DCRP Review: Fuji FinePix F40fd
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The FinePix F40fd ($299) is a compact, stylish camera that replaces the FinePix F20, which served as the "little brother" to the highly-rated FinePix F30. The beauty of these cameras isn't really their design, lens, or feature set. Rather, it's their unique SuperCCD HR sensor with its hexagonal photo sites, which delivers much better high ISO performance than cameras that use regular CCDs. What this means in the real world is that you can get better quality photos in low light situations than on your typical compact camera.
Other features on the F40fd include a standard-issue 3X optical zoom lens, a gorgeous 2.5" LCD display, point-and-shoot operation, a dual xD/SD memory card slot, and a VGA movie mode. Oh, and face detection too -- hence the "fd" in the model name.
Is the FinePix F40fd the low light point-and-shooter that we've been waiting for? Find out now in our review!
What's in the Box?
The FinePix F40fd has an average bundle. Inside the box, you'll find:
Like so many cameras these days, Fuji built memory into the F40fd instead of bundling a memory card. The F40fd has 25MB of built-in memory a grand total of six photos at the highest quality setting. That means that you'll want to buy a memory card right away. In one of the most consumer friendly moves of the year, Fuji has made their latest cameras compatible with Secure Digital (SD) cards, in addition to the xD cards used in the past. In general, SD cards cost less than xD cards. If you are going to buy an xD card, make sure it's a "Type H" high speed model -- it makes a big difference. Anyhow, I recommend picking up a high speed 1GB card to use with the FinePix F40fd.
The FinePix F40fd uses the same NP-70 lithium-ion battery as its predecessor, the F20. This battery packs 4.1 Wh of energy, not nearly as much as the battery used by the F30 and F31fd. That means that the F40fd's battery life is more average than spectacular. Here are the numbers:
Even with its much less powerful battery (than the F31fd), the F40fd still turns in above average numbers. Battery life in unchanged since the F20.
Like all compact cameras, the FinePix F40fd's proprietary battery has some downsides. Buying another one is expensive -- they start at about $43. In addition, you can't use an off-the-shelf battery when your rechargeable dies, as you could on a camera that uses AA's. Then again, you won't find a camera this size that uses AA batteries.
When it's time to charge the battery, just pop it into the included charger and wait for about two hours. This is my favorite kind of charger -- it plugs directly into the wall.
As you'd expect on a small camera, there's a built-in lens cover, so there's no lens cap to deal with.
The FinePix F40fd is pretty light in the accessories department. The most interesting item is the WP-FXF40 waterproof case ($150), which lets you take the camera up to 40 meters underwater. The only other thing is the AC-5VX AC adapter (priced from $37), which lets you power the camera without draining your battery.
FinePixViewer 3.4 for Mac
Fuji includes their FinePixViewer software with the F40fd, 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. Yeah, you should use iPhoto instead.
FInePixViewer 5.3 for Windows
As is often the case, Windows users get a better version of FinePixViewer. This one does everything the Mac version does, adding image editing and redeye reduction tools.
Fuji also includes ImageMixer VCD2 LE with the camera, which lets you create Video CDs (for viewing on your DVD player) and CD albums (for your computer) of your photos. If you shell out $50 for the unlimited version you can also burn to DVD discs.
Fuji includes a nice thick manual with the FinePix F40fd. It won't win any awards for being user friendly, but you will get any question you may have about the camera. The manual for FinePixViewer is installed on your computer along with the software.
Look and Feel
The FinePix F40fd is a compact (but not super tiny) camera that closely resembles its predecessor, the FinePix F20. It's made of a mixture of metal and plastic, and it feels quite solid. It's easy to hold and operate with just one hand, but the mode dial is placed right where your thumb goes, making it easy to accidentally switch modes.
Okay, now let's see how the F40 compares to other cameras in this class in terms of size and weight: