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Not too surprisingly, the S1500's overall performance isn't much different to that of its predecessor. It's actually a little slower to start up than the S1000fd, in a little over two seconds, although it shuts down more quickly in about one and a half seconds. In single-shot mode it still has a shot-to-shot time of approximately three seconds, but at least it's consistent and can keep it up until the card is full. In long-period continuous shooting mode it averages approximately one frame per second, which is actually a little slower than the S1000fd. It's also not consistent, starting of faster but then slowing down after three or four shots. The S1500 also has several high-speed continuous shooting modes, including
The autofocus system is also very good under most conditions, focusing quickly and accurately even in low light conditions. Like the S1000fd the S1500's low-light performance is excellent, with a bright AF assist lamp and a very powerful flash. However some readers who bought the S1000fd did suggest that it had problems focusing at full zoom, so I tested this more thoroughly and in fact I did find that the S1500 also has difficulty in this area, sometimes taking two or three tries to focus correctly at full zoom. Annoyingly the camera beeps confirms focus in this situation even if it's actually badly out of focus, so you have to pay attention.
Image quality was one area where the S1000fd had a few issues, but several improvements seem to have been made for the S1500. Unsurprisingly it still has the same lens performance, with noticeable barrel distortion at wide angle and pincushion at telephoto, but providing decent corner-to-corner sharpness. It still has the same excellent image noise control, with good picture quality at 400 ISO and usable images even at 800. Dynamic range seems to be a bit better than the previous model, although maybe I've just seen too many 12MP cameras lately. Colours definitely aren't quite as strident in the default mode though. All in all the S1500 produced good results in a wide range of different situations, and was a lot of fun to use.
Additional features including sensor-shift image stabilisation, scene recognition and tracking AF, as well as some minor image quality tweaks make the S1500 a worthwhile upgrade over the S1000fd. Its compact size, decent build quality and comfortable handling make it a capable and versatile all-rounder and a good value alternative to more expensive travel cameras.
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