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Fujifilm FinePix S2550HD review: Fujifilm FinePix S2550HD

Fujifilm FinePix S2550HD

Joshua Goldman Managing Editor / Advice
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
Expertise Laptops, desktops and computer and PC gaming accessories including keyboards, mice and controllers, cameras, action cameras and drones Credentials
  • More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.
Joshua Goldman
8 min read

There is no shortage of megazoom cameras--small and large--available at a variety of price points. Fujifilm's 18x zoom FinePix S2550HD falls under "budget" at less than $250; it can easily be found for less than $200, too. That's a remarkable price for a camera with a lens with its reach. The shooting features are excellent for its class including semimanual and manual controls as well as several burst shooting options. It has an electronic viewfinder, too, which manufacturers have started dropping from their lower-end megazooms.


Fujifilm FinePix S2550HD

The Good

Semimanual and manual shooting modes; uses AA-size batteries; comfortable design; inexpensive for a megazoom.

The Bad

Picture quality drops off above ISO 200; occasionally sluggish performance.

The Bottom Line

A low-cost way to get an 18x wide-angle lens, the Fujifilm FinePix S2550HD delivers merely OK photos and shooting performance.

On the other hand, though it looks like a shrunken digital SLR, the S2550HD's shooting performance is overall slow. Trying to catch a sharp photo of a moving child or pet, for example, is tricky. Also, if indoor/low-light photo quality is of the utmost importance, this camera--like most budget compacts--doesn't do well at all. It's better suited for outdoor photography in bright lighting.

If you're not turned off by those things, the S2550HD might be worth considering. Also, those not interested in connecting to an HDTV should check out the less expensive S1800, which has the same basic feature set and design, but lacks the S2550HD's Mini-HDMI output. In exchange, the S1800 comes with automatic picture rotation, so you can shoot horizontally or vertically without having to right the images later, and Tracking Auto Focus for keeping moving subjects locked in focus until you're ready to shoot.

Key specs Fujifilm FinePix S2550HD
Price (MSRP) $249.95
Dimensions (WHD) 4.3 x 2.9 x 3.2 inches
Weight (with battery and media) 15.4 ounces
Megapixels, image sensor size, type 12 megapixels, 1/2.3-inch CCD
LCD size, resolution/viewfinder 3-inch LCD, 230K dots/electronic viewfinder
Lens (zoom, aperture, focal length) 18x, f3.1-5.6, 28-504mm (35mm equivalent)
File format (still/video) JPEG/Motion JPEG (.AVI)
Highest resolution size (still/video) 4,000x3,000 pixels/ 1,280x720 at 30fps
Image stabilization type Mechanical and digital
Battery type, CIPA rated life 4, AA size (alkaline included), 300 shots
Battery charged in camera No
Storage media SD/SDHC cards
Bundled software MyFinePix Studio (Windows only)

Though far from pocketable, the S2550HD is tightly packed despite its main attraction: the wide-angle 28-504mm-equivalent lens. The giant right-hand grip gives you something to really hold onto; it also houses the four AA-size batteries and SDHC card slot, plus it has room for shooting controls. This includes dedicated buttons for face detection and burst shooting along with the shutter release, zoom ring, and on/off slider, which if you don't hold it long enough won't turn the camera on or off. Also on top is a large Mode dial that's well marked with its 10 main shooting options.

On back is a respectably bright 3-inch LCD and above it an electronic viewfinder. All settings are viewable on both; however, they also black out when a photo's been taken--not ideal for setting up the next shot as soon as possible, but typical of EVFs. The color quality seems to be a bit off on the LCD, too, which makes judging your shots on the spot difficult.

To the left of a textured thumb rest is a button for switching between the EVF and LCD. Below these are Playback, F-mode, Menu/OK, Exposure Compensation, and Display buttons, and a directional pad for navigation and changing screen brightness, flash, macro settings, and an Instant Zoom feature that's intended to help with framing erratically moving subjects while using the zoom lens. Pressing F-mode brings up a contextual shooting menu, and pressing Menu/OK brings up another set of shooting and setup menus. Fairly standard stuff; once you remember when to press F-mode instead of Menu, it's straightforward to use.

The camera is powered by AA-size batteries and although it's packaged with alkaline batteries, it takes lithium ion and rechargeable NiMH types as well, both of which will get you much more shooting time than alkaline. The batteries and the memory card slot are accessed through a locking door on the bottom of the camera. The door takes some force to hold down and lock when closing, which might be frustrating for some users. On the right side of the body is a small door covering Mini-HDMI and Micro-USB/AV ports for connecting to computers, a monitors, or HDTVs.

