When I finally made the switch from my trusty Canon EOS SLR; I knew that whichever digital camera I chose would have quite a lot to live up to. I did quite a lot of research and tried to find a camera that would suit my needs exactly. It needed to be happy out on the bank taking close ups of big fish, landscapes and whatever other wildlife was kicking about for my articles. In addition it needed to be just as good with studio shots for my review work on Anglers Net. After considering all the available models, I settled on the S304 Zoom. Its main advantage over other like-for-like models in its price range is its 6x Optical Zoom. Fantastic when you’re out and about or for when you can’t get too close to the subject matter.
The model was released in 2003 and at the time received some hefty accolades, with most of the popular photography publications making it their chosen model in its range; most scoring it at 9 out of 10 for practicability and ease of use - praise indeed!
For: The main pulling power of this 3.2 mega pixel camera is the quality and sharpness of images which give amazing depth, even under artificial light and it could easily pass for a 4 meg model. It has fantastic ease of use from the rear fingertip control panel which can all be controlled by your thumb whilst in use. The generous LCD screen measures 3.5cm x 2.5cm so it’s a piece of cake to frame shots and zoom in with a clear view. The Auto focus works quickly and easily and battery life is good even when always using the LCD screen (as I do). Excellent zoom makes framing shots really easy. Several flash settings give good overall lighting in darkness. Durable and robust feel, like a mini SLR! Fantastic value for money with great images to boot.
Against: Auto Focus can be difficult to use in complete darkness. Need to be careful of camera shake at full zoom. Maximum self take setting is only ten seconds.
Overall: A fantastic piece of kit which has revolutionised my photography. All it needs is a manual focus and it would be the best on the market. This model cost around £300.00 in 2003. However, with digital prices falling all the time, the modern FinePix S3500 equivalent can now be purchased for around £150.00 - a real bargain. The new 9 Mega Pixel FinePix S9500 is basically my next move up with 10.7 x Optical Zoom and manual focus. Currently around £500.00 so I’ll give it 12 months before I upgrade. You can compare Fujifilm camera prices by clicking here.
Images: all images are exactly how they were taken with no editing or retouching.