The overall design of the S1000fd is basically a smaller version of the S5800. It has much the same control layout, with a large knurled mode dial on the top plate and a sliding main power switch. The layout of the buttons on the back is also familiar, and while it may look a little cluttered the arrangement actually works very well. The LCD monitor is large for such a small camera, at 2.7 inches and 230k dots. It is slightly recessed, helping to avoid scratches and finger marks, and it has adjustable brightness for sunny days, but its usable angle of view is very narrow by recent standards, and even raising the camera a little above head height renders the monitor almost useless.
The S1000fd is ostensibly aimed at photography enthusiasts, and to that end is does have a small number of useful creative options, including program, aperture and shutter priority and full manual exposure, with shutter speeds from eight seconds to 1/2000th and four aperture values between f/2.8 and f/8 available. It has the usual three metering modes (spot, centre-weighted and multi-zone), and a choice of three AF modes (centre, wide-area and multi-point). One selling-point feature is the panoramic shooting mode, but this is nothing new, and since it is limited to three shots it is actually less useful than it might appear. It’s not even particularly good at panorama stitching; I tried it several times and found the joins between frames to be rather poor.
There are a number of important features that are notable by their absence, such as colour balance, saturation or contrast adjustments and adjustable noise control, but more importantly it lacks any form of image stabilisation. This is a very important feature for any camera with a long zoom lens, and especially one as light as the S1000fd.
There is, in my opinion, a major problem with the whole concept of the S1000fd. Fujifilm already makes what is arguably the best low-cost super-zoom camera around, the S5800, and a strong contender for the title of best high-spec super-zoom camera, the S8100fd. The S1000fd is neither of these things, and doesn’t really fit into the market anywhere. It is too big to be a pocket zoom like Panasonic’s TZ models or the Ricoh R8, but it is too small to handle the telephoto end of its zoom lens without image stabilisation. It lacks important creative features for photography enthusiasts, but at the same time it is too complex for a simple snapshot camera. Yes, it’s the smallest 12x zoom in the world, but so what? Small size is not really a desirable feature in a super-zoom camera, unless it’s so small it can fit in your pocket. I think potential buyers will look at it briefly, and then buy the S5800 instead.