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Fujifilm FinePix S9600 - Fujifilm FinePix S9600

By Cliff Smith



  • Editors choice
Fujifilm FinePix S9600


Our Score:


Other than that, picture quality is superb. Another minor tweak to the camera’s system is improved image processing, providing better noise reduction at high ISO settings, although it’s still not in the same league as the FinePix F30. Colour rendition and exposure were never less than perfect.

The level of photographic detail that the camera can capture is extremely impressive. The S9600 has a 1/1.6in sensor, not as large as the APS-C sensors used in most digital SLRs, but larger than most other compacts. Larger sensors have better colour depth and are inherently less prone to image noise, so it’s a good choice for a serious enthusiast’s camera. As I said in my review of the S9500, the only way you’ll get better image quality is to buy a good mid-range SLR, which is going to cost twice as much.

Like many high-end cameras and all DSLRs, the S9600 has a RAW mode option, allowing you to bypass the in-camera processing and JPEG compression. It comes with Fuji’s HyperUtility 2 software for converting RAW files. This package does produce lovely results, and is especially good at noise reduction, but it is quite possibly the slowest and most awkward RAW converter I’ve ever used, with the exception of HyperUtility 1. Batch processing a few dozen RAW files can take the best part of an hour. Unfortunately using the Camera RAW plug-in for Adobe Photoshop doesn’t produce anything like the same quality, and can result in very noisy high-ISO images, so you’ll just have to be patient. At least there’s a nice 162-page owner’s manual to read while you’re waiting.

To be honest, the fine JPEG mode with its big low-compression files so is so good it’s hardly worth using the RAW mode most of the time, unless you really want to hand-process all of your shots. You’ll still get the best picture quality this side of a good mid-range SLR, and you’ll be able to enjoy the camera’s improved performance.


The S9600 offers only a few minor improvements to what was already an outstanding enthusiast’s camera. If you’ve already got an S9500 it’s probably not worth upgrading, but if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to a digital SLR, or a second camera for when you don’t want to cart your whole kit around, the S9600 is the best choice on the market.


June 20, 2008, 4:35 am

Well I have just bought a S9600 and sent it back. Basically I found the camera a bit too ‘plasticky’ for my liking and the controls feel… lets say unsubstantial. By comparison my Olympus 8080 feels like a tank! I also found the AF a little tardy when used indoors or in low light and it tended to hunt so candid snaps are out in these circumstances. Some pics were exceptionally good but there were not as many of these as I would have liked. I might give the S100FS a go but I think more likely I will stick with a good compact or go the whole hog for a DSLR. A good compact will beat the S9600 on performance and match most of its pics for quality… and still fit in your pocket! I have a Canon 850IS which is fast and produces excellent pics. The S9600 has a good zoom range but how often will you use 300mm.


July 7, 2008, 12:04 am

I disagreee in every way to Johnboys comments. I have had this camera since Jan 2008, and all I can say is WOW! Its quite superb producing gob smacking results, and dont forget when reviewed this camera earn 10/10 based on a street price of 𧷆 .. whereas now you can buy it for UNDER 𧶀!!!

I have taken almost a 1000 piccies, & just about every shot is perfectly exposed and incredibly sharp even in dim light. Its quite amazing the results that this camera can produce, even in auto mode! The results are stunning! Fantastic piece of kit & outstanding value for money!

Buy one now .. you'll not be dissapointed!


July 15, 2008, 7:17 pm

I just bought S9600. I was suprised, when i noticed, that in very low light conditions with max. zoom, my old camera Fuji Finepix S5600 manages to correctly set focus where S9600 fails. I guess this is the price for higher resolution.

This was just an (initial) test.

It did slightly ruined initial good impression, but it will be rarely used in such conditions. S9600 is still a very good camera and I intend to keep it.


