Fujifilm F50fd Review
Fujifilm FinePix F50fd Exposure
Saturation & Hue Accuracy
Pretty good overall color and hue accuracy, with good overall saturation.
Saturation. The Fujifilm FinePix F50fd just barely pushes bright reds and blues, and hits greens nearly dead-on accurate. Bright yellows are actually a little undersaturated. Though color saturation is probably more true here, it may disappoint some consumers who like more vivid color. I particularly noticed this in the outdoor shots. Most consumer digital cameras produce color that's more highly saturated (more intense) than found in the original subjects. This is simply because most people like their color a bit brighter than life.
Skin tones. According to the diagram, skin tones are nearly exactly right. Depending on the light source, I felt skin tones needed just a tad more warmth. Still, results are quite good. Where oversaturation is most problematic is on Caucasian skin tones, as it's very easy for these "memory colors" to be seen as too bright, too pink, too yellow, etc.
Hue. The Fujifilm FinePix F50fd produced nearly accurate hue, just
barely pushing cyan toward blue and red toward orange. Hue is "what
color" the color is.
| See full set of test images
See thumbnails of all test and gallery images
Exposure and White Balance
Indoors, incandescent lighting
Warm color with the Auto and Incandescent white balance options, though good results with the Manual setting. Higher than average positive exposure compensation required.
|Auto White Balance
|Incandescent White Balance
|Manual White Balance
Color balance indoors under incandescent lighting was slightly warm in both Auto and Incandescent white balance modes, while the Manual setting produced much more accurate results. The FinePix F50fd required a +1.3 EV exposure compensation boost to get a good exposure, higher than average for this shot. Overall color with the Manual white balance setting is quite good, though the blue flowers are a little dark and purplish. (Many digital cameras reproduce these flowers with a dark, purplish tint, so the F50fd struggled a bit here.) Our test lighting for this shot is a mixture of 60 and 100 watt household incandescent bulbs, a pretty yellow light source, but a very common one in typical home settings here in the U.S.
High contrast, but still good overall exposure. Though technically correct, color appears a little flat and undersaturated.
|Auto White Balance,
|Auto White Balance,
Outdoors, the Fujifilm FinePix F50fd performed well, though contrast is high. Shadows are quite deep, and highlights are bright, with detail lost in both. Though the shirt is almost completely blown out in the +0.7 EV portrait shot, this is as close as it gets to good skin tones without excessive highlights taking over the face. On the outdoor house shot, color saturation is technically correct, but appears insufficient to my eye. The high contrast subject also tricked the camera into producing a slightly darker overall exposure. Still, the camera handled this tough lighting fairly well.
Very high resolution, 1,800 lines of strong detail.
|Strong detail to
1,800 lines horizontal
|Strong detail to
1,800 lines vertical
Our laboratory resolution chart revealed sharp, distinct line patterns down to about 1,800 lines per picture height in both directions. You could argue for some row-jumping color artifacts further out, but they're very difficult to discern and so negligible. Extinction didn't occur, as lines were still distinguishable at 2,000. This is a very impressive result for a slim pocket digital camera. Use these numbers to compare with other cameras of similar resolution, or use them to see just what higher resolution can mean in terms of potential detail.
Sharpness & Detail
Reasonably sharp images overall, though softer definition in the finer details. Visible noise suppression and slight edge enhancement.
|Definition of high-contrast
elements is pretty good, with minor visible edge enhancement.
|Subtle detail: Hair
Noise suppression blurs
detail in areas of subtle contrast,
as in the darker parts of
Marti's hair here.
Sharpness. The Fujifilm FinePix F50fd captures good detail with pretty good overall sharpness, though definition in the finer details is a little soft. Slight enhancement artifacts are visible on high-contrast subjects such as the crop above left. Edge enhancement creates the illusion of sharpness by enhancing colors and tones right at the edge of a rapid transition in color or tone.
Detail. The crop above right shows moderately high noise suppression, with darker areas of Marti's hair showing smudged detail and less definition in individual strands. Though the F50fd is very good at capturing high contrast detail, here's where you can see the tradeoff at higher pixel counts, thanks to smaller and smaller pixels on this 12-megapixel sensor. Noise-suppression systems in digital cameras tend to flatten-out detail in areas of subtle contrast. The effects can often be seen in shots of human hair, where the individual strands are lost and an almost "watercolor" look appears.
