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Fuji Finepix F40fd

>> Thursday, January 29, 2009

The F40fd's design is pleasingly minimalist. It measures a somewhat slim 2.3 by 3.8 by 0.9 inches and weighs 5.1 ounces. The camera features 3X optical zoom with an 8 mm to 24 mm range (which is equivalent to a 35mm lens with a 36 mm-108 mm zoom) and corresponding maximum f-stops of f/2.8 to f/5.1. One of this camera's features I really like is relatively new to Fuji face detection.

The Fuji FinePix S6000fd, a super zoom, also has this function, hence the "fd" suffix. With this feature enabled, when you're setting up a shot, you'll see white squares appear around people's faces on the camera's 2.5 inch LCD. The person closest to the camera gets a green square, and becomes the primary focus of the shot most cameras just automatically focus on the center of a shot with no regard for its composition.

In my testing, this feature was accurate most of the time, in both group and standalone shots. Another handy function is the F40fd's clunkily named "Natural Light and With Flash" two shot mode. This mode comes in handy when you're not sure if the flash is necessary in a given situation. In this mode, with the press of a button the camera snaps two shots in quick succession, one with and one without flash.

The two shots are then momentarily displayed on the LCD side by side. As we noted in the Fuji FinePix S6000fd review, the camera also adjusts its ISO settings when using this function. My "without flash" shot upped the ISO to 2,000, whereas the flash shot went down to 800 ISO. As is typical, the higher ISO shot showed some colored noise. Fuji's Picture Stabilization technology helps you capture clear action shots.

The camera reduces blur by increasing the ISO based on movement, and the company claims it can do so with low noise. In my high ISO test shots (1,600 ISO), the F40fd did a decent job, with some colored noise, but nothing too prominent. Colors and flesh tones retained vibrancy and accuracy. Like most point and shoots, the F40fd does not have fully manual modes, although you can adjust exposure compensation, white balance, ISO, image size, and color settings.

There's even a black and white mode. The F40fd has three burst modes one that saves the first two shots of a sequence, one that takes the last two, and one that saves a continuous stream of unlimited shots. Continuous burst mode was almost painfully slow in my testing the other modes were speedy but saved only two shots. The Canon PowerShot A550 has much better burst modes.

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