July 27, 2007 Just when it looked like the headlong rush towards more MegaPixels had slowed down in favor of greater optical zoom capabilities in the compact camera arena, Fujifilm has announced the upcoming release of the F50fd - a compact unit that boasts a staggering 12 MegaPixel image resolution and crams in a raft of cutting edge features including Dual Image Stabilization, enhanced Face Detection and improved automated flash capabilities that include a two shot flash mode which takes two shots in quick succession in low light - one with flash one without - to ensure optimum results with minimum effort and takes full advantage of its extremely sensitive ISO levels of up to 6400 (1600 at full resolution). The F50fd is among four new additions to the FinePix F series due for release in September and will retail for around US$300 - compare this to the more than $10K outlay required to purchase a 1.3 megapixel camera like the Kodak DCS-100 in the early 1990's and it's clear just how very far the industry has come in less than two decades.
The compact F50fd features a 3.0x optical zoom, with consumers seeking higher capabilities in this area having the option of another new member of the FinePix stable - the SLR-styled 8-MegaPixel S8000fd which features an impressive18x Optical Zoom. Among the key enhancements in the the new F50fd is improved Face Detection. Like previous models the camera can detect up to10 human faces in a scene and automatically identify and optimize focus, exposure and white balance to ensure that the selected face is captured in the shot. This is achieved in just 5/100's of a second no matter where the subjects are located within the frame and unlike previous versions Face Detection does not require frontal shots - it can identify profiles at up to 90 degrees and work with angles to 135 degrees if the subject is leaning forward or lying down.
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The F50fd utilizes a 7th generation FinePix Super CCD-HR chip and the RP Processor II delivering optimum results in poorly lit situations with ISO settings of up to ISO1600 at full resolution and ISO 6400 at reduced resolution (3MP or lower). The "Intelligent Flash" takes advantage of the high speed capabilities by automatically adjusting its intensity to minimize wash-out and the Dual Shot mode provides further versatility by shooting two images in rapid succession - one with the flash and one without - and saves both for later comparison. Red- Eye Removal functionality has also advanced with automatic correction of red-eye immediateley after taking the shot - in this instance both the original and corrected file are saved so that comparisons can be made later.
Viewing is via a 2.7" high-resolution 230,000 pixel wide angle view LCD and up to 100 small images can be displayed on the screen at one time to speed-up the navigation process.
Usability is further enhanced by the inclusion of a Dual Image Stabilization mode - this combines a mechanically stabilized CCD sensor with high ISO sensitivities designed to deliver reduced blur from hand shake and subject movement.
The FinePix F50fd will debut in September 2007 at a retail price of US$299.95. Additional models include the FinePix S8000fd, an 8- MegaPixel, SLR-styled 18x Optical Zoom camera US$399.95, the 8-MegaPixel, 4x Optical Zoom FinePix F480 US$179.95 and the 9-MegaPixel entry level model with a 4x Optical Zoom FinePix A920 US$199.95.
Othe key specs of the FinePix F50fd include:
Further info is available via the FujiFilm site.View gallery - 6 images