As I've mentioned in a previous post, I got into photography from a fairly young age. I've had a couple of point and shoot cameras before but this is my first 'proper' camera that lets me change various settings and gives the freedom I want. I've owned this camera around 2 years now, so I've had plenty of experience using it for a number of different photography types. 

This Fuji is a bridge camera with a very similar style to many DSLR's, both in size and features. The basic specs include a 14.3x optical zoom (28-400mm equiv.), a 2/3" sensor and 11 megapixels. You get the option for 2 and 10 second self-timer, it takes an SD or SDHC memory card and at the time of its release it was around £400.


Settings/Modes

You get plenty of features for your money with this camera, including the wide choice of shooting mode. You do get an Auto mode, but if you left it on this you would never get close to testing out the capability of the camera. Other photo modes include: Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual and Film Simulation Bracketing (FSB). You also get 2 custom modes which let you save your favourite settings so you can switch on and start shooting with your preferred options. There are two scene modes which can be altered to things such as nature, portrait or night options. These can come in useful when you first start, but gradually you will find you don't use these as often and tweak the settings to achieve the same, and better results. 

There is a movie mode on the camera, which also lets you use the full zoom range while filming which comes in useful as you can get close to the action. There is a drawback with the movie option, as the overall quality isn't up to today's standards of HD. So if you wanted to pick up a camera for recording video, it's probably not the one for you, however if you are wanting high quality photos with the option to occasionally film something this is completely fine. 

With all these photo modes, you might think it's hard to choose which one to set it on. The most common modes I use are the Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority, as these give me enough freedom to alter either setting. Having the ability to change the aperture lets me get different depths of field including getting that blurry background effect. Being able to control the shutter speed allows you to capture the scene, whether this is freezing the action with a moving subject, or taking long exposure shots such as waterfalls or car light trails. I will use the manual mode when I need to increase the aperture and shutter speed beyond the limits in the other two modes. 

ISO settings include multiple auto modes, or can be set from 100 right the way up to 3200 for the highest quality pictures, or you can increase it up to the extreme of 10,000 if you drop the quality down to 3MP. This gives you a big enough range for pretty much any situation. The dynamic range settings are pretty decent with the ability to change it between 100%, 200% and 400% depending on the mode you have it set on.


Design

This camera is fairly bulky, however I do find this a good thing. For me, its easy to handle and use all the controls, with the barrel zoom being easy and smooth to alter. The buttons are a decent size and are fairly well spaced which avoids selecting the wrong setting. The camera comes up at just under 1kg, so it's not the lightest thing to carry around. I do think this weight does represent how well built the camera is, as everything feels solid right down to the button and controls. 

It has a fairly decent electronic viewfinder and you can pick out a fair bit of detail. The screen is 2.5" and is tilt-able which comes in very handy, especially when taking overhead shots or ones if I've got it mounted low down on a tripod. It's got a built-in pop-up flash which seems to be good enough for what I need, although I don't tend to use it that often. 

Sample Photos

These are a range of photos I've taken with the camera, and show the kind of photos it can produce. It can take some brilliant photos, across a number of different situations. I've included a photo of some Nyx products, and another of an Olympus Pen that were taken on my camera for Laura's blog. These show to capability to take product photos as well as more landscape based ones.










Conclusion

Overall, this is a brilliant camera that is very capable in a number of situations. Being a bridge camera, it's a great all in one with a capable zoom range that doesn't require switching between lenses. It has a good range of shooting modes that go from ones that are automated and tailored to specific scenes, up to full manual controls so you can have freedom to alter the settings to achieve exactly what you want. 

Like I mentioned at the start of this post, this camera is now a discontinued model, so you can only buy it second hand, however if you were wanting a Fuji similar to this but a new camera you could always see what models they have brought out. 

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