As you may recall, I was very enthusiastic in my praise for the superb Fujifilm FinePix S9500 back in October. Well it’s been a while, but I’ve finally got around to taking a look at its kid brother, the S5600. The S9500 is a tough act to follow, so can junior keep up?
Launched in July 2005, The S5600 (also known as the S5200 for the US market) is based on the successful S5500 launched the previous year. It is available from a number of online retailers for under £200, which is remarkably cheap considering the specification. It is a five megapixel camera featuring Fujifilm’s advanced SuperCCD HR sensor and acclaimed Real Photo image processing engine, coupled with a powerful 38-380mm equivalent (10x ) optical zoom lens, and the promise of top quality pictures even at high ISO speeds.
Its body format is what has become known as SLR-style, and indeed it does look exactly like a tiny SLR. Its diminutive size isn’t really apparent until you place it next to a real full-size SLR; even compared to my small *ist D the S5600 looks like a half-scale model of a real camera.
However it is still big enough to have a large and extremely comfortable rubberized handgrip that wraps right around the camera and includes a nice textured thumb grip on the back. It has to be large to provide room inside for the four AA batteries that power the camera, but it also gives one of the most secure grips of any camera I can think of; you’d have to be a real butterfingers to drop it.
The batteries also give some much needed weight to what is a very light camera for its size. It weighs 370g minus batteries and card, which sounds heavy when compared to a pocket compact, but when you compare it to its siblings the S7000 (500g) and the S9500 (645g) it does look like the runt of the litter. The body shell is made of plastic presumably over a metal frame, but despite this the S5600 does feel quite solid and businesslike once you put the batteries in. I wasn’t able to accurately judge battery duration, but other users have reported that it is exceptionally good.