Fujifilm FinePix 50i review
I have been torn between buying the Minolta Dimage X and the Fuji finepix 50i for the past week and finally decided for the 50i (although the minolta looks cooler, the 50i is supposed to deliver better quality pictures). The only problem is finding the camera for the right price (I live in Europe). In continetal europe the stores want EUR 750. In the UK only 3 stores carry the product (exclusive agreement with Fuji): Dixons, Curries and PC World. Of these 3 Curries is the cheapest (GBP 359 incl. tax / EUR 588) but none of the stores are allowed to ship internationally so I have to get a friend to buy it for me. The product may be good but the company´s distribution policy really sucks. Talk about price fixing! As far as the camera goes... if you can get the 40i at a good price go for it: there is no difference between the 50i and the 40i, except that Fuji decided to copy Sony´s consumer-unfriendly approach to making propriatory hardware incorporated in the 50i (meaning that Fuji can charge any price they want on the spare parts without fear of competition!). Since I am a typical sucker I will probably buy the 50i if only because the Curries price is not bad. As a final note, the mp3 function is truly silly. Think of it as a waste of R&D costs which have to be recuperated in the camera´s price.
Post-write up: I have now owned the finepix50i for over a month and can comment on the following positive sides:
</> - Quality of photographs (digital and printed out) is excellent. The numerous size options basically satisfy all non professional needs. Indoor, outdoor, rain and sun work well. I have to wait for December for snow photos...
</> - Movie modus is really neat. Made some lovely films of fireworks displays (at night obviously) in Luxembourg recently and the quality was excellent.
</> - The camera feels and looks expensive (far better than the photos of the camera found online). The way it opens on the front made me hesitate at first but am now a devoted fan of it.
</> I had some hesitation at first regarding the lack of a mechanical zoom in favour of a digital one... I am now fully converted to digital zooms (they allow you to take the photo ad hoc and then LATER, on the camera itself, zoom in and crop the photo).
</> I should mention the cropping function again because I think it is truly a geat feature. You can - after the picture has been taken, for example, zoom in and move around the photo until you find the ideal frame shot and then crop it and save it as a new photo... and all without the need of a computer.
</> the camera has enough photo editing options to make you spin... but generally intuitive after one quick reading of the manual. red-eye reduction, micro photography (to photograph stamps and coins in minute detail for example) etc etc etc...
</> It is still an expensive camera (high street UK GBP 400) - no doubt - but once in my hand it felt like it was worth the money spent on it.
</> The included software installed without problems and is not bad at all. The photo editing software is good / the bonus is the video editing software.
</> But, perhaps most importantly, the camera MADE CHRIS and ANELA JEALOUS!!! HAR HAR HAR! If that doesn't say something about the camera nothing will.
</> By the way, I recommend buying immediately an extra battery (battery life is ok for my use but better be safe than sorry) and 1 or 2 128 MB cards (they are more than enough for all your needs). Included was 1 16MB card... nice. The best price for 128 MB cards I found at www.speicherkarte.de (efficient delivery and best price). For battery I could only find 1 place in Europe called www.akku.de so I don't know if it was the cheapest...
</> I tried contacting fuji as to why this camera is so hard to get in Europe but they have not replied as yet. As a punishment I am shorting fuji's stock...(ah, the power of the invisible hand).
</> Follow up: Feb 14, 2003.
I have now owned the camera for long enough to be able to satisfactorily rate it... After dangling it from st. Moritz´s 3300 meter snow covered peaks to South Africa´s heat busting savannas, the camera has withstood it all with an admirable degree of grace and firmness (i.e. nothing broken or loose and camera still works).
The only problem I had has been with a 128 memory card... The camera could not read the pictures and writing on the disk came out faulty. However, I should stress that this is most probably due to my incessant handling of the memory card rather than the fault of either manufacturers... Moral of the story? Handle your memory cards carefully.
As an update: Chris and I filmed and photographed ourselves silly under heavy snow conditions - with excellent results! (the best was filiming each other skiing).
My only gripe - having purchase a Kodak for my father, Giorgio, and having seen the one button hotsync function in action, is that fuji in comparison really pales... I can live with it and it does the job, but nothing beats Kodak´s ease of use! The Kodak camera, on the other hand, does not nearly look as good as the fuji...
None, except to note that the mp3 function is truly a silly feature.
</> Update: The mp3 feature works well, but I still think it is a silly feature to have on a camera... Well, almost. On the flight to London is should provide for some entertainment...
</>The hotsync station, whille in no way cumbersome to carry, is not bad although I would have preferred to also have the option of a travel charger (included in the package).
A little cover for the LCD screen might have been useful (there is a good carry bag included with the camera, but sometime I carry it without the bag so that it fits more slimly in the inner pockket of my suit at work... Chris are you reading this???)... Yes, the size of the camera is ridiculously small, but fits well in the hand.