It’s the natural law of things that compact cameras are cheap, SLRs are expensive and bridge cameras, well, they bridge the gap in price as well as specs. But no one seems to have given Fujifilm a copy of the rule book.
For just over £100, the S5700 provides a chunky handful of a camera, with a 7.1MP sensor, a whopping 10x optical zoom and a 2.5in LCD. That’s a whole lot of tech for the price of an average compact.
The good news is that the performance hasn’t been overly compromised. Focusing is quite fast and accurate, colour and detail are excellent, and there’s not much shutter lag. It’s not all roses, though: there’s no image stabiliser, the high-ISO performance is woeful and there’s a lot of purple fringing.
The lens may be a hefty 10x, but it doesn’t protrude while zooming. It is, however, a bit slow – the f3.5 maximum aperture means you’ll be using those high ISO settings and flash more than you might like.
Bring some batteries
The control layout is eminently sensible, with a large top-mounted mode dial and a nice zoom toggle in front of the shutter button. The hand grip is also comfortable – this feels like a proper camera should. Power, unusually these days, comes in the form of four AA batteries, rather than a rechargeable cell.
Now, one of the things that’s always held back Fuji and Olympus’s digital cameras has been their reliance on xD-Picture memory cards. It’s not that it’s a bad format, just one that doesn’t have much support – few photo printers and even fewer laptops have xD slots, while just about everything has an SD slot. No such problem with the S5700 – it takes SD, SDHC or xD.
For such a low price tag, it’s hard to imagine getting much more into your hand.