OK everyone, you can stop emailing me; it's here at last, the much-requested review of the Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd. I've had more enquiries about this camera than anything else in the last few months. If everyone who's asked me about it buys one, I think I'll buy shares in Fujifilm.
I have to admit I've been curious about the S8000fd myself. It's the new flagship of Fuji's super-zoom cameras, heading a range that includes the S6500fd, S5700, S5600 and the S5800 which I have yet to review. Anything that can exceed the capabilities of such an extremely impressive range of cameras has to be something very special indeed.
Announced in July of this year but not launched until September, the S8000fd has a tempting specification. It has an 8-megapixel CCD (although not a SuperCCD), and an 18x optical zoom, f/2.8-4.5 lens with a focal length range equivalent to 27- 486 mm, crucially slightly wider-angle than its main competitor, the excellent Panasonic FZ18. As well as this it is equipped with moving-sensor image stabilisation, a 2.7-inch 230k LCD monitor, face detection technology and a maximum ISO setting of 6400. Comparisons with the FZ18 don't end at the specs list. The S8000fd has a list price of £299.99, the same as the Panasonic camera, but as is usually the case with Fujifilm cameras it is available from many online retailers at a big discount, and you can already pick one up for under £200. The cheapest current price for the FZ18 is around £260.
If you buy an S8000fd you certainly won't be disappointed when you first open the box. It's a great looking camera, with a stylish modern design finished in matt black, flat metallic silver and chrome. The body design, which has evolved though a long and successful series of Fuji super-zoom cameras, is broadly similar to that of the S5700, with a large and extremely comfortable rubberised handgrip that includes a very secure thumbgrip area on the back, also with a textured rubberised grip. The shape of the body fits the hand beautifully, and all the controls fall neatly under the fingers. As an exercise in ergonomic camera design it deserves some sort of award.