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One concern is battery duration. The Z5fd is powered by a relatively small 750mAh Li-ion battery, for which Fujifilm makes no particular claim, but I found that I was only able to take 145 shots, about half with flash, before it ran out. However this was on its first charge, and Li-ion batteries do improve their performance a little after a few charge cycles.
Focusing is extremely quick even in very low light. It had no problem coping with a dimly lit nightclub for instance. The Z5fd has no AF assist lamp, so it can’t focus in total darkness, but it performs better in low light than many cameras I’ve tested recently. Like most of the latest Fujifilm cameras the Z5fd has extremely good high ISO performance, producing excellent picture quality right up to 800 ISO, and acceptable quality at its maximum setting of 1600, so shooting in low light without the flash is at least possible if not really recommended.
Although it is clearly designed for social snapshot photography, the Z5fd acquits itself well shooting normal photographs in daylight as well; in fact I can only describe the picture quality as outstanding. Despite its size the lens performs brilliantly as long as it’s kept clean, with minimal distortion or chromatic aberration, and even the usual Fuji bugbear of purple fringing is almost completely absent. The level of detail is excellent for a 6MPcamera.Colours reproduction is rich and vibrant, and thanks to 256-zone metering exposure is seldom less than perfect even when shooting in awkward lighting situations. It’s just a pity that it’s hardly ever likely to be used for the kind of photographs of which it is capable.
Proving that you should never judge a book by its cover, the party-oriented Fujifilm FinePix Z5fd is a very accomplished little camera, capable of producing excellent results both indoors and out in a wide range of lighting conditions, as long as you keep your grubby fingers clear of the lens. It is stylish, well made, performs and handles well, and is very easy to use. The only real issue is the limited battery life, but if as long as you keep it charged up this shouldn’t be a problem.
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