The irony is, the S700's high ISO sensitivity shots don't look too bad, especially for a camera in its price range. But you can see some typical smeariness and a general lack of sharpness all around, which gets exacerbated as you increase sensitivity. So while you don't want to completely avoid settings of ISO 800 and below, you certainly don't want to use them as frequently as Fujifilm would have you.
By other criteria--predominantly white balance and exposure--the S700 performs quite well. The lens has some distortion problems on the left side and a frequent problem with purple fringing on high-contrast edges, but these are also common in megazoom lenses. Movies look and sound OK, but are highly compressed with visible artifacts; though they're recorded using Motion JPEG, they're squashed down to about 880K/sec and use mono audio. On the upside, the lens can zoom while recording. Both the EVF (electronic viewfinder) and LCD are fast and bright, but they only cover 97 percent of the scene.
Shooting speed is the big disappointment, mostly because of the slow focusing system. On one hand, it wakes up and snaps in a flash--1.3 seconds--and in good light there's only about 0.6 second lag between pressing the shutter and capture. But when the light's not so good, capture lag jumps to an unacceptably high 2.2 seconds; typical shot-to-shot time is a seriously sluggish 3.3 seconds, which jumps to a snailish 4 seconds with flash. The S700 constrains the number of burst frames to about 8, with an effective typical continuous shooting rate of 0.5fps and at best 0.7fps.
If you ignore most of the off-key bells and whistles and stick to basics like moderate ISO speed settings and semimanual exposure modes, the Fujifilm FinePix S700 offers quite a bit for your money. If Fuji had only traded some of those high ISO gimmicks for better shooting speed and a more streamlined interface, this might have been a darn good camera. As it is, you're better off spending just a tad more and buying one of last year's now-price-reduced models, such as the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7 or Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H2
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
|Typical shot-to-shot time||Time to first shot||Shutter lag (dim)||Shutter lag (typical)|
(Longer bars indicate better performance)