FinePix E550 Zoom
Using a 6.3-megapixel CCD, the FinePix E550 Zoom fared very well in our lab tests. In its default, automatic modes, the FinePix E550 captured deep, realistic skin tones in a still-life shot; in an outdoor shot, the E550 picked up fine detail on buildings, as well as a deep blue sky with no evident speckling.
- TIFF and RAW file support, nice bracketing features
- Large, difficult controls
With several advanced controls and 6.3 megapixel imaging, the FinePix E550 should suit intermediate photographers on a tight budget.
Price$ 635.00 (AUD)
Although the 200g FinePix E550 has a bulky feel, its size gives it room to include a nice 2" LCD and a 4X optical zoom. It also has rubber grip pads on the right side, enabling you to hold the camera easily.
The camera powers up quickly and includes five scene modes, along with several semiautomatic modes (shutter- and aperture-priority) and full manual mode. Manoeuvring through the modes using the small, slightly sticky thumbwheel proved a little challenging, but handling the camera with one hand was quite easy overall. We had some difficulty thumbing through modes and options using the small four-way rocker, too: sometimes we hit one part of it when we intended to press another. Otherwise, navigating through menus didn't pose a challenge, and it didn't require moving through layers of submenus to find appropriate options.
The E550 includes automatic exposure bracketing control, and it also has a feature called Top 4 and Final 4, which, when you press the trigger, records a continuous sequence of photos but saves only the last four shots taken before you release the trigger. It should, in theory, give you a better chance of catching that perfect action shot. In addition, the E550 supports TIFF and RAW file formats--rare for a camera in its price class.
Running on two rechargeable AA batteries, the E550 managed 325 shots in our battery tests--a good showing, but not the best battery life we've seen.
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