell rechargeables in
the Finepix for a while, and they were semi-passable, but the Eneloops
A reader named Steve tells me that NiZn batteries work even better in this camera. You can pick up some NiZn AA's and a charger here.
hard to believe there was even a bridge camera that could record video
in 2003. (Actually there were a couple of them. Sony was
one.) The S7000 offers 640x480 video at 30 frames per
second. By today's standards it's not much, but it works.
And it has sound, no less!
Actually, the video is not bad.
Looking at it now, it still looks way better than a lot of smartphone
videos. I wouldn't go out of my way to get this camera just for
the video, but it's surprisingly good for its age. (I might go
out of my way to get this camera for still pictures, though. Yep,
it's still that good.)
video is still used quite a bit on-line. If you're going to do
video much with the Finepix, make sure you get a 2GB xD card. (I like this one.)
They're not cheap (about 30 bucks for 2 gigs), since
everyone uses SD cards now, but the Finepix can only run on the xD's or
Compact Flash Type II.
Actually, no. The CF Type II cards have more capacity. You can pick up an 8GB Compact Flash card
for less than half the price of the the 2GB Olympus xD card.
After all this time, though, I've never actually used CF cards in the
FinePix, so I can't vouch for how well they work in it. No reason they shouldn't, though.
Reader Steve, who also suggested the NiZn batteries, mentions that the
Finepix S7000 may not be able to use cards larger than 2GB. If
this is true, it would probably be because of limited memory addressing
capabilities written into the camera's firmware or
software. You'll have to check for yourself!
most bridge cameras, the Finepix has a built-in flash. It
has a Red-Eye Reduction mode, but you're still better off using an
external flash if your subjects are in a dark room. Don't forget
the Wein Safe Sync to protect from
back-voltage, which will otherwise fry your camera's circuitry.
all this time, I still like the Finepix S7000 with
bounce flash for taking most of my pictures of "stuff"... anything with
high 3D relief where you want it all to be in focus. I prefer it
even to a DSLR. With a DSLR you
have that annoying "flash synch speed" limitation, but with the Finepix
S7000 you can run the shutter speed at 1/10,000th of a second if you
want, and there won't be any black curtain obscuring your photo.
The on-camera flash is not totally useless, though. Sometimes
you'll have a subject standing in the shade, but the background is
brightly-lit. This is where you'll want to use the on-camera
flash, just to fill in the lighting. Thanks to the daylight,
their pupils should be narrow enough that you won't get nasty
Now, if you're going around taking flash photos in a darkened reception
hall, then you'll want bounce flash... or just be good with Photoshop
after the fact.
really amazes me is that the S7000 can still stand up next to bridge
cameras being made in 2014. Set the image capture mode to
CCD-RAW at the highest quality, and you've got 12.5 MP images that can
rival those from newer cameras. (Some sources say 12.3 MP.
I don't know which it is, don't care... 12.3 is close enough to 12.5.)
Look at these images and tell
me which is which: new camera vs. old camera? One of
these is from a bridge camera still being made this year (2014);
the other is from the Fuji Finepix S7000, introduced in 2003.
what I mean?? The resolution and detail are almost the
same. The image quality is almost the same. The colors are
a little different. And one photo is a little less noisy than the
other. That's about it.
If you want, look at them up close. There isn't much difference in detail capture.
Here's a 100% crop from Image 1:
And here's a 100% crop from Image 2:
Alright. Which is which?
Image 1 is from the S7000. Image 2 is from a
12-megapixel bridge cam that's still being made.
For as far
apart as these cameras are chronologically, they shouldn't have image
quality this close together. Granted, the newer 12-MP camera has
less noise and very slightly better detail, but still, the difference
isn't that great. The one major limitation of the S7000 is
its tendency to clip one or more of the color channels very
easily; this problem has been somewhat corrected in newer bridge
cameras. If you select your scenes carefully and underexpose, you
can work around this.
Actually, the Fuji does blue skies better than just about anyone. They
almost got the sky colors right for Velvia 100, which is pretty impressive
for a digital camera... especially one made in '03. On the
other camera's picture, I had to adjust the curves to get the sky to
look even semi-right. I adjusted it on the 100% crop
only; see the uncropped one for what it originally looked
like. The S7000 got it right the first time. I love this
camera, even now.
thing: look at the first two pictures (Image 1 and Image 2, not the cropped versions). The Fuji did a
better job rendering the detail in the rising moon.
Weird, and I can't explain it. Might have something to do with
tones. This is a feature I call "tone detail".
was going to sell my Finepix S7000, but after looking at these images,
I'm reluctant to part with it. (But if you want to buy one of your own, get it
through this link
and you can help me out. Much appreciated!!)
