My wife Abby and I gave this camera, the Fujifilm FinePix S4500, to Abby’s daughter Chele and her husband Tom in 2013. Tom used it extensively on a trip we made to visit him that year in Baltimore, to photograph a D.C. walking tour.
Abby and I have several FinePix cameras (like the HS30EXR,) which have become our favorites when we place having fun at the top of the list, like when we are hiking, on the road, or at an event like family reunions. Smaller cameras like the these, in a class referred to as bridge, walkaround or crossover, allow the handling of a DSLR while offering the convenience of a point-and-shoot or even a smartphone.
- The S4500 features a versatile wide-to-telephoto zoom lens, but doesn’t not have a zoom ring or a manual focus ring, relying instead on a W and T rocker switch around the shutter release for zooming. There is no option for manual focusing, though I seldom use manual focus on my other bridge cameras.
- In hand, this camera handles like a camera, not like a toy or a computer, which is why Abby and I were attracted to it.
- The sensor in this camera is quite small at 6.17mm x 4.55 mm, both to keep the camera compact, and to make it cheaper to manufacture.
- There is an electronic viewfinder and a display on the back of the camera. For my work, an electronic or optical viewfinder is a must, though I know most people get along fine with the arm’s-length view that smartphones provide.
- Color is good; this is a Fuji strength for me, though not everyone agrees.
- High ISO noise makes the camera unusable in low light. I tried to make a feature photo of the score table at a basketball tournament, and it was a mess.
- The S4500 has a real PASM exposure dial, a must for me. Of course, it can fall back on green box (red in Fuji’s case) mode and scene modes, which I never use.
- Like a lot of lenses on this class of cameras, this 24-500mm “equivalent” zoom is a jack of all trades but master of none. It is an especially mediocre telephoto.
- Other controls are where I like them, though over the years I’ve worked with so many cameras (due to teaching photography), I almost always have to search for where electronics engineers put them. Making the same functions a little different in every camera generation and every brand doesn’t really serve photography, but is all about marketing and creating entertainment in camera sales.
Like all tools in our photographic tool box, the FinePix S4500 has a place. It is fun and easy to use, lightweight and quiet, and does a lot more than a smartphone. I am very glad we got this one for Tom and Chele.