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Old May 2, 2010, 12:08 PM   #1
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Default Fuji S1800 mini review, take two (now with working camera and good sample images)

My first review of the S1800 was based on a defective camera with a bad lens. Now I have a good replacement, and the review is now accurate of the S1800's performance.

I bought my camera for $165 CDN + tax (also got 2000 Best Buy reward points for buy it, which is worth $25, but I couldn't use it on the same purchase)

Pro

- Very inexpensive
- LOTS of features
- Long 18x zoom
- Good overall image quality
- Fast start up
- Use AA batteries, and the battery life is quite good (over 250 shots and the supplied AA batteries are still going)
- Surprisingly good video quality.

Con

- Screen is unnecessarily and overly grainy in low light conditions. The image is fine (even when you view it on the camera), but the grain on the screen during capture mode is stupid. I hope this can be fixed with a firmware update.
- Useless smile detection
- MUST click shutter button to go back from viewing pictures to shooting mode. Clicking the view picture button will give a message telling you to click the shutter button (WTF??)
- uses the atrocious MJPEG format for video (I can only record 4 minutes 27 seconds on a blank 1GB card under 720p)
- tendency to underexpose shots (or it might be me who's used to overexposed shots, see sample images)
- no RAW output
- Auto mode's highest ISO is too high (800), resulting in grainy indoor pictures.
- Panorama pictures are not 3 12mp (12000x3000) pictures combined, but at 4928x1248


Here are some sample photos. Since this is the original jpeg and I don't know how to resize a picture in a forum, I've put them in a link, so your browser will resize it automatically. Otherwise it'll be at 100% size, and it would be too big, and it would be a poor judgment of image quality.

I didn't get a chance to go out, so I was limited to pictures I can take on my roof.

The original photo can be downloaded by the link below.



Outdoor shot



Outdoor shot 2



Outdoor macro



Super close macro shot



indoor shot

Please comment on image quality. I don't have much experience with cameras. I'm also known to have an exceedingly high expectation combined with an eye extremely sharp for negative issues. Maybe the outdoor image looks great, but maybe because I expected a giant leap in image quality improvement compared to my old 6mp camera, I'm not too impressed.

Last edited by chengbin; May 2, 2010 at 7:20 PM.
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Old May 3, 2010, 10:00 PM   #2
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chengbin-

Your replacement camera is providing you with much better image quality than your original camera. The image quality and sharpness is what I would expect from the Fuji S-1800.

Please bear in mind that you purchased a low price camera, and it is providing the kind of image quality I would expect from this camera. We discussed in detail several cameras even before you made your initial purchase. The Fuji S-1800 was not our top suggested choice.

However, you insisted that you wanted to get the maximum zoom your budget would allow. So now you have another choice. Perhaps you can return the camera and purchase a camera with less zoom but better image quality, like the Canon SX-120 that was originally suggested for starters.

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Old May 4, 2010, 6:22 AM   #3
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Interesting.

If we don't care about price or any other feature set, just that it can't be a DSLR, and it must have at least 5x zoom, or a HS10, what is the best non DSLR camera in terms of image quality?

The reason I ask is because I just found out that I can have a budget increase (up to $400), but that comes at a price of not upgrading for the next 3 years. Therefore I want to know if there's any P&S camera that can provide significantly better image quality than the S1800. I have a choice not to upgrade, which lets me upgrade whenever I feel like its necessary (although with my own money).
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Old May 4, 2010, 10:06 AM   #4
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chengbin-

The Panasonic FZ-35, now selling in the USA for around $(US)330.00, would be an excellent alternative camera, suitable as an upgrade for the Fuji S-1800. Take a look at the Panasonic P+S folder. There you will find many FZ-35 photo samples. We also have a large group of FZ-35 users who are actively posting in that folder as well.

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Old May 4, 2010, 3:59 PM   #5
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Urghhhh, the FZ35 is out of my price range. After tax it is $508 ($449 + 13% tax). My $400 budget was already pushing it. I really can't shell out $500. I really want this camera though. The look alone is worth the price. The image quality looks seriously good (although I'm seeing a VGA sized picture, not the original).

Thanks for your help. I'm gonna stop suffering from buyer's remorse, and truly enjoy this camera, and its excellent image quality.

Last edited by chengbin; May 4, 2010 at 4:03 PM.
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Old May 4, 2010, 4:03 PM   #6
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chebgbin-

I think your plan is a good one. The replacement camera is surely an improvement. So enjoy that camera and have fun.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jul 25, 2010, 1:33 AM   #7
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I have an S1800 and finish my "raw" pictures in Photoshop. I know that the camera does not tout a "raw" mode. Just Fine and Normal but...it seems that internally, the pictures are stored as 24bpp and get converted to JPG, and compressed, when they are downloaded. I don't download, I go to the camera and get the raw images.

Its a two step process to get "raw" images into Photoshop. Each image is about 4000 x 3000 x 24bpp (35 MB filesize!). [Fujifilm fine mode compresses to 4bpp and the Normal mode compresses to 2 bpp.depth for each channel RGB]

Here is how I get "raw" images using my S1800

Connect the USB cable and hold playback for 1 sec until "USB" displays

<Important> Close the Finepix software if it auto starts.(Or uninstall it)

Open Irfanview (free download) and select Twain Source: S1800 should be listed in your drive list if USB is connected.

Ctrl + click the camera images that you want to import and save them to a folder on your computer. <Hint> create the folder before you start or have a "RAW" folder ready.

When files are downloaded, close Irfanview and Open Photoshop.

File -->Open and select the files with the .raw extension. Set width to 4000 and depth to 3000 (if using highest quality 4:3). Set the Channel count to 3 (RGB) and depth to 8 bits.
<you have to repeat this for each picture, have not tried to do batches>

You now have a "raw" image in Photoshop. Filesize should be about 36MB

There may be a way to connect to the Twain source (camera) in Photoshop but I do not know how to do it...would like to hear if it can be done.
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Old Jul 25, 2010, 9:36 AM   #8
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Key question: are these "semi RAW images good enough to warrant this rather complicated procedure? The Fuji S-1800 is now well known for it sterling image quality.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jul 25, 2010, 12:57 PM   #9
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Default Maybe Less Complicated?

You can do the whole thing in Photoshop/Image Ready if you want.
Take a shot (4:3, Fine) that you can use to compare and import it in Image Ready using the Twain interface. Jump to Photoshop and save it as image.raw. In Photoshop Import the image (Photoshop automatically assigns jpg). Save it and compare both side by side, see if it is worth the trouble...for me, the answer is Yes.
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