The body of the F60fd is virtually identical to the earlier model, which is no bad thing since it’s a nice design. The shell of the camera is all aluminium, and is available in silver or the matt black seen here. It is fairly compact at 92.5 x 59.2 x 22.9 mm, but at approximately 183g ready to shoot it is heavier than you might expect. The body shape has a small finger-grip on the front panel and a slight curve to the top plate that makes the camera comfortable to hold and operate, and the control layout is nice and uncluttered. Some of the controls are a bit small, especially the D-pad, but they are clearly labelled and easy to operate. The F60fd will accept either SD/SDHC or xD-Picture memory cards in a dual-format slot.
For a small point-and-shoot compact the F60fd is surprisingly well equipped with extra features, including aperture and shutter priority exposure settings. Aperture values from f/2.8 to f/8.0 are available in 1/3 EV stops, as are shutter speeds from one second to 1/1000th of a second. For those who prefer to avoid such complexities the F60fd offers a new automatic mode, Scene Recognition. This is similar to the various “intelligent auto” modes found on a lot of recent cameras, in that it automatically selects what it hopes is the appropriate scene mode for the shot in hand, apparently choosing from a short list of macro, landscape, portrait, night portrait and plain vanilla auto. It chooses quickly and usually correctly, although to be honest like most such systems it doesn’t appear to be that much of an advantage over simple program auto exposure.
Other improvements include the face detection system, which can now detect up to 10 faces in the frame, including profile views and faces that are upside down, which is sure to be popular with Australians. The improved red-eye correction feature also uses the face detection system to ensure that it’s correcting eyes, and not red lipstick or jewellery. There is also a “portrait enhancer” feature which smoothes out skin wrinkles and blemishes, but the results look a little artificial. There are several features in playback mode too, including red-eye removal, cropping, rotation and copying.
The sensor-shift image stabilisation is an advantage even on a camera with such a limited zoom range, but I have to say it isn’t as good as some other IS systems I’ve tried. I found camera shake blurring on shots taken at the wide angle end of the zoom range (equivalent to 35mm) at shutter speeds as high as 1/50th of a second, which is surprising.
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