Overall image quality is generally good to very good, albeit with a few minor reservations. Depending on the choice of film simulation the F550 is able to deliver punchy, vivid colours or something more muted and understated. The camera’s Automatic White Balance setting also proves consistently accurate, with no tendency to make things too warm or too cold, or to generate unwanted green/magenta colour casts. Chromatic aberrations on high-contrast borders are thankfully absent too.
Processed JPEG images are, as might be expected, noticeably sharper than their unprocessed Raw counterparts, although of course it’s possible to get better results from Raw files by sharpening them to your own personal specifications using dedicated post-production software.
Viewed at less than 100%, JPEG’s shot at the full 16-megapixel resolution appear to offer plenty of fine detail. However, viewed at 100% these same images do have the softer look inevitable with a compact camera, moreover there’s sometimes some minor JPEG artifacting. It’s not something that should cause undue concern though, unless you are looking to regularly blow JPEG images up to A3 size and beyond. Macro mode is excellent, allowing you to focus little more than a centimetre away from your chosen subject.
Compared to its main rivals within the advanced travel compact sector the FujiFilm F550 EXR is a well-built camera that delivers a fairly expansive feature-set at a competitive price. It’s easy-to-use and adaptable, delivering images of a consistently good, if not quite exceptional, quality. Adventurous types will doubtless be enticed by the addition of GPS functionality, while the ability to record lossless Raw image files further broadens the camera’s appeal to enthusiasts. The Fujifilm F550 EXR is certainly worth a look if you are in the market for a travel or advanced-level compact.
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