Extreme seems to be the camera market's mantra-- with so many ultracompacts, super-zooms, and fancy digital SLRs, it's a wonder there's anything else to choose from. Yet for shutterbugs who want both a camera they can control and that can also fit in a pocket, Fujifilm's FinePix F650 walks the line well between function and convenience. It comes with a 5X optical, 35mm-to-175mm (35mm equivalent) f/2.8-to-f/4.7 zoom lens, a 6-megapixel CCD sensor, and a 3-inch LCD screen. While it doesn't include any gimmicky features, such as face detection, it does have full manual-exposure controls.
Although Fujifilm was among the first manufacturers to raise the sensitivity of its compact digicams, the F650 oddly tops out at ISO 400. And since it doesn't come with image stabilization, you'll have to rely on the flash when shooting in low light. The lack of flash compensation makes flash shooting less versatile than we like. On the plus side, the FinePix did a decent job of balancing fill flash with a desk lamp in our test scene.
All the camera's controls are located on the right-hand side of the body, so one handed operation is possible--though as we always suggest, you should use two hands for better stability. As usual, Fuji splits its menus in two. One menu is accessed through the F button, and provides access to ISO settings, resolution, and color settings. The second menu is accessed through the regular menu button, and provides access to all other settings. By splitting the menus, Fuji can keep the most-often adjusted settings up top where they're easy to access in each of the main menus.