This year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is fast approaching, and the North American wing of Japanese photography giant Fujifilm is celebrating with the launch of 19 new digital cameras. Our team on the ground will be nudging through the crowds to get a closer look at some (if not all) of the new cameras on offer, but here's a quick spec overview to whet your appetite.
The first of the new superzooms from Fujifilm presents a somewhat familiar face. The UK arm of the company gave us a taste of the X-S1 bridge camera back in November last year, but U.S. availability was a bit of an unknown. Happily that is no longer the case, and the new 26x Long-Zoom digital camera will hit Stateside shelves in January 2012 with a retail price of US$799.95.
Next up are two 16 megapixel cameras featuring a 0.5-inch CMOS sensor, FUJINON 30x manual optical zoom lens (24 - 720mm equivalent), a nippy 0.16 second autofocus and that Super Intelligent Digital Zoom functionality we saw in with the X-S1, which is said to effectively double the zoom capabilities with little noticeable loss of image quality.
Both also have a Super Macro Mode to capture frames up close and personal, up to 27 scenes are recognized and settings automatically adjusted to suit, there's advanced face recognition, motion panorama and multi-bracketing for shots with a certain feel (such as high dynamic range or 35mm film simulation).
Round the back of each camera is a tilting 3-inch 460,000 dot resolution LCD display with a rich and intuitive user interface. The new superzooms are capable of full resolution continuous shooting of up to 8 frames per second (fps) - or up to 11 fps at the reduced-resolution M setting - and of recording full 1080p video at 30 frames per second.
The HS30EXR benefits from a 920,000 dot resolution, 0.26-inch electronic viewfinder (EVF), has been given a body redesign for improved operation, and can shoot both RAW and JPEG images simultaneously. When it's released this coming March it will cost US$499.95.
Whereas the HS30EXR is powered by a rechargeable Li-ion battery for up to 600 shots per charge, the HS25EXR gains the convenience of AA-sized battery power. Its EVF is a slightly less impressive 0.20 inches in size and has a resolution of just 200,000 dots, hence the price of tag of US$399.95 when it joins its stable mate for a March release.
Yet more superzooms
Still more superzooms are on the horizon, with three new entry-level additions to the company's S-Series. They all sport the same 14 megapixel CCD sensor, a 3-inch, 230,000 dot resolution LCD display and 200,000 dot resolution EVF, a DSLR-like exposure and settings dial, and are capable of shooting 720p high definition video at 30 fps. There's also ISO64 to ISO6400 sensitivity, tracking autofocus, smile and blink detection, and in-camera tagging to cater for easy Facebook and YouTube uploads via a PC running MyFinePix Studio software.
The FinePix S4200 has a 24x wide angle zoom 24 - 576mm FUJINON optical lens, runs on AA-sized batteries and will be available from February for US$229.95.
The FinePix S4500 ups the ante slightly with a 30x wide angle zoom 24 - 720mm FUJINON optical lens, is also powered by AA-sized batteries and will be available from next month for US$259.95.
Bringing up the rear for the S-Series is the FinePix SL300, with a 30x wide angle zoom 24 - 720mm FUJINON optical lens with dual zoom control - using either the lens itself or a zoom dial on top of the camera. This model is powered by a Li-ion battery and has an accessory-friendly hot shoe mount. Its release slot is shown as March, for US$299.95.
New to the F-Series is the FinePix F770EXR with GPS, Photo Navigation (that's said to guide snappers back to the locations of previously taken shots) and something called Landmark Navigator. Fujifilm says that the latter "automatically locates places of interest from its on-board database and displays points on the camera's LCD screen, showing relative position and distance from your current location."
The F770EXR is capable of RAW image capture, features a FUJINON 20x Wide-Angle long-zoom lens (25 - 500mm) and will be released in March for US$379.95.
It will be joined by the FinePix F750EXR (with no GPS) for US$349.95 and the FinePix F660EXR - also without GPS and suffering a slight reduction in the capability of the lens - being given a FUJINON 15x Wide-Angle long-zoom lens (24 - 360mm) - for US$279.95.
