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Fujifilm FinePix S2000HD - Fujifilm FinePix S2000HD
One unusual feature of the S2000HD is its choice of memory cards. Fujifilm co-developed the xD-Picture card format along with Olympus in 2002, and at the time they hoped that it would be adopted by other manufacturers as an alternative to SD cards. However apart from a very brief dalliance by Samsung, no other manufacturers have adopted it, opting instead for the cheaper and more widely available SD and SDHC format. As a result xD-Picture cards are relatively expensive, and a lack of development has left them trailing in terms of performance. Most recent Fuji cameras have featured dual-format slots for both SDHC and xD, but the S2000HD is the first Fuji camera to abandon xD-Picture cards altogether, accepting only SD or SDHC cards. This leaves Olympus as the only manufacturer still using xD-Picture cards, so one has to wonder how long it will be before the format disappears altogether.
The S2000HD features a sensor-shift image stabilisation system which operates in both still and video modes, an essential feature with such a long telephoto range. I generally prefer this type of IS to the moving-lens optical systems found in many other cameras. While some claim that optical IS systems are better, I really can't get on with that slight drifting of the image as you're composing your shot. However I have to say that I'm not massively impressed with the IS system in the S2000HD. A really good IS system will usually provide around three stops of extra stability, which should mean it's possible to shoot at a 400mm-equivalent focal length using shutter speeds of around 1/100th of a second. However I found I was still getting slight motion blur at shutter speeds of around 1/120th of a second, so that's only around two and a half stops of extra stability.
The other main feature is of course the HD movie capability. The S2000HD can shoot video clips of up to 15 minutes duration at a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels at 30 frames per second with mono sound. It can also shoot in VGA format with the only time limit being the card capacity. Unusually, the optical zoom can be used during video shooting, although the zoom motor is faintly audible on the soundtrack. Video and audio quality are both very good, and the continuous autofocus works well at full zoom and in low light. There are a number of video editing option in playback mode including rotation, editing and copying. Although it lacks the features of a dedicated video camera, the S2000HD would make a good standby alternative to a camcorder at a pinch.
Other features include a variety of exposures modes, including program auto, shutter priority and full manual exposure, as well as two natural light modes for shooting without the flash. There are 13 scene program modes, two user-defined custom modes, and a unique zoom bracketing function that automatically saves three copies of your shot, the original plus two with different levels of digital zoom applied. As well as these there are the usual refinements such as face detection, spot metering and spot AF.
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