This year I’ve been experimenting with a One Month, One Camera (OMOC) project.
The premise is simple, use just one camera for one month, to see the benefits of getting the best from it, and from committing to one camera for a sustained period generally.
January, February and March reminded me that I’m sold on digital compacts.
I absolutely love them, they’re super portable, give great pictures with the minimum of fuss or burden, and need a very modest outlay – all three were around £15 or less.
But let’s rewind to before I first rediscovered digital compacts late in 2017.
For much of that year I used a Pentax K10D DSLR.
A glorious camera, in both handling, features, user interface and output, thanks to combining that lovely 10MP CCD sensor with vintage M42 lenses like the Asahi Takumars, Helios 44-2, Carl Zeiss Flektogon 35/2.4 and Carl Zeiss Sonnar 135/3.5.
But as I wrote about recently, ultimately the K10D was too big and heavy, my eyes struggled after a while with the viewfinder, and the exposures with manual lenses required a bit more fiddling about than I liked.
The gap between the K10D with a vintage M42 lens and a digital compact gem like a Canon IXUS or Sony DSC-L1 is vast.
So what’s in between? What could bridge that chasm?
Perhaps a, er, bridge camera?
Enter the FujiFilm FinePix S7000, first released in 2004, and falling into my hands 15 years later.
I’m not going to delve deeply into the spec, but the basics are a Super CCD 6.3MP 1/1.7″ sensor paired with a 35-210mm f/2.8 Super EBC lens.
Which means 99% of the time I’ll treat it like a 35mm prime lens. Which, crucially, focuses down to 0.01m. Right up my street.
It has a small (1.8″) but usable screen plus an EVF, something I’ve never used before.
Size wise it’s about the same as the smallest DSLRs (significantly smaller than the K10D!), but a bit lighter (597g).
Handling is decent with a large front grip, like a baby DSLR. It feels pretty well built.
My example is in great condition and fully working, and cost all of £12.52 plus postage. They were around £550 / $600 new. That’s some depreciation.
In February I’d enjoyed the rather good if ultimately flawed FinePix F810 so this wasn’t my first Fuji.
The S7000 feels more logical than the F810, possibly due to having a greater surface area to spread out the controls. Though, just like the F810, there still seem far too many buttons.
At least it’s pretty obvious what they all do, and once you’re set up initially, you don’t need to change much shot to shot.
This is my first time using an Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) and whilst I’m sure the S7000’s is pretty primitive compared to today’s technology (it is 15 years old remember) it works surprisingly well, and gives a more immersive and connected feel than using the screen.
I’ve experimented with colour shots with the Fuji, but mostly I’ve left it on b/w, and then run the JPEGs through my standard Snapseed b/w preset.
The photographs I’m more than happy with. All photos in this post were made with this camera.
Fuji’s Super CCD sensors do seem to have a touch of magic to them.
I can understand why so many people use the X series cameras these days if they’re essentially using evolved versions of this 15 year old sensor.
To me the photographs sing!
The S7000 must have been excellent for its day, and is still capable of bring a smile to your face a decade and a half later.
For now I’m going to keep it and try it out a few more times.
It’s too large to join my gang of four favourite cameras, but fun and impressive nonetheless.
And I still can’t believe cameras like this can be picked up for the price of a roll of film plus processing!
How about you? Have you used a FujiFilm (or any other) bridge camera?
Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).
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