Author Topic: Fujifilm FinePix E550 review  (Read 1070 times)

Offline Carskick

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Fujifilm FinePix E550 review
« on: Apr 21, 2005, 04:25 PM »
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Overview

Well, I've spent some time becoming aquainted with my new Fujifilm E550 digicam, and so far I am quite happy with my decision. It records up to 6.1 real pixels, and 12.2 interpolated pixels.







The Lens is a Fujinon Zoom Lens 4x optical with a 1=7.2-28.2mm range. It has a ring adapter that allows some other lenses to be attatched if desired. The body is a good mix of metal and plastic and has a very sturdy feel. The purtution on the left side of the camera is the hand grip, and a very good one, as it has gripping material on both the front and back where your fingers end up, making it very easy to hold. In the top right hand corner, you see the optical viewfinder, the autofocus detector, and the microphone. The flash pops out of the top when your ready for it.




The back of the camera is very well layed out as well. Every button except the top buttons and the customization button on the left are in easy reach by merely lifting your right thumb. All of the buttons have a good feel, though sometimes the menu/ok button can be hard to push with a big thumb. The LCD screen is 2.0" and has a great, colorful picture. It is very responsive, though it does have a little flicker/jumpyness to it, but only noticable when you look really hard. The optical viewfinder luckily petrudes back some to make it more usable, but it still isn't nearly as accuratte and comfortable as the LCD. The only major fault with the LCD is it's protective cover, which is nice except that it doesn't have any anti-glare, and the bright sun can make the LCD hard to read and see. Though it's not quite as bad as my old Fuji 2650 in that respect.




Here on the top we see the pop up flash, the power button, the shutter button, and the mode dial. They are all well positioned, though I wish the dial made more of a stop in each mode if you know what I mean. It almost spins too easily, but you won't spin it on accident.



 Usability

In terms of ease of use, this camera is fa superior to most. For the beginnners, or if you just need to take a good picture very quickly, the auto mode takes care of everything except resolution, ISO, and coloring, although ISO can be auto. The preset scene types, portrait, lanscape, sports, and night allow the user to give the camera a little more help in determining what to do without too much extra effort. However, in these modes, nothing more can be adjusted than in auto.  P, or program mode, is actually a very nice feautre. It autmotacally adjusts most everything, but allows you to input your thoughts on exposure, while given the ability to override, white balance, flash brightness, sharpness, focusing, etc, if you so desire. In other words, you only manage what you want to. Shutter and Apeature will be adjusted based on how exposed you want it, which you determine with the up/down buttons. This way, you can work with your camera, and not fight it.

A, S, M, or Apature Priority, Shutter Priority, and Manual allow the user to choose whether he wants to control the apature only, the shutter ony, or both. This is just one step further than P.

As I stated before, many of these modes give you more options, such as the ability to focus in other places besides the center, continuous, manual focus, adjust white balance, create your own white balance, increace/decreace flash intensity, and much more. EV adjustment is available in some modes as well. If you are in control of multiple aspects, it will guide you by informing you about the exposure with a little 1D graph.

All these features and choices are great, and make it perfect for a multiple user household, or for somebody who wants manual ability sometimes, but not always. Also, it is hard to hand the waiter a TGI Fridays your SLR, and expect them to take a good picture. Put it on auto or portrait, and tell them to click the button.

Even better than it's modes is it's speed, which defines this camera. Boot up is about 1 second, where the lens flies out. In high light conditions, a picture can be focused and taken in about 1/4 of a second, if not less. Low light takes a little longer as expected. The menu system is fast and responsive. Previewing previously taken pictures is pretty quick, as is deleting and protecting them. The XD chip helps with this, being one of the fastest forms of consumer flash memory used today. The only part of the camera I would call sluggish would be the flash. It takes about 3-5 seconds to recharge, much longer than the rest of the camera takes to get ready. Overall, it is very fast. Some say it is even faster than the best dSLRs. Speed was one of my deciding factors, as I hate waiting for something like a camera. Everybody always gets fusterated, and a lot of action is missed. For my Fuji 2650, I'd have to slide the lens protection, power it, wait 5 seconds for the lens, then another 10 for the flash. By then, I forgot what I was photographing. BTW, the pop up flash is very nice, so it doesn't have to charge right when you turn on the camera if you don't need it.
« Last Edit: Jun 04, 2005, 08:23 AM by Carskick »
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Offline Carskick

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Re:Fujifilm FinePix E550 review
« Reply #1 on: Apr 24, 2005, 08:19 PM »
Picture Quality

I think this is the best part of the camera. The pictures are terrific. The colors are vibrant, and well represented. Although the recorded images are compressed more highly than other comparable cameras, they don't look like it. Compression is very hard to notice at 6MP, even though the pictures are only 1.5-1.6MB. I do not use 12MP, as the interpolation only adds softness to the picture. The only real advantage to 12MP is that there is a fine compression mode, where all other resolutions do not have compression adjustment. I don't think it is really needed though. When I compared the pictures of this camera to the Canon A95, the canon would have a 5MP picture that weiged in at about 2.5MB, and the Fuji would have a 6MP picture that weighed in at about 1.6MB, and the Fuji picture was better in my opinion. Esspecially the coloring, somewhere this camera really shines.

