Fujifilm has today announced the new FinePix S6500fd, the suffix stands for one of the S6500's new technologies, Fujifilm's "face detection". This appears to be designed to locate faces in the frame (up to ten faces) for auto focus, metering and subject tracking. According to the press release Fujifilm's hardware implemented Face Detection technology needs just 40ms to locate a face in the frame. In addition the S6500 sports a six megapixel SuperCCD sensor which provides it with up to ISO 3200 at full resolution as well as a wide-angle 10.7x lens with a mechanically linked zoom ring. It's not the first time we've talked about face detection, Nikon has had it in a handful of models since early 2005.

Phil: A really interesting camera on paper, I just wonder how many more they could sell if it had a Compact Flash or Secure Digital (SD) slot.

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Press Release:

Fujifilm FinePix S6500fd: it can’t wait to see your face

New digital camera combines hardware based Face Detection technology and high ISO sensitivity to stunning effect

Fujifilm today announces the launch of the FinePix S6500fd digital camera, debuting industry-first hardware based Face Detection technology to enable the camera to recognise faces and optimise settings to get the best photograph in just 0.04 seconds. With Fujifilm’s acclaimed sixth generation, six megapixel Super CCD sensor and Real Photo Technology II, class-leading ISO 100-3200 sensitivity and Fujinon 10.7x (28-300mm equivalent) optical zoom lens, the FinePix S6500fd combines the photographic possibilities of a digital SLR with the ease of use of a compact.

Fujifilm expects the FinePix S6500fd to be a popular camera for hobbyist photographers. It will be a powerful, fun tool for people looking to move on from their compact digital camera, but who don’t want the restrictions or level of manual input that can be required by a Digital SLR.

Face detection

Photographs of friends and family are among the most popular in day-to-day photography. Yet these are the shots that are hardest to get right because the best photographs are not the posed ones, but those that are unexpected. Previously, face detection concepts have been a slow, software based process, relegating them to a novelty feature rather than a powerful picture-taking tool. The potential delay in ‘seeing’ a face and optimising settings is not conducive to good people photography. Crucially, Fujifilm has built its Face Detection technology into the FinePix S6500fd’s processor, enabling it to identify faces and take a photo within 0.04 seconds.

The FinePix S6500fd’s Face Detection uses an algorithm, which recognises eyes and a mouth to lock on to faces in the frame. Coping with up to ten faces in a frame, it optimises settings such as focus and exposure level before taking the photo. Face Detection can identify a face irrespective of its position in the frame or the composition of the shot, and is not confused by spectacles. Furthermore, movement tracking ensures the camera stays locked on the subject until they move out of the frame. All this, combined with split-second accuracy, results in picture-perfect people shots with no need for user intervention.

High sensitivity for precision photography

Alongside Face Detection, the FinePix S6500 features Fujifilm’s Real Photo Processor II technology, delivering class-leading ISO 100-3200 sensitivity. Research shows that the majority of photos are taken in low light with the subject in the foreground. These shots can be problematic because of blur, or because the subject is over-exposed by an automatic flash. The high ISO of the FinePix S6500fd means that sharp, focused images can be achieved in low light without the need for a flash, so skin tones look natural and foreground and background exposure remain balanced. When used in conjunction with Face Detection, the result is natural-looking people pictures that appear just as the human eye sees them, even when shot in low light.

The FinePix S6500fd features a Fujinon 10.7x optical zoom lens with twist barrel control to give plenty of scope for precision composition. Because the camera’s high ISO sensitivity also combats image blur, the user can even achieve sharp, clean images at the telephoto end of the zoom; perfect for fast-moving sports photography. Its fixed lens also prevents dust collecting on its sensor, another convenience factor versus DSLRs.

For flash photography, the camera features Fujifilm’s Intelligent Flash system, which automatically balances flash power output and exposure for both foreground and background. This ensures more natural-looking skin tones and clearer background exposure when using the flash function. In addition, a ‘Natural Light & Flash’ Dual Shot Mode takes two shots in quick succession, one with flash and one without. These are then displayed side by side for immediate comparison.

The FinePix S6500fd also features a High Speed Shooting Mode with rapid focus and a shutter lag of just 0.035 seconds.

The 2.5” LCD screen and high resolution electronic viewfinder give the user a choice of how to compose and view images. With fourteen special-scene modes, including Portrait, Landscape, Sport, Night, Fireworks, Sunset, Snow, Beach, Museum and Party, the FinePix S6500fd ensures users will never miss an opportunity for a great photo. A 30 fps VGA movie mode with sound and manual zoom capability provides an attractive alternative to still photography that can not be incorporated into a digital SLR.

Adrian Clarke, Fujifilm’s Director of Photo Products said, “The FinePix S6500fd is aimed at people for whom photography is a hobby. They want to be able to get fantastic images but also want the option of point-and-shoot simplicity on demand. With Face Detection and incredibly high sensitivity, this camera does a particularly good job of photographing the most important subject of them all: people. This model is all about combining absolute convenience with fantastic image potential.”

