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Fujifilm's FinePix F550EXR digital camera. Photo provided by Fujifilm North America Corp. Fuji F550EXR, F500EXR: A duo of BSI compacts
By Michael R. Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Wednesday, January 5, 2011 - 00:01 EST)

Continuing its Consumer Electronics Show announcements, Fujifilm has today unveiled two closely related compact cameras -- the Fuji F500EXR and Fuji F550EXR.

Both the Fujifilm FinePix F500EXR and F550EXR feature compact bodies with 15x optical zoom lenses. Inside, a backside-illuminated EXR-CMOS image sensor lets the Fujifilm FinePix F550EXR and F500EXR operate in three different modes, favoring the best resolution, dynamic range, or signal/noise ratio.

The F500EXR and F550EXR each have a 3.0-inch LCD display, but no optical or electronic viewfinder. For a saving of $20 over Fuji F550, the Fuji F500 lacks a built-in GPS receiver, which allows its sibling to geotag photos and provide compass directions to point of interest.

As well as stills, the Fuji FinePix F550 and Fuji FinePix F500 can capture 1080p high definition videos with H.264 compression. Both cameras ship from mid-March 2011, priced at around US$330 for the F500, and US$350 for the F550. For more details, read our Fuji F550 preview and Fuji F500 preview.

Fujifilm FinePix F500EXR
Fujifilm's FinePix F500EXR digital camera. Photo provided by Fujifilm North America Corp.

Fujifilm FinePix F550EXR
Fujifilm's FinePix F550EXR digital camera. Photo provided by Fujifilm North America Corp.

Original Source Press Release:

Fujifilm Enhances Powerhouse 15x Long-Zoom Point And Shoot Digital Cameras: The FinePix F500EXR And F550EXR

Offering New EXR-CMOS Sensor, Advanced Features in Stylish Point and Shoot Cameras

Valhalla, N.Y., January 5, 2011 – FUJIFILM North America Corporation today announced two additions to the FinePix F-Series lineup: the FinePix F500EXR and the FinePix F550EXR. They are sleek, compact digital cameras combining intuitive use with advanced features, including a new 16 MegaPixel EXR-CMOS sensor, FUJINON 15x super Wide-Angle lens (24-360mm equivalent) and 3.0” high contrast 460K resolution LCD, with 160° viewing. Features also include high speed shooting capabilities, full HD movie capture at 1080p, and the F550EXR also has new GPS Geo-Tagging.

EXR Sensor with CMOS Technology
With advanced image quality, improved low light sensitivity and faster performance, the EXR-CMOS sensor technology brings new advanced imaging features to the FinePix F500EXR and F550EXR digital cameras, including:

  • High-speed Continuous Shooting - Ultra-burst shooting powered by the fast CMOS sensor shoots the action at 12fps on the F500EXR and 11 fps on the F550EXR and High speed movies at 320fps at full resolution.

  • Multi Frame Technology - Combined with the accelerated performance of CMOS, this feature synthesizes consecutive burst shots into a single composite image, blending the sensitivities to “smooth” the noise signature.

  • High Sensitivity, Low Noise – CMOS turns the sensor upside down to let light directly strike the silicon for higher sensitivity, more uniform response and lower pixel cross talk. Combined with EXR technology, that means superior photos in low light with even lower noise.

Prized for bringing a new level of advanced image quality to the consumer compact market, Fujifilm’s EXR technology has the unique ability to switch its behavior depending on the shooting conditions by automatically switching sensor modes. The FinePix F500EXR and F550EXR can be left on EXR Auto Mode and the cameras will do all the work for you, or you can manually select one of three EXR Priority modes: High Resolution (HR); Dynamic Range (DR), which takes two pictures and combines them to provide a range of up to 1600%; or High ISO, Low Noise.

“The FinePix F500EXR and F550EXR have the innovative new EXR-CMOS sensor, resulting in the addition of exciting new features such as increased speed and image quality, and excellent low-light shooting,” said David Troy, director of marketing, Digital Cameras, Electronic Imaging Division, FUJIFILM North America Corporation, “These cameras are perfect for point-and-shoot photographers looking to travel light but want advanced functions and picture-taking versatility.”

