By Neil Bennett | on June 19, 2008
Price When Reviewed: 144
Pros: Low cost; some innovative functions.
Cons: Fuzzy, noisy output; poor anti- shake system.
At almost £70 less expensive than most of its rivals here – and £111 less than Canon’s Ixus 970 IS – the FinePix F50fd seems like a total bargain. However, its performance matches the low price – and while the camera would be great for undemanding home users looking for a holiday snapper, it’s not good enough for creative professionals.
The F50fd’s 12-megapixel sensor allows it to capture 20 per cent more detailed images than the 10-megapixel models from Canon, Casio and Ricoh. However, the shots it captures are fuzzier and noisier than any of its rivals, so you wouldn’t want to use shots from it too large or zoom in too much. Colour reproduction was better, especially on our vibrant flowerbed shot – but it wasn’t as good as the Coolpix P5100, Cyber-shot W300 or Digital Ixus 970 IS.
The F50fd has some innovative functions: there’s a Natural & Flash mode that captures two shots in quick succession, one without flash and one with. This allows you to grab a shot if you’re unsure of the lighting conditions – or concerned about the non-flash shot being too noisy.
Manual controls are limited: there’s an aperture-priority mode, but no shutter-priority setting. The so-called ‘manual’ control offers less control than aperture priority, as it only allows you to alter otherwise automatically controlled functions such as the ISO setting and EV value.
The F50fd’s design is rather nondescript, but it’s solid and robust. There’s both a mode wheel and D-pad on the back, plus four buttons. The anti-shake mode button is curiously located on the top of the unit – we’re guessing because Fuji ran out of room on the back. The layout is easy to navigate and quick to use – with two scene-mode buttons that can be set to any of the modes for fast access when you need a quick shot in difficult conditions.
However, the anti-shake mode works poorly, which considering the F50fd’s fuzzy, noisy output, isn’t very helpful.
Lens zoom: 3x
Lens (35mm equivalent): 36-108mm f/2.8-5.1
Image Stabilization Type: CCD shift
Effective resolution: 12 megapixels
Max image size: 4,000-x-3,000
Autofocus modes: Multi-point/centre
Face detection: Yes
ISO Range: ISO 100-6400
ISO 3200 mode max mp: 6mp (3mp for ISO 6400)
Shutter range: 3-1/1,200 second
Exposure modes: Auto, 16 scene modes
Macro mode (minimum focusing distance): 7cm
Continuous shooting speed (at full res): 0.6fps, 5fps (12 shots)
LCD size and resolution: 2.7-inch, 230,000 pixel
Optical viewfinder: Np
Storage media: SD, SD-HC, xD
Internal memory: 25MB
Quoted battery life: 230 shots
Colour options: Black, Silver
Dimensions (W-x-H-x-D): 96-x-59-x-23mm
Weight (body only): 155g