All three F-Series additions are built around a 16 megapixel CMOS sensor, benefit from an advanced EXR Auto mode that's said to work with new motion detection technology to keep motion blur at bay (even in low lighting conditions), and represents yet another outing for the company's refined Intelligent Digital Zoom, that's claimed to vastly increase the telephoto capabilities without significant loss of image quality. They are also capable of recording full 1080p video at 30 fps with stereo audio, and have a 3-inch, 460,000 dot resolution LCD display at the rear.
Time to get tough
Those looking to take a rugged camera with them on adventure holidays are being treated to no less than three new models in Fujifilm's XP-Series this March. The FinePix XP150 is the only new arrival to gain GPS, and also gets an electronic compass, Photo Navigation and geo-tagging. As such, it's a little more expensive than its nearest newbie at US$279.95.
The FinePix XP100 may be lacking GPS but it shares its sibling's ruggedness - being waterproof to 33 feet (10m) and shockproof to 6.5 feet (2m), able to withstand chilly temperatures right down to 14°F (-10°C) and dustproof. This model will cost US$249.95.
The FinePix XP50 is priced at US$199.95 and is still able to work in similarly chilly conditions but differs to the others in its ability function submerged or after being dropped - being waterproof to 16.5 feet (5m) and shockproof to 5 feet (1.5m).
All three of the new tough cameras have a 14 megapixel CMOS sensor, a FUJINON 5x wide angle optical zoom lens (28 - 140mm) with a reinforced hardened glass lens barrier and water repellent coating, and a metal uni-body chassis featuring a new double locking door to seal off the battery and card slot from the elements. They're all powered by Li-ion batteries, feature a 2.7-inch anti-reflective, high-contrast LCD display to the rear and are capable of recording full 1080p HD video at 30 fps - even underwater.
Bring on the budget-friendly compacts
The remainder of the newly announced Fujifilm cameras share a kindness to the wallet. The US$179.95 FinePix T400 has a 16 megapixel CCD sensor, a FUJINON 10x long-zoom lens (28-280mm), a 3-inch LCD display, and is capable of capturing 720p video at 30 fps. Motion blur is kept to a minimum thanks to sensor shift image stabilization system and sensitivity up to ISO3200, and there's tracking autofocus and face recognition (up to eight people), too.
The FinePix T350 benefits from most of the same features as its T-Series cousin but features a 14 megapixel CCD sensor, and is therefore priced at US$159.95. Both get released in March.
Also coming in a 16/14 megapixel sensor split are the FinePix JZ250 and the FinePix JZ100. The former gets a larger 3-inch LCD display (with the JZ100 being 2.7 inches diagonally across) but both benefit from a FUJINON 8x zoom lens (25-200mm), optical image stabilization, smile and blink detection, automatic red-eye removal, tracking autofocus and scene recognition. They can also record 720p video at 30 fps.
The JZ250 is priced at US$149.95, and the JZ100 will cost US$129.95, with a March availability slot being allocated.
Lastly, there are two new JX-Series compacts and one addition to the A-Series. They all gain a FUJINON 5x zoom lens (26 - 130mm), are 720p video capable and feature Easy Web Upload mode for painless upload to Facebook or YouTube (after connection to a PC running Fujifilm's proprietary image manipulation software). The Finepix JX580 features a 16 megapixel CCD sensor, a 3-inch LCD display and gets its power from a Li-ion battery. Fujifilm has managed a February opening for this camera at US$119.95.
The Finepix JX500 also gets its power from a Li-ion battery but is built around a 14 megapixel CCD sensor, and features a 2.7-inch LCD display. It will also be released next month for US$99.95. You'll have to hang on another month for the 16 megapixel Finepix AX550 to appear, but the US$89.95 price tag may be worth the wait.
We'll bring you a more detailed rundown of what's on offer when our CES team visits Fujifilm's booth in Las Vegas.