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Cameras

Photos: Hands-on with the Fujifilm FinePix S100FS

The Fujifilm FinePix S100FS is an 11-megapixel bridge camera, with features borrowed from the S5 Pro and a giant 14.3x zoom lens

The Fujifilm S100FS is at the top of the Finepix tree. It's an 11-megapixel bridge camera with a 14x zoom. While many superzooms are closer to the compact end of things in terms of specs and features, the S100 is a true bridge camera. Its resemblance to a dSLR goes beyond the styling. In fact, several features are borrowed directly from its bigger brother, the FinePix S5 Pro. You get raw shooting, a thumb dial for adjusting exposure and manual control over the lens -- you turn it and it zooms.

Imaging is handled by a 2.3-inch CCD, which is certainly bigger than the average. Larger sensors have more space to collect light and images look better. Bigger sensors have a positive effect on controlling noise, which is one of the things we'll be testing in our forthcoming in-depth review.

The camera's body has plenty of heft, and although one-handed shooting is possible, we wouldn't do it for long. The rubberised grip is very comfortable, with a contour for your finger.

The 'FS' in the S100's name stands for film simulation. These modes mimic the look and feel of four Fujifilm films. Film -- how old school is that?

Fujifilm's clever face detection 2.0 will find and focus on up to 10 faces in a scene, even if they're in profile, and also corrects red eye. There are lots of modes and settings, including all the usual scene modes -- landscape, portrait and so on -- as well as four scenes for shooting nature.

Extending dynamic range to capture a greater spectrum of detail in darker and lighter areas is a popular feature at the moment. The S100 can boost dynamic range, or bracket three frames at different settings. Other bracketing options include film simulation and exposure.

The Fujifilm FinePix S100FS is available now for £380. Click the links to take a closer look. -Rich Trenholm

Update: Read our full Fujifilm FinePix S100FS review here.

The 64mm (2.5-inch) tilting LCD screen hinges out of the back of the camera, similar to the system employed by the Sony Alpha series. Somehow this method doesn't feel as elegant as the camcorder-style, sideways-folding method employed by the Olympus E-3, but the angle of view is insanely good, with the contents of the screen visible right up until perspective cuts the screen off from view. The viewfinder is electronic.

Check out that enormous Fujinon lens. It's a 14.3x zoom lens, with manual zoom and focus ring. It has a versatile 35mm-equivalent focal length of 28-400mm, which is plenty wide and plenty long. The lens is also mechanically stabilised to keep the shakes from blurring pictures. Unusually, you can also use the zoom while filming video.