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Fujifilm FinePix S6500fd - Fujifilm FinePix S6500fd

By Cliff Smith



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Face recognition seems to be the fad that all the cool kids have got to have at the moment. It’s impressive technology to be sure, however personally I don’t think it’s all that useful, especially on a camera aimed at enthusiasts. Is it really that difficult to focus on and expose for the face of the person you’re shooting? Isn’t that what spot metering and AF lock is for?

As well as its new high-tech features the S6500 has a full range of manual exposure options, metering modes and AF options, and more importantly it can record in RAW mode, so you can avoid the quality problems of image compression altogether. The big 13MB RAW files will eat into your memory card, but it’s worth it for the extra quality.

The year-old S9500 currently retails at around £370 on the high street, or around £280 online, which is a bargain for a camera that good, while the S6500fd was launched at the end of July with a high street price of £349.99, and is already available online for £269.79, so there’s not a lot to choose between them in price. Given the similarity in appearance and features, the big question is whether anyone will buy it, when for just £10 more they can have the superior S9500 while it’s still available. I have yet to review the S9600, the eagerly awaited replacement for the S9500, so it will be interesting to see how that camera compares.

That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with the S6500; quite the contrary. Despite being somewhat overshadowed by the reputation of the S9500, the S6500 is a very capable camera in its own right.

It has a tough but lightweight polycarbonate body, with excellent build quality. The large and comfortable rubberised handgrip and well designed controls give it superb handling. Overall performance is very good, with a start-up time of two seconds. In long-period continuous shooting mode it can manage a frame every 1.7 seconds until the card is full, and also has two 3-frame burst modes, recording either the first three or last three frames, shooting at three frames a second.

The S6500 runs on four AA batteries, so duration will depend on the type and brand you use, but it seemed to be above average using NiMH rechargeables. The camera only accepts xD-Picture cards for storage, rather than the CompactFlash cards used in the S9500. In maximum quality JPEG mode files average around 3MB each, so a 1GB card should be enough for about 330 shots. It also has a good movie mode, capable of VGA (640 x 480 pixel) resolution at 30fps. The zoom lens can also be used while filming.

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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