My Fujifilm Finepix SL1000 bridge camera
A bit of background info
When I was a child I'd rather take my camera and start taking pictures (of almost anything) than sit at my desk and do my lessons. Or sit at the dining table and have dinner. The years went by and I switched through many different cameras, though DSLR's were always off limit to me, since my budget wouldn't allow such an investment. Lately I kept going through models like a madman, trying to find the one that would take my breath away, but there was always something missing, always something extra that I didn't want (or need), always the price not right for me. Until I stumbled upon this camera, the SL 1000. From the moment I saw it I knew that it was just the right kind of camera for me, at least for my needs and expectations. Someone else might find it lacking, someone might find it too packed with features, it depends on each and every one. I find it perfect for me and that's why I wanted to share my experience with you!
Lens extending and retracting
Let's get started!
The main attraction of this camera (and not the only one), is the breathtaking 50x zoom. Having this kind of zoom with a camera that has a fixed lens is kind of amazing, since you don't need to carry a bag full of lenses and keep changing them as you go, depending on your needs. At the same time, you can shoot wonderful photos with Super macro mode, at a distance of just 1cm! And all these with just one lens.
Well, needless to say, the moment my camera arrived, and after charging the battery, the first thing I wanted to do was to check the zoom function. There are actually two switches for the zoom, one on the right and one on the left. You can select the zooming speed on the left switch to meet your needs (slower or faster zoom) or to program it so as to automatically zoom out .
Besides the 50x optical zoom you do have the option to enable the digital zoom, and reach the unbelievable 100x zoom. I have to note though, that the digital zoom is not as good as the optical, and also at 100x zoom image stabilization is quite tricky, requiring a tripod for best results.
A ride to the moon
A few sample photos
Creative filters = Extra fun!
The camera has built-in quite a few creative filters to give your photos that special look and help you create unique shots. Although these filters can easily be found in various photo editing software, it's convenient to have the process done by the camera itself.
You can add a blurry effect to the top and bottom of your picture, which combined with increased contrast and saturation creates the diorama effect. This effect doesn't work very well all the time so you have to experiment with different scenes to get the most out of it.
On the other hand ,the toy camera effect is much easier to achieve and works every time, placing a shadow around the border of your photo, giving it a nostalgic appearance.
You can also have fun playing with color options by selectively picking one color and turning the rest of the photo to B&W with the partial color filter. You can choose to retain red, purple, orange, green, blue or yellow and the camera automatically turns all the other colors to shades of black and white.
Want to give your photo a glamorous look? Try the cross screen effect, which adds tiny stars in parts of the picture where light reflects. This is my favorite effect and works best for scenes that have a darker background with lit objects in the foreground.
For creating vivid colors with vibrancy and high saturation you have the pop color effect, which sometimes if the scene is badly (or overly) lit can add some noise. Again, experiment to achieve best results.
The high key filter enhances brightness and reduces contrast, and the soft focus effect creates an overall slightly out of focus - blurred effect. To my opinion these two effects are the least exciting and I probably ain't gonna use them that often.
Magnificent roses from my garden, captured with the SL1000
The SL 1000 has an amazingly simple to use and quite efficient mode to create panoramas up to 360 degrees, just by turning your camera to one direction. No more post editing to stitch the images and apparent seams due to stitching. You just select the scope/angle of the panorama (120, 180, 360 degrees), the direction of movement (left, right, up,or down), and as soon as you click the button you start taking the panorama by moving the camera to the direction (and speed) indicated by the on screen instructions. It can't get any simpler than that! Below is a panorama I took from my terrace.
LCD screen vs EVF
The camera has both a crystal clear 3 inches lcd screen, with 920k dot, and from what I've experienced so far it represents almost identically the picture taken, so what you see is what you get. The screen tilts conveniently upwards and downwards, making it a piece of cake to both high or low shots, without the need to move your head to awkward positions.Personally though, I try to move around the lcd screen as little as I can, because to my experience mechanisms like that tend to wear out after repeated and long use.
Besides the lcd screen there is an electronic view finder (EVF), when light makes it hard to see the screen. You can manually switch between the two or select to have the camera automatically switch to the EVF via a sensor right next to the view finder, whenever your eye gets close. Mind though, that the sensor is not some kind of bio sensor (or whatever) that can actually detect your eye (iris), it's just a photosensor behind a glass that detects the drop in light intensity when your face gets close to it. So you may have some false triggers by your hands or clothes... I switched to the lcd screen permanently for that reason, and if it happens that I can't see it clearly I switch manually to the EVF.
You can manually adjust the focus of the view finder via a dial located on its left, to suit your eyesight needs.
A couple of short videos I shot for bird lovers
and some really funny kittens!
Manual controls: Take full control of your shots!
There is an abundance of manual controls with this camera, from aperture to shutter speed, giving you endless options to experiment and "play" , once you leave the SR Auto mode, which selects everything automatically. I must confess though that in Auto mode the camera rarely produces a bad photo, effectively picking the correct settings for each scene and light conditions. But it's good to be able to have full control over your camera, once you master the basics. For this reason there is the option to shoot in Raw instead of Jpeg (or both at the same time). Raw photos are the exact image the lens captures, without any editing or compression by the camera, leaving you full control of what you do next with it. In the bundled software there is specifically a program for doing this job, editing the Raw photos.
For more detailed info and specifications you can visit the official website for the camera :
Shaky hands = shaky photos? A thing of the past.
The image stabilization is outstanding, and I speak from personal experience. Too many coffees and time that certainly started taking toll on me, has made my hands a bit shaky. So far all the photos I took with the SL 1000 are crisp and clear, since the camera "locks" to a stable view when you hit the shutter button, avoiding the creation of a blurry image that's unusable. This is not the case though when shooting in night mode, where a tripod is necessary, since the shutter remains open for much longer (longer exposure), so the picture is destined to be blurry if the camera shakes, no matter what.Invest in a good, sturdy tripod not a flimsy one. You cannot do night photography without a tripod, period.
One thing I've noticed on my camera is that it attracts dust very easily, and quickly. Especially the rubber around the lens looks "dirty" after a while, so always have a dust cloth at hand. Needless to say that you must never clean it with a wet cloth, only with a dry one.
Always put the lens cap back on after use and keep your camera safe in a sturdy bag/case. Since this is a bridge camera (with a general shape close to a DSLR) I bought a DSLR bag for it, to be able to carry it and keep it safe.
Beautiful sunset using the Pop color effect
Not enough juice..
The Achilles heel of this camera is certainly the battery life. When you zoom quite a bit and also take some video footage, you end up with an almost empty battery, much sooner than expected. This can be okay if you're just taking photos ( take a break, replace the battery with a spare one and you're back in action), but if you are filming something special it will ruin your footage by cutting it short prematurely.
Rule of thumb: if you are to film something do it with a full battery, and I mean 100% full. Also make sure you have a couple of extra batteries so that you don't have to wait for the battery to charge in order to get back in action.
Video footage from my terrace
Let's see how much you were impressed by the SL1000
Do you like the Fujifilm Finepix SL1000?
The official promotional video of the camera
If you liked this camera:
The gigantic 50x optical zoom, the reasonable price and the abundance of features that the Finepix SL1000 has ,makes it an excellent choice for amateurs and pros alike. Easy to use and with numerous manual controls ,will satisfy even the more demanding among photographers. I hope you can enjoy this camera as much as I do!
How would you rate this camera?
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