The ability to change the ISO between 80 and 800 is great, since most cameras are only 100-400. If conditions are optimal, 80 and 100 ISO pictures are very crisp and beautiful. ISO 200 is nearly as good, and ISO 400 isn't as bad as some sites say it is. I can zoom in heavily on my ISO 400 pictures and see very little noise. ISO 800 should only be used in the worse conditions. It gets a little noisy, and you can only take pictures in a 3MP or less mode. At ISO 400, I have taken a picture of a car traveling in the other direction out of the windshield, and I could see it perfectly clear, even zoomed in. It seemed as if it were standing still. If you want a bluring effect, put it at ISO 100 and or slow the shutter, and presto. All modes and settings work exactly as they should, and pictures come out as they should for each mode.

Here is a comparison between my old Fuji 2650 and the new E550. The shots were taken at 2MP and 6MP respectively, then sized down to 640x480, and compressed as little as possible to be less than 250KB.


2650




E550



not a great, but decent comparison. The E550's colors look much more vivid to me, and it has an overall more realistic feel to it. The only down side I see is that the E550 has purple fringing in high contrast areas, while the 2650 does not. Strange.


Here is a really cool shot I took with the E550 using extended exposure in my friends back yard. It looks bigger than it really is.



Of course, these look better at the full 6MP, but that's just not possible here. We are about to order our first Snapfish prints that were taken with this camera, and are looking forward to seeing how they look printed. These pictures should far exceed our Olympus 35mm in quality.

Video mode is fantastic with this camera. The movies are 640x480 at 30FPS, and are motion JEPG compressed under an AVI. Both picture and sound quality are great for being a digital camera. It rivals some of the cheaper digital video cameras, which end up costing the same, and the mini DV cameras only hold about 20-30 minutes at high quality. This is not much different from my 512MB chip which holds 10 minutes of high quality and 15 minutes of low quality. In other words, video with this camera is much more than a novelty that it is with other camera. It is a very convinient and high quality home video camera inside a standard camera. This feature alone is what really sets this camera ahead of it's compeditors, who can either not record in full resolution, full frames per second, or fill up the chip with one movie. The only thing it can't do durring a movie is change the zoom. Otherwise, focusing and light adjustment occur automatically.


Conclusion
Overall, for only being about $250-300 online, it is a fast, accurate camera that gets the job done. It is even a great camera for the $350-400 MSRP price. Of course, the included 16MB chip is a joke. I got a 512MB chip because I plan on using video often, and you need a lot of room for vacations. At least 128MB would be a good idea if you plan on using 6MP. Another set or of AA NiMH is always good idea also, as this camera doesn't like Alkalines. Alkalines that run out of juice can cause the Zoom Error some have heared about. The included NiMH are great, as they are large 2300mah, and charge in a reasonable 4.5 hours at most. The charge automatically stops when done.

FYI, I got a great set of Durecell NiMh from Wal-Mart that I've been very happy with for only $25. The charger is of good quality, and can charge any where from 1-4 batteries of different charges all at once and know when to stop. It included 4 Duracell 2050mzh batteries. The fact that it, or the included battery charger don't overcharge means that your batteries will last longer, not require constant attention while charging, or worry about electrical fires. Make sure the batteries and charger you buy are somewhat fast. My Duracell system is a 1hr system.

I bought it at BuyDig.com, and was very happy with their site, prices, packaging, and service. I highly reccomend the camera, batteries, and resellers.


My Photo Album
« Last Edit: May 02, 2005, 04:54 PM by Carskick »
Athlon64 X2 3800+ Machester@2.45Ghz, 4x1GB A-DATA PC3200@204(2.5-3-3-6), XFX 8800GT, ASUS A8N5X NF4, Antec 300 case, Antec EarthWatts 650w, 640GB 16MB and 200GB 8MB 7200RPM SATA WD HDDs, NEC3540, NEC3550, Windows 7 64-bit Ultimate<br />Photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/Carskick