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Christmas Gift Guide
Cameras

Fujifilm debuts classy compacts

Fuji has announced a range of new compacts, packing face detection and mechanical image stabilisation. They are -- drum roll -- the F480, A920, S8000fd, F50fd and Z10fd

Fuji has launched a range of tasty new compacts, set to hit the States in September. We'll probably see them soon after, and although UK prices have not yet been announced, the US prices are extremely tempting. Most of the new tranche incorporate Face Detection 2.0, which is much like face detection -- only better! Also included in some of the cameras is mechanical image stabilisation, which is officially A Good Thing.

Pictured above is the FinePix F480, an 8.2-megapixel compact. Its entry-level status is indicated by the 'Baby mode' on the mode dial. The camera comes with a 4x optical zoom and a 69mm (2.7-inch) LCD screen. There's a wide-angle zoom in there, with a focal range of 28-112mm (35mm equivalent).

Click through for a closer look at the other new arrivals. 

Following the F480 is the FinePix A920. Like the F480, it includes the 4x optical zoom lens and 69mm LCD screen, but it steps up to 9.3 megapixels. Baby mode is back, and user-friendliness is a big draw, as Fuji are talking up the graphic user interface with cheerful icons and handy pop-up help captions. US price is a bargainous $199.95 (around £100).

Next up is the S8000fd, packing a whopping 18x optical zoom lens to compete with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18. Round the back is a fairly standard 64mm (2.5-inch) LCD monitor. The S8000fd runs off the consumer's friend, AA batteries, and uses xD, SD, and SDHC memory. We're glad to see Fuji is continuing its recent decision to offer the choice of using SD rather than lumping us with the less-common, and much pricier XD.

Crave exists in state of perpetual hungover shakiness, so we're glad to see Fuji’s dual image-stabilisation system is included. That combines ISO-altering jiggery-pokery (lame) with mechanical sensor shifting (not lame). The S8000fd will retail for $399.95 (£200) in the US.

This is the 12-megapixel FinePix F50fd. We've had Web 2.0 and, er, Die Hard 4.0 -- now get ready for Face Detection 2.0. Fuji claims the F50fd will find 10 faces in 0.05 seconds. This new generation of face detection gets over the drawback of needing people to look straight at the camera and not be speccy. Glasses won't fool the F50fd, which will also recognise profiles and tilted heads.

The F50fd continues the low-light capability of the F40fd, with sensitivity modes of up to ISO 6,400 (albeit at lower resolutions). Three times optical zoom, dual image stabilisation and automatic red-eye correction are all present and correct. The F50fd has a US price tag of $299.95 (£150).

Last up is the FinePix Z10fd, a 7.2-megapixel compact aimed at Generation Z, whoever that is. The slogan is "Face_it. Beam_it. Blog_it." Oh dear. Take a picture with the help of the 3x optical zoom lens, 64mm LCD screen and face detection. Then save it on xD, SD or SDHC memory cards, or wirelessly transfer them to your computer via IrSimple infrared technology. Then use the new 'Blog' function to upload your pictures. One thing you can do with your images is upload them to offZhook.com, a Web site dedicated to Z10fd users, which goes live on 1 August.

The Z10fd will be available in a range of colours for those style-conscious Generation Zers, and will cost a paltry $199.95 (£100). -Rich Trenholm