In one of the biggest launches so far this year, Fujifilm has added no less than six new models to its impressive range of digital compacts, including new flagship models for its F, A and Z series.
Probably the most keenly anticipated is the new F50fd, which heads up the award-winning F-series, and is a development of and replacement for the excellent F31fd. The new model is significant because not only does it offer a big 12-megapixel 1/1.6 inch 7th Generation Super CCD HR sensor, 3x optical zoom lens, 2.7-in 230Kp LCD monitor and Real Photo Processor II image handling, it also has CCD-shift image stabilisation, which (along with the new S8000fd and Z100fd) is an entirely new feature for Fujifilm. Previously Fujifilm cameras had relied upon their outstanding high-ISO performance and fast shutter speeds to counteract camera shake, so the addition of mechanical image stabilisation to this existing technology is an important development, both for Fujifilm and for its main competitors, who may be looking a bit worried about now.
As well as this breakthrough, the F50fd also maintains the high-ISO capability of the F30 and F31fd. It has a maximum ISO setting of 6400, although ISO 3200 is only available at 6MP resolution, and 6400 only at 3MP. We’ll have to for the review test shots before we know if the increased pixel count has had any impact on the camera’s noise performance, but this is one area in which Fujifilm cameras usually perform well.
As if this technology wasn’t enough, the F50fd is the first camera to be fitted with Fujifilm’s new Face Detection 2.0 system. Fuji claims that the new hardware-based system can detect faces in profile and at virtually any angle, even if the subject is moving within the frame. If this is true then it overcomes several of the limitations of previous face detection systems, and may actually make the feature worthwhile.
The F50fd also uses its advanced face detection technology in its red-eye removal system, which will only remove flash-induced redness from eyes, an not from lips, jewellery or other red objects in the shot.
The FinePix F50fd will be available in black or silver from September, although a recommended retail price has yet to be announced.