The Fujifilm FinePix F50fd is a 12 Megapixel compact camera with a 3x optical zoom lens and built-in sensor-shift stabilisation. Announced in July 2007, it numerically follows the F40fd, but is the real successor to the legendary FinePix F30 and F31fd models. These shunned high resolutions for excellent performance at high sensitivities and set the benchmark for what could be achieved with a compact under low light. As such the new F50fd has a lot to live up to.
The F50fd certainly makes big noises – hopefully not literally – about high sensitivities, sporting nothing less than a 6400 ISO option, albeit operating at a reduced resolution of 3 Megapixels. The 3200 ISO mode operates at 6 Megapixels, but for the full 12 Megapixel resolution you’ll need to work between 100 and 1600 ISO. The F50fd also now includes image stabilisation which should further help shooting under low light.
Like its predecessors the F50fd allows a fair degree of manual control with a switchable Aperture and Shutter priority mode, alongside fully automatic modes which also include face detection. And like Fujifilm’s latest models, the memory card slot supports the choice of media: xD or the much more common and affordable SD cards.
So while the new FinePix F50fd has a rather conservative 3x optical zoom range with no 28mm wide angle capabilities, it still ticks many boxes compact buyers look for these days, including high resolution, image stabilisation and face detection to name but three.
The big question though is what impact the considerable jump from 6 Megapixels on the F30 / F31fd to 12 Megapixels on the F50fd has had on noise levels. Both sensors measure virtually the same size, so unless Fujifilm’s managed to create an extremely efficient system or change the laws of physics, there’s inevitably going to be some compromise.
In our full review of the Fujifilm FinePix F50fd we’ll answer that by testing it under real-life conditions against rival models across their entire sensitivity ranges – and crucially see how it also measures up against its legendary predecessor. To see the camera’s highlights, check out our FinePix F50fd video tour.
Following our convention of using default factory and best quality JPEG settings to test cameras unless otherwise stated, the F50fd was set to its best quality 12MF mode, Auto White Balance, Multi Metering and the Standard F-Mode colour mode. The anti-shake mode was enabled for all handheld shots, and disabled for tripod-based tests.