August 2, 2008, 9:25 pm

The sample images are damn too small, I can't see the Image Quality of S9600


August 3, 2008, 5:41 am

Hmm, this has some balanced perspectives based on experience by the above peers on snap photography they usually exercised in. I needed more damning feedback towards speed and clarity and no compromising performances... I'm now comparing to what I heard from the recommendation of a Lumix DMC FZ18 and now, had just read the upgrade on the FZ28...hmmm it looks like this Fuji 9600 isn't getting my hopes raised after all...


August 19, 2008, 1:26 am

Can a cable release be used? Can a filter be fitted to the lens? david.sneddon1111@btinternet


September 11, 2008, 4:55 am

In response to comments, I found it feels solid and very well balanced, I have got easily over 200 shots on standard duracell batteries. The controls, zoom function, quality of shots are all fantastic. I have not only fitted mine out with a UV filter and an extra wide angle and extra zoom lens attachments (all very cheap of Ebay, where else?). I have taken over 1000 photos since the 8/8/08 when I bought it of the 'net for well under 𧶀. Its simply the best you can buy for under 𧺬. Everything I've done with this camera has produced awesome results.


September 25, 2008, 12:02 am

A simple low cost mechanical screw in cable release can be used together with a 58mm screw in filter. This is the ultimate all in one camera when a photo bag is just too much. Little mention has been made of the video capability which allows zooming during recording. If you want to leave your DSLR body , flash, selection of lenses and DV camcorder behind I can think of no better camera. Uses easy to find and replace AA batteries and with two memory slots, compact flash and XD you never run out of storage media space. Works brilliantly with Macs in particular iPhoto and a Canon photo printer for sharp and fujifilm rich colours I was used to when I used film cameras (X-300 & T90)


October 20, 2008, 5:11 pm

hi there,wanted to check out will your s9600 make "noise" when its operating?

Matt Cooper

October 21, 2008, 12:34 am

Hi there, Brilliant camera altho I am hoping for some help from anybody else who has purchased this camera or about too... I take photos.. and they come out brilliantly... however, the resolution once I put them into photoshop is 72pixels... i for life of me can't get that up to 300 pixels... can anybody help me..!?


Si P

October 29, 2008, 5:37 pm

I bought this camera some six months ago as an all rounder to replace my 6500fd. I've found it first class in all respects, however I do agree that some image stabilising features should have been built in. That being said, I actually use this camera mostly in my home studio where the pc sync is a great boon linking into my lighting system. I've never had a bad result yet. I've done some really good mood lighting sets which have come out far better than I'd ever expected. I'm just about to by a Canon 450D as I want to do more outside photography, however I shall keep the 9600 for my studio work (especially with the wide angle lense attachment). I strongly recommend this camera for anyone who wants to go beyond simply "snap shooting" and wishes to experiment with more advanced camera techniques but don't want to make the heavy financial investment into D-SLR's and then find out it's a not really their thing.

Si P

October 29, 2008, 5:45 pm

Oh, and further to my last comment (OK, paragraph then!) the way Fuji treats primary colours make it the ideal camera to use on chroma-key shots. I do a lot of these for my work which have been published and distributed throughout my local authority area (I'm in local government) - my shots were actually preferred over our own graphics departments ones, and my department insisted on paying me what they would have had to pay them which not only covered the cost of the camera, but has also paid for the new Canon! Can't say fairer than that! Cheers all. Si

Bob 6

November 12, 2008, 1:52 am

I have owned mine for about six months now following an experimental move to the dark side from film and I am VERY impressed with it. I paid 𧶊.00 with a flash card - amazing value for money! The only gripes I have is it feels a bit plasicky, the EVF is not much use after using a proper viewfinder (but no worse than any other I have used) and the 'manual' focusing is a tad wearisome - but the auto focus is so good I dont use it anyway - I have to remind myself THIS IS NOT AN SLR! The live view is excellent, I love the folding screen - no more grovelling with off the ground shots! Lens quality is very good and knocks the socks off most low to mid range SLR 'kit lenses' - why mess about with different lenses and risk muck on your sensor? If you are in the market for a sensibly priced camera with full manual control, manual zoom and focusing that will cope with 99% of what we do, then get out and buy one while there are still some left! Oh and it wont come with c*non or n*kon written on it, so if you are a camera snob, follow the rest of the herd and look elsewhere. I'm off to spend the money I saved on a decent tripod and some more memory (for me, not the camera)


