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It's about faces for Fujifilm's FinePix S series

It's about faces for Fujifilm's FinePix S series

Though Fujifilm still has a few tricks up its sleeve, the 6-megapixel FinePix S6000fd introduces only a couple of new ones. This latest entrant in the FinePix S series of megazoom, dSLR-style cameras introduces the company's hardware-based face-detection technology and integrates most of Fujifilm's current slate of imaging technologies. However, it uses pretty much the same body design and the same 28mm-to-300mm 10.7X zoom lens as earlier models, such as the Fujifilm FinePix S9500. The manual zoom/focus ring on the lens barrel should continue to be one of the big draws for this series.

The camera's face-detection chip isolates as many as 10 faces in a scene, then passes the info to the Real Photo processing engine, which optimizes focus and exposure for them. Fujifilm claims that its hardware implementation--other manufacturers are developing software versions--makes the feature very fast, so that there's little lag imposed on shooting speed. I'll reserve judgment on both performance and efficacy, since a tool of this sort is highly dependent upon implementation. For instance, the camera will automatically choose one face as being most important; if it frequently guesses wrong, then it may not be terribly useful.

Other RP technologies in the S6000fd include iFlash, which automatically adjusts flash intensity based on the scene--a feature that every digital camera should have--and the poorly dubbed Picture Stabilization, which does nothing more than adjust the Program AE to use a higher set of ISO and shutter-speed settings. In this model, Fujifilm pushes its SuperCCD HR as high as ISO 3,200. Finally, the camera's Dual-Shot mode will snap two photos in succession: one with flash, the other at a higher ISO and shutter speed but without the flash. Basically, it sounds as if the S6000fd gives you a lot of ways to trade off between blur and noise. In my opinion, if you're that conscious of the two, you're better off with a dSLR. But maybe the $500 S6000 will prove me wrong when it ships in September. Check back to find out.

Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd