The Fujifilm FinePix F60fd has slightly more interesting specs than much of its 2008 ultracompact point-and-shoot competition (at least at its sub-$300 price point). This includes a 12-megapixel sensor, a 3-inch LCD, sensor-shift image stabilization, and a few specialty shooting modes, as well as automatic scene recognition and advanced face detection, which differentiate it from older line mate, the F50fd. However, like that model, the F60fd is a pokey performer and has image-noise issues starting at low ISOs, making it decidedly average instead of a standout.
A 3x f2.8-5.1 35-105mm-equivalent lens fronts the sedate-looking black camera. The body is almost entirely metal, but weighs only 6.4 ounces and measures 3.6 inches wide by 2.3 inches high by 0.9 inch deep. Fujifilm outfitted the F60fd with a 3-inch LCD, which, as you can tell from the dimensions, swallows up most of the real estate on back, necessitating a small, cramped set of controls. My big, clumsy fingers had no trouble navigating menus and activating features, though its irritating free-spinning little mode dial frequently changed modes when pulling the camera in and out of a pocket.
Speaking of modes, the F60fd has eight of them. Accompanying the usual Auto mode, SR Auto adds scene recognition--Portrait, Landscape, Macro, and Night--to the formula. There's also a Manual mode that's Auto with the ability to change exposure and white-balance settings. If you want control over aperture and shutter settings, you can turn to the A/S Priority mode. But since they share a single dial position, you have to go into the menu system to choose between them. Other mode choices include Natural, which kills the flash and uses available light; Dual Shot, which unsurprisingly takes two shots: one with flash, one without; and SP (Scene Position) that offers 13 scene modes (Fireworks, Snow, Museum, Flower, etc.).
Those who frequently find themselves taking group pictures will appreciate the use of Fujifilm's newer Face Detection 3.0 system, which simultaneously recognizes up to 10 faces. I couldn't convince 10 people to stand close together for any amount of time, but it did work with eight. And it did find them quickly adding credibility to the company's speed claims. However, what it can't do all that fast is take pictures.
A cold start has you shooting in 1.2 seconds--not too shabby. After you take that picture, though, you'll be waiting 3 seconds until you can focus and take the next; that's pretty slow. Adding flash only takes that time up to 3.2 seconds. When it comes to burst shooting, things get a little more complicated. The camera has five continuous shooting menu choices: Top 3, Final 3, Long Period, Top 12, and Final 12 (the last two can only capture 3-megapixel images).
CNET Labs tested with Long Period, the closest to a traditional burst mode, resulting in a 0.5 frame per second typical burst speed. The Top 3 options do perform faster, but they do not refocus, and once you release the shutter it takes 15 to 20 seconds to store the images to memory. At least shutter lag is respectable at 0.6 second for our high-contrast test and 0.8 second on our low-contrast test.