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Thread: fuji s5700, Good 1st time buy?

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    Davey's Avatar
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    fuji s5700, Good 1st time buy?

    Hi I am completely new to this forum and digital photography (have been keen hobbyist photographer for some time though with traditional cam) and need advice. I am looking at getting a new camera and want something cheap and not too fancy. I particularly like night photography so average performance at night is a must. There are a few other things it will be useful for where I need good basic performance at reasonable cost.

    I saw a fuji s5700 for just under 100 and thought it looked like a good first buy for a digital camera. I understand the basics and digital formats in particular very well it's just the cam hardware side I have no experience with at all. Has anyone here got experience with this camera, and does it produce night shots of reasonable quality (nightscapes more than portrait). I don't expect perfection from something so cheap, as long as it's acceptable I don't mind. I have found a few reviews but not much info on night ability. I notice many reviews found similar cons like purple fringing or not to vibrant colour etc but seem not to be severe and can remedy in photoshop/GIMP.

    The other things I will be using it for is taking macros (indoor) of sculptures and ideally want to capture as much detail as possible. This is less for photographic/artistic reasons and more to document and display work in progress so usual performance and results are not as important as capturing detail. Again nothing too special, just not poor quality images and it's fine for my purposes. Finally I will be using it to take macros of textures (eg. wood grain). The requirements are similar to above but for the purpose of developing 2d textures for use in 3d computer applications. As these images require no depth capture and will be heavily modified in art packages and the lighting/depth/surface properties will all be calculated and rendered by the computer all that is important here is capturing crisp clear detail and accurate colour (or as close to natural real world appearance, particularly hue as opposed to saturation).

    Any advice on this or help is appreciated. Likewise feel free to recommend any similar priced cameras. Anything over 100ish and I would rather save and get a decent digital SLR which I intend to do in future if I get the spare cash(especially since my ex wife has my traditional SLR now is the best time to make the switch to digital I think hehehe). Since it's just a hobby high end or perfect quality is not really priority for me. Size and weight is not an issue at all for me, and res wise 7Megapixel is easily sufficient. I'd like RAW support but it's not a must. Thank you.

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    Re: fuji s5700, Good 1st time buy?

    I am not familiar with the particular camera, but can offer some general advice.

    You mention that RAW is not a must. If you want to do a lot of night photography with this camera, then I think I would consider RAW support to be a must. You will likely have to push the exposure and bring out the shadows a lot more often than in regular daylight photos. Further, cameras in this price range sometimes skimp on internal processing power, and therefore do not perform the most detailed/artifact-free RAW conversion in-camera as possible. Even for the macro photography you mention, I would expect that you would eek a little more detail out of your photos with less noise.

    For night photography in general using a compact camera, I would be very attentive to the maximum exposure time, and how much fixed pattern noise arises with long exposures. Many non-SLR cameras limit the exposure time to 15 seconds, which is certainly not enough for the vast majority of night photography. You can always use a technique to "stack exposures", but this takes a lot of extra time and often isn't capable of producing equivalent results. The ideal would be a camera that supports open-ended exposures using "bulb mode", but I am not aware of any in this price range. I should think that 30 seconds would be a bare minimum, since you can get away with larger apertures due to a compact camera's depth of field advantages.

    Also try and find reviews which show long exposures from your camera before the purchase. Some have unacceptable fixed pattern noise, or overly soft images due to excessive (and uncontrollable) in-camera noise reduction algorithms.

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    Re: fuji s5700, Good 1st time buy?

    Thanks McQ. Indeed most I looked at are limited to 15sec exposure. I picked up a finepix5600 in the end for 70, basically the same as the 5700 but it's 5.1megapix. I went for the lower megapixel version due to price and technical reasons (res wise the 7mp isn't much different, the actual resolution increase is barely noticable between the 5 and 7 in this case and less noise etc etc). Also as I wont be blowing up that big if print images and , most I view on comp (at 1280x1024) or if I do print out A4 is as big as I am likely to go. Even then I could go bigger and the image would still be fine with processing/correct paper choice for image etc. So I thought I'd save 30 (spent it on more rechargable batteries and flash card). Unsure if the 5700 saves raw anyway as the ones I saw didn't advertise the fact but the 5600 did.

