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July 28, 2005 – Fuji has today announced a successor to their FinePix S7000, which implements a new sensor with increased resolution and reduced noise to better serve advanced amateur photographers. Relying on a 1/1.6-inch 9 megapixel super CCD HR sensor, the Fujifilm FinePix S9000 (spec sheet) joins the competitive "ultra zoom" ranks but does not include optical image stabilization, rather looking to distinguish itself with superior noise reduction and increased image clarity. The S9000 is slated for release in early September, at an estimated street price of $699.95 (USD).
According to David Troy, Senior Product Manager, Consumer Products, Electronic Imaging Products Division, Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc., "The unmatched resolution of the FinePix S9000 will garner the most attention. However for those in the know, the most impressive feature of this camera will be its low noise processing." Troy continued, saying, "High resolution photos suitable for sizable enlargements have often come at the expense of noise, particularly in this style of camera. While we cannot say that noise will be completely eliminated, especially at the highest ISO settings, the apparent amount will be far less than what shooters have come to expect at this level of resolution."
The S9000 displays a strong internal resemblance to Fujifilm’s FinePix F10, a point-and-shoot styled camera known for its impressive image quality and superior noise suppression. Among the shared components are a 5th generation Super CCD HR sensor, Fujinon lens and Real Photo Processing technology, credited for the low noise imagery produced by the F10.
Also resulting from the addition of Fuji’s RP Processor is the ability to capture images at ISO 1600, previously capped at ISO 800 on the previous S7000. The S9000’s 80-1600 ISO range increases the camera’s shooting flexibility with less noise anticipated from the superior processing technology. The S9000 will also perform much faster, down to a 0.8 second startup time and 1/100 of a second shutter lag, as reported by Fuji.
Joining the highly competitive ultra zoom realm of compact cameras, the FinePix S9000 adds a Fujinon 10.7x optical zoom lens, equivalent to 28-300mm in 35mm format. While this does not parallel the telephoto range of some existing cameras in the category, the variable focal length lens fixed to the S9000 will provide consumers with far more wide-angle potential. The lens contains a 13-step aperture range, moving from f/2.8 – f/11 in 1/3 EV increments and can focus as close as 0.4 inches when shooting in super macro mode. Although the S9000’s lens is not optically stabilized (an emerging hallmark of the ultra zoom category), the camera does include an Anti-blur system that is designed to circumvent camera shake and motion blur by automatically adjusting the camera’s ISO settings.
While the 5.0 x 3.7 x 5.1-inch S9000 is styled like an SLR, the compact ultra zoom design does present some significant advantages over the interchangeable lens system. Troy explained, "An all-in-one camera like the FinePix S9000 is so appealing because it offers the best of both worlds; the photographic controls of a DSLR and the movie mode and LCD framing capabilities of the point-and-shoots."
The S9000’s 1.8-inch 118,000 pixel TFT LCD screen contains a 4:3 aspect ratio and gain-up mode that’s fully operational during image capture. The boosted illumination is a nice complement to the camera’s Natural Light setting, improving visibility in compromised lighting conditions. The LCD is placed on a hinged mechanism on the back of the camera, enabling users to tilt the screen to help compose difficult low and high-angle shots. As a compact model, the S9000 will also provide users with the opportunity to capture full frame VGA-quality video at a 640 x 480 resolution with monaural sound at 30 frames per second. Users will be able to review the 30 fps video at 60 fps to provide more fluid motion during playback, although users cannot capture video at the increased rate. The camera’s manual focus ring will also remain operational during video capture.
The S9000 includes a host of other features tailored towards the more prosumer-level users including RAW capture ability, hot shoe and sync port terminals for accessory flash units, and a live histogram displaying exposure levels. The camera will also alert users to overexposed areas of a recently captured frame using the in-camera highlight warning function.
The S9000 is equipped with a dual-media slot, accepting both xD and CompactFlash/Microdrive cards.