ISO & Noise Performance
Moderate noise at the normal sensitivity settings, though a big jump in noise with strong blurring at the higher settings.
|ISO 100||ISO 200||ISO 400|
|ISO 800||ISO 1,600||ISO 3,200|
Noise levels and efforts to suppress noise are visible at the Fujifilm FinePix F50fd's lower sensitivity settings, with much higher noise at ISO 400 and up. At ISOs 800 and 1,600, noise and noise suppression greatly interfere with detail definition. At the highest settings of 3,200 and 6,400, the camera limits resolution in an attempt to reduce the effects of increased noise, but results are still very blurry and really unusable for this subject.
Extremes: Sunlit and low light tests
High resolution with pretty good overall detail, but high contrast and limited shadow detail. Fair low-light performance, capable of capturing bright images in near darkness, though only at the highest sensitivity settings.
|+0.3 EV||+0.7 EV||+1.0 EV|
The Fujifilm FinePix F50fd produced high contrast under the deliberately harsh lighting in the test above, with washed-out highlights and very deep shadows. Shadow detail is limited, with smudged detail from noise suppression and noise pixels as well. The camera required about average compensation to get proper exposure of skin tones, at +0.7 EV, but unfortunately blows the detail in the shirt. Be sure to use fill flash in situations like the one shown above; it's better to shoot in the shade when possible.
Because digital cameras are more like slide film than negative film (in that they tend to have a more limited tonal range), we test them in the harshest situations to see how they handle scenes with bright highlights and dark shadows, as well as what kind of sensitivity they have in low light. The shot above is designed to mimic the very harsh, contrasty effect of direct noonday sunlight, a very tough challenge for most digital cameras. (You can read details of this test here.)
Low light. The Fujifilm FinePix F50fd reasonably well for a pocket camera on the low-light test, though it required a large boost in sensitivity to capture bright images at the lowest light levels. At ISO 100, the target was still a little dim at one foot-candle (about the equivalent of average city street lighting at night). However, shooting with the camera's Night mode, which employs ISO 100, results were better, with usable images down to about 1/4 foot-candle. Noise is high, and noise suppression affects detail as well. Color balance was pretty good with the Auto white balance setting. The camera's autofocus system worked well, as it was able to focus on the subject down to the darkest light level unassisted. Keep in mind that the longer shutter times used here necessitate a tripod to prevent blurring from camera movement. (A useful trick is to just prop the camera on a convenient surface, and use its self-timer to release the shutter. This avoids any jiggling from your finger pressing the shutter button, and can work quite well when you don't have a tripod handy.)
How bright is this? The one foot-candle light level that this test begins at roughly corresponds to the brightness of typical city street-lighting at night. Cameras performing well at that level should be able to snap good-looking photos of street-lit scenes.
NOTE: This low light test is conducted with a stationary subject, and the camera mounted on a sturdy tripod. Most digital cameras will fail miserably when faced with a moving subject in dim lighting. (For example, a child's ballet recital or a holiday pageant in a gymnasium.) For such applications, you may have better luck with a digital SLR camera, but even there, you'll likely need to set the focus manually. For information and reviews on digital SLRs, refer to our SLR review index page.
Coverage and Range
A slightly weak flash, with limited range. Our standard shots were dim even with the maximum positive exposure compensation applied.
|35mm equivalent||105mm equivalent|
Coverage. Flash coverage was uneven at wide angle, but much better than average. At full telephoto, the target was a bit dim. In the Indoor test, the FinePix F50fd's flash underexposed our subject just a little at its default setting, but because the FinePix F50fd doesn't have flash exposure compensation, even +2.0 EV images are underexposed. The camera's Slow-Sync flash mode produced more even results, though the exposure was just as dim, and the background lighting created an orange cast.