    It saves raw which is good, only thing that worried me was the 15 sec exposure time. I must admit for such a cheap camera it has exceeded what I expected from it (which is unusual for me). The kind of night shots I take often involve a lot of artificial light because I live in a city. Here are 3 images which I resized smaller but metadata still intact so can see with exif viewer I darkened a little so the cam picked up enough light in 15 sec to give nice colour and right brightness. The 3rd one of the windmill was 15sec exp but looks much brighter than it was as it was really dark up there, nearly broke neck on way back due to night blindness from looking at camera screen and not packing a torch! Most the light picked up is pollution from surrounding areas since it's not artificially lit and quite dark(hence there is an old observatory just behind the windmill).

    http://img214.imageshack.us/my.php?i...9040021wo3.jpg
    http://img98.imageshack.us/my.php?im...9050003ew0.jpg
    http://img371.imageshack.us/my.php?i...9060068tx1.jpg

    I'd still like to save and get a good Digital SLR but for now this cheap compact one will do me fine.
    Last edited by Davey; 7th September 2008 at 01:52 AM.

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    Re: fuji s5700, Good 1st time buy?

    Hi nocturne,

    Not at all bad for first go, I too am impressed at what you've achieved with the Fuji 5600.
    I have a Fuji 6500 (6MP and manual zoom), but have never tried such pics thinking the 30 secs max I have wouldn't be long enough. Looks like I'd better get out there and try!

    Is there a knack to seeing the EXIF on ImageShack? I had to right click download and view properties of the file that way.

    I too would love a decent DSLR, but to retain the feature set of my 150 Fuji camera+lens combination in a DSLR would (I reckon) cost 1000+.
    I have to say I quite rate the Fuji as a brand and the 10x zoom+macro on the lens takes some serious dosh to replicate in a DSLR. If only it had IS and lower noise at high ISO! Recently considered buying the new S100, but the chromatic abberation is worse than my 6500, shame.

    Keep posting the pictures, Dave
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 7th September 2008 at 02:06 AM.

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    Re: fuji s5700, Good 1st time buy?

    I use FxIF addon in firefox (3) to read exif. Just right click and pick properties. Very basic and not all info displayed but as a quick guide it's nice and simple. There might be better ones around that I don't know about though, I like simple and concise though.

    I'd imagine you could get some good shots with your cam, 30sec should be acceptable considering what 15sec picked up. The darkest ones were on iso400 due to very little ambient light(such as windmill) and are bit noisy but many others are lower sensitivity (most are 64 or 100) and are ok. I was surprised. Some I took on less than 15sec as I don't have a tripod, my dads one fits old SLR but most new cameras seem to have smaller screwthread so cannot use that. I will pick up a lightweight one sometime I think. I have steady hands so got away with approx 4 or 5 sec exposures on a few. Bit of a best of 3 job but quite a few turned out, or very faint blurring from moving slightly (I held my breath but still it's hard not to move at all even without the wind and such being alive and all).

    The 15 second exposures I utilised things in the environment such as nicely positioned mooring posts at the docks or pipes, or my favourite was resting cam on headstones when taking shots in the cemetery. Funny thing is security man missed me when driving past to lock the gates since I was dressed in black behind a tombstone under shadow of a large tree, and it was dark. I finished taking pictures of angel tombstones and then followed security van to top gates, the guy had his back to me locking the gate and I tried approaching noisily so I wouldn't give him a heart attack. Didn't quite work and I doubt I could approach as silently as I did if I tried.

    After considering whether to scare him for a joke but then thinking it probably wouldn't be as enjoyable for him as it was amusing to me. He didn't seem too startled since I asked him about getting out a few foot away rather than get close and wait for him to turn round. Not everyday a man dressed head to toe in black including full length riding coat and black shortbrim hat sneak up on you in a cemetery. He was dead friendly though (excuse the pun, I couldn't resist) and let me out. Maybe I should have really scared him and got a photo of that.

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