Packed with features and loaded with some of the latest technological innovations, the new Fujifilm FinePix F550 EXR is set to take the premium compact camera market by storm.
Following in the footsteps of the award-winning FinePix F200 EXR and F300 EXR models, this latest recruit to the range is the ideal camera for discerning point-and-shoot photographers or SLR users who want to travel light but don't want to compromise image quality and picture-taking versatility. Superb results are assured with exciting new features including an innovative 16 megapixel EXR CMOS sensor, advanced GPS functions, high speed shooting capabilities, a 15x wide-angle zoom lens, Full HD video functionality and an improved user interface. With a stylish design and pocketable dimensions, the FinePix F550 EXR is set to become the must-have compact in 2011.
Perfect pictures in every situation
Thanks to a brand new hybrid sensor, the FinePix F550 EXR delivers extra fast, high quality results in a wide range of lighting conditions. The 16 megapixel sensor developed by Fujifilm is a clever combination of Back Side Illuminated CMOS (BSI-CMOS) and EXR technologies, which delivers superior results to a conventional sensor; particularly in low light conditions, and also offers high-speed shooting facilities and Full HD movie capture.
Light falling on ordinary sensors has to pass through a layer of wiring before it hits the light-sensitive photo diodes. This layer of wiring reduces light transmission. On the EXR BSI-CMOS sensor, however, the wiring layer is positioned behind the photo diodes so light sensitivity is vastly improved. Add to this the triple-layer EXR technology pioneered by Fujifilm in the F200 EXR and the result is a sensor that is capable of outstanding results, time after time.
Users can still select from the usual three different EXR shooting modes, or simply leave the FinePix F550 EXR to choose the best option itself by selecting Auto EXR. Those preferring to take control can pick from:
• High Resolution mode where the sensor utilises the full 16 megapixel resolution for high quality results that can be printed out at A3-size without the need for any re-sizing using software.
• Dynamic Range mode where the camera employs dual capture technology to provide a range up to 1600% to provide a much improved Dynamic range. Two images are captured and then merged together to produce superb results on high contrast scenes.
• Signal to Noise mode utilises Pixel Fusion, doubling pixels up to increase sensitivity. Coupled with the BSI technology, this mode delivers superb images in low lighting conditions.
A Fujifilm first – built-in GPS
Fujifilm recognised the benefits of GPS tagging way back in 1997 when they became the first company to introduce an optional GPS recording device for a digital camera on the DS-300. Today, the FinePix F550 EXR becomes the first Fujifilm model to have the facility built in and offers a wide range of user benefits to make the most of the technology.
Regardless of where you are in the world, the FinePix F550 EXR will recognise your location and display it either as longitude and latitude or by place name thanks to the camera's embedded list of locations. A tag is also placed on the image which, when using place names, can easily be searched for, enabling you to quickly find shots of a specific location or point of interest.
Once images are found using the search function, it's simple for users to create a photobook using the Photobook Assist function. Just choose the images you want in the book, mark them (including which image you want to use on the front cover) and then you can even preview the book on the rear LCD.
Additional functionality is also provided by the Photo Navigation function, where you can find your way back to where a photo was taken. For example, if you took a shot at a restaurant that you'd like to return to, simply find the picture and the FinePix F550 EXR will provide the distance and direction you need to travel from your existing location to get back there.
For those who want to re-trace their steps and map a route of their travels, the Route Logging function is sure to appeal. The FinePix F550 EXR stores location data every 10 minutes* and, once the images are downloaded to a PC, a map of the route, along with the pictures you took along the way is created using Google Maps.
* Anytime On or Only Power On must be selected for data to be logged.
Keep up with the action – no matter how fast it's moving
The FinePix F550 EXR isn't just clever; it's quick as well, boasting a range of features that will keep pace with even the fastest moving action without compromising picture quality.
At full 16 megapixel resolution, the FinePix F550 EXR will deliver up to 8 frames per second for up to 8 frames before it has to pause to take a breath. If you want a longer burst of images or a faster frame rate, it can capture 11 frames per second at 8 megapixel resolution for up to 16 frames or the same frame rate for up to 32 frames at 4 megapixel resolution. At these sorts of speeds and resolutions, no other compact camera comes close.
