Better previews on your Fuji S5

One issue that comes up when I'm working with the Fuji Finepix S5, a camera I otherwise love, is that the ability to zoom in on your images on the back of the camera was, well, let's just say "limited." Comparing the S5 to the zooming abilities of the Nikon D3, the D700 or even the D200 really drives home that inadequacy.

Fuji built in to the S5 the ability to quickly zoom in to a face (as much as the camera is able to guess what a face is, I suppose) by pressing the lowest-left button on the back, the one just below the "setup" button.

Pressing the magnify button zooms in, and the little square shows
about how much of the overall image you're seeing when zoomed.

But, convenient as this option is, it doesn't let you zoom in very far. In fact if you're reviewing the image in the camera some time after shooting it, and you've already let your "show me the picture right after I shoot it" preview stop displaying the image, it's only zooming in on about half the image area. That really isn't enough to get a great deal of useful information from the screen. Especially frustrating is trying to determine if some small area of the photo is sharp (like, say, the eyes) because you're still seeing the face, the shoulders and a lot more of the image too.

This is the same scene. See how much tighter you can zoom in?

You can get around this limitation, sort of, by using the same button to zoom in right after you shoot the image, while the "show me the picture right after I shoot it" preview is still on display. This lets you see a much smaller area of the whole photo. Depending on your settings, though, you might only have a couple seconds to catch the preview while it's still on before it goes away. In fact your only customizable options there are to use either 2 or 4 seconds for the preview, which ain't much. But you can also set it to stay on without a time limit, which is good. So what you need to do is go in to your settings menu by choosing SETEP > DISPLAY > IMAGE DISPLAY and then selecting CONTINUOUS. Confirm your choice by pressing MENU/OK.

Setting this function will give you enough time to mess with the zoom buttons.

If you zoom in during this initial display, you can go in much, much tighter, until you're seeing only about 10-15% of the image area. That's usually close enough, on this screen, to tell whether you've got it sharp or not, and you can get some better information about shadows, reflections, or anything else you're looking for.

Now, you may be like me (and all right-thinking citizens)and you're concerned about battery life. "If my preview stays on forever, won't that drain my double-A's?" Well, quit worry, citizen: there are two ways around that. One, you can press any other button (the shutter button comes to mind) and the display will go off. Or you can go in to SETUP > SYSTEM > AUTO POWER SAVE and then set the camera to sleep after a period anywhere from 15 seconds to 10 minutes. I have mine set at 15 seconds, and if I leave the camera alone the display goes off about 20 seconds after it comes on (this may have something to do with other functions, like writing the file to the CF card.) If you set it for 30 seconds, it goes off in about 33 seconds. Set it for a minute, and you get about 62 seconds of display. You get the picture. Now, enjoy looking at it!

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