The advanced travel-compact market has become increasingly competitive in the past few years with models such as the Lumix TZ20, Sony HX9V, Nikon S9100 and Canon SX220 all jostling for position and market share.
Clearly hoping to join the ranks of the travel-compact elite, the Fujifilm F550 EXR is a feature-packed compact that builds on the strengths of the F300 EXR launched last year. However, in spite of being a direct descendant and looking almost identical to the F300, the F550 is actually quite different inside.
Built around a newly developed 16-megapixel back-side illuminated CMOS sensor (as opposed to the F300’s 12-megapixel Super CCD chip) the F550 further improves on its predecessor with Full HD movie recording and built-in GPS functionality, neither of which was present on the F300 EXR. It does, however, retain the same 15x Fujinon zoom lens that offers a focal range of 24-360mm in 35mm terms.
At a first glance, the 15x zoom and GPS functionality mark the F550 out as a camera that’ll especially appeal to travel photographers looking to document their adventures with accurate location data. But add to this the ability to record images as lossless Raw files, and the F550 will also appeal to photography enthusiasts looking for an advanced digital compact, or something more portable to keep with them when a DSLR is impractical. Does it live up to either promise? Let’s take a closer look and find out.