ISO 100 Range. At wide angle, flash shots at ISO 100 remained fairly bright only out to a distance of about 7 feet, decreasing in brightness from that point on. At full telephoto and ISO 100, even the target at 6 feet was quite dim. While flash is usually dim in pocket cameras, this is a particularly poor performance, raising a question about the suitability of the F50fd for indoor flash photography.
|Manufacturer-Specified Flash Range|
Auto ISO 400
Auto ISO 400
Manufacturer Specified Flash Test. In the wide angle shot above, the FinePix F50fd performs almost as Fujifilm says it will, producing a slightly dim, but usable exposure at the rated distance with its ISO set to Auto (which selected ISO 400). At telephoto, the image is again slightly dim though still usable, and the camera again boosted ISO to 400 to compensate. Our standard test method for flash range uses a fixed setting of ISO 100, to provide a fair basis of comparison between cameras. We also shoot two shots using the manufacturer-specified camera settings, at the range the company claims for the camera, to assess the validity of the specific claims.
Great print quality, good color, sharp 13x19-inch prints. ISO 400 images are usable at 11x14, ISO 800 shots are still good at 8x10.
The Fujifilm F50fd had enough resolution to make good looking 13x19-inch prints at ISO 100. 16x20-inch prints were usable, but chroma noise shows up in shadows, and dark areas look a little washed out. ISO 200 shots are better than expected at 13x19, with good color and detail. ISO 400 shots are quite good at 11x14, with a little noise in the shadows. At 8x10 ISO 400 looks great, quite sharp. ISO 800 images still look pretty good at 8x10, with good detail in brighter areas, yet still some noise in the shadows. That improves at 5x7. ISO 1,600 shots would probably still be acceptable to most at 5x7, though dark areas are plagued by noise that looks a little like static on a television. It's a little better at 4x6. ISO 3,200 shots are decent at 4x6, but a little smudgy. So long as you were prepared for the tradeoffs, I think most would be happy with the results. ISO 6,400 shots are a little too stippled at 4x6 to be called a photograph. Still, it's not bad for such a small camera.
Indoors in incandescent light, the performance changes a bit at lower ISOs, thanks to the 12-megapixel sensor. Still, you can get a good 11x14 at ISO 100, though with some detail smoothing in the hair. This increases as you move up through the ISO settings. ISO 200 is still good at 11x14, and ISO 400 works better at 8x10. ISO 800 is better at 5x7, but ISO 1,600 images have plugged shadows and hair takes on a helmet-like look. Above that and images are essentially smudgy representations of the subject.
Overall, it's a very good performance from the Fujifilm F50fd, quite a surprise from such a small pocket camera with a 12-megapixel sensor.
Testing hundreds of digital cameras, we've found that you can only tell just so much about a camera's image quality by viewing its images on-screen. Ultimately, there's no substitute for printing a lot of images and examining them closely. For this reason, we now routinely print sample images from the cameras we test on our Canon i9900 studio printer, and on the Canon iP5200 here in the office. (See the Canon i9900 review for details on that model.)
The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Fujifilm FinePix F50fd Photo Gallery.
Recommended Software: Rescue your Photos!
Just as important as an extra memory card is a tool to rescue your images when one of your cards fails at some point in the future. We get a lot of email from readers who've lost photos due to a corrupted memory card. Memory card corruption can happen with any card type and any camera manufacturer, nobody's immune. A lot of "lost" images can be recovered with an inexpensive, easy to use piece of software though. Given the amount of email I've gotten on the topic, I now include this paragraph in all my digital camera reviews. The program you need is called PhotoRescue, by DataRescue SA. Read our review of it if you'd like, but download the program now, so you'll have it. It doesn't cost a penny until you need it, and even then it's only $29, with a money back guarantee. So download PhotoRescue for Windows or PhotoRescue for Mac while you're thinking of it. (While you're at it, download the PDF manual and quickstart guide as well.) Stash the file in a safe place and it'll be there when you need it. Trust me, needing this is not a matter of if, but when... PhotoRescue is about the best and easiest tool for recovering digital photos I've seen. (Disclosure: IR gets a small commission from sales of the product, but I'd highly recommend the program even if we didn't.) OK, now back to our regularly scheduled review...
Not sure which camera to buy? Let your eyes be the ultimate judge! Visit our Comparometer(tm) to compare images from the Fujifilm FinePix F50fd with those from other cameras you may be considering. The proof is in the pictures, so let your own eyes decide which you like best!
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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.