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Customer Review

88 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Day Impressions - Fantastic Little Camera, April 6, 2011
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This review is from: Fujifilm FinePix F550EXR 16 MP CMOS Digital Camera with Fujinon 15x Super Wide Angle Zoom Lens and GPS Geo-Tagging Function (Electronics)
I chose this camera because I wanted to step up from my old Panasonic TZ5. I've had several digital cameras over the years, all of them point-and-shoot with CCD sensors. I've not used DSLRs much at all, so my perspective is different from those with high-end cameras for whom this is their portable camera. This camera lives up to my expectations, which are probably quite different from some of the other reviewers.

For my first day, I kept the camera on the EXR setting and let it make my decisions, it did a very good job of figuring out what to do in the different situations, but as I go on it will be necessary to familiarize myself with the menus and manual shooting options in order to get the results I want. I'm giving the camera 5 stars because the images I got with only a cursory glance at the manual were quite lovely, and I fully expect to be able to improve on them as I learn more about the wide variety of settings. Another reason this camera gets all 5 of the stars from me is that I'm a geek, and so the impressive amount of technical bells & whistles on the F550EXR really appeals to me.

Feel, fit, and finish: really solid little camera, emphasis on the "little" -- I have average-sized hands and the camera felt quite small in my hands, I can imagine someone with large hands would find it a bit awkward to hold. Like the other reviewers, I found the position of the pop-up flash quite awkward, it will take some getting used to. I wonder if that placement could have been better if they'd just made the camera a little bit bigger? The controls are intuitive but they are quite small, made me really glad I don't have big fingers.

Zoom: fast and fantastic. I'll post a couple of pictures when I finish to show the wide/zoom comparison. Clarity at full resolution with handheld, full-zoom shots was sufficient to recognize people standing at the end of my street, about a couple hundred yards.

Focus and responsiveness: having never owned a DSLR, the quickness of the shutter response was a little startling at first, I'm used to timing my shots to account for a significant delay, if you're coming from a CCD sensor camera this will make a huge difference for you. The focus is quick and with the anti-shake, all my handheld shots (even at full zoom) were sharp and clear. Taking pictures of a hotel about a mile and a half from here, I could read their sign.

Color: like the 'negative' review I found the colors a little bit de-saturated in many shots, but then I discovered that in EXR mode, you should select "dynamic range" priority. There are a *lot* of settings and options, do explore them. Colors and clarity in low light with no flash are quite lovely, again, comparing this to a CCD sensor, it's a whole different world. I do wish there were more than three color choices (film simulation, B&W, and sepia) -- with my last Panasonic there was a "vivid" option which would have been a good on this camera. However, I concede that the camera has abilities well beyond such a simple setting, there's just a bit of a learning curve.

Video: The full HD movies are quite good, and the sound was great, I was taking movies at the beach with a brisk breeze and the microphones picked up mostly ocean sound and very little wind noise. I was somewhat disappointed to find that the resolution for 320FPS high speed video was a very odd 320 x 112, but since this slows things down more than 10x, I don't think I'll be using that setting much. The 320 x 240 at 160FPS still slows things down more than 5X and is a much more useful resolution. Even better is the 640 x 480 at 80FPS, big enough to show detail and slow enough to capture things you can't make out with the naked eye.

GPS / Points of Interest: It may be that there aren't enough POI in my area to make that feature very useful, I pointed the camera in the general direction of (but not directly at) the City Hall and it thought I was there. Still, the GPS is very accurate and uploads to Flickr are pinpointed within a few yards.

I'll update this review as I gain more experience with the camera, but overall I have to say I'm very satisfied with my choice.

**UPDATE** I feel I was in too much of a hurry to post this review, and should have given myself some time to learn the camera. The main things I'd like to add are:

Criticism of "washed out" images -- this just doesn't apply if you use the right settings. Full manual mode yields beautiful rich tones and wonderful detail, including lovely shots with subtle bokeh at f3.5.

Macro: detail is lovely and creamy smooth, the CMOS sensor on this camera is really very wonderful.

My best advice to you is to read the manual, and take your time getting to know the features. I love this little camera very, very much on this, my third day with it.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 19, 2011 4:07:01 PM PDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Sep 22, 2011 3:14:20 AM PDT
An excellent and highly useful review
While understanding Robert's POV (I am the kind who tries to make detailed checked reviews or comments, hence sometimes results in posting them late or never), I also love the immediate inputs from more spontaneous people; especially when they are also detailed and precise; still more when they are also lovely, pleasant, easy to read; and even more when they actually bring the update they had planned. So, a big THANKS to you Karen for your excellent and highly useful review.
Versailles, Thu 22 Sep 2011 12:14:20 +0200
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