BLACK FRIDAY leftover at $99. I am a 54 yr young, midwesterner, well traveled hobbyist photographer, published author, history buff, musician, home restorer and QA Engineer . I have been looking for a Bridge Camera (ultrazoom) to move up in the digital world from my 2yr old GE W1200 point & shoot. But, I was on a limited budget. After 5 weeks of sifting thru online reviews, FUJIFILM Finepix was the brand, but not the model I was looking for (S6800 or SL1000), BUT it has more than met my expectations after purchase only one week ago. This model is the same as the s4200-4500 series; LIKES: Controls are well placed, rotating Mode wheel on top; Menus & Functions are simple & easy to access out of the box; Camera has a Solid, Nice feel in your hands, similar to my $10 yardsale Nikon N65 film camera, but less wt. than than my trusty Canon AE-1P; wonderful recessed grip for your fingers, allows good use of your index to focus & shoot; 28X zoom (quick & easy to operate), Auto-Focus, moderate manual controls if you want to experiment; has a 230K electronic viewfinder in ADDITION to the 3.0" (diag) 230K screen, a HUGE bonus in this range of cameras, many other models do not; Good Scene-Recognition AUTO mode, an 'F' button to remember your last mode, EXCELLENT MACRO mode as close as 1cm from your subject (used this for detail shots at work many times already); quiet & smooth operation even while shooting old delapidated farm buildings this morning at 19 degs; VERY GOOD, SHARPLY focused images so far, good color; the auto-stabilization feature is nice, even with the zoom all the way out at 28X (~550mm eq); Both viewfinder & Display screen seems more than adequate although 460K dot would be better in bright sunlight; AA batteries for convenience; Have not tried the Panoramic or Movie modes yet. CONS: 14mp ccd sensor (but OK at the price); The On/Off Slider switch works well but seems outdated; The battery/memory card door seems very clunky/loose to me, so I have minor concerns about longevity with repeated opening(s); the printed manual is pretty basic; tripod mounting socket appears to be plastic, so beware of overtightening. BOTTOM LINE: Even at regular price ($179-229 retail) this is a nice camera although a tad underrated by many online sources; GREAT FEEL in your hands; Good Pictures; EASY to USE, but still has some headroom for more than just novice shutterbugs to enjoy & grow into; Great camera for trips etc; ADVICE; buy the 2yr protection plan for accidents/damage (I paid $9). GREAT VALUE/NICE CAMERA, buy it with confidence. Maybe I'll return in a month after more experience with this unit and post better photos. This one is unPhotoshopped/edited. Shot at 7:30am this morning in low sunrise lighting.
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