The 8-megapixel Fujifilm FinePix Z100fd is a stylish point-and-shoot, available for a reasonable £150. Some of its design elements, such as the sliding faceplate caused us concern before we even got it out of the box. We tested to see if the Z100fd was concealing a classic compact beneath its understated exterior.
There's no denying the Z100fd looks good. It's extremely slim, despite the sliding faceplate. We're not keen on cameras with sliding faceplates and non-protruding lenses, as the plates add unnecessary width and lenses can be hamstrung by diminutive dimensions. The Z100fd squeezes into a very svelte 20mm width, while it manages to be sturdy yet light.
The Z100fd is similarly styled to the Z10fd, but has a more refined feel. The unique diagonally sliding faceplate doesn't feel too gimmicky alongside the brushed metal styling, although the sliding action is looser than vertical sliders and is prone to opening in your pocket. The placement of the lens at the top right of the camera also leads to occasionally covering or smearing it with fingertips as there is little to hold on to on the camera.
Sliding the lens cover illuminates a backlit 'Z' on the front of the camera, a fun if inconsequential touch. The camera comes in brown, silver, pink and an unusual two-tone black and white version.
Functions are controlled by a zippy scroll wheel, similar to that on the Nikon Coolpix style range, to the right of the 69mm (2.7-inch ) screen.
For a non-protruding lens, a 5x zoom is good. It's reasonably wide at the equivalent to 36mm-180mm on a 35mm camera. CCD-shifting image stabilisation is also included, which is excellent for a camera this size.
The Z100fd features Fujifilm's Face Detection 2.0. The system can cope with glasses, while movement tracking keeps the focus locked on to a face even if the subject turns sideways. As well as these added improvements to previous face recognition systems, Face Detection 2.0 is quicker and more effective in everyday straight-on portraits than other systems.
A clever addition to the face detection feature is the option in playback mode to zoom in on faces captured by the system, allowing you to easily check focus and exposure.
Although the lively scroll wheel is fun to use, some of the shooting options are buried at the bottom of the main menu. This is especially true of the manual mode, which in fact gives you very limited manual control and doesn't allow you to alter the aperture or shutter speed. We had to do lots of scrolling in our tests, as will anyone not relying on the Z100fd's automatic settings. As the camera is so squarely aimed at the point-and-shoot style market, this isn't too big of a criticism.