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What Can I Get For Around £100? I Need Video, Optical Zoom, Macro Mode and Plenty Of Battery Life...


Video Review Of Fuji FinePix S5700

Unfortunately my trusty Vivitar miini-Digicam has just bitten the dust. I know its only about 18 months old, but its early demise probably has more to do with me strapping it to the front of my Nitro R/C cars for numerous Cockpit Videos, where it's been crashed, crushed, rolled and soaked. Lesson learnt.

I have also decided that I need to replace my Kodak Easyshare Camera. Not that there's anything wrong with it, its just that I quick look at a few of the more modern Digital Cameras shows that most have decent video-recording capabilities, so I might as well get a device that replaces my Video and Still Camera.

I'm expecting about £100 worth of vouchers from Amazon, so that'll be my budget give or take a few quid. I've still got the 1gb SD card from my Vivitar, so I the only extra accessory I might need will be a case.

So what do I want from this new digital camera? It needs to be able to take video, with sound, at a minimum resolution of 640x480 for Youtube vids, with at least 16 frames per second. It needs to have a good macro mode for close up product shots. I'm not bothered about resolution, almost all the work I will be using it for will be for the web. It will need a tripod connection on the bottom, and preferably an old fashioned view-finder, I'm not too fond of using the screens on the back. I like optical zooms, and I also like to be able to use "normal" size batteries and not have to buy a make-specific rechargeable. All for about £100.

A quick look at Amazon and I've picked out two possible models, I've put pics and specs below. They kind of reflect the different ends of the market, a compact, and bridge type digital camera, but both a similar price. Lets take a look.

Video Format
Video Res
Samsung L83T
93.3 x 18 x 57.7 mm
3x Optical
2.5" LCD
Recharge-able pack
800 x 592 - 30 fps
Fuji s5700
Fuji FinePix S5700
(WxDxH) : 10.6 cm x 8.1 cm x 7.6 cm
10x Optical
2.5" LCD + Optical
4 x AA
AVI, Motion jpeg
640 x 480 - 30 fps

Right, I've been looking at loads of articles / reviews about both of these cameras, and they both get good notices, but for different reasons.

The Samsung is a great compact camera with some very nice features, What appeals to me? Its small size, great resolution, great video resolution (mpeg 4 - smaller files, slightly more difficult to edit) and it is great value for money. Metal case means it might be quite tough too. Bad points? No optical view finder average optical zoom, make-specific rechargeable batteries.

Now for the Fuji, a bridge-type camera, between a real Digital SLR and a Compact, Again this camera gets great reviews, and what stands out for me: TEN TIMES OPTICAL ZOOM! Amazing. This means i can zoom right in on subjects / products / in still or video mode. Optical viewfinder. Uses normal size batteries. OK video resolution with AVI Motion jpeg, which although produces bigger files is easier to edit. Bad points? Bit bigger than a compact. "Purple fringing" on shots that are taken with zoom and then cropped digitally and blown up. That's about it really.

I guess I've made up my mind. The Fuji FinePix S5700 at £110 from Amazon is a great camera at a great price, and that huge optical zoom swings it for me.

As soon as I receive it I'll post a review.

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