Fujifilm as a brand is known to offer good value for money products as far as digital cameras go. Like other major camera manufacturers, Fujifilm too has a wide range of product offerings, everything from simple point and shoot, to bridge digital cameras and digital SLRs under their FinePix range. The Fujifilm FinePix S3300 belongs to their S series of cameras and the main feature of this camera is the super-zoom which is 26x. Read on to know more about the S3300 and see other aspects besides its incredible zoom capabilities.

Deployable flash and an AF assist

Deployable flash and an AF assist

Design and Build Quality
The Fujifilm FinePix S3300 is a super zoom camera that features a large 26x lens on the front neatly tucked in. At first sight, this camera may be mistaken for a DSLR. The camera has a rugged feel to it with its all black design and crackle hard plastic finish on the body. The handgrip is rubberized and it does not look like a separate piece. Fujifilm has done well with the design of this handgrip to make it blend well with the rest of the body. The lens of this camera has a rubber finish which aids in gripping the lens while looking through the EVF.

The S3300 has a 3-inch LCD screen, alongside it on the right are the regular camera buttons which are in black and the four way navigational pad which has a silver finish. All the buttons on the camera are made of plastic and they do not seem sturdy enough. At the back of the camera is also an EVF button for shifting between the LCD display and the electronic viewfinder for viewing images. The EVF has a rubberized padding to help in the cushioning while viewing through it.

A bit bulky in design

A bit bulky in design

On the top of the camera is a mode selection dial for different camera functions which are aperture level, shutter speed, manual mode, a custom mode, panorama scene mode, scene recognition and an auto mode. Next to the mode dial button is an F button which directs to the F-mode menu. There is a button for clicking pictures in a continuous mode as well as a face detection button. The shutter release button is located along with the zoom trigger. There is a slider button for turning the camera on or off and all these buttons are well spaced out and have a smooth texture. The flash on the top is concealed under a hood and can be easily deployed by pressing a button located next to it. There is also an auto focus which aids in clicking images.

The camera has ports for a mini-HDMI and a proprietary USB port which is concealed by a plastic flap. The battery bay is of the push pull mechanism where there is a grip for opening it. The Fujifilm FinePix S3300 uses four AA batteries.

Mini HDMI and USB port at the side

Mini HDMI and USB port at the side

Overall the build quality of the camera is sturdy but has a cheap feel to it. The camera due to its shape and size can be held easily with your right hand and while using it like that one can click pictures without any constraints. The camera is quite large though and it weighs in at 540g.

Features
The FinePix S3300 is an ultrazoom type of camera and it features a large 26x optical zoom. It  has a 14 MP CCD sensor, an EVF and a large 3-inch LCD screen. The camera also offers a dual image stabilization feature which should help in reducing blur. With an optical zoom this size, blur due to hand movement is very likely.

3-inch LCD screen and the EVF for viewing content

3-inch LCD screen and the EVF for viewing content

The interface of the camera is similar to those seen on other Fujifilm cameras with a red bar highlighting options as you scroll through while the other options remain on a white background. The scene can be viewed in the background as the options do not occupy the entire screen. This gave it a minimalistic approach as well. Navigation through the different settings is easy and one can get used to it within a matter of minutes. We found the ease of use to also be one of the strong points of this prosumer camera.

Rubberized handgrip helps while viewing through the EVF

Rubberized handgrip helps while viewing through the EVF

Features Continued
Fujifilm have focussed on the the main feature of this camera – a 26x optical zoom – but other interesting features are the 24 mm wide angle and an ISO sensitivity up to 6400. This increased ISO setting will make it easier to capture images in low light conditions. However, as opposed to the LCD display, the colours shown on the EVF are not accurate and they appear brighter than they are. The display goes into a power saving mode where the screen dims a bit. It goes bright every time you half press the shutter release buton. Another notable feature is the ability for this camera to record HD video at 720p which is an interesting addition to a camera with already many features at such a price point. Other features found on this camera are face recognition and a good macro mode with a minimum focus range of 7 cm.

One can also upload images directly from the camera using a bundled software called MyFinePix Studio to social networking site Facebook and video sharing site YouTube. All in all, this prosumer camera has many features that were interesting especially at a price such as this.

Performance
The Fujifilm FinePix S3300 did not do so well in the looks department but compensated in the features. The performance of it was tested at different ISO sensitivities in different lighting conditions.

All colours look natural in outdoor shots

All colours look natural in outdoor shots

Let’s start off by saying that the zoom was good. Images shot at far off distances appeared detailed and with an optical zoom of 26x, this is expected. Images shot with the S3300 at full zoom provided minimum amount of blur with lighting being decent. Outdoor images shot really well in auto mode and the colours looked natural and there was no noise noticed. No colour fringing was visible in Auto mode and at low ISO sensitivities. The focusing time is quick and there are no issues noticed. However, images shot at higher ISO sensitivities showed a lot of noise and the scene captured could not be noticed.

The fully zoomed-in image

The fully zoomed-in image

Indoor images too looked natural and there was only a minimum amount of grain noticeable. However, skin tones had a hint of yellowness in them and that was a minor put off. Macro images are crisp and with a shallow depth of field visible. Clicking macro photos isn’t very easy and it takes a while to focus.

Macro images shot well

Macro images shot well

While recording videos at 720p, we noticed some focusing issues in most parts of our captured clips. Also another thing we noticed while recording video was there was some time taken to adjust to different exposures while moving from a well lit region to a poorly lit region and vice-versa. While clicking still images with a flash, the result was good with the AF assist filling in before the flash illuminating an area of 12 feet.

The Fujifilm FinePix S3300 uses four AA batteries instead of the more familiar lithium ion batteries seen nowadays. The company rates the battery life of the alkaline battery at approximately 300 frames, for Ni-MH rechargeable batteries at approximately 500 frames and for lithium batteries at approximately 700 frames. We would have personally preferred Li-ion batteries instead.

Fujinon 26x optical zoom featured on this camera

Fujinon 26x optical zoom featured on this camera

Verdict
The Fujifilm FinePix S3300 sells at a market operating price of Rs. 14,800. This is a really good camera with decent performance and a bunch of features including an incredibly high-power zoom lens. While this may not be the best looking camera around, it will definitely get a few stares because of its form factor. Overall, this camera is meant for those wanting to do some photography with a wide landscape and the zoom would come in very handy. Though this camera is designed mainly for outdoor photography, one can be quite content to use this indoors as well.

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