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Fujfifilm have improved on their face recognition software by increasing the angle that the face can be turned away from the camera and still be recognised.
- Zoom: 3x optical zoom
- Resolution: 12Mp
- Sensor size: 1/1.6in
- Sensor type: Super CCD HR
- Image size:
- File type: JPEG
- Sensitivity: ISO100-6400
- Storage: SD, SDHC, xD picture card, 25Mb internal memory
- Focus types: Single (multi, centre), continuous (AF assist illumination)
- Normal focusing: 45cm-infinity
- Close focusing: 7cm-infinity
- Metering types: Programmed AE
- Exposure compensation: /- 2EV in 1/3 step increments
- Shutter speed: 8sec-1/2000sec
- Flash: Built-in
- Monitor: 3in TFT LCD
- Interface: USB 2.0
- Power: Li-Ion battery
- Size: 92.5x59.2x22.9mm
- Weight: 163g (body only)
At £145, the Fujifilm FinePix F60fd gives you 12Mp resolution, a 3in screen, face detection 3.0 and some creative control with aperture and shutter-priority.
For an extra £9, the Casio Exilim EX-Z200 offers a 10Mp resolution, 4x optical zoom and smaller 2.7in screen. The face detection still has to have them facing straight at the camera whereas face detection 3.0 recognises them at more extreme angles.
After a drop in price, the Pentax Optio A40 is the same as the F60fd at £145. It offers the same resolution and zoom but a smaller screen and, like the Casio, the face detection won't be as evolved.
It does offer a closer focusing but only by a centimetre and the sensor is smaller which suggests higher noise problems.
Fujifilm FinePix F60fd: Features
From the front, the Fujifilm FinePix F60fd is a little confusing in its design and this is due to the two-tone front in the top corner. It makes the camera appear to slope down but it's actually more level than it looks. I like the matt black covering, I think it makes it look more modern as it doesn't conform to the silver parade.
The flash is sat quite close to the lens and this can normally cause problems with red-eye, but the F60fd has built-in red-eye removal software that will automatically detect the problem, adjust the image to remove it and save both images for you to decide which you prefer later on. Of course, the problem with this is the amount of space that saving all these pictures will take up.
A 3x optical zoom lens sits relatively flush with the rest of the body, bar a couple of millimetres. I'm surprised that it's not a higher zoom than this these days. The technology is available for higher zooms in smaller cameras than this. Why don't manufacturers finally do away with small optical zooms?
The biggest advancement on the F60fd is the face detection 3.0 which will recognise faces from a more extreme angle than previous systems. This technology is seen on the Canon EOS 5D MkII, so it's good to see it on a small compact as well. Fujifilm pioneered this technology for the image printing systems and eventually incorporated it onto cameras to assist focusing.
Fujifilm say that the new system can detect faces with up to 90 degree movement in either direction for profiles and with rotations of up to 360 degrees which means people can be upside down in your picture and face detection will still recognise them.
It's only a small camera and despite quite a bit of space left on the top, all the major features have been crammed onto the back and makes it look messy. The playback button could've been a switch on the top and the face detection could've probably found a place up there too.
Maybe it's the busy command dial that makes it look busier than what it really is. There's certainly plenty going on with auto, SR auto, natural light, scenes (SP), video, aperture/shutter-priority, manual and natural with flash which takes two images, one with flash, one without and lets you decide which to keep.
I think the natural and natural with flash modes could've been relocated to the menu system. They're interesting features but I can't see them being used enough to warrant space on the dial.
SR in SR auto stands for Scene Recognition and is designed to analyse the image before it records it, work out the best scene mode for the picture. Given time, this technology could rid us of scene modes altogether which, in my opinion, is great.
One of the greatest achievements from Fujifilm has to be the Super CCD which, around five years ago, was split into two definitive types: SR and HR. SR stands for Super dynamic Range and helps bring information out in darker areas. The F60fd has the HR sensor which stands for High Resolution. It's been reported that noise is an issue on the HR sensor which means the noise test will be interesting to look at.
A number of compacts are bringing out image enhancing features recently such as the Samsung NV9 and they work in a similar vein to how cloning works in editing suites such as Adobe Photoshop. It analyses the image, finds the imperfect areas of skin and smooths them out reducing blemishes, shadows and minor spots.
Fujfilm FinePix F60fd: Build quality
It feels quite good in your hands, with a weight to it that you don't really expect so it comes as a bit of a surprise. There's no bendable or creaky parts to the camera apart from the weak battery door. The lens has some play in it, but that's not a bad thing necessarily as long as they've sealed it against contaminants properly.
The Fujifilm FinePix F60fd is another camera from Fujifilm that has a dual card slot fitted to accept both SD and xD picture cards, the latter being a format designed by Fuji and Olympus for use in their cameras. The problem that the format has is that it's limited to 2Gb maximum capacity whereas SD can get a maximum of 32Gb (theoretically, it's 2Tb, take a look at our article regarding this).
This could be spelling the end of xD as a format if the capacity can't be expanded. Consumers don't want to have to carry loads of cards around and with SD, they don't have to. The small size of xD is nice, but may not be enough to save it from becoming obsolete.
Fujifilm FinePix F60fd: Performance
Shutter lag sits at a typical time of 0.08sec which falls in line with other compacts. There are several burst modes but only one that gives you a steady length of decent continuous shots. Long period mode manages to shoot seven images in ten seconds which is a 0.7fps result.
