Vintage Camera Review: Fujifilm Natura S (The Best Point and Shoot You’ve Never Heard Of)

The Fujifilm Natura S is quickly becoming my favorite point and shoot camera.

When you look on the market, you’re going to find stuff like Contax T2 to be very pricey. The chances that you’re not looking for the Fujifilm Natura S are high. But, the Fujifilm Natura S potentially has a lot more going for it than you’d think. This small point and shoot is easily pocketable and despite its very compact size, it sports a 24mm f1.9 lens. Yes, that’s right; that’s one of the widest and fastest lenses you can get on a point and shoot. It also comes in a variety of colors like green, the pink that I’ve gotten a hold of, and there is a variant called the Fujifilm Natura Black. There is also a version with a zoom lens simply called the Fujifilm Natura. But the Natura S is really where it’s at; its simple interface and not serious look is going to guarantee that you take it with you everywhere.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • A very sharp lens
  • Automatic mode, flash mode, night portrait mode, night without flash mode. No need to sit there and fumble with settings.
  • It comes in pink.
  • Date stamp ability if you wish
  • Compact and fun

Cons

  • Autofocus at night isn’t always that great.

Gear Used

We used the Fujifilm Natura S with CineStill 800T, Lomography Lady Grey 400, Fujifilm Superia 800, Fujifilm Superia 1600, and Fujifilm Superia 400.

Fujifilm Natura S Tech Specs

Specs taken from Wikipedia

  • Lens: 24mm f1.9
  • Focus: auto focus, 0.4m to inf.
  • Shutter speed: 1 to 1/360
  • NP: Up to +2 EV
  • Film speed: Auto DX 50 to 3200 ISO.
  • Power: 1x 3V CR2
  • Dimentions: 109.5 x 58 x 37 mm
  • Weight: 195g

Ergonomics

With the Fujifilm Natura S, you’re getting a very straightforward compact point and shoot film camera. The front is very plain and low key. There is the lens, the flash and a few things like the light meter and such, but otherwise, not a whole lot else.

Let’s get this out of the way: my version is pink. Why? Well, why the hell not? No one is going to take it seriously and you’re more than likely saying to yourself, “Chris, why the hell did you get the pink camera?”

Exactly. No one will think any better or worse of it.

When the camera is activated and powered on, that’s pretty much as far as the 24mm f1.9 lens will come out. It keeps the camera very compact.

Turn to the back of the Fujifilm Natura S and what you’ll spot are the controls. There is a control LCD screen, the viewfinder, directional controls for settings, and that’s it. There is only one autofocus point so you’ll be using that.

On top of the Fujifilm Natura S is the shutter button. That’s it. It’s plain and simple.

Build Quality

The Fujifilm Natura S isn’t weather sealed at all; if anything I’d think of it as being akin to a small, lightweight porcelain brick. That’s not to say that it’s really flimsy in design at all; it’s in fact built very well. But I wouldn’t say that it’s up to spec of something like the Hexar AF, the Contax series of point and shoots, or the fixed lens rangefinders everyone drools over like a Canonet QL17. Please understand this. It probably won’t survive your friend drunkenly spilling some beer on it and you’d be a fool to bring it out into the rain unfortunately. With that said, use it with care.

I’ve brought it to parties with me; but at the moment of writing this post I’m on a one year sabbatical from alcohol for a world record that I’m training for. However, I’m very often around drunken folk and I just tend to exercise common sense and over-protection of my camera.

Ease of Use

The Fujifilm Natura S has a few controls. The big one that you want to know about is NP mode. NP mode will put the camera into night portrait mode where it will work to blend the ambient light and flash output together. Generally, it’ll do a pretty great job. It was originally designed for use with Fujifilm Natura 1600 film. But these days I tend to reach for Superia instead. As it is, the Fujifilm Natura S will read the DX code on the film and automatically use that ISO. There is no option to underexpose or overexpose. Instead, it’s just going to work with that ISO the best it can. To be honest, it will do a fantastic job. Then there is automatic mode, flash off, etc. The most difficult thing for me to figure out was how to take the date stamp off: a friend did for me. But to be honest, I like the addition of the date stamp; it adds some charm to images that you don’t get anymore.

Night portrait mode

The camera can easily be used by a novice – very easily. But as a higher-end professional, I appreciate the automatic mode. I needed to learn how to trust it and when I did, I realized that the Fujifilm Natura S pretty much never failed to nail the exposure. In fact, I think that it has better auto exposure capabilities than lots of other cameras on the market, particularly the Hexar AF.

Autofocus

Autofocusing with the Fujifilm Natura S in good and plentiful lighting is pretty easy and accurate. Where it starts to suffer is in low light and odd lighting. In two situations at parties and indoors I tried shooting with the Fujifilm Natura S and the focusing missed. The reason for this being that there wasn’t enough light. It’s sort of contradictory though because it’s a camera designed to be used with a film designed for night use.

Image Quality

The image quality from the Fujifilm Natura S is highly dictated by both the film inside the camera and the lens. With a Fujinon 24mm f1.9 lens, you have no worries about the optics. It’s sharp, it’s fast, it has beautiful bokeh, there is no problem with color fringing that we were able to find, etc. In fact, I really wish that this lens were available for full frame digital cameras.

Bokeh

The lens can focus fairly closely and in situations where you wouldn’t think that you’d get bokeh, you actually do. It’s nice. The bokeh is pretty creamy or at least as creamy as it can be with a 24mm f1.9 lens.

Sharpness

The best sharpness from the Fujifilm Natura S is rendered when the flash goes off. Unfortunately, you don’t have a hot shoe to connect a trigger, but that’s just fine.

Extra Image Samples

Conclusions

Likes

  • Everything
  • Everything
  • See above

Dislikes

  • Seriously?
  • What’s to dislike?!

I’m absolutely in love with the Fujifilm Natura S. It’s small, lightweight, inconspicuous, can deliver great images, and will give you more keeper shots on a roll than you’ve probably gotten before. With a 24mm f1.9 lens attached and automatic modes that you can actually trust, there is nothing to complain about here.

The Fujifilm Natura S receives five out of five stars. Want one? Check out eBay for more.