Battery duration appears to be excellent. Like the other Fuji superzooms the S5700 runs on four AA batteries, and Fuji makes no particular claim about battery life, but a standard set of alkaline batteries was still providing a full charge after well over 150 shots. As for card capacity, a freshly formatted 1GB card provides approximately enough space for 285 shots. One interesting point is that like the FinePix F40fd, the S5700 can accept both xD Picture and SD cards, thanks to a dual-purpose slot. Unlike the F40fd though it will accept SDHC cards.
Since I do bring it up from time to time, a quick mention also of the excellent 178-page printed manual. If Fuji can provide a full manual for a camera costing £130, why do other manufacturers (I’m looking at you Canon) provide CD manuals with mure expensive models?
The only weak point of the otherwise excellent S5600 was image quality, but the S5700 addresses all of the issues raised by that camera. Since it has no image stabilisation the S5700 relies on its high-ISO capability to provide a fast enough shutter speed to make the long zoom viable, and it certainly scores well in this area, although it’s not quite up to the levels of some other Fuji cameras. It uses a conventional 1/2.5-in CCD rather than Fuji’s own SuperCCD technology, and so it does suffer from some high-ISO noise, but pictures are still good up to 800 ISO, which is a pretty fair performance. However at 1600 ISO the image quality is quite poor, with serious colour noise problems. Unfortunately the “Anti-shake” mode sets this speed automatically, so it’s best to avoid this option. Aside from that, overall image quality is excellent, with good exposure and colour rendition, and very good overall sharpness. The lens does produce quite bad barrel distortion at the wide-angle end, but makes up for it by providing tons of sharp detail right across the frame. The only bum note is that usual Fujifilm bugbear, massive purple fringes on all high-contrast edges. I really wish Fuji would solve this problem, because it is the only real fault with what is otherwise a superb camera.
The Fujifilm S5700 is an amazing bargain. It has style, good performance, manual exposure options, excellent low-light ability and fantastic handling, and tops it off with good image quality. That you can get a camera this good for under £130 is simply astonishing. If I could, I would give it 11 out of 10 for value.
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