Other burst modes available include Top3, Final3, Top12 and Final12. Because the Top and Final12 modes are taking more images than the camera can cope with, it needs to reduce the amount of information going through the processor, so chooses a resolution of 3Mp. It also adjusts the sensitivity to ISO400 or higher to make sure that the camera doesn't selct a shutter speed that could interfere with the burst mode. The Top and Final12 modes will only work in sports, manual and A/S modes.
In Final12 and Final3, the camera will take a maximum of 40 images while the shutter release is held down. The camera then stores the final 12 or 3 images taken.
Primary colours are understandably boosted but I'm concerned over the pastel colours looking so mute.
As with any compact, the Fujifilm FinePix F60fd has boosted the primary colours giving more weight to blue followed closely by green and red. I like the earthy colours and although the skin tone is a little pale, it's acceptable. I'm concerned with the pastel colours looking so washed out. The mono tones are balanced and punch out nicely.
I let landscape mode take over for the landscape test shot and there is a concern over the result. The shadow area looks like there's quite a bit of noise at least more than there should be for an ISO200 image. In normal circumstances I would welcome the adjustment of the ISO to ensure a decent aperture for relevant depth of field, but with the noise that's showing, I'm loathe to do it.
Fringing is evident on the white bar that's in the sun as it contrasts nicely with the dark lock gates. There is a decent amount of detail in the foreground grass area but in the darker area of the trees on the right of the frame, the image has started to break down. It's quite a bad result from a camera that has a High Resolution sensor fitted into it.
Macro focusing crops into a maximum of 7cm which isn't brilliant but it's not necessarily a major problem. The detail in the peacock feathers is very good and the wide f/2.8 aperture that the camera selected has thrown the background and foreground out of focus produced an image witha thin focal plane making for an image with more impact.
While taking the macro images, I also tested the film situations the camera has. The original macro image was taken in the standard mode and this makes the colours from the chrome setting look more mute. They certainly do have a slightly cooler look to the image fitting in with Fuji slide film. Regular film setting can be seen by a boost of colour and the black & white image speaks for itself but suffers from a lack of contrast.
Because the Fujifilm FinePix F60fd has two portrait modes, I was curious to see what the difference would be. More and more compacts are coming out with skin healing tools built in to enhance skin, remove blemishes and balance skin tones. The main problme with them is that they're still relatively primitive and can't cope with excessive amendments.
It means that if your subject has a large spot or scar, the lovely smooth skin fades to normal for the blemish making it look unusual.
Auto portrait hasn't made much of a difference from the manual mode with both giving decent results in terms of exposure and white balance. Although I had to amend the white balance in the menu for the manual mode. Flash has lit the whole area nicely adding catchlights while not placing a harsh shadow on the wall in the background.
Fujifilm FinePix F60fd: Focus and metering
In manual or A/S mode, you can select the metering modes that the F60fd has available. Annoyingly, Fuji call it Photometry, as though people who aren't into photography will know what it means. You can choose from multi, centre-weighted and spot metering. They differ by the amount of the screen that they use to measure the light falling on to the sensor.
Multi metering splits the sensor into factions, measures the individual areas and works out the most balanced exposure from the results. Centre-weighted takes a reading from the whole area with more weight (priority) being given to the centre of the frame. In this mode, problems can arise if a bright light is in the shot as the camera can be fooled and stop down the aperture which balances out the light but silhouettes everything else.
Spot metering takes a measurement from the exact centre of the frame (usually around 2-3%) and ignores everything else. This is a very precise way of metering and can adversely affect the rest of the photograph if it falls into a shadow, for instance.
Fujifilm pioneered the inclusion of face detection in cameras and with the new breed of cameras, they've updated the focusing method. It's seen leaps in technology from other companies that use it such as expanding the amount of facesthat the camera can focus on but the new face detect 3.0 has the ability to find faces that are angled from the camera or in any position in a 360 degree rotation.
Fujifilm Finepix F60fd: Noise test
It's upsetting to look at the noise images simply because the design of the pixels on Fujifilm sensors is designed to reduce the problem. To see noise at ISO100 is pretty disturbing because the HR sensor is supposed to get rid of noise. Grantedly, it can only really be seen at full size magnification and there's still plenty of detail in the petals.
The problem slowly accelerates as the ISO number climbs until ISO3200 when noise control takes a more drastic approach and cuts pixels. This technique of lowering the resolution is because some noise is generated by the heat of neighbouring pixels as they expose. Reducing the amount of pixels increases the gap between the ones that are still used meaning they remain less affected. At ISO3200 the resolution is halved to 6Mp and halved again to 3Mp when selecting ISO6400.
The ISO100 test.
The ISO6400 test.
Fujifilm FinePix F60fd: Verdict
It's such a shame to see the Fuji camera having problems with noise because they led the way in image technology with the release of the SuperCCD. It seems the hexagonal pixels aren't pulling their weight now and I think Fuji need to address the problem.
The camera is just as easy to use as any other Fujifilm digital compact which was also what set them apart in the old days and while this is great, other companies have come up behind them and made the cameras just as easy meaning they have no edge.
If you want an easy to use point and shoot compact that you'll use for taking pictures of people in bright weather, then this could be the camera for you.
Fujifilm FinePix F60fd: Plus points
Advanced face detection
Easy to use
Good build quality
Dual card slot
Fujifilm FinePix F60fd: Minus points
Harsh colour fringing
Bad noise at high ISO
Colours could be more spot on
The Fujifilm FinePix F60fd costs around £145.83 and is available from Warehouse Express here: Fujifilm FinePix F60fd