Fujifilm Finepix SL1000
If the HS20/HS30 has morphed into the larger HS50EXR, what then is going to fill the void left by these cameras. To date and we’ve seen no evidence to suggest a XS-2 is likely, and that it appears that Fuji at this time has decided that the HS series cameras and the new F800EXR are the only EXR equipped cameras still being produced. The X-20 now sports the new X-Trans sensor as does the new X100s, so it looks like the X-series cameras are going to stay with the X-Trans sensor.
Enter the SL1000.
At first glance it appears to be quite a bit of kit, but on closer inspection I’m not entirely sure that this camera is going to be all that useful to a genuine camera enthusiast.
If the SL1000 is to be the camera to fill the gap left by the HS30 then it should have inherited most of the kit that the HS30 offered, but it doesn’t. It does have some nice additional functionality however.
- 50X optical zoom
- Digital zoom 2x up to 100x
- Lens shift stabilization ( should be better than sensor shift)
- LCD resolution increased to 920k dot.
- EVF also 920 dot
- Tilt-able LCD.
- 16.2 Mega pixel 1/2.3 sensor, smaller than the 1/2 sensor of the HS20/30
- Non EXR sensor.
- Electric zoom lens ( no manual zoom )
- Lithium-ion battery with only 350 shots per charge.
I find it hard to be enthusiastic about a camera that has so little to offer. It has all the usual shooting & scene modes that we have come to expect on a Fuji Camera. For some the loss of the manual zoom isn’t going to be a issue and depending upon just how fast the the motorized zoom is it may not be too much of an impediment for general photography. High speed shooting ( motor racing for instance) could be problematic.
The increase in focal length of the lens may sound good in the first instance, but will be all but unusable unless tripod mounted, which is fine if you are a birding photographer, but for handheld action shots, it will prove problematic.
The loss of the EXR sensor is also a negative move. One of the best features of the EXR sensor was its ability to bring out shadow detail while maintaining the highlights in an image.
The inclusion of a Li-ion battery is for me at least a step backwards. The beauty of AA batteries was the sheer availability of them. Forget your Li-ion battery charger and you are stuffed. AA batteries give up to 1000 shots if using good quality units. I use Energizer 2600mH Ni-MH rechargeables and consistently get 700 shots per charge.
The loss of the individual control buttons on the left of the camera body would be a large annoyance if you have been used to a camera that has a plethora of external buttons. No doubt this is a move to reduce production costs and provide a cheaper long zoom camera.
The inclusion of the much higher resolution LCD is a plus. While the earlier HS series EXR cameras sported a 460k dot LCD which isn’t too bad the much higher spec unit on the SL100 is a bonus.
As a camera for those who want something a little different from the long zoom compacts, this camera may prove to be an attractive alternative, but I don’t feel there’s really all that much to be gained.
The new F800EXR still sports the 1/2 EXR sensor used in the HS20/HS30EXR cameras as well as the well received F770EXR. With a 20x zoom @ 25-500mm equivalent this camera is a better choice if you want a serious go anywhere super zoom camera. While not sporting the huge focal length of the SL1000, it would be a very sensible choice for those wanting a better class of camera.
So where does the SL1000 fit in to the scheme of things. It’s difficult to say who this camera would appeal too, and the jury is very definitely still out on that.
As with all things new we will have to wait until we get an idea of the pricing and the uptake of this new model, but for now it certainly isn’t a viable option for replacing my HS20, which has now clicked over 40000 images to-date.