Sharp, Clear 15x Zoom Lens
Despite having a body that measures just 22.9 mm wide*, the FinePix F500EXR and F550EXR cameras house the FUJINON 15x Super Wide-Angle optical zoom lens that produces crisp high resolution results throughout the focal range, from 24mm wide-angle to 360mm telephoto***. The camera’s lenses also feature Super EBC Coating that keeps flare and ghosting to minimum, allowing for the best image possible.

Intelligent Image Stabilization
Long-zoom cameras, especially those with 15x optical zoom like the F500EXR and the F550EXR, need stabilization more than any other compact, with handshake and subject movement a particular problem in low light at telephoto range and in movie mode. With a highly sensitive gyro sensor, the Dual Image Stabilization system provides further improved image quality with reduced blurring and noise in still pictures and even when shooting movies at the full 15x optical zoom or in very low-light. The new mechanically stabilized sensor is able to overcome handshake and can compensate for both sharp and wide hand movements, therefore increasing ISO to freeze action is no longer so necessary, meaning sharp low-light pictures can be achieved at ISO 400, rather than ISO 800 or 1600 at night scenery. The FinePix F500EXR and F550EXR also work to reduce blur to a minimum by deploying high ISO sensitivity to automatically increase shutter speeds, and CMOS shift type to counteract the problems of handshake. By cleverly combining these two, blur is reduced to an absolute minimum.

3.0 ” High-Contrast LCD
The FinePix F500EXR and F550EXR cameras are fitted with a high contrast 3.0 ” LCD (460K). The high contrast LCD is a considerable benefit in bright light, allowing the camera to be directed at various shooting angles to enable framing of almost any shot. The LCD is bright and clear, perfect for instant gratification of shots in playback.

HD Movie Capture
With the ability to capture movies in true, full HD quality – 1080p – the F500EXR and F550EXR also have Mini HDMI Ports**, making it easy for users to share their images and videos with loved ones through their home theater systems. Movie files (.MOV) are captured with H.264 high profile compression for smaller file sizes without sacrificing quality. With a mini-HDMI output connector, it is easy to connect and view images on your HDTV (HDMI cable not included).

GPS Geo-Tagging
The F550EXR also adds GPS Geo-Tagging. The GPS features on the camera not only tell you where you are in the world, but it also offers additional functions that are essential for outdoor shooting. Locations can be displayed either as longitude and latitude or by place name.

The FinePix F550EXR has an embedded list featuring approximately half a million places of interest across the globe. When a shot is taken, the image is tagged with location information, enabling you to quickly find shots of a place you’ve visited. Should users then want to create a photo book of a specific location they can do so using the PhotoBook Assist feature where you can tag images then turn the pages of the book on the camera’s rear LCD.

In addition, if you visit a location that you want to return to but can’t remember which way to go, the Photo Navigation mode is invaluable. Simply find a shot of the location and the FinePix F550EXR will not only tell you how far it is from your current spot, it will show you the direction you need to travel to get there.

Those wanting to draw up a map of their travels should take advantage of the F550 EXR’s GPS Tracking Data function. With this feature, the camera regularly stores location data and, when you return home and download the shots to a PC, this information can be turned into a map illustrated with the pictures you took along the way.

Motion Panorama 360 ° for the All-Round Shot
The F500EXR and F550EXR sensor extends the sweep range to 360˚ (shots can also be taken vertically). Combined with high quality Fujifilm printing, sweeping and impressive scenes can be taken, showing fine detail, low noise and high resolution at 180°, 240˚ or full 360˚ panoramic ranges.

Multi-Frame Technology
The FinePix F500EXR and F550EXR also sport a Pro Focus Mode which is created by using Fujifilm’s Multi-Frame Technology. A burst of two or three frames is taken and by taking the distance information off, the main subject is crisply matted against a defocused foreground and background. This mode is perfect for portrait or nature photography, where professional results are needed quickly with minimal adjustment to the camera and without the need to use a PC.

