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Fujifilm Finepix F50fd Review

December 2007 | By Lars Rehm, Simon Joinson

As the replacement for the Fujifilm F30/F31fd, a camera that has reached an almost legendary status since its launch back in 2006, the Fujifilm F50fd has some big shoes to fill. If anything deserves to be called a 'classic' camera in the shortlived world of digital compact cameras it would have to be the Fujifilm F30/F31fd. It wasn't very pretty, it wasn't very feature packed and it wasn't even very cheap. But the F30/F31fd produced some of the best results we've ever seen in a compact camera, and was leaps and bounds ahead of all its competitors when it came to low light / high ISO performance, proving that just because a camera has a small sensor it doesn't have to be completely useless at anything over ISO 400.

The F30/F31fd's outstanding performance in low light was the result of some clever technology (Super CCD sensor and Real Photo Processor) on the one hand and Fujifilm's admirable refusal to succumb to the pressure to compete in the 'megapixel race'. In an almost unique attempt to optimize image quality (rather than marketing potential) they limited the F30/F31fd's resolution to 6 megapixels, on a sensor that is slightly bigger than the competition's.

Although the F30 and F31fd sold in pretty decent numbers, proving that it is possible to sell a camera on image quality rather than numbers, Fujifilm has finally caved under the pressure and joined the mainstream with the F50fd, doubling the F30/F31fd's pixel count to squeeze a whopping 12 megapixel on the tiny 1/1.6in sensor.

The F50fd also ups the 'whiz bang' factor condsiderably, adding a range of new features including a mechanical CCD-shift image stabilization system, improved face detection and a 2.7" LCD monitor. But can it match its predecessor's peerless image quality or has Fujifilm thrown the baby out with the bathwater by not only joining the megapixel race, but going right to the top with a full 12 megapixels? Let's find out, starting, as ever, with the headline specification.

  • Face Detection 2.0 Technology built-in to the camera’s processor
  • Dual Image Stabilization (High sensitivity + CCD shift)
  • 2.7-inch TFT screen with 230.000 pixels
  • ISO 1600 sensitivity at full resolution
  • 12 million pixels Super CCD HR VII sensor
  • 3.0x optical zoom
  • IR Communication (IR simple™/IR SS™)
  • VGA movie capture of 25 frames per second with sound
  • Micro thumbnail view (up to 100 thumbnails visible)
  • 5fps continuous mode (3MP, 12 frames max)
  • Aperture and shutter priority modes

Changes over the F31fd

While the upgrade from the F30 to the F31fd was fairly minor, the F50fd is a completely new camera. The new 12 megapixel sensor and the image stabilization system are the most obvious changes but there is also a larger screen and some minor new features. The color is now a slightly warmer silver and Fujifilm has moved from the boxy design of the F30/F31fd to more curves and edges, something which they call 'Aero' design. It also makes the camera quite a bit slimmer.

 

Fuji F50fd

Fuji F31fd
Sensor

• 1/1.6 Super CCD HR VII
• 12 million effective pixels

• 1/1.7" Super CCD HR
• 6.3 million effective pixels

Lens • 35 - 105 mm (35 mm equiv)
• 3x optical zoom
• F2.8 - 5.1
• 36-108mm equiv
• 3x optical zoom
• F2.8-5.0
Digital zoom Up to 8.2x Up to 6.2x
Maximum Image Size 4000 x 3000
2848 x 2136
Sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 80-6400
• Up to ISO 1600 at full res
• Auto
• ISO 100-3200
• Up to ISO 3200 at full res
Continuous Shooting 2.0fps max 3 images
5.0fps max 12 images at 3MP
2.2fps max 3 images
Shutter speed 8 - 1/2000 sec 3 - 1/2000 sec
Flash range, Auto ISO Up to 4.4m (wide) Up to 6.5m (wide)
LCD screen • 2.7-inch TFT
• 230,000 pixels
• 2.5-inch TFT
• 230,000 pixels
Battery life (CIPA standard, using LCD) 230 580
Image stabilization Dual-IS (High ISO + CCD Shift) None
Face detection Version 2.0 Standard
Movie mode 25fps 30fps
Dimensions 92.7 x 56.7 x 27.8 mm (3.6 x 2.2 x 1.1 in)
Other

Portrait Enhancer
Blog mode
Micro thumbnail view
Anti-red eye flash

 

FinePix F50fd specifications

Street price • US: $254
• UK: £179
Body Material Metal and plastic
Sensor

• 1/1.6 Super CCD HR VII
• 12 million effective pixels

Image sizes

• 4000x3000
• 4224x2816
• 2848x2136
• 2048x1536
• 1600x1200
• 640x480

Movie clips • 640 x 480 @25fps
• 320 x 240 @25fps
File formats • JPEG (Exif 2.2)
• Movie: AVI (Motion JPEG)
• DPOF
Lens • 35 - 105 mm (35 mm equiv)
• 3x optical zoom
• F2.8 - 5.1
Image stabilization Dual-IS (High ISO + CCD Shift)
Conversion lenses None
Digital zoom Up to 8.2x
Focus AF with Macro
AF area modes

• Center
• Multi
• Continuous

AF assist lamp Yes
Focus distance • Normal: 60cm-infinity
• Macro: 5cm (wide)
Metering TTL 256-zone metering
ISO sensitivity • Auto
• Auto (ISO 1600)
• Auto (ISO 800)
• Auto (ISO 400)
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
• ISO 1600
• ISO 3200 (6MP)
• ISO 6400 (3MP)
Exposure compensation • +/- 2 EV
• 1/3 EV steps
Exposure bracketing None
Shutter speed 8 - 1/2000 (depending on exposure mode)
Aperture • Wide: F2.8 - 8
• Tele: F5.1 - 8
Modes

• Auto
• Natural Light
• Natural Light & with Flash
• SP1
• SP2
• A/S (Aperture or Shutter priority AE)
• M (Manual)
• Movie

Scene modes • Portrait
• Portrait Enhancer
• Landscape
• Sport
• Night
• Fireworks
• Sunset
• Snow
• Beach
• Underwater
• Museum
• Party
• Flower
• Text
White balance

• Automatic scene recognition
• Fine
• Shade
• Fluorescent light (Daylight)
• Fluorescent light (Warm White)
• Fluorescent light (Cool White)
• Incandescent light
• Custom

White balance fine tune None
Self timer 10 / 2 secs
Continuous shooting 2.0fps max 3 images
5.0fps max 12 images at 3MP
Image parameters • Standard
• Chrome (vivid)
• B&W
Flash • Auto
• Red-eye reduction
• Forced On
• Forced Off
• Slow Sync
• Wideangle range: 0.6 - 4.4m (2.0 - 14.4 ft)
• Telephoto range: 0.6 - 2.4m (2.0 - 7.9 ft)
• Macro range: 0.3 - 0.8m (1.0 - 2.6 ft)
Viewfinder None
LCD monitor • 2.7-inch
• 230,000 pixels
Connectivity • USB 2.0 high speed
• Video out
• DC-in
Wireless connectivity IrSimple™ / IrSS™
Print compliance PictBridge
Storage • xD-Picture Card
• SD/SDHC card
• Internal memory (25 MB)
Power • NP-50 Li-ion battery (included)
• Optional AC adapter
Weight (no batt) 155 g (5.5 oz)
Dimensions 92.5 x 59.2 x 22.9 mm (3.6 x 2.3 x 0.9 in)


If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

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This article is Copyright 2007 dpreview.com and the review in part or in whole may NOT be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author. For information on reproducing any part of this review (or any images) please contact: Phil Askey

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