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Fujifilm FinePix F60fd - Fujifilm FinePix F60fd
The overall performance of the f60fd is, surprisingly, actually slightly slower than the camera which it replaces. It takes just over three seconds to start up, although it takes les than two seconds to shut down again. The outstanding feature in this area is the autofocus system, which really is exceptionally fast. It focuses very quickly in all lighting conditions, and has easily the fastest low-light focusing of any recent compact camera that I've seen. It will focus in complete darkness thanks to a bright AF assist lamp, so it's a good choice for those nightclub photos. However despite this ultra-fast autofocus its single shot-to-shot time of approximately 2.8 seconds is slightly slower than the F50fd. Oddly the long-period continuous mode is actually even slower than this, with a shot-to-shot time of approximately 2.9 seconds. The F60fd has a variety of continuous mode options, including 12-shot burst in 3MP mode, or three-shot burst at full resolution.
In terms of image quality there really isn't any significant improvement over the F50fd that I could see. The overall level of detail is very good, and the average file size of around 4.3MB means there's not too much compression to worry about. Colour depth is generally good, although the "Chrome" high saturation mode is a bit intense for my liking. The lens too is quite good, producing excellent centre sharpness. There is a little corner blurring and some very obvious chromatic aberration, but not too much barrel distortion. As has often been the case with Fuji's SuperCCD HR sensor, lack of dynamic range is a problem, with very dark shadows and burned out highlights in high-contrast shots.
Unfortunately the F60fd still hasn't regained the excellent high-ISO noise performance of some of its forerunners, and the results look very much like those from the F50fd. Image quality is good at 100 and 200 ISO, but noise starts to become a problem at 400 ISO and just gets worse from there onward, in other words exactly like every other 12MP compact on the market. The restricted resolution 3200 and 6400 ISO modes are of especially low quality.
The F60fd is a well made, attractive-looking camera with excellent handling. It has some useful features including semi-manual exposure, but the limited zoom range is a bit restrictive compared to its main competition. It has phenomenal low-light focusing ability, but unfortunately it doesn't have the high-ISO image quality to match. It's fairly good value at £150, but there are significantly better compacts available for not much more.