The Fujifilm FinePix F100fd is the top-end, 12-megapixel snapper in the FinePix range. Previous cameras in the F series leave the F100 with a lot to live up to. It's available now for an online price of around £160.
The F100 feels slimmer than its F series predecessors due to the subtly curved styling. It actually feels quite heavy, though. It comes in black or silver versions with silver accents.
The decent-sized 69mm (2.7-inch) LCD screen somehow doesn't feel that big, probably because of the sparse layout of the buttons next to it. There are only four buttons -- an F menu button, face detection and red-eye toggle, display options and a playback button.
In the middle of this sublimely uncluttered space sits a zippy scroll wheel, which doubles as a clickpad. The wheel is a pleasure to use -- if only there were more features to use it with.
We've seen some misleadingly-named manual modes in the compact camera market, but this one takes the cake. The only shooting options you can manually alter are the ISO speed, exposure compensation and the dynamic range setting. There isn't even aperture or shutter priority.
Even worse, exposure compensation is buried in the menu rather than being easily accessible with the F button. For us, manual control means the ability to control exposure quickly and simply, but altering exposure involves a rigmarole of extra wheel spinning and button pushing.
Using the playful wheel to sift through menus and adding extra button pushing is a wasted opportunity. This is frustrating because the wheel would be an intuitive and enjoyable way of altering exposure, say, using onscreen sliders for aperture and shutter speeds. Selecting modes involves spinning the wheel and is complemented well by a clever onscreen wheel interface, and this just shows how much fun the wheel could have been.
The frustration isn't over yet. The macro option simply doesn't work in certain scene modes. Meanwhile, the camera doesn't stay in burst mode after you've taken one set of photos, so you have to endure another button-pressing, wheel-spinning bout of tedious menu wrestling to take another burst. Not ideal considering continuous mode is often used for capturing blink-and-you-miss-it action.
We're more impressed with the lens. It's a well- balanced, 5x optical zoom with a 35mm camera- equivalent focal length of 28mm. Other features include optical image stabilisation and face detection 3.0. The F100 also supports both xD and SD format memory cards.