November 14, 2008, 1:17 pm

In answer to Matt. That is 72 pixels PER INCH over 48 X 36 odd inches giving you your 9 million odd pixels. If you particularly wanted 300 pixels per inch with the same total number of pixels you would go to Photoshop Image>Image size, untick resample image and type in 300 pixels per inch. Sheet sizes will change to 11.627 X 8.72 inches. Since you have not re sampled there will be no loss of quality or detail whatsoever. All you have changed is the size that a printer without automatic sizing will try and print it at. In practice it is rarely necessary to use round figures like 300 and it is more practical to change sheet sizes to the size you want to print at. For example if you are cropping for an A4, 26.7 cm X 18 cm or if you want to maintain camera aspect ratio, 24cm X 18 cm, either cropped or simply image size changed (gives 369 pixels/inch, more than you printer can benefit from but the only disadvantage is big files). 300 pixels per inch at printed size is over the top quality for my home printer and I’d venture typical, there being steeply diminishing returns from about 200 pixels per inch upwards. If you are only ever going to print at A4 size down sampling to say 250 pixels per inch at A4 size will have negligible loss of printed quality. Bare in mind however that resampling to lower resolution is throwing detail away which is not recovered by again resampling higher should you ever want to print it bigger, say A3.

Up sampling (including use of the electronic doubler in the S9600) gives finer staircases but does not add detail. Here are some rules of thumb for pics to be PRINTED. When you have developed some feel for resolution you will probably disagree here and there. I strongly recommend cropping and resampling SEPARATELY, at least while you are developing feel. That way you will always be aware of whether you are increasing or decreasing resolution. Crop to printing size without resampling (leaving the resolution square blank) then if resolution is between 250 and 300 don’t resample, if below 150 you’ve over cropped and unless you are prepared to end up with only an rough quality pic think your pic out again, from 150 to 200 quality noticeably improves and acceptability needs your photo by photo judgement after resampling to say 220, from 200 to 250 simply resample to 250 and if above 300 resample to 300. Pics for emailing then viewing only on a monitor can be lower resolution. 18 x 13.5 at 96 pixels/inch which will just fit 2 to an A4 sheet or 18 X 11.85 (A5 with a 1.5 cm border) if you crop, are suitable for typical snapshots.

Matt Cooper

April 9, 2009, 2:59 pm

Thank you for this Pete... really appreciated and detailed. Thanks again, Matt


April 28, 2009, 4:04 pm

Hi Everybody!!

I am going to purchase a digital camera for the first time. (Home usage)

I want to choose from these:

1. Fuji S9600

2. Fuji S8000FD

3. Panasonic Lumix FZ28

4. Panasonic Lumix TZ7

Which model will be best??

Can anyone please help??


May 5, 2009, 9:37 pm

I have no intention of making remarks such as have been made regards the full 10 you gave this camera. Suffice to say to follow your reasoning to its logical conclusion you should not have given it 10. Why? because you twisted on that the 9500 did not come with image stablisation. This also did not when it was sorely needed--hence it did not deserve full marks for this serious omission on the part of Fuji. It just becomes a very limited zoom camera and certainly not a cut above for blur free images.

Doug Sinnott

May 22, 2009, 4:39 pm

Twisted 2 calls it a very limited camera,which is a stupid comment,considering the camera's capabilities.

The S9600 does have a form of correction when using the long zoom,I.E it raises the shuttere speed/ISO rating,which is what we all used to do for years,as a matter of course with our old 35mm cameras.

All it took was a little thought!

As regards very high ISO results,(above 800),how many people use such high settings?

Very few,I bet,I know I don't,and never have done.

With film,I did use ISO 400 sometimes with my black and white work,but that's all.

If the lights that bad,I dont take photographs!

