Fujifilm FinePix F50fd review
Let me start out by saying, I'm very picky on the way my photos look. Probably more picky than I should be. Recently, I have purchased the Canon SD850 and SD900, as well as the Sony DSC-T100. All three cameras were extremely disappointing and got returned after one week. My previous camera was a cheap little 3 megapixel Fuji. I wanted something newer and faster, but after side by side comparisons of photo quality, the three cameras I purchased could not compare to my six year old clunker. I decided to keep my old camera and watch for new models.
Now, onto this camera. Wow. I can't say enough about it. The pictures are beautiful, even in low light. I'm not sure where the bad reviews are coming from...from picture number one to the pictures I took tonight, they have turned out very perfectly (except for a few of my errors every now and again).
I initially held out on Fuji because of the lack of the optical viewfinder and the slow XD card format. So far, I haven't found lack of the optical viewfinder to be an issue for me. Beginning with the F40 (which I didn't want because of bad reviews and it doesn't have the manual controls), Fuji now supports SD and XD formats alike.
I have an active three year old son, so the speed of the camera matters to me. The Fuji F50SE (or F50FD, they are the same) gives me just what I wanted. I'm using a 2GB Sandisk SDHC card and the writing speed is super quick (comparable to all of the other major competition).
The manual controls were a big selling point to me, but I also wanted a camera that would perform well as just a point and shoot. Once again, on full auto mode, the pictures come out great.
As far as the interface, I have had no problems just picking up and using the camera. Maybe it is because I have owned a Fuji before, but I really don't think so. A lot has changed in 6 years (as I hope it would), but the features and menus are very easily accessed. I really like the fact that with the press of one of two buttons, you can turn on and off the face detection and image stabilization. To review the pictures, there is a playback button on the back of the camera (much easier than a wheel) and to get out of playback mode, you press the shutter down halfway. Very handy and intuitive.
Face detection on this camera works about as well as the Canons. It doesn't always lock on to faces, but that is to be expected. 2 times out of 10 it won't recognize a face. Not a big deal. When it does, it will snap the shot and immediately thereafter show you a close up of the eyes and will remove any red eye that it finds. This has worked flawlessly for me so far. With the Canons, you have to review the picture and then go into a separate menu to correct for the red eye (or just do it in a photo editor), but I found this to be painfully slow and most of my shots ended up keeping the red eye. With the Fuji, this is a two second automatic process (when you have face detection on).
Battery life seems to be about average for this type of camera/battery. As with all of the major manufacturers, the batteries are proprietary and I would recommend getting a second battery for backup.
The features can just go on and on. The two main things I wanted in a camera were photo quality and speed. Isn't that what everyone wants? I never realized how hard it was going to be to find. Now that I've been playing with this camera, I keep finding little things that make me smile and thank Fuji for a job well done.
All in all, I would recommend this camera to anyone and everyone. Most Best Buy stores have them in stock, so you can go play with the floor model before you buy. I'm extremely pleased with my purchase and hope that my year long camera ordeal will help others to not have to go through the same.