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About this time last year I reviewed the Fujifilm FinePix S9500. I was, to say the least, rather impressed by it. With its SLR-like handling and performance, a high quality 28-300mm manual zoom lens and some of the best picture quality I’ve seen on anything short of a top-end professional SLR, it earned the highest possible mark we have here – straight tens!

Ten months later, and Fujifilm has just launched another high-spec camera in its semi-pro S series, the new FinePix S6500fd. It fits into the range between the soon-to-be-replaced S9500 and the lower spec S5600 (reviewed here in May) although it’s far closer to the higher end of the scale. It inherits many features from the S9500, most notably that excellent f2.8-f4.9, 10.7x optical zoom lens. It’s also about the same size and weight as the S9500, in fact it’s a couple of millimetres wider and taller, although it is a little lighter. In other words, the S6500 is far closer in size, shape and weight to a digital SLR than to most other fixed-lens cameras.

The S6500 is supposed to be the lower-spec camera, so it lacks a few of the S9500’s features. For starters it has a 6.3-megapixel SuperCCD HR sensor, compared to its older brother’s 9.0-megapixel sensor. Its 2.5in, 235,000 pixel LCD monitor is bigger and sharper, but lacks the S9500’s fold-out ability. It has a much simpler control layout, which unfortunately means that some useful features, such as the self-timer, are relegated to the menu. It also lacks the cable release thread on the shutter button.

More crucially it lacks the hybrid AF system that helped give the S9500 its blistering performance. Instead it has a fairly pedestrian TTL AF system that seems slow by comparison, although in fact its speed is safely above average for a high-end zoom camera.

However the S6500 does have a few points on which it beats the S9500. It offers a wider range of shutter speeds in program mode, a higher maximum ISO setting of 3200, improved high-ISO noise reduction, and Fuji’s new hardware based face detection system, which is where the “fd” in the camera’s name comes from. The camera will automatically recognise up to 10 human faces in the frame, and adjust focus and exposure accordingly to ensure a good picture.

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martin jeeves

March 20, 2009, 10:21 pm

had this camera for over a year and a half never let me down ,the results are fantastic and would be hard pressed to buy another make or model that could copy the results i have had from this camera. you get a lot of camera for the money I think I paid 𧵍 for it from pc world. Battery life is outstanding using 4 nih mi batteries, i shoot in raw using fuji,s own program for processing shots,very fast AF at night the green light is very bright,great camera!


June 7, 2009, 6:30 am

I guess if you're reading this ,this late in the day, you are thinking about picking this camera up second hand, as I did. Do, it's great, I even bought another after trying out the s9600 for a while, to my mind this is the better camera, backing you up in such a wide rang of situations that I couldn't be without it. I'm now about to upgrade to a dslr, normally I'd look to pass this on to spread the cost, but I would'nt be without it such is its go anywhere do anything character. The price you'll pick this up for on ebay makes it a no brainer, and you cannot find an all rounder that has better quality to iso performance. If you already have a dslr, you might find this worth considering over a second body, if you really are thinking of a back up camera.

Si P

October 9, 2009, 6:33 pm

I've looked up this camera here, as I've just started using mine again. I also have a s9600 which I bought to "upgrade" the 6500. I recently upgraded that to an EOS450D. To be honest, I wish I'd never bothered with the 9600, good though it is. I really think the 6500 is far superior in image quality - ok, it can't match a true DSLR, but it does come pretty close. I've been out using it's great macro system on the plethora of spiders in our garden and I've been amazed at the quality. If anyone reading this is thinking about photography as a hobby, but doesn't want to fork out loads of cash to buy into a DSLR system (wife's not happy at my almost bankrupting us buying kit for my EOS)get a second hand S6500fd. You'll have all the equipment you need to take first rate photographs and experiment with different styles - if you then decide it's not for you you've not lost a great deal of money and will probably get back what you paid for it if you sell it. Don't get suckered into the "more megapixels must be better" philosophy. It's the glass at the front and the eye behind the camera that makes a truly good picture. Good luck.

Si P

October 9, 2009, 6:48 pm

Oh, and I nearly forgot, I bought the wide angle screw on lense for the 6500, which also works on the 9600. Just for fun I screwed it on to the kit lense which came with my EOS 450D to see what would transpire. It was amazing! I used it for a wedding I shot at the end of August and the pictures were superb with little or no distortion whatsoever. Saved me a fortune!


August 11, 2013, 1:18 pm

A long time ago... six years to be precise I bought this camera. A that time i hadn´t money to expend in a "cheap" Nikon D40. So I decided buy this Fujifilm s6000fd (marketed as S6500fd in others countries). I was noticed the qualities of this 6 Megapixel left the over-valuated S9100 to shame, and even pretty close from quality of Nikon D40 with a Kit Lens (shotting RAW) and more close from older DSLR (of course you can't do magic with DoF/Bokeh with small sensor). This camera it was state of art in sensor technology from a compact camera. It was so good, if you compare this camera with much of the last luxury compact camera 1/1.7" sized sensor, you will find this is better even in resolution and only missing a little in dynamic range regard . A fool folk chased me when I was taking pictures in the coast in the middle of beauty Argentina's Patagonia. This ugly boy owned a over-valued Panasonic FZ-50, he talked much comparing my Fujifilm S6000fd with his Pana all the time, bluffing how much much better it was his camera. This boy talked to me without idea what had it mi camera inside, better angular of 28mm, better sensor by miles, in general better camera. In my life this camera have part of my former work in digital with others small DSLR. Now I owner of Nikon D700, D300 and lastly Panasonic G3 to informal shots so, I lent the old S6000fd to my lovely friend Jorgelina. I cant sell it or gift it because is part of my learning and the monetary value is nothing, so I kept it, the real first love never sells.

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