Accessories

The FinePix S6500fd’s optional Wide Conversion Lens, WL-FXS6, expands the camera’s wide-angle capability without compromising image quality. It allows the extreme angles of view normally only available with changeable lenses on an SLR camera.

Also available is an optional premium leather case. Fujifilm World Travel Adaptor, for charging abroad, and spare Lithium-ion battery, NP-70 make travelling with the FinePix S6500 easy.

The camera comes with shoulder strap, USB and A/V cables, Lens cap and hood and software CDs FinePix Viewer (with RAW File Converter included), ImageMixer VCD2 LE for FinePix and RAW File Converter LE.

FinePix S6500fd features at a glance

  • Hardware based Face Detection technology
  • Sensitivity range of ISO 100-3200 for low-noise photography in all light situations
  • Super CCD HR VI sensor delivering six million effective pixels
  • Real Photo Processor II reduces noise and delivers enhanced colour reproduction
  • Fixed 10.7x (28-300mm equivalent) optical zoom lens with twist barrel control
  • Intelligent Flash achieves the optimum combination of high sensitivity and natural skin tones
  • Manual, shutter- and aperture-priority and program exposure modes
  • Single, continuous and manual focus modes
  • Jpeg and RAW file formats
  • High Speed Shooting Mode with a shutter lag of just 0.035 seconds
  • High resolution 2.5 inch LCD screen with reinforced, scratch-resistant glass
  • TV-quality VGA movie recording of 30 frames per second with sound
  • PictBridge™ compatible for direct printing without a PC

Availability & pricing

The FinePix S6500fd will be available from UK retailers in October 2006.  Pricing and stockists will be announced nearer to the date of retail launch.

Fujifilm Finepix S6500fd specifications

Sensor

• 1/1.7" Type CCD
• 6.3 million pixels total

Image sizes • 2848 x 2136
• 3024 x 2016 (3:2)
• 2048 x 1536
• 1600 x 1200
• 640 x 480
Movie clips • 640 x 480 @ 30 fps
• 320 x 240 @ 30 fps
• With monaural sound
File formats

• Still: JPEG / RAW
• Movie: AVI Motion JPEG

Lens • 28 - 300 mm (35 mm equiv)
• F2.8 - F4.9
• 10.7x optical zoom
• Mechanically linked zoom ring
Digital zoom Up to 2x
Focus • Auto
• Continuous
• Manual
AF mode • Single
• Continuous
• Manual (with one-touch AF)
AF area • Center
• Multi
• Area (selectable)
AF assist lamp Yes
Focus distance • Normal: 40 cm (wide) / 2 m (tele) - Infinity
• Macro: 10 cm (wide) / 90 cm (tele)
Metering • Multi 256-zone
• Average
• Spot
ISO sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
• ISO 1600
• ISO 3200
Exposure compensation • +/- 2EV
• 1/3 steps
Shutter speed 30 - 1/4000 th sec
Aperture F2.8 - F11
Exposure modes • Programmed AE (with shift)
• Aperture priorityAE
• Shutter priority AE
• Manual exposure
Shooting modes • Auto
• Picture Stabilization (auto High ISO)
• Scene Position
• Macro
• Movie
• Continuous
Scene modes

• Natural Light
• Natural Light & Flash
• Portrait
• Landscape
• Sport
• Night
• Fireworks
• Sunset
• Snow
• Beach
• Museum
• Party
• Flower
• Close-up
• Text

White balance • Auto
• Fine
• Shade
• Fluorescent (daylight)
• Fluorescent (warm white)
• Fluorescent (cool white)
• Incandescent
• Custom
Self timer 2 or 10 sec
Continuous shooting

• 2.2 fps, max 3 images (Top-3 or Final-3)
• 0.7 fps, unlimited

Flash • Built-in pop-up
• Range (Auto ISO): 8.3 m (w), 4.6 m (t)
• Modes: Auto, Red-eye reduction, On, Off, Slow Sync, Slow + Red-eye
Viewfinder • 0.33" electronic viewfinder (EVF)
• 115,000 pixels
LCD monitor • 2.5" TFT LCD
• 235,000 pixels
Connectivity • USB 2.0 High-speed
• AV out
• DC in
Playback functions

• Mode: Single frame, 9 Multi-frame, Sorting by date, Image rotate, Post shot Assist window (3 frames)
• Features: Voice Memo, Trimming, Automatic playback

Print compliance • PictBridge
• DPOF
Storage • 10 MB internal memory
• xD-Picture Card
Power • 4 x AA batteries alkalkine or NiMH
• Charger optional
Dimensions 131 x 98 x 128 mm (5.2 x 3.8 x 5.0 in)
Weight (no batt) 600 g (1.3 lb)
Supplied accessories 4×AA type Alkaline batteries, Shoulder Strap, USB cable , A / V cable , Lens cap, Lens cap holder, Lens hood, CD-ROM , FinePixViewer RAW File converter included), ImageMixer VCD2 LE for FinePix, RAW FILE CONVERTER LE