The S2000HD is a surprisingly brisk performer for a super-zoom. It starts up in a little over two seconds, and shuts down again in a bit under three, which is quicker than some compacts. Shot-to-shot time in single shot mode and the highest picture quality setting is approximately two seconds per frame, which is also quite respectable. The S2000HD has five continuous shooting modes. In the normal full-resolution mode it shoots at approximately 1.6 seconds per frame, but there is also a high-speed mode shooting at approximately five frames a second, at a resolution of five megapixels, and an ultra-high-speed mode that is limited to three megapixels but shoots at approximately 10 frames per second.
The S2000HD has an exceptionally good autofocus system, focusing quickly and accurately in every lighting condition in which I tried it, including in low light at maximum zoom. It has the brightest AF assist lamp I’ve ever seen, and had no problem focusing in total darkness at a range of around five metres, which is very impressive although it can leave your friends blinking in surprise. It also has an exceptionally powerful flash, with a maximum range of over six metres in auto ISO mode, but which also has very good metering so it doesn’t over-expose at close range.
In terms of picture quality the S2000HD is good, but perhaps not as good as its otherwise extremely impressive performance might lead you to hope. The level of fine detail is surprisingly low for a 10MP camera, and the lens isn’t as good as some of its close competitors. It shows some barrel distortion at wide angle, and also some corner blurring and very noticeable chromatic aberration.
One area where the S2000HD does stand out though is noise control, traditionally a Fujifilm strongpoint, although here too there are a few oddities. Shots at 100, 200 and 400 ISO are exceptionally clear and noise-free, with plenty of sharp detail and good colour reproduction. However from 800 ISO upwards the noise reduction system suddenly goes nuts with the pixel-binning, producing images with very little detail that look like they were shot on a video camera. Colour balance is still good, and the pictures would be OK for an email or website, but I wouldn’t want to print them.
Overall the S2000HD offers a lot of camera for the money, and is one of the most versatile super-zoom models on the market. It’s not without a few faults, but the excellent handling, wide zoom range, fast performance and superb low-light focusing make this a camera that can cope in most situations. As a general-purpose camera it’s hard to beat for the price.
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