General shooting options Fujifilm FinePix S2550HD
ISO sensitivity (full resolution) Auto, 64, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1,600
White balance Auto, Fine, Shade, Fluorescent light (Daylight), Fluorescent light (Warm White), Fluorescent light (Cool White), Incandescent light, Custom
Recording modes SR Auto, Auto, Program, Shutter-priority, Aperture-priority, Manual, Custom, Movie, Panorama, Scene (SP)
Focus modes Multi AF, Center AF, Area (selectable) AF, Macro AF
Metering modes Multi, Spot, Average
Color effects Vivid, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Custom
Burst mode shot limit (full resolution) Unlimited continuous

Those looking to either work up to using or supplement a digital SLR or who need to satisfy a number of different user types in one device will appreciate the large assortment of shooting options. If you want the camera to do most or all of the work, there are Program and SR Auto (automatic scene recognition) modes as well as a fairly standard variety of scene modes. Those wanting more control over results can use the Aperture-priority, Shutter-priority, and Manual modes. (There a Custom mode, too, so you can define a frequently used group of settings.) For the most part, though, the real control is over shutter speed with settings from 8 seconds to 1/2,000 second. Apertures are limited to two stops at each step of the zoom range courtesy of an ND filter: f3.1-6.4 wide and f5.6-11 telephoto. There is some depth of field to play with, but don't expect the kind of control you'd get from a digital SLR.

If you like taking close-ups, the S2550HD can focus as closely as 2.4 inches from a subject. If you're more into wide-angle shooting, there's a Panorama option on the mode dial. It's an assist-and-stitch type where you use a ghost image of a previous shot on the left of the screen to line up subsequent shots. Once the last of three photos is taken, the camera stitches them together. As long as you do a decent job of lining up the shots, the stitching works well and you end up with a nice panorama.

With the exception of burst shooting, the S2550HD's shooting performance is fairly slow. From off to first shot takes 3.5 seconds, which hinders spur-of-the-moment photos. It speeds up a bit from shot to shot, averaging 1.8 seconds without the flash; using the flash more than doubles that time. There's noticeable shutter lag regardless of lighting conditions. In bright lighting it takes about 0.7 second from press of the shutter release to capture; in dim light that time is 1.1 seconds. Extending the lens doesn't help things, either; the autofocus is pokey at the telephoto end, so trying to shoot a moving subject with this camera is very tricky.

The S2550HD offers several continuous shooting options, the fastest of which is eight frames per second for up to 20 photos at approximately 3 megapixels. At 100 percent, the photos look more like video grabs than still images, but for Web sharing or small prints they're fine. If you need full, 12-megapixel images, the camera can capture up to three shots at approximately 1.8 frames per second, which is faster than Fujifilm claims. However, like burst modes on almost all compact cameras, the focus and exposure is taken with the first shot, so if you're moving the camera or the subject moves, you might not get a clean photo. Lastly, the sensor-shift image stabilization doesn't seem to be all that helpful; you'll probably want to put this camera on a stable support when using the zoom to get the sharpest results.

Overall, the S2550HD's photo quality is OK, but it clearly worsens in images shot higher than ISO 200 and it gets pretty unusable at ISO 800. Like most compact cameras, you'll get good results in bright lighting and outdoors. At ISO 200, there's a noticeable increase in smearing from noise reduction, which can be seen in prints larger than 4x6 inches and at larger sizes on screen. Some post-shoot sharpening helps this, but if you tend to do a lot of heavy cropping or enlarging, it might not be good enough. At ISO 400, fine detail is wiped out, making subjects soft and smeary. Again, at small sizes you may not notice, but there's a marked increase in color noise that actually is fairly visible. From there, the camera's photo quality dramatically declines. The loss of detail is one thing, but really it's the color noise that drags it down. Keep in mind that as the lens is extended, the apertures get smaller. To compensate, the camera will raise the ISO or slow the shutter speed if needed. Either way, if you're holding the camera and using its 18x zoom and there's not a lot of light, you're going to end up with soft or blurry photos. But that goes for any megazoom camera, not just the S2550HD.

Its color quality, at least at lower ISOs, is very good. The S2550HD produces well-exposed photos with bright, vivid colors that were reasonably close to accurate in our lab tests. White balance could use some fine-tuning, though. The presets for indoors had a yellow/green look to them, whereas the manual white balance had a slight magenta look to it. Oddly, the auto setting performed best, but was still a little yellow.

At the lens' widest position there is some barrel distortion. At the telephoto end, there is a bit of pincushion distortion, but it's barely discernible in most photos. Though it's typical of lower-end (and even higher-end) megazoom cameras, the S2550HD produces a good amount of purple fringing in high-contrast areas of photos, especially at the telephoto end.

The video quality from the S2550HD is OK, similar to the 720p HD movies created by Flip-style minicamcorders. As with photos, low-light video is noisy, but that's somewhat typical of video from compact cameras. You can use the optical zoom while recording, and though you will hear the movement in your video, it's not bad. There is Continuous AF and dual-image stabilization, too.

Although I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend the Fujifilm FinePix S2550HD, it isn't a bad camera. It's a budget-friendly way to get a megazoom camera with manual and semimanual controls, AA-battery power, and an electronic viewfinder. Its photos and shooting performance are those of an entry-level point-and-shoot, though (and not a particularly great one). Outdoors with plenty of light, it'll take good photos, but its results at higher sensitivities make it of limited use for frequent indoor/low-light shooting.

Shooting speed (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Time to first shot  
Typical shot-to-shot time  
Shutter lag (dim)  
Shutter lag (typical)  
Canon PowerShot SX20 IS
Kodak EasyShare Z950
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35
Nikon Coolpix L110
Fujifilm FinePix S2550HD

Typical continuous-shooting speed (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Fujifilm FinePix S2550HD

Find out more about how we test digital cameras.


Fujifilm FinePix S2550HD

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 8Performance 6Image quality 6