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Compared to... Fuji FinePix F31fd

We'll start by seeing how the F50fd compares with its predecessor, the FinePix F31fd which (together with the F30) has established itself as the (high ISO) image quality benchmark in the compact camera sector. While the upgrade from the F30 to the F31fd was a minor one, the F50fd is an entirely new camera with a new design, new sensor and new features. Let's see if the F50fd's huge leap to 12 megapixels resolution can give you a real world advantage over the F31fd's six megapixel sensor. In this section we've included a spread of comparisons, at ISO 100, ISO 400 and ISO 1600.

Studio scene comparison (@ ISO 100)

  • Fuji FinePix F50fd : Aperture Priority mode, ISO 100, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.67 EV compensation
     
  • Fuji FinePix F31fd : Aperture Priority mode, ISO 100, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.67 EV compensation
     
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Fujifilm FinePix F50fd
Fujifilm FinePix F31fd
ISO 100, 1/50 sec, F5
ISO 100, 1/58 sec, F5
4,438 KB JPEG
3,054 KB JPEG

The F50fd, just like its predecessor, produces detailed results with natural colors at ISO100. This is partly due to the very good Fujinon lens (we're presuming it's the same - or a very similar lens), partly down to all those extra pixels, which are undoubtedly capturing a touch more detail.

Looking closely it looks like Fuji has hit the limits of what you can get out of this lens, meaning at least some of those extra pixels are effectively redundant. There is a touch of corner softness visible, though you'll need to be producing very large prints - and looking very closely - to see it. If you reduce the F50fd's output to 6MP (to match the F31fd) or vice versa the results are all but indistinguishable.

Color and contrast are very similar on both cameras which indicates that Fujifilm's imaging processing has not changed too much between the two camera generations. At a pixel level the F31d's images look sharper due to the smaller image size and higher default sharpening, but at an output level, i.e. displayed on a screen or printed at a reasonable size) there is not much difference between both cameras, though at very large sizes the F50fd's extra resolution will give you a slight advantage.

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