The Fujifilm FinePix S1800’s long zoom lens

The Fujifilm FinePix S1800 that I’ve been using (read about the contest I have been invited to enter) has an 18x optical zoom lens that gives the equivalent of a wide-angle 28 mm to a telephoto 504 mm.

This is a huge range for a zoom lens.  It makes for a very versatile camera, especially given the camera’s handy size, which is bulkier than your average point-and-shoot, but nothing like a professional kit with interchangeable lenses and heavy telephotos. At under $200, this is not a professional camera, however; it is clearly pitched at the consumer market as a step up from a typical point-and-shoot. So here’s what you can expect from the lens.

A huge range from wide angle to telephoto

Taken at the S1800's widest angle, 28 mm equivalent.
From the same spot, zoomed in all the way with the 18x optical zoom. You can see the masts of the sailboats stored on the hill at South Shore Marine, 5.5 km away.

There is no way that my old 35mm SLR could have taken a photo in focus like the one directly above without being mounted on a secure tripod and using the shutter timer so that my hand wouldn’t jostle the camera as I took the picture.

But I took the photo above without a tripod, and achieved this level of focus thanks to the camera’s “dual image stabilization”.

And in between the wide angle and the telephoto are a wide range of possibilities.  A zoom is extremely handy for framing photos on the fly. You can zero in on your subject matter and exclude extraneous items, or you can shoot at wide angle, placing your subject in context, if it is close enough to the camera. Your choice, every time. I really enjoy zoom lenses.

Here is a photo made possible by the zoom.  I wanted a picture of a boat sitting on the wharf for the winter in the foreground with Mahone Bay’s famous Three Churches behind it.  But I wanted the distant churches to appear big enough so that it wasn’t just about the boat. Solution: back away from the boat so that it appeared smaller, and then zoom in and frame the image. The name of the boat was a bonus.

Mahone Bay's Three Churches juxtaposed with a fishing boat spending its winter on the town wharf

There are things you can do with a DSLR that you can’t do with a camera like this. But at under $200, it gives most of us more possibilities than we will ever use.

Check out the Fujifilm S1800 on Amazon.ca.

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