Meanwhile, Pro Low-light Mode can be applied to help solve the problems of noisy low light shots. With current digital cameras, it is possible to achieve relatively blur-free low light shots using high ISO and CCD shift (or optical image) stabilization, but this comes at a cost, as the ISO 1600 setting will invariably produce distracting and ugly noise.

Once switched to Pro Low-light Mode, the FinePix F500EXR and F550EXR will take a burst of four high sensitivity images using Pixel Fusion Technology [*1] in quick succession. By using the camera’s Multi Frame Technology, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th images are overlapped to create one image with extremely low noise.

The FinePix F500EXR and F550EXR also offers these additional features:

  • Super Intelligent Flash: The FinePix F500EXR and F550EXR both offer a flash control system which efficiently controls the level of flash for a given exposure to produce beautifully balanced flash illumination across the foreground and background. Super Intelligent Flash is most useful in macro photography where the contrast between subject and background can be especially challenging, but is also effective for night and backlit photography.

  • Tracking Auto Focus (AF): Tracks fast moving subjects so they don’t escape from the frame in a blur. Subjects will be tracked automatically for as long as it is kept in the frame and the shutter is half-pressed; when users fully press the shutter button your subject will be in the centre of the photo in perfect focus.

  • Shoot in RAW: The F550EXR adds one more option, where images can also be captured in a RAW file. With auto aperture and shutter priorities, the cameras allow for users to capture every image perfectly on a compact point and shoot.

  • Face Recognition: Fujifilm’s Face Recognition Technology gives you the ability to pre-program 8 people into the camera. You also have the option of inputting the category to which they belong (e.g. friends/family) and the date of his/her birthday. The next time you take a photo of the same person, the camera will cleverly recognize that person and optimize the settings to ensure that exposure and focus are best suited to the individual, rather than the other people in the picture. This fun technology can recognize up to 4 pre-programmed people on screen at the same time.

  • Face Detection with Automatic Red-eye Removal:To provide perfectly exposed and focused portrait shots, the cameras are fitted with Fujifilm’s latest Face Detection technology which is able to track up to 10 faces simultaneously, at almost any angle to the camera. The system instantly corrects red-eye and then saves both the original and the corrected image file automatically.

  • Photo Book Assist: Photo Book Assist lets you select and organize images in your camera to create a digital photo book. You can download the photo books to your computer using MyFinePix Studio software that is included.

The FinePix F500EXR and F550EXR will be available in mid-March 2011 for a retail price of $329.95 and $349.95 respectively.

*As measured at thinnest point in chassis
**HDMI cable not included
***135 equivalent

About Fujifilm
FUJIFILM North America Corporation, a marketing subsidiary of FUJIFILM Corporation, consists of five operating divisions and one subsidiary company. The Imaging Division sells consumer and commercial photographic products and services including film, one-time-use cameras, online photo services and fulfillment, digital printing equipment and service. The Electronic Imaging Division markets consumer digital cameras. The Motion Picture Division provides motion picture film, and the Graphic Systems Division supplies products and services to the printing industry. The Optical Devices Division provides binoculars, and optical lenses for closed circuit television, videography, cinematography, broadcast and industrial markets. FUJIFILM Canada Inc. markets a range of Fujifilm products and services. For more information, please visit www.fujifilm.com/northamerica, or go to www.twitter.com/fujifilmus to follow Fujifilm on Twitter. To receive news and information direct from Fujifilm via RSS, subscribe at www.fujifilmusa.com/rss.

FUJIFILM Holdings Corporation, Tokyo, Japan, brings continuous innovation and leading-edge products to a broad spectrum of industries, including electronic imaging, digital printing equipment, medical systems, life sciences, graphic arts, flat panel display materials, and office products, based on a vast portfolio of digital, optical, fine chemical and thin film coating technologies. The company was among the top 20 companies around the world granted U.S. patents in 2009, and in the year ended March 31, 2010, had global revenues of $23.5 billion*. Fujifilm is committed to environmental stewardship and good corporate citizenship. For more information, please visit www.fujifilmholdings.com.
* At an exchange rate of 93 yen to the dollar.


All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their registered owners.

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