To compare real-life performance we shot the
same scene with the Fujifilm FinePix F50fd and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX33 within
a few moments of each other using their Auto modes, best quality JPEG and lowest ISO settings.
The lenses on each camera were adjusted to deliver the same field of view.
The image left was taken with the Fujifilm FinePix F50fd at 9mm f5.6 and with a sensitivity of 100 ISO; the original JPEG measured 4.64MB. The crops are taken from the upper left, center, lower right and lower left portions of the originals and presented here at 100%.
The first crop of the mountain ridge taken from the extreme top left corner of the frame shows a good result for the F50fd compared to the Panasonic, which is optically softer. Moving onto the second crop taken from the middle of the frame shows the F50fd genuinely recording greater detail than the FX33 - as you'd hope for a 12 Megapixel camera versus one with 8 Megapixels, but the differences may be more subtle than you'd expect.
Moving onto the third crop, taken from the lower right of the frame shows a switch from the first example with the Panasonic FX33 capturing a noticeably sharper result. The F50fd appears to be suffering from both optical and compression issues, resulting in far lower detail in foliage areas.
Finally the fourth crop taken from the lower left of the frame reinforces what we saw on the second - when you're avoiding the extremes of the frame where the optics can cause problems, the F50fd's higher resolution sensor can capture greater detail than models like the 8 Megapixel FX33. Although again it may not be the leap you were hoping for from an 8 to a 12 Megapixel product. The good news here though is under the right conditions - and if you're avoiding the extremes of the frame - the Fujifilm F50fd is capable of recording a high degree of detail.
Now let's see how it performs in our F50fd Studio Resolution results.
Note: the Panasonic FX33 has only two aperture settings and in this bright scene automatically selected its smallest f9 setting. This will inevitably result in some diffraction and loss of ultimate detail, but short of holding a neutral density filter in front of the lens, there's no way to get it to select the larger aperture in conditions like these - it is essentially an automatic camera.