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.
The FinePix F650 performed a tad sluggish in our lab tests. It took 1.9 seconds from start up to capturing its first image, and 1.7 seconds between images thereafter without flash. With flash, the time between shots grew to 2 seconds. Shutter lag measured a speedy 0.7 second in our high-contrast test, meant to mimic bright shooting conditions and 1.4 seconds in our low-contrast test, which simulates dim shooting conditions. Continuous shooting yielded an average of 1.9 frames per second when shooting VGA sized JPEGs, and 2fps when shooting 6-megapixel JPEGs.
Overall, we were pleased with the image quality of the FinePix F650. Images contained nice amounts of fine detail, and although they weren't as sharp as we've seen from some cameras, they were far from the worst. Colors appeared accurate and well saturated, and fringing and artifacts were few, and barely noticeable. The camera's automatic white balance produced warm yet almost orange images with our lab's tungsten lights, though the tungsten preset yielded very neutral colors. The auto setting did a great job of providing neutral images in actual daylight. We saw almost no noise at the camera's lowest sensitivity settings of ISO 64 and ISO 100. At ISO 200 noise was minimal, but noticeable on our monitors. It wasn't really noticeable in prints however. At ISO 400 noise was noticeably worse, though images were still usable for prints and little fine detail was lost to the noise.
The FinePix F650's limited low-light shooting is a bit of a burden, and makes it a tough sell against similarly priced competitors, such as Canon's PowerShot SD600, which is also slightly smaller.
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
|Typical shot-to-shot time||Time to first shot||Shutter lag (typical)|
(Longer bars indicate better performance)