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5-axis stabilization, tougher bodies make up features in new Fujifilm FinePix cameras

We aren’t sure why Fujifilm waited until the week after CES 2015 to announce new FinePix point-and-shoot cameras, but that’s what it did. The company launched two new mega-zoom (or bridge) cameras, the S9900W and S9800, as well as one rugged model, the XP90.

At a private meeting during CES 2015 (Fujifilm opted not to have a booth this year), where we had a chance to briefly try out the new cameras, Fujifilm told us that it is focusing on rugged and long-zoom point-and-shoot cameras, as that’s where the money is (it reflects similar comments made by Panasonic). It’s also focusing on the premium camera market; along with the FinePix models, Fujifilm also unveiled the new X-A2 and XQ2 models in its X Series.

The S9900W and S9800 are identical 50x optical zoom cameras except the S9900W has Wi-Fi. Both cameras use a 16.2-megapixel 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor, and the 50x lens has a 24-1200mm focal range (35mm equivalent) and an f/2.9-6.5 aperture range. Mega-zooms also come with electronic viewfinders, which are an attractive feature; the EVF in these cameras are rated at a high 920k-dot resolution. There’s also a five-axis image stabilization system that utilizes two-axis optical with three-axis electronic stabilization; we found it to be quite effective in Fujifilm’s FinePix S1. Speaking of the S1, the S9900W and S9800 have some of the same features, but improve upon the ISO range with a max at 12,800. However, the S1 beats the new models with a higher-resolution LCD, brighter aperture, and a weather-resistant build quality. Both cameras boast quick startup (1 second), autofocus (0.15 seconds), and shot-to-shot (0.6 seconds) times. Burst mode shooting is 10 frames per second (max). The S9900W’s Wi-Fi connectivity lets you conduct remote shooting from a smartphone or tablet, as well as image transfers.

Related: Fujifilm makes smaller appearance at CES 2015, reveals only XF16-55MM f/2.8 lens

Available in March 2015, the S9900W will sell for $350 (MSRP) and the S9800 will sell for $330 (MSRP). We suggest splurging the extra $20 for Wi-Fi. The cameras come in black, red, and white.

Rugged cameras continue to sell well, and Fujifilm has improved on the tough attributes with the new XP80. Fujifilm says the XP80 is the smallest and lightest in its category. It’s waterproof down to 50 feet, shockproof from 5.8 feet, freezeproof to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, and dustproof. It uses a 16.4MP back-illuminated CMOS sensor and a 5x (28-140mm) optical zoom lens. It has Wi-Fi built in, and it can shoot Full HD 1080/60p videos while underwater. Since action cams are all the rage, the XP80 has an Action Camera Mode that turns the lens into a fixed 18mm wide-angle lens (via a converter, $49) for hands-free shooting. The LCD has anti-reflection coating for use in the sun, and turns off during Action Camera Mode to save battery. Many of these specs can be found in the predecessor, the XP80, but the improvements here are mainly in the rugged features, plus a new color.

The XP80 will also arrive in March 2015, with a price of $230. It will come in blue, yellow, and graphite/green (the new color, replacing orange).

Fujifilm FinePix XP80

Fujifilm FinePix XP80