OR you can steady the camera,on a wall,tripod,etc.,but in my view,this is needed only very ocassionally,and only at the longer end of the zoom.

Most photos are around the wide-angle,mid range settings anyway.

Overall,this camera is excellent.Well made,quick to use,an excellent viewfinder,(just compare it to the Panasonic FZ28 viewfinder,far too small!,)a very good lens,and in some ways ,better than the average DSLR,producing excellent photos,and a compact package,with the versatile lens,(I have used the 600mm setting,with no noticeable drop in quality)

I also have a Nikon D40,with 18-55mm,and 55-200mm lenses,but just find the weight of it on my shoulder too much,whereas the S9600 is about half the weight!

And the D40 is one of the lighter DSLRs!

Up to A4,there's no real difference in the prints,and who prints much bigger?.

It still feels like a proper camera,unlike the Panasonic FZ series,a bit small,but still excellent cameras,but a poor viewfinder on the FZ28(only half the size of the Fuji).

I got my S9600 off Ebay at a bargain price of £150(almost new!),and I'm well pleased with it.

So all you nit-pickers out there,you'll just have to buy a DSLR,pay the extra,and put up with an aching shoulder!

Doug Sinnott

May 28, 2009, 11:34 pm

To Anand,Re camera choices.

I've owned the Panasonic FZ7,FZ8,FZ18,and recently the FZ28,a Nikon D40,and now a S9600.

The picture quality on the FZ28 is the best Panasonic super zoom so far,and very good,BUT,as I use the viewfinder in bright conditions,it is half the size of the FZ18,and the S9600,come to that,so I sold it.

But,if you like a smaller,lighter camera,full of features,with a big zoom,with "Anti shake",the Panasonic FZ18 is the one to get secondhand.(look on Ebay),

If you want a more substantial camera,also with a big zoom,the S9600 really takes some beating.

However,if you can afford it,the Nikon D40,is a cracking DSLR,with superb image quality,quick focussing,and easy to use,but you need to consider the cost of additional lenses(and the extra weight!)

Which is why I tend to use the S9600 most of the time!


October 4, 2009, 8:22 pm


iv just started photography but love it, i dont know what to get, please help me, dont recoment anything second hand, above £250 thank you. what should i pick out of these:

fuji s9600

fuji s9500

fuji s6500

fuji s8100

any help would be much apreasiated thanks (sorry about the spelling)

Stuart Brabbs

October 18, 2009, 4:44 pm

I've had the 9500 for a couple of years and loved every minute with it. The only drawback is that it's not fast so I bought a Canon 1000d to let me shoot some particular fast action shots. I thought I'd use the Canon more but almost always reach for the 9500 for everyday photos. Its much more convenient than the DSLR and quality is superb. The versatility of this camera is great and I can't think of another that offers an screw in cable/air release option at this price (which is handy at times).

Now I find the 9500 is packing up I'm looking to replace with the 9600 before they become too scarce. (I've noticed second hand prices are rising on ebay).


October 21, 2009, 10:42 pm

I've been using the s9100 for over three years now, and have taken close to 15,000 photos, mostly in manual mode. The camera works great and the color is rarely if ever off. I prefer taking natural light still photos, and this camera works well for that. The lens is limiting in that it does not produce a super sharp image, and the image is especially less sharp at the wide end away from the center (supermacro shots are good only in the center of the photo). On the other hand, the very slight reduction in sharpness makes it easy to get great photos straight out of the camera where a slightly soft result is desired, and the image can be sharpened postproduction. Due to the f/2.8 limit at 28mm equiv. with f/4.9 best at 300mm equiv., it is hard to control focal depth/boukeh effect. Also, when working with indoor light or low lighting, moving objects (people, clouds, tree leaves) and hand-held shots are problematic. I intend to move up to a DSLR for improved low-light imaging, and for the added sharpness and focal depth control. However, this camera has been great as an alternative to getting a DSLR. Other notes: 1) the motorized manual focus is difficult to use, 2) the viewfinder is not TTL, which is great for sunset photos so that you don't harm your eye, 3) I just started loading photos I've taken with this camera at http://www.wunderground.com...

