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on 6 April 2013
Having used SLRs for many years I was tired of having to change lenses when I wanted a wide angle, telephoto or macro, and decided to give this one a go.
A new entrant to the bridge camera market (March 2013), the S8200 boasts a 40x optical zoom, which is at the top end of the superzoom camera range (Fuji have also introduced the S8400 and S8500 which are I think identical but for even longer zooms). There is also a 2x digital zoom facility in the camera, which pushes the possible range to silly numbers! It's a good macro lens, too - all built in.
Bridge cameras, of course, look a bit like SLRs, but lack the interchangeable lenses of the SLR camera. Many bridge cameras do noy have a viewfinder, relying just on the LCD screen. This necessitates holding the camera away fron the body, risking (more) camera shake. I ruled out any camera without a viewfinder, which cut out the cheaper end of the market. Viewfinders on these cameras are electronic rather than optical, (known as EVFs)and some do not give a good image. Comparable Nikons, for example, have quite poor viewfinders, small and unsharp. The EVF on the S8200 is pretty good, giving an image which can be used to compose shots and which also can contain shooting information. It has a dioptre adjust wheel. You switch manually between the EVF or the LCD - the default is the LCD. The LCD screen is bright and sharp.
Image size is big - 16 megapixels produces a 6mb+ file. Shooting at that size means serious reducing to post on Facebook!
The S8200 is not a small camera - some bridge cameras are quite tiny - indeed, the S8200 is not much smaller than my Canon EOS 450D, but it is lighter. It is balanced, too - my EOS always hangs lens down with the standard 18-55mm lens. The Fuji isn't particularly distinctive or attractive looking - functional rather than jewellery.
You can read about the features of the camera on the net, so I won't go into them - it is, however, a smart camera in that the auto settings are very clever, and make my other cameras (I have two Canon digital compact cameras as well as the EOS), look very basic. I was always irritated by my EOS insisting on popping up the flash every time the light fell - the S8200 prefers to change the ISO and other settings before it suggests you use the flash. An automatic 'scene recognition' feature knows if you're shooting indoors with normal room lighting, and compensates for that really well, albeit with raised 'grain'. Low light exposures are really good. I haven't actually used the flash yet so I can't comment on that. It pops up form waht looks like an SLR pentaprism when you push a button.
It takes 4 AA cells; after 100 shots the batteries supplied (Chinese 'Pairdeer' brand!) are running out... I suspect they're not very good quality. I shall use rechargeables in future! claimed battery lfe for rechargeables is 5 times that.
I've only had the camera a couple of days, and so haven't experimented with many of the shooting modes. The zoom seems to work well; the anti-vibration system seems to do what it s supposed to do, although a tripod or other support would of course be good at high zooms.
The S8200 has two ways of zooming - a lever around the shutter release button and a control on the side of the lens. You can configure the speed of the zooming. I do wish you could zoom by cranking the lens barrel, but it's only an electrical zoom, like most cameras of this type.
Image quality so far looks good - 16 mp must be enough, surely? Automatic exposure seems right - there are also many manual modes (including aperture and shutter priority, etc.) The camera has many clever shooting features and built-in effects, like HDR, which takes multiple exposures and 'averages' the shadows and lighlights, burst shooting, smile recognition, various 'filters', scene setups etc etc etc - many cameras have these - I don't think the S8200 has anything revolutionary.
The camera also shoots HD movies - haven't really tried that yet, but the little I've tried looks good, but the camera is very susceptible to wind noise.
So - I'm pleased with the S8200, and looking forward to investigating what other clever tricks it can do!
Lastly, in this horribly wordy review, a couple of cautionary points-
Battery life: not convinced yet, although if you are caught out with sagging batteries you can always pop into a shop and buy some AAs - not an option with cameras that have their own batteries!
Size: I'd have liked it to have been a bit smaller - it was the viewfinder that precluded me from getting one of the tiny ones, even though they are very pretty...
Zoom: There are videos on YouTube demonstrating the enormous zoom range of cameras like the S8200 - remember that they show the whole zoom range from wide to super tele - so the remarkable 'magnification' effect - filling the screen with something which is so small in the first frame that you couldn't even see it - is not so pronounced in 'real life', as our viewpoint to start with is not at the wide angle end, if you see what I mean.
Flash: you're stuck with the built-in one... there's no 'hot shoe'
Filters: you can't use them - there's no filter thread. You can of course create many of those effects in the computer, and there are several built into the camera. No lens hood for glary days, either - and as the front of the lens retracts into the lens bit you'd have a job improvising one. Comes with a lens cap.
Menu system - pretty complicated to work through until you've played with the camera for a while - lots of 'toys' to get your head around; start with full auto and work up from there.
Memory - no built-in memory, and you'll need a fast card to cope with the huge images and HD movies - cat 10, with a 45x speed, I think.
From my initial few days with the S8200 I'd recommend the camera - now maybe I'll get back into photography instead of just snapping on my phone...
Fujifilm FinePix S8200 Digital Camera - Black (16.2 MP, 40x Optical Zoom) 3.0 inch LCD
88 comments|170 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Given the price I was pleasantly surprised with the functionality and performance of the FinePix S8200 . I honestly think that is one of the best offerings for beginners keen to learn and appreciate the wonderful art of photography.

