Fujifilm FINEPIX F100fd (silver)

This compact camera from Fujjfilm offers a resolution of 12 megapixels and a host of great features.

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Fujifilm FINEPIX F100fd (silver)
  • Fujifilm FINEPIX F100fd (silver)
  • Fujifilm FINEPIX F100fd (silver)
  • Fujifilm FINEPIX F100fd (silver)

Pros

  • Superb image quality, advanced face detection mode, ISO 12,800, high-quality Super CCD HR VIII sensor, plenty of useful modes and features

Cons

  • Slightly bulky, limited manual controls

Bottom Line

The FufiFilm Finepix F100fd is an ideal compact camera for casual photography enthusiasts. Boasting superb image quality, superior components and a highly impressive feature set, it delivers on almost every level. A slightly cumbersome design is the only significant failing.

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Fujjfilm’s Finepix F100fd is the latest, shiniest addition to the company's prolific compact camera range. Equipped with a Super CCD HR VIII sensor and boasting a resolution of 12 megapixels, it’s currently the top dog in the company’s advanced F series. The F series has included some very impressive units over the years, with the recent FinePix F40fd being a standout example. Despite this highly distinguished company, the F100fd is probably the best F-branded model yet, which is quite an accolade.

The camera managed to impress us on all fronts, from image and build quality to looks and inbuilt features. With the exception of Canon’s IXUS 980 IS, it easily trumps every non-SLR camera we’ve tested in the past 12 months. (What’s more, it’s significantly cheaper than the Canon, making it a better buy overall.)

As with the other models in Fujifilm’s F series, the Finepix F100fd is aimed at casual users who would prefer not to skimp on any bells-and-whistles. While it lacks certain manual functions required by serious photographers — most notably aperture and shutter control — it remains a seriously feature-packed unit.

Included are a 5x optical zoom lens (28-114mm equivalent), seven ISO settings (ranging from ISO 100 to a truly massive ISO 12,800), 16 scene modes (including some interesting ones like Text and Natural Light & With Flash, which takes two photos in quick succession), built-in red-eye reduction, dual image stabilisation and an enhanced face detection mode (which is capable of recognising side-profiles for the first time). It even comes with a 320-pixel ‘blog’ mode, for quick hassle-free uploads to Web sites like Facebook.

Of course, all these fancy modes and features are essentially worthless if the camera’s image quality isn’t up to snuff. Thankfully, the Finepix F100fd acquits itself incredibly well in this regard, with some of the best results we’ve seen from a compact in this price range. Images remained crisp and well detailed in a variety of environments, with no evidence of over-sharpening and minimal purple fringing.

Colours were generally accurate and well balanced, although we did find tones to be slightly dark on occasion, with shadows smothering finer details. (That being said, the inclusion of several dynamic range modes should help to rectify this problem).

Noise remained minimal in our test shots up to ISO 800, which is on par with most high-quality cameras. The inclusion of an ISO 12,800 setting may seem like something of a gimmick, but it actually produced usable shots. While images were certainly blotchy, they remained free of digital artefacts and proved suitable for making small prints. Consequently, the F100fd may be the ideal camera to chronicle your nightlife with.

These impressive results are in large part thanks to the Super CCD HR VIII sensor, which uses similar technology to Fujifilm’s digital SLR range. This enables it to capture a broader dynamic range, ensuring your shots retain a good balance between tone and shadow (as mentioned above, you may need to fiddle with the advanced controls to get the best results though). The hefty pixel-count of 12 million will also allow you to enlarge prints without drastically affecting the image: handy if you plan on making posters.

The Finepix F100fd is quite stylish looking without being overly showy about it. Its sleek and shiny design should appeal to both genders and will look equally at home in a purse or the pocket of your jeans. With that being said, it’s not the most portable compact camera on the market, weighing in at a rather hefty 168g. Fans of ultra-slim compacts may therefore find it too cumbersome for their tastes.

We experienced no issues with the camera’s user interface. The menu is well laid out and easy to navigate, with a traditional wheel dial that toggles between shooting modes. The inclusion of both a digital and CCD shift stabilisation will help to reduce the blurriness in your images; this is particularly helpful when shooting at maximum zoom.

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