Fuji has recently announced the new Fuji Finepix S1, their latest ultrazoom digital camera with a 50X zoom lens, making it a competitor to Canon's SX50 Ultrazoom.
I have the Canon SX50, and I love it. The really unique and really great thing about the little Canon SX50 with it's 50X zoom lens, is that the lens is very good, both at the wide and the long ends of the lens. This is not the norm for a ultra zoom camera like the SX50.
Normally, an ultrazoom suffers, either at the one extreme or the other. Some suffer at both ends of the zoom range, and some just aren't very good anywhere as they have poorly performing lenses.
For the price (currently somewhere South of $400), the Canon SX50 is a great bargain. You don't normally get this kind of performance for this low a price. As I point out in my Canon SX50 - Six Reasons to Replace Your Long Lens With the Canon SX50 video, you could actually replace your long lens / lenses with the Canon SX50 and save yourself a pile of dough.
And it wouldn't just be money you're saving! The Canon SX50 is smaller and lighter which makes it a whole lot easier to travel with and just carry around in general.
Which brings us to the Fuji Finepix S1, the new guy on the block. The one who looks like he's going to muscle out the old guy, and in fact, as I point out in the above video, there are at least 8 reasons why you or I would want the Fuji S1 OVER the Canon SX50.
First off we have the newer 16 megapixel sensor that is in the Fuji S1 versus the 12 megapixel sensor in the Canon SX50. Four more megapixels in the Fuji S1, and also the promise of better image quality since the S1's new BSI CMOS sensor is newer and promises to perform as good or better than the rest of Fuji's highly rated sensors.
I'm expecting to see better low-light, high ISO performance and greater detail out of the new Fuji S1 sensor in comparison to the Canon SX50 sensor. Like the SX50, the new Fuji S1 can shoot RAW, which is a HUGE bonus in comparison to other cameras and puts both the SX50 and the S1 in a league of their own with very few others joining them.
Second up is the lens on the Fuji Finepix S1. The S1 sports a f2.8 - f5.6 lens which is a fair bit faster than the Canon SX50's f3.4 to f6.5 lens and gives the Fuji S1 the advantage, all else being equal.
Now I need to point out that that last bit, the all else being equal part, remains to be seen. We don't know yet if the Fuji S1 lens will be as good at both the wide and long ends like the Canon SX50 is, but I'm hoping it is.
Third on the list is the Fuji S1's 5-axis image stabilization. This is notable, especially when we look at how great the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and E-M1's 5-axis image stabilization is. Nothing beats those two, and hopefully the Fuji S1's 5-axis image stabilization is as good as the one in the Olympus cameras. Regardless, being newer, more current technology, the S1 should beat the SX50 in this area.
Fourth is the Fuji S1's ISO 100 - 12,8000 range vs the Canon SX50's 80 to 6400 ISO range. Increasing the ISO range in the sensor would seem to indicate that Fuji is more comfortable with shooters using the Fuji S1 at higher ISO settings, and past performance of Fuji's sensor has usually been very good at higher ISO settings in comparison to competitors.
While I wouldn't recommend using either the Fuji S1 or the Canon SX50 at the top end of their ISO ranges, I'd be willing to bet that the S1 will beat the SX50 for high ISO noise by a tidy margin.
Fifth on the list is the LCD screen on the Fuji S1. It's MUCH nicer than the LCD on the Canon SX50. The Canon SX50's 2.8 in 461k LCD has always seemed like one of the areas where Canon cheaped out, while the new Fuji S1 sports a 3 in 920k LCD making it obviously far superior in resolution and even slightly larger in terms of physical size.
This also brings up another weakness on the Canon SX50 which will likely be another area that the Fuji S1 beats it handily, and that's the EVF. The electronic viewfinder on the SX50 is just plain awful, and it wouldn't take much for the Fuji S1 to beat it. The S1 has a 0.2 in 920k EVF according to the specs which is HUGE jump in resolution in comparison to the SX50's 202k EVF.
Sixth is the video quality of the Fuji S1 which sports 1080 at 60fps in comparison to the SX50's 1080 at 24fps. Not a huge difference, but an advantage none the less for the Fuji S1.
Seventh is the dust and weather resistant body of the Fuji S1. This is always a welcome feature to any camera, and especially to an ultrazoom which we're more likely to be using outside just because of the very nature of an ultrazoom, the super long lens. It's nice not to have to worry about damaging our camera if we're caught in a sudden rain shower, and perhaps even more pertinent, with the long racking motion of an ultrazoom, it's nice that it's dust resistant so that any intrusion of dust particles from the sucking motion of the lenses zooming out is minimized or eliminated.
Finally, the eight point on the list is the Fuji S1's built-in wi-fi. We don't get that on the Canon SX50, and it's a nice addition to get on the Fuji S1. A lot of newer cameras have this feature, and I think we're fast approaching the point where all cameras will have it simply to be competitive.
All in all, the Fuji Finepix S1 promises a lot, and I'm quite interested in getting my hands on one and shooting it against my Canon SX50. Providing the S1's lens is as good or better than the Canon SX50's lens, I think the new S1 will be the winner, and you'll probably be seeing me putting my SX50 up for sale. :-)
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