FujiFilm Finepix F60fd digital camera

A 12-megapixel FujiFilm digital camera with advanced auto controls

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FujiFilm Finepix F60fd
  • FujiFilm Finepix F60fd
  • FujiFilm Finepix F60fd
  • FujiFilm Finepix F60fd

Pros

  • Reliable SR Auto and face detection modes, attractive and compact design, ISO 6400

Cons

  • High noise levels, unintuitive user interface

Bottom Line

The FujiFilm Finepix F60fd is a decent compact digital camera let down by its high noise levels and unwieldy menu layout. Despite these faults, it remains a reasonable option for beginners thanks to its superb auto modes.

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FujiFilm's Finepix F60fd is the entry-level offering in the company’s ‘F’ series of midrange compact cameras. It combines a 3x optical zoom (35-105mm) lens, a 12-megapixel sensor and a 3in LCD display — all in an attractive, pocket-sized body. While its low-light performance could be better and it suffers from a poor menu layout, the F60fd remains a reasonable digital camera for the asking price. It also comes with a solid array of modes and features, including a great intelligent auto— sorry, Scene Recognition mode.

As its name implies, the FujiFilm Finepix F60fd is an upgraded version of the Finepix F50fd, which came with an identical lens, pixel count and 1/1.6in CCD sensor. The Finepix F60fd attempts to distinguish itself via a handful of extras, including a Portrait Enhancer, an inbuilt cropping tool and the afore-mentioned Scene Recognition Auto (SR Auto) mode. In addition, some of the features present in the Finepix F50fd have been retooled for improved performance; most notably face recognition. The 2.7in LCD has also been replaced with an enlarged 3in screen.

As product revamps go, it’s pretty rudimentary stuff. Most notably, it lacks the new Super CCD EXR chipset found on the FujiFilm FinePix F200EXR — despite having an identically sized sensor. This means you miss out on the pixel-fusing High ISO & Low Noise mode, alongside a swag of other great automatic tools. (Of course, the F60fd is significantly cheaper than its high-end sibling, but it would have been nice to see a few features carried across.)

Fortunately, the FujiFilm Finepix F60fd’s new SR Auto mode does a good job of masking these deficiencies — especially in optimum lighting. As with other ‘intelligent’ auto modes, it automatically adjusts white balance, exposure, focus and ISO to suit the situation at hand. When compared to equivalents from other vendors, we found that the SR Auto mode worked exceptionally well. We encountered none of the annoying landscape/portrait mix-ups that marred the Samsung ST50 digital camera’s Smart Picture mode, for example. Just to be on the safe side, the camera automatically reverts to a regular auto mode when it’s unsure of which scene mode to select. This pretty much guarantees that you’ll never use the wrong setting, regardless of your experience level.

The F60fd’s auto proficiency is bolstered yet further by an excellent face detection mode. Again, we found that this compared favourably to FujiFilm’s assorted rivals. Although it can only detect up to 10 faces (compared to a purported 35 from the Canon IXUS 100 IS), it remains one of the more reliable versions we’ve tested. It’s capable of recognising a face from almost any angle, and will even target subjects wearing glasses. It can also zoom in for a close-up view of a face after you’ve taken the shot — handy if somebody blinked at the critical moment.

The FujiFilm Finepix F60fd is pretty small for a midrange compact camera. It measures 92x59x23mm and weighs 165g. The version we tested was finished in traditional silver; uninspiring perhaps, but attractive nonetheless. There’s also a black version available for those who want something a little more noir. When it came to image quality, the FujiFilm Finepix F60fd gave an average performance; it’s output was good, but not great. Colour reproduction is accurate and sensible, rather than vibrant and fun. While this is bound to please proponents of realism, others will be disappointed by the lack of ‘pop’ in their photos. Images remained sharp and well detailed, with almost no barrel distortion in wide-angle shots.

The F60fd’s ISO settings range from ISO 100 all the way to ISO 6400. Unfortunately, noise became an issue at ISO 800 and above, with the higher ISO settings awash with grain. On the plus side, images remained relatively well detailed with minimal blotchiness and an even distribution of noise. When it comes to noise in photos, we'll take grainy over blotchy any day.

The FujiFilm Finepix F60fd comes with a solid array of features for a compact camera, including adjustable aperture and shutter priority settings, advanced red-eye correction, a 12-shot burst mode, nine white balance settings and a 640x480 movie mode to name but a few. Unfortunately, the majority of these features are buried within an unwieldy menu interface. The tiny directional pad is ill-suited to thick fingers, while the decision to divide functions into two separate menus makes navigation a chore. While it’s not the worst menu layout we’ve tangoed with, there are far friendlier options on the market, including the excellent Sony Cybershot W230.

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