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Fujifilm S9100 isn't a dSLR, but it'll probably play one on TV

Fujifilm S9100 isn't a dSLR, but it'll probably play one on TV

With the price gap vanishing between entry-level dSLRs and fixed-lens dSLR-style cameras, it's getting increasingly difficult to define the market for the latter group. The one clear-cut distinction you can make, though, is that adding a long-zoom lens to a dSLR is generally pretty pricey, while the SLR-style cameras come with the megazoom baked right in. However, the competition for that slice of photographers can be pretty fierce.

Fujifilm has a loyal following for its S-series of megazoom SLR-style cameras, and its forthcoming FinePix S9100 looks as if it's got the same bundle of capabilities that has traditionally pleased them. Though it only has a 10.7X zoom--the cutting-edge models these days stretch to 12X--it does provide a 28mm-equivalent angle of view on the wide end, which most long-zoom models lack. And at 9 megapixels, it offers the highest resolution of the bunch. In addition, it includes all of Fujifilm's high ISO tricks, such as its iFlash and Picture Stabilization program-shift mode .

What it doesn't have, unfortunately, is a real optical or mechanical stabilizer; good high ISO performance helps, but it can't replace some form of nondigital steadying technology.

When it ships next month, the S9100 will be priced at $599, which is more expensive than some enty-level dSLRs and generally more costly than competing 12X zoom models. It'll be interesting to see how much that 28mm view is worth to people.