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Fujifilm FinePix S1500 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £139
inc VAT

A capable ultra-zoom camera at a remarkably low price, but even better-value models are available.


1/2.3in 10.0-megapixel sensor, 12.0x zoom (33-396mm equivalent), 324g

The FinePix S1500 is the first Fujifilm camera to use only SDHC cards, with no xD card slot in sight.

This is fine by us, as SDHC cards are much faster and cheaper than xD ones, and we’ll be happy to see the end of this unnecessary format. Even owners of xD cards shouldn’t be too upset, as an 8GB SDHC card can now be bought online for £10 including VAT.

When we reviewed Fujifilm’s S1000fd just over a year ago, we concluded that it was let down by a lack of optical image stabilisation – an essential feature for an ultra-zoom camera. The S1500 is largely identical, but it has optical stabilisation built into its sensor. It’s not the most effective system, keeping only half of our shots sharp at the full telephoto zoom position and at a 1/60s shutter speed, but it’s still a welcome addition.

Another new feature is a shooting mode called Scene Recognition Auto. The camera automatically detects both the subject type and lighting conditions and adjusts its settings automatically. We were impressed to see it identify landscape, portrait and macro subjects.

Scene Recognition Auto is sluggish, however. Even after we half-pressed the shutter button to lock the focus and exposure, there was a half-second delay between fully pressing it and the picture being taken. Other shooting modes didn’t suffer this problem but performance was still slower than average, taking 3.3 seconds between shots. Continuous shooting was surprisingly fast, though, at 1.5fps.

It’s rare to find a camera for under £150 with a 12x zoom lens, optical stabilisation, manual exposure controls and an electronic viewfinder. However, there’s an even cheaper option. Kodak’s Z8612 IS (What’s New, Shopper 248) lacks the S1500’s viewfinder but is currently available for an incredibly low £95 from the same supplier.

The two cameras are roughly on a par for image quality. Neither excelled at capturing subtle textures, and indoor shots without the flash were fairly grotty – not surprising at these prices. The Kodak’s wide-angle shots were crisper, especially towards the corners, while the Fujifilm produced sharper photos at the telephoto end of the zoom and exhibited more natural colours. On balance, we’d go for the far cheaper Kodak.

With either camera you should also budget for rechargeable AA batteries and a charger, as neither comes with a convenient rechargeable Li-ion battery pack. The FinePix S1500 isn’t a bad camera, but we can’t recommend it while the Kodak Z8612 IS is available for so much less.

Basic Specifications

Rating ***
CCD effective megapixels 10.0 megapixels
CCD size 1/2.3in
Viewfinder electronic
LCD screen size 2.7in
LCD screen resolution 230,000 pixels
Optical zoom 12.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent 33-396mm
Image stabilisation optical, sensor shift
Maximum image resolution 3,648×2,736
Maximum movie resolution 640×480
Movie frame rate at max quality 30fps
File formats JPEG; AVI (M-JPEG)


Memory slot SDHC
Mermory supplied 23MB internal
Battery type 4x AA
Battery Life (tested) 500 shots
Connectivity USB, AV
Body material plastic
Accessories USB and AV cables, neck strap
Weight 324g
Size 73x103x68mm

Buying Information

Price £139

Camera Controls

Exposure modes program, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed 8 to 1/2,000 seconds
Aperture range f/2.8 to f/6.4 (wide), f/5 to f/8 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution) 64 to 1600
Exposure compensation +/-2 EV
White balance auto, 6 presets, manual
Additional image controls sharpness
Manual focus No
Closest macro focus 2cm
Auto-focus modes multi, centre, face detect, tracking
Metering modes multi, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modes single, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket

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