Doug Sinnott

August 25, 2010, 12:06 pm

I read "tamcat" comments with interest.I hardly ever use "manual" mode,as my cameras are usually on the "P" setting,with adjustments to the shutter speed or apeture,as required.

Of course a DSLR may be better for some shots inside,if the lens has a bigger aperture,for example,and it has anti-shake,but I have found there isn't much the S9600 can't handle.

I have a Nikon DSLR,but the standard lens is very limiting,so I bought an 55-200 VR zoom lens,for those occasions when you just wan't to get a bit closer to something,but I find I hardly use it,as fiddling with lenses when you're out walking is just a pain,plus,of course,the extra weight on the shoulder,so I reach for my Fuji.

The cost of a 28-200 Nikon VR lens is just too expensive,and it's such a bulky beast,that I probably wouldn't take that out much either!

This is where a camera like the S9600 is ideal,versatile,yet so portable,and so cheap,compared to the DSLR equivalent,but still producing sharp,colourful photographs.

As regards Macro with the S9600,most cameras have limited depth of field at their mimimum focussing distance,so the centre will be less sharp,if the lens is used at maximum aperture.

Close down a couple of stops,and put the camera on a tripod,and that should sort it out.

There's nothing wrong with my images"straight from the camera",i.e. they don't seem soft to me,but I always "tweak" them a bit anyway,regardless of what camera they're from.

I have been a photographer for 45 years,and modern digital cameras are amazing,particularly "superzooms",whose versatility is tremendous.

The S9600 has come the closest to the "complete" all-in-one,even compared to more recent models,in that it has a really useable eyepiece,bigger than the latest Fujis,or Panasonics,and the maximum 300mm on the tele end of the lens,plus the 2X digital,is more than adequate for most photo opportunities.

Anti-shake is useful,and the S9600 doesn't really have it,but it's not the be-all and end-all by any means,and in practice,it never caused me any problems with the S9600.

The sensor on this Fuji is also larger than similar offerings available currently from Fuji,or other makers,so this helps to give useable pictures up to 800 asa,if you need to,which is also a bonus.


August 25, 2010, 1:28 pm

@Doug Sinnott: Wow, you have an SLR and you prefer the S9600? It's nice enough to use in terms of ergonomics and versatility but I found picture quality to be way below expectation. Almost straight away I was disappointed but ummed and ahhed for about a year before swapping for an SLR and I've never looked back. Yes, the S9600 serves a purpose - it's a cheap and versatile alternative to an SLR - but if you can afford it, you get 90 percent the versatility and 200 percent better performance with an SLR and a decent super zoom lens. I'd suggest swapping all your other lenses for the Nikkor 18-200. Yes, it's £500 but you'll basically never need another lens and it'll beat the S9600 hands down for performance.

James Mackintosh

October 18, 2010, 5:12 pm

I have owned two fuji cameras and while they both took excellent pictures I have found that as a make Fuji Cameras are poorly constucted and liable to have a short working life as a consequence. My most recent camera is the S8000sd model which having worked fine for 18 months or so the programme selector knob has now broken off making it impossible to change programmes. (Fuji want £79 to replace the plastic knob and I seems that simply sending me a replacement knob is not possible) The previous camera had a similar problem, although when it failed I was inclined to give it the benefit of the doubt and put it down to just bad luck.

I have been keen photographer for over 40 years and have owned probably around 15 cameras in this time. In all that time I cannot remember any other camera failing me in this annoyingly simple way. I have checked this problem out on the internet and find that I am not alone in experiencing this problem with weak plastic control knobs on fuji cameras (knob comes away from the shaft leaving the tiny plastic spigot behind). Be aware, your Fuji superzoom might work wonderfully when you get it but don't be surprised if you are looking for another in under a couple of years.

Frankly I would spend my money on a prduct from Cannon or Nikon whos offerings have given me long and trouble free service over the years.

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