DCRP Review: Fuji FinePix F100fd
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The FinePix F100fd ($379) is the top model in Fuji's venerable F-series of digital cameras. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the F-series, these cameras were somewhat famous for their low light / high sensitivity shooting abilities. As Fuji started to play the Megapixel game (along with everyone else) with the F50fd, that advantage started to decline a bit.
The FinePix F100fd doesn't exactly break from the Megapixel madness phenomenon -- it too has a 12 Megapixel sensor, like the F50. However, it uses a new 8th-generation SuperCCD HR sensor and a new image processor, so hopefully it will be better able to deal with the noise that comes at such a high resolution.
Other features on the compact F100fd include a 5X optical zoom lens, 2.7" LCD display, image stabilization, an elaborate face detection system, and adjustable dynamic range.
Has the FinePix F100fd gone back to its roots as a leader in low light photography? Find out now in our review, which starts right now!
What's in the Box?
The FinePix F100fd has an average bundle. Inside the box, you'll find:
Like most cameras these days, Fuji built memory right into the F100fd, instead of including a memory card in the box. The F100fd has 57MB of memory, which is pretty good -- it holds 11 photos at the highest quality setting. Even with all that memory, you'll still want to buy a large memory card for this 12 Megapixel camera. The camera supports xD, SD, and SDHC memory cards, and I'd recommend a 2GB card to start with. It's probably a good idea to get a high speed card, though there's no need to go overboard. Do note that a high speed xD card is known as as Type M+.
The F100fd uses the same NP-50 lithium-ion battery as the FinePix F50fd. This battery holds 3.7 Wh of energy, which is much lower than the batteries used on the older F-series models. Here's how that translates into battery life:
I first want to point out the fact that the old FinePix F31fd, arguably the last of the "great" F-series cameras, could take 580 shots on a single charge. By comparison, the F100fd can take just 230 -- which is 60% less.
In the group as a whole, the FinePix F100fd's numbers are about 25% below average, so you might want to pick up a spare. Speaking of which, an extra NP-50 battery will set you back around $50. In addition, if your battery runs out of juice, you can't just grab a battery off-the-shelf, like you could on an AA-based camera. If you want a camera with that ability, you may want to consider the Kodak and Panasonic models listed above.
When it's time to charge the NP-50, just pop it into the included charger, and then plug the whole thing into the wall (yay). Fuji says that it'll take around 2.3 hours to fully charge the battery.
As is usually the case, there's a built-in lens cover on the FinePix F100fd, so there's no clunky lens cap to deal with.
The F100fd is pretty light in terms of accessories. Here's all that's available:
Not a terribly exciting list, but a fairly typical one for a compact camera.
FinePixViewer 3.6 for Mac
Fuji includes their FinePixViewer software with the F100fd, which you can use to transfer photos from the camera to your computer. The Mac version is very basic, featuring things like slideshows, image rotating, resizing, and e-mailing. And that's about it.
FInePixViewer 5.4 for Windows
As is often the case, Windows users get a much better version of FinePixViewer. This one does everything the Mac version does, adding image editing and redeye reduction tools, not to mention a slicker interface.
Fuji includes a good-sized manual with the FinePix F100fd. It's not the most user-friendly manual, but it should answer any question that may come up about the camera. Documentation for the bundled software is installed on your computer.
Look and Feel
The FinePix F100fd is a compact (but not tiny) camera made mostly of metal. It has a nice, gently curving design that is quite appealing to the eye. It's well put together in most respect, with only the plastic tripod mount causing me to grumble a little.
The F100fd doesn't have a lot of buttons, which I view as a good thing. However, the buttons that it does have are quite small (especially the four-way controller / scroll wheel combo), especially considering the amount of real estate on the back of the camera.
Now, here's a look at how the F100fd compares to other camera in its class, in terms of size and weight: