Performance was fairly fast for a superzoom, except for sluggish continuous shooting. The S6000fd took 1.7 seconds from pressing the power button to capturing its first image, and took 1.7 seconds between subsequent images without flash and 2.2 seconds with the flash turned on. When shooting raw, the time between shots slowed to 5.8 seconds, but that's typical of a non-dSLR -- most don't even offer raw capture. Shutter lag measured 0.6 seconds in bright light and 1.2 seconds in low light. In the Long Period continuous shooting mode, we were able to capture VGA-sized images at an average of approximately 0.61fps and 6.3-megapixels, fine-quality JPEGs at an average of about 0.62fps.
Image quality from the S6000fd was good, with well-saturated, accurate colours and tonnes of fine detail -- probably a pleasant side effect of its nice lens. Fuji likes to tout the dynamic range offered by its Super CCD sensors, and indeed, we saw lots of shadow and highlight detail. For instance, the face of the plush ape in our test scene often plunges into muddy darkness, but the S6000fd managed to bring out the texture in this challenging object.
The camera's automatic white balance yielded very warm images with our lab's tungsten lights. The camera's tungsten preset proved much more neutral, though it did show a very slight greenish cast. The manual white balance we set gave us the most neutral results. The S6000fd did an excellent job of balancing its fill flash with the light from the lamp in our test scene.
We saw virtually no noise with the S6000fd set to ISO 100, and while we saw a minute amount of noise at ISO 200 when viewing on our monitors, the noise didn't show up in prints. Though we saw slightly more noise on our monitors at ISO 400, it still wasn't very noticeable in prints. By ISO 800, Fuji's noise suppression obviously kicked in, so while noise was kept largely under control, a significant amount of finer detail was lost. At ISO 1600 noise was very noticeable, despite noise suppression, though images were still usable if printed at smaller sizes, such as 100x150mm (4x6 inches). By ISO 3200 noise was overwhelming. All finer detail was obliterated and images took on a look similar to a sloppy pointillist painting.
Overall, the Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd is a capable superzoom. Its biggest drawback is that it doesn't include optical or mechanical image stabilisation to make its zoom lens more useful. Its high ISOs are helpful, but also come with unwanted noise. If you can get past that, this camera offers a wider wide angle than most superzooms on the market. If the absence of image stabilisation is a deal breaker for you, however, you'll probably want to check out Sony's Cyber-shot DSC-H5, Canon's PowerShot S3 IS, or Panasonic's Lumix DMC-FZ50.
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
||Typical shot-to-shot time||
||Time to first shot||
||Shutter lag (typical)|
(Longer bars indicate better performance)