Fujifilm wasn't all about the sequel to its X100 at CES. The camera manufacturer also rolled out a big selection of bridge cameras: the S8200, S8300, S8400 and S8500.
All four are identical,except for the length of their attached zooms, starting at 40x for the S8200 and going up to 46x for the S8500.
We managed to track down only the S8200 at CES but - bar the zoom - consider this hands-on to apply to the whole range.
From the off, all the cameras have a nice weight. Build quality doesn't particularly indicate that they are more towards the budget end of Fuji's range. Styling however - especially when you have seen the good looks of the likes of the X100S - doesn't quite compare. We aren't saying this is a bad-looking camera, just that it is the ugly relation in a particularly beautiful family.
The S8200 is laid out like any other bridge-based super zoom. You get a scroll wheel and shutter button on the right as well as an on/off switch and a lever to zoom in and out. Start-up time is around 1 second.
That 40x 24-960mm equivalent lens provides more than enough range, with the more expensive models not adding a huge lot more. Action on the lens was smooth and helped contribute to an already good build quality.
We can't say too much about image quality yet because we haven't spent enough time with the camera. Of the frames we shot, that 16-million pixels BSI-CMOS sensor didn't seem to be performing too badly. The 3-inch 460k LCD display on the back is good however, even in the bright lights of CES.
We also had a play with the camera's 1080i/60fps movie function, which while not rivalling the likes of a more expensive DSLR, is clearly a bit of a bonus feature on a camera that is likely to sit less up high on the Fuji price list.
The Fuji also throws in some good shooting features, such as filters, HDR and motion panorama. They are nice to see on a camera like the S8200 and add to the value for money.
The camera is going to ship in black, white and red. We only had a chance to see the black model, which is understated enough. Expect 300 shots from 4 x AA batteries - a bit less than we would hope from any digital camera.
This really is a matter of price here. For $299 you are getting plenty of camera to play with and for good money. Wait until march for the Fuji to launch.