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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Fujifilm FinePix E550

Fuji Digital Cameras

   


Fujifilm FinePix E550 Review

Review Date: Jan 3, 2005

Category: Serious Amateur

Fujifilm FinePix E550

USER'S EXPERIENCE

Thursday, Jan 3, 2005 - Here's what I receive in the box:

  • FinePix E550
  • 16MB xD-Picture Card
  • 2 AA Rechargeable Ni-MH Batteries and Recharger
  • Wrist Strap
  • USB and A/V Cables
  • Cradle Adapter
  • Documentation: QuickStart; User Guide
  • Software CD: FinePixViewe 4.2, Raw File Converter LE 1.1, ImageMixer VCD2 for FinePix

This Fujifilm FinePix E550 is a brand new design for Fujifilm and looks very handsome. Fujifilm got many things right in this camera.

The Fujifilm E550 is not compact but is easy to hold thanks to its non-slip handgrip. It is also very lightweight, probably thanks to the use of only 2 AA batteries, which surprisingly also lasts quite long.

Turn this camera on, and the 4x optical zoom lens extends out in less than 1 sec. and the camera is ready to take pictures in about 0.5 sec. more. Press the shutter release button and the picture is taken immediately: no practical shutter lag. Shot to shot time is fast (about 1 sec.), but if you are using flash, it takes about 3 sec. to recharge the flash. Top 4 and Final 4 continuous shooting makes this camera perfect for "catching the moment."

There are not too many buttons on the E550 so you would need to go to the Menu sometimes.

Flash pictures are great as long as you stay within the flash working distance (about portrait distance away), but I find the results a bit inconsistent: most times, the flash pictures are well lighted; a few times, the pictures seem underexposed, even though I have not changed distance or even composition. At times like these, I go into the Menu and dial in a +2/3 in Flash output.

Best image quality on the E550 is at the 12MP Fine setting, but the resultant image is a huge 4+MB in size, which seems a bit excessive for a 6+MP resolution. The image quality at 6MP is also quite good, with an average image size of 1.5MB.

The shutter speed range is 3-1/2,000 sec. In Auto and Programmed Auto modes, the slowest shutter speed is only 1/4 sec. Street night photography is possible, but if you need longer shutter speeds, you're out of luck.

 


Sunset
11.9mm, Programmed Auto, Spot, 1/400 sec., F3.4, and ISO 80

 

I mentioned this before in another Fujifilm review, but I simply love the FinePixViewer software because all the information is contained in one screen. Each image's filename is clearly visible and you do not need to launch another window to view the EXIF info. There is (still) some valuable screen real estate wasted along the rightmost column with the "Register Now" ad. You can do basic image editing, re: brightness, saturation, hue, sharpness.

The E550 Instruction Manual is well illustrated and written, though the print font is very small. In Canada, you usually receive both an English and French version -- though, I received 2 French "Mode d'Emploi" and no English one. Lucky, I read French ;o).

On our improvements wishlist:

  • eliminate CA;
  • provide a wider range of shutter speeds, especially longer shutter speeds, and make them available in Programmed Auto mode;
  • upgrade the LCD to gain up in low-light;
  • add an AF-Assist Illuminator;
  • ideally, LCD should swivel for easy macro photography.

The Fujifilm FinePix E550 comes really close to meeting all the three criteria we have set out for receiving our Editor's Choice Award: It has low noise at lowest ISO, and fast operation, but image quality suffers from CA. We find that it does require some photographic exposure knowledge to obtain the best of it. Though the Fujifilm E550 is positioned for beginner and serious amateur photographers, a few improvements will set it squarely against the more expensive prosumer models. If you are ready to move beyond point-and-shoot, desire a full-featured camera in an affordable package, and quite willing to learn about exposure, the Fujifilm FinePix E550 might be just what you're looking for.

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