Fujifilm Finepix S3300: Pocket-Friendly Reach



Fujifilm Finepix S3300

Fujifilm Finepix S3300

The Fujifilm FinePix S3300 offers an incredible 26x zoom at a budget price point, but does its performance match up? Neha Mutreja finds out.

With the constant increase in popularity of superzoom cameras, Fujifilm has gone one step further and announced a 26x optical zoom camera at a budget price. The S3300 is a camera that packs in quite a bit of features and seems to be a real steal at a price of only Rs. 15,999. But then, does the camera live up to all the hype that the company has created through prominent billboards in major Indian cities and commercials on YouTube?

The S33000 has a 26X optical zoom which has an equivalent focal length of 24–624mm, in 35 mm parlance. 24mm is really wide. Very few compact cameras in the market have a lens that is actually as wide as this. The telephoto end of the lens is long enough to experiment with almost any genre of photography, even wildlife.
Like any other compact camera, the camera has a number of automated shooting modes. Most of the features are quite similar to other cameras in the market, and the only novel one I noticed was Zoom Bracketing. When this is switched on, the camera shoots three images at a single press of a button, each of them at different magnifications. Like some other Fujifilm cameras, the S3300 also features a Tracking Panorama mode. This mode is somewhat similar to the Sweep Panorama mode found in Sony cameras and works really well. The camera also allows you to shoot 720p HD video.
One significant highlight of the S3300 is its fully functional Manual mode, which allows you to adjust shutterspeed, aperture and ISO for creative control. However, the camera allows you to switch only between two aperture values. The camera does not have the provision to use manual focusing, which is disappointing. Also, there is no RAW mode.

Considering the massive zoom range on offer, it is not surprising that the S3300 is bulky. However, the bulk also means that the camera is rather easy to grip while shooting. The camera has a pop-up flash and an electronic viewfinder. This is a real advantage because while shooting at the telephoto end, it becomes really difficult to frame the image using the LCD.
The camera offers 40 steps between the wide and telephoto ends to frame the subject with precision. However, the zooming action is jerky and the presence of so many zooming steps does not really help while shooting on field.

Keeping the large focal length in mind, I decided to shoot subjects like crows and sparrows that flock at a tree outside my room’s window. I also shot varied subjects in the soft light of the monsoon and made some portraits. The camera focuses easily on still subjects, but when the subject is moving, it struggles. This makes it rather difficult for a hobbyist to practise shooting fast-moving subjects like birds, bees or different animals.
The photographs are usable up to ISO 800, but beyond this, the quality starts deteriorating. Fringing is well controlled even in photographs shot against the light. Its control over flare is also good. However, one does notice some softness around the corners, while shooting at the extreme telephoto end.

The price point is quite easily the camera’s greatest claim to fame. Until only two years ago, there were very few cameras that had such a large zoom range and they were far more expensive. For those who enjoy the idea of shooting at long focal lengths, the S3300 is an attractive prospect. It is certainly not a flawless camera—capturing moving subjects is not easy, and the image quality is not the best in its class. But if you are willing to be a little less demanding in terms of quality, the Fujifilm FinePix S3300 is a great deal.

Final Ratings
26X optical zoom, Tracking Panorama Mode

Good optics, usable images up to ISO 800

Build Quality
Light, good hand grip

User-friendly menu

Warranty & Support
Three-year warranty, limited number of service centres

Value For Money: 3/5 stars

Tags: Neha Mutreja, July 2011, Fujifilm FinePix S3300, 26x Optical Zoom, Tracking Panaroma, 720p Video, Zoom Bracketing