If you're worried that your reaction times might not match the camera's speed, select the Best Frame Capture mode, which takes pictures before you've even pressed the shutter! With this mode selected, the FinePix F550 EXR automatically starts recording images the moment the shutter release is half-pressed to lock the focus. Then, when the picture is actually taken, it records the seven frames before or after the shutter was released to ensure you get at least one shot that's pin sharp and perfectly framed.
RAW image capture
With the ability to shoot in RAW or in JPEG format (or both simultaneously), the F550EXR will have real appeal to those that want to be in true control of their images. By shooting in RAW mode you can ensure that you get the true uncompressed image just as the camera sees it.
Huge zoom range, tiny camera
It's a minor miracle that Fujifilm has managed to pack such a high level specification into the FinePix F550 EXR's compact dimensions, but it's even more impressive that the camera also features a 15x optical zoom.
Despite having a body that measures just 22.9mm wide, the zoom range extends from a wide-angle setting of 24mm through to 360mm (35mm equivalents) giving users a huge range of shooting options from sweeping landscapes through to tightly-cropped details. Plus, image quality and sharpness is assured thanks to the Fujinon lens and new triple core EXR processing engine that automatically reduces colour fringing and boosts corner resolution for uniform image sharpness.
Using the longer focal lengths can cause camera shake, but the FinePix F550 EXR has the bases covered fighting camera shake on three fronts. First, the sensor moves to counter any hand movements. Second, sensitivity is boosted using Pixel Fusion to allow faster shutter speeds and third, users can select "Advanced Anti-blur" mode when in EXR Auto where a sequence of four images are taken and then combined to provide one, shake-free result.
Full HD for stunning videos
People don't just want to capture their memories as photos any longer, there's a big demand for high-quality video capture too. Not only does the FinePix F550 EXR record videos in stunning Full HD (1080p) at 30 frames per second, it also boasts stereo sound for high quality audio and outputs the files in H.264 (MOV) format. Favoured by broadcasters and Blu-Ray manufacturers, H.264 produces file sizes that are smaller and more manageable than the conventional AVI format. What's more, they're compatible with a wide range of websites and applications, which makes it easier for users to share content on sites including YouTube.
New to the F550 EXR, Fuji's EXR SN mode is now available when shooting videos. "Pixel Fusion Movie technology" fuses pixels together to create superpixels which are extra sensitive to light (and therefore capture much crisper low-light videos with lower levels of noise.
And finally, if it's speedy video capture you're after, the F550 EXR also offers a class-leading selection of high speed video capture options. No other compact camera comes close to the F550 EXR's incredible 320 frames per second capture at 320 x 100 pixels. But if it's higher quality you're after, you can also capture the action at 160 frames per second at 320 x 240 pixels or 80 frames per second at 640 x 480 pixels.
Wave goodbye to pixellated graphics and menus
The FinePix F550 EXR's three inch rear LCD doesn't just benefit from an increased pixel count – now 460,000 – it also uses a brand new Rich User Interface, which dramatically enhances the user experience and kicks pixellated menus and graphics into touch.
By employing Vector fonts and graphics, camera menus and readouts use smooth text and icons. The graphics are scaleable so they take on the same appearance whether you're viewing on the read LCD or a 50 inch HDTV via the camera's HDMI output.
Don't want GPS? No problem
While the FinePix F550 EXR with its GPS features is a great camera for photographers who like to travel, Fujifilm recognises that not every user requires GPS functionality. For this reason, a second model – the FinePix F500 EXR – has been introduced, which offers a virtually identical specification, without GPS.
Other differences between the two models include high speed capture on the F500 EXR of three frames per second at 16 megapixels for up to three frames, six frames per second for six frames at eight megapixels or 12 frames per second for 12 frames at four megapixels. The F500 EXR will also be available in a choice of five colours for the style-conscious photographer, while the F550 EXR is only available in a stylish black finish with red highlights.
Fujifilm FinePix F550 EXR /F500 EXR key features
• All-new 16 megapixel EXR CMOS sensor
• 15x optical zoom covering 24-360mm (35mm equivalent)
• 3.0 inch rear LCD with 460,000 pixel and new Rich User Interface using Vector fonts and graphics
• GPS functionality*
• RAW shooting*
• Advanced Anti-blur technologies*
• 1600% wide dynamic range
• Full resolution high speed shooting at 8fps**
• Full HD movie capture (H.264 MOV file format)
• Advanced 27 scene mode EXR Auto
• Film simulation modes
• 360° Motion Panorama mode
• Photobook Assist function
* Only available on the F550 EXR
** 3 fps on F500EXR