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Appeared on: Thursday, August 24, 2006
Fujifilm FinePix S9600: Improving an Enthusiasts' Favourite

Fujifilm today announced the release of the FinePix S9600, replacement to the FinePix S9500 and the new flagship in Fujifilm's range of 'prosumer' digital cameras.

The new model features modifications designed to improve image quality as well as making it easier to use and better performing in low light. Refinements include increased image sharpness, a more generous LCD screen, faster autofocus in low light and improvements to the camera's flash capability. These features combine with existing Fujifilm technologies to result in user-friendliness more usually associated with compact digital cameras, and a performance to challenge entry-level digital SLRs.

The nine megapixel FinePix S9600 features Fujifilm's Super CCD HR sensor and Real Photo Processor II, delivering IS0 1600 performance and enabling capture of clear images even in low light conditions.

The camera's 10.7x (28-300mm 35mm equivalent) zoom lens incorporates aspherical elements that result in a sharper image. The aspherical elements in the lens ensure that the path of light is as precise as possible, which in turn minimises distortion and aberrations. The lens is easily controlled via a manual zoom ring to give pinpoint accuracy when composing images. Furthermore, its fixed housing ensures that users do not have to contend with specks of dust or dirt collecting on the sensor.

Image quality in the FinePix S9600 has been enhanced through improvements to its processing algorithms, which result in improved image sharpness and resolution. A higher resolution of 230,000-pixels gives greater screen clarity. Composition of photographs using the LCD screen further differentiates the camera from conventional digital SLRs, which rely solely on a viewfinder for composition and make use of the LCD screen for image playback only.

The FinePix S9600 has an autofocus response time that is up to 40 per cent quicker than its predecessor. In addition to the camera's 0.01 second shutter-lag and 0.8 second start-up time, this means that images can be composed and captured almost instantaneously. Combined with Fujifilm's high ISO performance, which combats image blur caused by subject movement as well as camera shake, the FinePix S9600's responsiveness makes it strong tool for enthusiast photographers.

In another advance on its predecessor, the FinePix S9600 features Fujifilm's Intelligent Flash system, which delivers balanced flash power output. Historically, using flash at night has resulted in unsatisfying backgrounds, be it the black, underexposed appearance of conventional flash or the blurred 'swirl' of slow-sync flash. By comparison, Intelligent Flash means that images captured in low light have not only a blur-free well-exposed background but also natural-looking foreground illumination, free from the stark brightness that can be a by-product of flash photography.

Enthusiast photographers will appreciate the Hyper Utility Software HS-V2 version 3 that is bundled as standard for the first time with the FinePix S9600. This software gives full functionality in RAW file conversion, which enables the photographer to explore the control and flexibility enjoyed when working with a 'lossless' file format.

The FinePix S9600's optional Wide Conversion Lens, WL-FXS6 , expands the camera's wide-angle capability without compromising image quality. It allows the extreme angles of view normally only available with changeable lenses on an SLR camera. Also available is an optional premium leather case.

The camera comes with shoulder strap, USB and A/V cables, Lens cap and hood and, in addition to the new Hyper Utility Software, also comes with USB driver, FinePix Viewer ImageMixer VCD2 for FinePix and RAW File Converter LE.

The FinePix S9600 will be available in Europe in October 2006. Pricing and stockists will be announced nearer to the date of retail launch.


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