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Fujifilm FinePix F60fd Gordon Laing, January 2009
   
 

Fujifilm FinePix F60fd verdict

Fujifilm’s FinePix F60fd is a good, solid performer with some neat features which allow it to stand out from the crowd. Impressively it’s one of the few compacts at any price point with full Aperture and Shutter Priority. It also takes a sensible approach to people photography with great face detection, natural-looking flash results and a mode which takes shots with and without the flash just to make sure. With 12 Megapixels, it additionally boasts higher resolution than most models at this price point.

All of the above was however available on its predecessor, the FinePix F50fd. Indeed the new model shares the same sensor, same lens, same stabilisation, and even the same body, albeit now with a classier black finish. This means the F60fd unfortunately inherits many of its predecessor’s downsides, including a pedestrian 3x optical range that neither zooms particularly wide or long, along with a sensor-shift stabilisation system which didn’t prove as effective as lens-based rivals in our tests.



Fujifilm FinePix F60fd



In terms of image quality, the F60fd’s 12 Megapixel sensor unsurprisingly performs identically to its predecessor. It can resolve a small amount of additional detail over its 10 Megapixel rivals, but it’s pretty subtle and you certainly shouldn’t buy it for higher resolution alone. In terms of noise levels, Fujifilm takes quite a hands-off approach to processing and noise reduction, with quite apparent speckles even at low sensitivities when viewed at 100%. But the level of detail is similar to rivals – it’s just that most apply more noise reduction to hide the graininess.

The F60fd does of course sport some new features. Top of the list is a new Auto mode with Scene Recognition, which like Panasonic’s Intelligent Auto, does an uncannily good job of figuring out what you’re pointing it at and selecting the most appropriate scene preset. The face detection has also been improved, further enhancing the camera as a great people-shooter. The screen has also been enlarged to 3in.

But the bottom line is the F60fd represents a minor upgrade over its predecessor, so the big question is whether it can still compete with its current rivals. Let’s see how it measure’s up.

Compared to Canon IXUS 870IS / PowerShot SD 880IS

 
 
 
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Canon’s IXUS 870 IS / PowerShot SD 880 IS is one of the classiest compacts around right now at this price point, and is the model for others to beat. In its favour is a broader 4x optical range which starts much wider at an equivalent of 28mm, along with optical stabilisation which proved more effective in our tests. The 3in screen may be the same size, but Canon’s is brighter and more vibrant, and it’s movie mode gives cleaner results.

In its favour, the FinePix F60fd sports manual control over the aperture and shutter, some neat approaches to people photography, the best face detection we’ve used (although the Canon’s also good), Scene Recognition and a couple of extra Megapixels, although these made little difference to the detail captured in real-life. Crucially though, the F60fd is available a little cheaper than the Canon.

Ultimately it’s a case of deciding which features are most important to you. If you can live with a fully automatic model, spending a little more on the Canon will get you a wider lens, better stabilisation and a nicer screen. Most would find this a better deal, but if you prefer having control over the aperture and shutter, and like Fujifilm’s approaches to photographing people, then the F60fd is definitely worth considering. See our Canon IXUS 870IS / SD 880IS review for more details.


Compared to Canon IXUS 870IS / PowerShot SD 880IS

 
 
 
Sony’s Cyber-shot DSC-T77 is the compact for gadget and style fanatics with its slim body, sliding front cover, touch-sensitive widescreen display and smile shutter which waits for your subject to grin before taking the shot. It also features a broader 4x optical range, which may start at the same 35mm wide angle as the Fujifilm, but ends comfortably longer at an equivalent of 140mm. Its video mode also delivered cleaner results while additionally allowing you to optically zoom while filming.

The plus points for the F60fd are pretty much the same as those against the Canon: it sports manual control over the aperture and shutter, some neat approaches to people photography, the best face detection we’ve used, and a couple of extra Megapixels, although these made little difference to the detail captured in real-life. Again, the F60fd is available for less than the Sony T77.

Ultimately, much of the Cyber-shot T77’s appeal comes down to its slim dimensions and touchscreen. Some will fall in love at first sight (and tap), while others will find it hard to hold and often infuriating to operate. If you fall into the former camp, it’s worth considering, but the FinePix F60fd offers a solid, more traditional alternative with some compelling benefits at a lower price. See our Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T77 review for more details.


Also consider: the keenly-priced 6x zoom of the Canon PowerShot A2000 IS, or if you fancy something which works underwater for around the same money, the Pentax Optio W60.

Fujifilm FinePix F60fd final verdict

It’s becoming increasingly common for many new compacts to be minor updates over their predecessors, and the FinePix F60fd is a prime example. As described above, it’s identical to the earlier FinePix F50fd, bar Scene Recognition, improved face detection, a slightly larger screen and a black finish. It’s a real shame Fujifilm didn’t take the opportunity to widen or lengthen the lens coverage, or improve its stabilisation.

But the new features do improve on a camera which already had some fairly unique features. The 12 Megapixels might not make much difference over the detail resolved by 10 Megapixel models, but it’s refreshing to find full control over the aperture and shutter, not to mention a number of innovative approaches designed to maximise your chances of decent people shots, especially in low light. And in our tests, the face detection on the F60fd was ahead of all rivals, comfortably locking onto subjects in complete profile.

So the FinePix F60fd may only be a minor step beyond its predecessor, but it remains one of the best cameras to take out for shots of friends and family. Online discounts are also seeing it sensibly-priced below its more glamorous rivals, allowing you to forgive downsides like the vanilla 3x optical zoom range. As such, we can recommend it, but as always would advise thinking carefully about what features mean the most to you, and comparing it closely against the competition.

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Good points
Control over aperture and shutter.
Sensible approach to people shots.
Great face detection.
Auto Scene recognition.

Bad points
Lacking true wide angle coverage.
Stabilisation not as good as rivals.
Screen bettered by top rivals.
Minor benefit to 12 Mpixels over 10.



Scores

(relative to 2008 compacts)

Build quality:
Image quality:
Handling:
Specification:
Value:

Overall:

18 / 20
16 / 20
16 / 20
15 / 20
19 / 20

84%

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All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2014 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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