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Fujifilm FinePix T550 Preview

by Eamon Hickey
Posted: January 7, 2013

One popular type of compact digital camera is the pocketable point-and-shoot with a fairly wide-range zoom lens, aimed at photographers who value both portability and lens versatility. In recent years, competition among the major manufacturers, including Fujifilm, Nikon, Canon, Sony, Olympus and others, has produced a crop of nice examples costing less than $200.

Into this mix comes the Fujifilm FinePix T550 with a 16-megapixel CCD sensor and a new 12X zoom lens that covers a range from 24mm to 288mm (in 35mm equivalent terms). The camera also sports faster autofocus compared to its predecessor, the FinePix T400, updated styling and new special image effects, among other enhancements.

At its core, the Fujifilm FinePix T550 is an entry-level point-and-shoot with a good basic still and video feature set, including a 16-megapixel sensor, available ISO settings up to 1,600 (3,200 at reduced resolution), 720p video capture and a dedicated movie recording button. The camera's compact dimensions allow it to be slipped easily into a pocket, according to Fujifilm, and the button layout is kept intentionally simple.

The biggest benefit of the Fujifilm FinePix T550's new lens is its additional wide-angle coverage (24mm versus 28mm for the FinePix T400). It also features optical image stabilization, as opposed to the sensor shift image stabilization found on the FinePix T400, but Fujifilm hasn't yet revealed why it made that change.

The Fujifilm FinePix T550's LCD is the same size as the one found on the FinePix T400 -- 3.0 inches -- but its resolution is now 460,000 dots instead of 230,000, which should make for a noticeably sharper display. Autofocus speed has been bumped up by 20%, according to Fujifilm.

Like other recently introduced Fujifilm compacts, the FinePix T550 also gets a set of new special effects filters, which Fujifilm calls the Advanced Filter function. These include Pop Color for a contrast and saturation boost, Toy Camera for a vignetted 1970's look, Soft Focus, and several others. Also new for the FinePix T550 is in-camera battery charging via USB cable, allowing you to juice up your battery using a computer or other USB compatible device as a power source.

The Fujifilm FinePix T550 will begin shipping in March 2013 at a list price of US$159.95. It will be available in black, white, and red.

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