The Fujifilm FinePix S1000fd - the ‘fd' indicating the now ubiquitous ‘face detection' technology feature for razor-sharp portraits - is inexpensive for such a relatively strong feature set, including 12x optical zoom equivalent to 33-396mm in 35mm terms.

Build quality of the 10Mp Fujifilm FinePix S1000fd is impressive. The camera feels solidly chunky in the palm and boasts a larger-than-average handgrip, due to the fact that the four AAs needed for power are stacked up within.

The Fujifilm FinePix S1000fd's pop-up flash helps avoid red-eye issues, although there's no hotshoe for attaching another flashgun. An adjacent mode wheel provides speedy access to the usual program, shutter priority, aperture priority and manual settings alongside full auto, video capture, dedicated panorama mode and, more unusually, natural light and two scene modes (14 options in total).

Maintaining the Fujifilm FinePix S1000fd's user-friendly feel, buttons are provided for face detection and continuous capture, here at speeds up to 7.5fps if you can accept a resolution drop to 2Mp.

The Fujifilm FinePix S1000fd powers up in a couple of seconds, lens barrel extending to maximum wide-angle setting while the rear 2.7in LCD blinks into life. Fujifilm's ‘F' (for ‘foto') button at the rear pares down the menu to the key shooting functions, namely image size and quality, light sensitivity, and colour options: standard, our preferred ‘chrome', or black and white. Users also have the choice between LCD and electronic viewfinder (EVF), with a dedicated switch for swapping between them. The EVF is so small and murky, though, it will only be used in an emergency.

The Fujifilm FinePix S1000fd's JPEGs are commendably sharp at extreme telephoto with warmer-than-average, well-saturated colours when left on default settings. However, there is occasional barrel distortion when shooting at maximum wide angle, and white balance varies in accuracy. Noise is immediately visible at ISO 1600 and ISO 3200, but well controlled up to ISO 800.


Overall, for its price the Fujifilm FinePix S1000fd is a lot of camera.