The S9500 is packed with buttons and controls, with most located on the upper right surface and to the right of the main display. The main Command dial offers Auto, Program, Manual, Shutter and Aperture Priority modes, along with five scene presets and a movie mode. Shutter speeds range from 1/4000 to 30 seconds.
The Command dial's joined by exposure compensation, flash and continuous shooting buttons with a thumb-wheel to adjust their options. The shutter-release button sits inside the main power switch which selects between Record, Play and off. Following Fujifilm's tradition on its higher-end cameras, the shutter release button is threaded for an old-fashioned cheap cable release - a welcome touch in an age where pricey electronic cable releases are the norm.
The rear of the camera is home to many more controls including the usual four-way joypad, the main menu button, a metering mode dial with exposure lock, and buttons to switch between the screen and EVF along with their display options.
There's also Fujifilm's 'F' button which brings up quality, ISO and colour tone options, although for white balance settings you'll need to enter the main menu system. It seems odd not to have white balance included on the F menu, or for that matter not to have dedicated buttons for both white balance and ISO for use with the thumb-wheel. This would give the S9500 much more of the SLR feel Fujifilm is clearly aiming for.
A button to the left of the flash pops it open, upon which you can change its settings by pressing the dedicated button and turning the thumb-wheel; there's red-eye reduction and slow synchro options, along with modest flash compensation settings of ±2/3 EV via the main menu. There's also a basic hotshoe and a PC-Sync port.
The camera's powered by four AA batteries, and Fujifilm supplies a set of disposable Alkalines to get you started. We managed to go through these in just a couple of days testing though (albeit mostly using the 60 fps display mode, so the sooner you replace them with a set of rechargeables and a charger, the better. Some people prefer AAs for their wide availability, but personally we'd sooner have a rechargeable Lithium Ion pack every time. They're smaller, lighter and generally last longer.
Next page: Composition and screen