The reasons are:
1 - The Fujifilm FinePix S8200W can be set to full manual
2 - A bridge camera's design comes closest to a DSLR

Yet the good news does not end there. This camera is capable of taking some great photos, albeit at low ISO settings. Build quality is great, it feels solid, with rubberised grips and thumb rest. These contribute to premium looks and feel. The buttons and controls are well placed, as with most Fuji's

Features:
• 16 MP BSI CMOS sensor
• Generous 40 X optical zoom lens (35 mm equivalent 24-960 mm), with 80X iZ (intelligent digital zoom)
• Minimum focusing distance of just 1 cm
• 3.0 inch 460k dot LCD screen. Decent, yet at this price definitely not a deal breaker
• Bright EVF (Electronic viewfinder) 201K pixels
• Built-in Wi-Fi. Works very well, and generally found on more expensive cameras
• 1080p HD video recording. Good picture quality, yet sound is average
• 10 fps continuous shooting at full resolution
• HDR (High Dynamic Range). Does not yield better results though
• ISO 100-12800. Noise starts to become visible beyond 400 ISO

The lack of a filter thread is not a deal breaker, as most effects can be created in post. Yet one filter which cannot be replicated in any editing software is a CPL

All in all I do feel that this camera offers terrific value. There are better cameras, but they carry a higher price tag, and whilst the photos are not the best I have seen from a bridge camera, they still are pretty good. Most of the photos I took were keepers.

The key selling points are the 40X Optical zoom and full manual controls.

I highly recommend this camera to budding photographers, and backpack travellers seeking lightweight, great value camera.
22 comments|19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 28 June 2013
I already have the S8000fd with only 18x optical zoom and 8mp. The S8200 is I think easier to navigate through the settings menu with the added feature of SR auto (Scene Recognition). And with a 40 X optical zoom 16.2 MP I am definitely going to have fun. First pictures were of my daughter with her daughters and found out it had blink detection. Pictures came out superbly. Recommend it - oh yes without a doubt. It is most certainly the next best thing to a DSLR. Decently priced too at around £185
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on 5 September 2014
Brilliant arrived quickly
This camera was bought for going to the Bournemouth air show, only ordered it in the Monday arrived Wednesday as Monday was a bank holiday.
So no time to get used to using it but no worries as the camera will do most of the work for you, I did find that to take stills of planes in flight the best results where to video the action and take pictures while videoing as if I took individual photos I would lose track of the aircraft for the next shot. But I did get some cracking shots of the planes that where in the air.
Since returning from air show have managed to go and play with this camera so hopefully the next time I use it will result in even better photos will try and give an update after the next air show.
This camera will make any user into a better photographer. If you buy this enjoy it, but make sure you get decent rechargeable batteries, and it will take up to a 64 gig memory card which it took me a lot of research to find out how large a memory card t would take..
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on 19 January 2015
I love this camera! It's a bridge camera so I don't have to buy the expensive add-on lenses. The quality of the photos are to be seen to be believed. I had a Canon digital camera [still do] that was excellent but the digital zoom was lacking. The physical zoom was good though. But with this 40X zoom I can take much clearer photos. All formats catered for and a programme that edits to a fantastic standard!
I love this camera, there, I said it again! Do yourself a favour and get a good case for it, it suits me now and will for quite a while to come!
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on 11 July 2013
This was the first camera i ever held in my step towards using more advanced DSLR's. It shoots fantastic quality images (although noisy and some grainy) but that is to be expected. When learning manual functions, this camera makes it easy and fun. I have since used a variety of DSLR's all thanks to the s8200. The range you can get means on a quiet lake you can capture moments you may of otherwise missed. Video quality and capture is supurb including voice. If your just starting photography or looking for a DSLR point and shoot, this is a camera for you.
I do suggest getting some 7day shop 2900ni-mh rechargeable batteries, roughly £19 for a 16 pack. This will save you a lot of money whilst your taking your shots and means you can carry plenty of spares. Personally i keep more batteries on me then i need, but i'd rather have them and not need them then to not have them and need them.

All in all 5 stars because it is great for learning. The 30fps video means you can capture some of the faster animals in every movement.
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on 13 June 2013
excellent, so many different modes to use, fantastic close up shots of flowers and insects, tend to use the viewfinder each time
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on 5 June 2014
Only purchased recently so am still experimenting (playing around).As an amateur photographer i.e take pictures on holidays etc I have found so far that the functions on this camera are far more than adequate,especially the advanced auto where you can chose subjects of a certain colour to snap & the rest of the photo is monochrome. Photos are clear & sharp. The only downside I can find at this early stage is the battery type, 4AA batteries are supplied with the camera but do not seem to last that long.I will need to read up further to see if re-chargeable batteries can be used......otherwise very happy with the purchase,
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on 6 May 2013
I bought this camera as a lighter alternative to my usual SLRs (Nikons). I was seduced by the spec and price. On the whole, the specs are accurate, and describes what the camera can do. The zoom in particular, is very long and live up to expectations. However, as a SLR user, I am looking for 2 things that are not mentioned in the specs:-
1. Picture quality - very noisy, even at the ISO 200 end, especially in under lit areas, even in bright sun light. The colours are also "cartoonish", post-capture processing tends to favour the blues and greens. The lack of pixels in the LCD display also make it hard for me to judge colour and noise until I can download the shots to a computer.
2. Autofocus - I have tried it on various modes, all a bit hit-or-miss. The macro in particular, has a habit of focusing on the background. Well, to be fair, this also happens in other modes, even the 'spot' focus mode.

This would be a great camera for someone moving from a basic compact to a bridge camera, but will not suit SLR users who look for picture quality.
1212 comments|38 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 3 January 2014
This camera is very good value for money takes very good clear pictures is easy to use also has very good HD videos. Bought it for my partner and he loves it.
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