The Fuji has an almost film-grain-like noise at ISO 200, combined with
a more pleasant rendition of blue sky. If you choose the right
subjects and avoid harsh lighting, you can occasionally imitate the
"Velvia" look as I did in the first photo. Probably the only
giveaway is the snowy roof, which started to blow out because of the
high contrast. That could be fixed by underexposing the
shot and then just bringing it up later in Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro,
or whatever you prefer.
Even having seen the pictures side-by-side, I still can't believe the
S7000 was this good. Fuji has always had the best sensor
technology. And of course they still have the best photographic
technology of all... Velvia slide film.
This is where the old technology doesn't do so well.
However, the S7000 is just fine if you're willing to use a tripod at
ISO 200. 1/4 second, 2 seconds, even 10 seconds... it's not
bad. Generally, small-sensor cameras are the last choice
for low-light work,
even if you're using a tripod. That's because
the close-together pixels equate to smaller, more crowded
photosites. This requires greater amplification, which impairs
the signal-to-noise ratio. I'd rather use 800 film with a fast
prime lens than use a small-sensor camera for low light.
Even bridge cameras made in 2014 are not the first choice for low-light
pictures. Serious low-light photography starts somewhere around
Four-Thirds sensors for some people (want an inexpensive 4/3
camera? The Olympus E-PM2 with 14-42mm lens is a good deal right now).
Or, for other people, serious low-light photography begins at APS-C
(which puts the most affordable starting point at the Canon T3).
practical to put these big sensors on a camera that has a powerful
because you'd need a gigantic (and expensive) lens. The "big"
sensors in superzoom cameras are still tiny compared to DSLR's and
mirrorless compact system cameras. But it's OK, because bridge
cameras or superzooms are still useful for daylight or flash
extremely cool thing about the Finepix S7000 is its ability to take a
lens barrel shroud. This protects the extended zoom lens in case
you knock it into something (or knock the tripod over). My old
S602 Zoom got destroyed when I accidentally knocked the tripod over
onto a rock. I had actually bought the S7000 for its ability to
take a zoom barrel shroud.
The shroud threads are 55mm diameter,
so you can either get a straight 55-to-55mm shroud (for 55mm filters)
or a 55-to-52mm shroud (for 52mm filters). Since most people with
film SLR's have 52mm filters kicking around, the 55-to-52 is a good
idea. Actually, now they also make adapter tubes to take
72mm filters, and all kinds of other stuff including macro fisheye lenses and 2x telephoto adapters that you can add on to the Finepix S7000.
As I recall, when zoomed all the way out, the edges of a lens barrel
shroud will show in the picture. I never did a lot of wide-angle
work with the S7000, but if you do, you might have to take off the
add-on shrouds temporarily.
Get your lens barrel adapters through this link and it helps me keep this website going.
The continued availability of accessories just reinforces my opinion of this camera. It's good.
Let's don't forget the macro
functionality. The macro will focus from about 10 to 80 cm
distance. Super Macro will focus to 1 cm. As far as
overall impression, I like the S7000's macro better than a lot of newer
cameras I've tried. This camera could be worth having just
on the basis of its macro capability alone.
I like this camera. Even now.
Interesting story: this tree was knocked over by a tornado in
2010. What you're seeing here is the tree still growing...
The one rather outmoded thing about the S7000 is its 6x optical zoom, which has been far surpassed today. The Canon SX50, for example, has a 50x optical zoom.
again, I find that probably 80% of my useful shots can be made within
the S7000's optical zoom range. That is, as long as they're not low-light shots.
With 6x optical zoom at a maximum equivalent of 210mm,
that's a decent amount of zoom capability to have in a self-contained
camera. There are better superzoom cameras today, such as this one or this one, but the S7000 is usable for many situations.
I don't mind cranking up the saturation a little here and there. The
Finepix S7000 also has a "Chrome" mode. This next one was probably
shot in Normal, though, because I had to turn up the color a bit.
100% crop from the sunset image can be seen here.
f/4.4 @ 1/100th
Cropped from original.
No adjustments. I think this was "Chrome" (color slide) mode.
Click to see image full-size.
Color / curve adjustments later
A lot of early digicams belong in the recycling bin, but the
Finepix S7000 is a classic camera that's still useful. It amazes me
that the image quality can still compare favorably with bridge cameras being made
in 2014. It has a small, low-res LCD screen, but the CCD-RAW capability really put the S7000 ahead of its
time by a few years.
are not many digital cameras from 2003 that I would say are worth
having now, but the S7000 is definitely one of them. I like my
S7000 so much that I actually had Fujifilm USA put a new sensor in it,
because the other one finally went bad. I think the repair cost
me $150, because the camera was about eight years out of warranty.
pick up good, used S7000's today. Purchase your Finepix S7000 through this link and you can really help me keep this website going. Or, shop for any of your stuff through this Amazon link.
I hope you enjoyed this page. Thanks again for visiting my website!
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