Fujifilm FinePix F50fd Compact Camera
At a Glance
Fujifilm FinePix F50fd
Though it looks dull compared to some of the flasher models we tested, it has all the latest features and takes great shots.
Portly and plain are not the most compelling adjectives for a point-and-shoot digital camera, but the $300 Fujifilm FinePix F50fd has very high resolution, offers tons of features, and performed quite well in our tests. It may look dull, but the looks are only shell-deep.
The F50fd has a champagne-colored plastic front and a black plastic rear panel; unlike several other cameras we tested, it comes in only that single color scheme. Though it weighs more than most of the units in this roundup, it also has a larger-than-average LCD panel, at 2.7 inches, and a higher resolution (12 megapixels) than most. And--a rarity in a point-and-shoot--the F50fd offers aperture- and shutter-priority modes. It also has a "manual" mode, but that's misleading--you can't set the aperture or the shutter speed in that mode; rather, it works like other cameras' Program modes, for access to exposure compensation and more flash modes. No matter; the priority modes will serve in most situations.
Fujifilm gave the F50fd all the latest gee-whiz digital camera features too, including image stabilization and, according to the company, a newer version of face-detection technology that can detect faces at up to a 90-degree angle, versus only 30 degrees with the company's older models. The F50fd did seem to find and lock on to faces more easily and quickly than other units I tried, doing so whether they were looking at the camera or not. And it starts up quickly, although its LCD panel seemed a bit slow to adjust to changing lighting conditions.
You can choose a power-management mode to saves power, another mode to make the autofocus system as quick as possible, and a third to max out the LCD's clarity (it also, it seemed to me, quickened the autofocus). I like having the option of saving power, but I didn't like having to choose between the other two. In the default, power-saving mode, the F50fd took 276 shots over about 2.5 hours in our tests.
In our image-quality tests, the F50fd earned the highest mark in this group for having the least distortion and received very high marks for sharpness. Its flash is a bit weak, so it didn't get high scores for its flash shots, but overall, it earned a rating of Very Good.
Fujifilm offers flashier, more colorful models, including the FinePix Z-10, which comes in six different fruity colors. But if you're more concerned with what your pictures look like than what your camera looks like, then the F50fd is probably a better bet.