Start-up time clocks in at around 3.5seconds with the camera taking an additional half a second to lock focus. All in all this is pretty reasonable for a budget compact such as this. Autofocus performance is the usual mixed bag; while focus is pretty much instant when the camera is used outdoors in daylight or indoors under good light the contrast detect AF technology does noticeably slow down when light levels drop. There’s no built-in AF Assist light either so in very dim to dark conditions the T400 really does struggle.
On the plus side, however, the T400 does offer a couple of fairly accurate Face Detection AF modes, which can be switched on to ensure the camera prioritises focus on the faces in any given scene rather than anything in the scene around them. Given that the T400’s only other AF options are Centre-spot AF and Tracking AF this is especially useful.
Of course, given that it’s a budget compact it would be somewhat unfair to expect it to offer much in the way of speedy continuous shooting. That said, there is a ‘Top 3’ continuous shooting that, as the name suggests, can shoot at around 1fps for a maximum of three consecutive frames. Using the camera in single-shot mode you’ll be hard-pressed to shoot more than four frames inside 10seconds (2.5fps).
One further area of concern is battery performance. During the course of our review we had to recharge the battery on two occasions – all for a grand total of around 150 images. True, we were playing around with the camera quite a bit in between, and it could have been that (alongside the defunct microphone) the battery in our test unit was a bit of a dud, but still you’d expect a little bit more than 150images per charge.
Image quality is best described as passable; that’s to say not wholly terrible, but not all that great either. Yes, the T400 will generally deliver better results than a cameraphone, however its limitations as a budget compact soon become apparent just as soon as you raise the sensitivity above the baseline ISO 100 setting, with noise quickly degrading images to the point of being unusable.
That said, with the camera set to ISO 100 and used in Scene Recognition mode images aren’t too bad on the whole. Colour isn’t particularly vibrant and tonally images are also a little flat, however the T400 does manage to produce fairly lifelike images that hold up ok when viewed at smaller image sizes on a laptop or computer screen.
While there’s no doubting the usefulness provided by the extended reach of the T400’s 10x zoom the lens isn’t particularly sharp at the edges and corners, especially when the zoom is used at its telephoto extremes. The camera appears to try and compensate for this via some aggressive sharpening at the JPEG processing stage, and while this does make the centre of the image look nice and sharp, it also exaggerates the relative softness of the edges and corners.
The Fujifilm FinePix T400 is a 16MP budget compact that comes with a 10x optical zoom. While the extended telephoto reach certainly adds some flexibility, in all other respects the T400 is very much a bare-bones budget snapper. As such performance is a little sluggish and the rear LCD monitor is of relatively poor quality. Image quality isn’t too bad at the lowest sensitivity settings but soon falls apart as you raise the ISO.