Fuji S9400W Review — First Impressions

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The Fuji FinePix S9400W comes as an update to the SLR-like superzoom S8400W that Fujifilm introduced last March, providing a healthy boost to the zoom range over its predecessor with a new Fujinon lens boasting a 50x optical zoom range and Fuji’s 5-Axial Optical Image Stabilization system. With this new lens, the S9400W has 35mm-equivalent field of view range of 24mm at the wide end to a whopping 1200mm at telephoto. Like we said with the previous model, to get this kind of zoom range with a full-sized SLR would not only put a major dent in your wallet, it would also be some serious weight and bulk to carry around. The Fujifilm S9400W offers this impressive optical zoom range in one single, lightweight and relatively compact package.

On other facets, this new model is not leaps and bounds different from the previous one, featuring a nearly-identical exterior design, full PASM modes, the same 1/2.3″-type CMOS backside-illuminated sensor for a maximum ISO sensitivity of 12,800 and the same variable aperture range of f/2.9 to f/6.5. However, Fujifilm has included a number of smaller features such as focus peaking, a histogram view in both shooting and playback mode, a new set of 10 advanced filters and built-in interval shooting. It also has a new “Motion Panorama” mode that allows for fluid, single-sweep panorama images up to a full 360 degrees. In addition to a 10 frames per second continuous shooting burst mode, the Fujifilm S9400W also has their “Best Frame Capture” mode, which starts pre-capturing photos in a burst via a half-press of the shutter button to help capture tricky, fast-moving subjects at just the right time.

Video recording options also get a nice upgrade over the older model, now featuring Full HD 1,920 x 1,080 resolution at 60i frame rate. There is also 1,280 x 720 HD video at 60p frame rate, as well as SD resolution video of 640 x 480 at 30 frames per second. For slo-mo fans out there, the S9400W also has a high-speed video capture mode in a number of framerates with 120fps, 240fps and up to a blazingly fast 480fps available at reduced resolutions.

Built-in Wi-Fi wireless networking functionality is also a hallmark feature of the Fujifilm S9400W (hence the “W” in the name), allowing it to communicate either with iOS or Android phones and tablets using a free Fujifilm Camera Application, or with PCs connected to the same wireless network using Fujifilm PC AutoSave software. The Android and iOS app allows users to review, transfer and geotag both images and movies; up to 30 images can be transferred in a single operation. The PC app, meanwhile, backs up everything on your camera whenever it’s connected to the wireless network.

Images and movies can be framed either on a 3.0-inch LCD panel or an electronic viewfinder, a relatively rare feature these days, even among long-zoom cameras. The LCD has 460,000 dot resolution, while the EVF is a relatively modest 201,000 dots but does provides a 97% field of view coverage.

Power comes from four standard AA batteries, and Fuji rates the S9400W as good for 300 shots on a charge with a set of alkaline disposables or up to 700 shots with lithium AA batteries.

The Fuji FinePix S9400W will be available in the US market from March 2014, priced at US$350 or thereabouts.




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