VINE VOICETOP 500 REVIEWERon 22 October 2012
I am not especially technically minded, just a lady with a senior railcard, several lively, photogenic grandchildren, also lucky enough to live in a beautiful, coastal, place where the light and the view change by the minute. Plus, I need to take interior shots of our holiday house for its web pages, hopefully making a good job of capturing lovely rooms with the peaceful river view showing through the windows. Daily, my camera is always nearby; I get enormous pleasure from photography as well as using it as a business tool. That said I confess that, despite having attended an excellent day course on using my bridge camera I am more than likely to have it set to auto. So please take my review from that simple standpoint.
This FUJIFILM FINEPIX S4500 was bought to replace a similar six-year or so old FUJIFILMFINEPIX S5700 that was a great companion until the flash stubbornly refused to pop up (at a christening to boot) and was eventually declared uneconomical to repair. I was sorry when this happened and tried hard to get it fixed. In the end I saw that at the price shown it was better to buy a new one and to enjoy the extra refinements that come with a more up to date model. In particular, a manual flash pop up function with forced flash, the powerful 30x zoom. I remember when 5 mega pixels seemed vast so 14 must be as pin sharp as I'll ever need. The `in hand' feel is much the same, not too heavy but weighty enough to ensure stability and full consciousness that a photo is being taken, a reassuring feeling of quality and seriousness. On this occasion I made my purchase from my local camera shop, pleased to support it, grateful for the advice given and happier to have the chance to play with the camera before deciding. For me it was worth the extra at the time. However I confidently recommend this deal offered by amazon as a great one compared to other prices.
I am attracted to red, feeling cheered to see something that isn't black or silver, more me somehow; a personal liking. The body of the Finepix S is matt smooth on top and ruggedly rippled where it is held so additional grip is ensured. There is a moulded rubber finger- shaped grip on the side, which fits comfortably.
Out of the box I attached the lens cap and its safety cord; inserted the 4 AA batteries supplied (non rechargeable, but could be if you have the kit) and the 32gb card I'd chosen, which I felt would give me plenty of storage should I be away for a while. I ignored the neck strap, which looks a bit nerdy even for me. Immediately it sparked into life and we set off. The screen is generously large, 6.5 cm x 5cm. There is an eye peephole for those of us used to last century's cameras, which shows a small, recorded image, ideal for use on sunny days when the screen is hard to see.
I then went on line and filled in the warranty application, all very easy and friendly. The response was immediate and support advertised as helpful should you need it. There are some features they offer for FUJI owners, the chance, through `MyFinePix' to:
* Create your life in pictures with your own Photoblog
* Chat with other MyFinePix photographers from all over the world
* Share ideas, tips and experiences
* Upload your best photos to the gallery - and see what others think of them!
* Read the latest news and be the first to hear about cool new products
* Update your personal MyFinePix profile
I liked all that. But probably won't get around to it.
I also loaded up the cd manual, 128 pages, although the paper Basic Manual, 23 pages was pretty good. Neither actually told me how to reset the time and date though which I needed to do straightaway as I'd moved on too fast though that procedure, missing the finer details after entering the year. I looked at the fuller manual on the disc and it only told me how to do it the first time, a search just sent back to the early page, but of course, silly me, I soon found that by working through the menu and clicking up down and around the selector button I did it myself. Warm feeling of achievement! This taught me that there is no problem with fiddling around, you can't break it; just keep on learning and remembering as you go. A silent option for the popping sound it makes seemed an excellent idea, when trying to be discreet anyway.
The camera took the same USB lead as my previous one still in place from the back of my Mac OSX version 10.6.6. It would also accommodate a larger size. There are leads that come with the camera that look as though they would also go into the tv (reminder - this is not a technical review!).
Turning the wheel on top for the different settings feels positive and purposeful; it is substantial and clicks firmly at each turn. Manually raising the flash is good to do, I use the force flash for crisp, warm, bright interior shots. However much of what is on offer in camera can be more comfortably dealt with later on the computer with an application such as iphoto. For me, the bells and whistles are not quite so important, it is capturing the moment that matters, fleeting shots that could last for generations when edited, adjusted and carefully cropped.
Landscape pictures came out clear as day, a trip to the beach with the dog tested out the progress I was making. Altogether I am thrilled with this reasonably priced camera, it is very good value and promises to reward me with plenty of fabulous photos throughout its hopefully long and useful life.