In a criminal move for a superzoom, the S1000fd has no optical image stabilisation. Instead it relies on the sensitivity-boosting method of increasing shutter speed. In any other manufacturer's camera this would be a major black mark for the consequent noise problems, but Fujifilm is noted for dealing well with noise.
Indeed, the S1000fd's biggest strength is its decent image quality at faster ISO speeds. Even at the maximum ISO 3,200, detail is still relatively crisp, with colours not too washed-out. Best of all, image noise, although clearly in evidence, does not overwhelm the picture.
Despite not being the most heavyweight lens in the sector, the S1000 suffers from various optical problems. There is some barrel distortion at the wide angle, and purple fringing shows up more often than we'd like.
Face detection is great at finding static subjects, but autofocus is pretty slow and can be foxed by changing lighting conditions or fast-moving subjects.
We had no complaints about battery life, bearing in mind that the S1000fd is powered by AA batteries. We didn't have to change the batteries in a week of use, taking about 100 shots. The flash even cycles quickly, considering it uses AAs.
The Fujifilm FinePix S1000fd is something of a let-down. In a category often accused of falling between two stools, the S1000fd fails to play to the strengths of a superzoom, as its bigger brother, the FinePix S8100fd, does so well. It may be small, but a half-heartedly specced lens and fussy controls mean that the genuinely pocketable and easy-to-use Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5 does the compact superzoom thing much better.
Edited by Nick Hide