Updated on June 19, 2015
Fujifilm FinePix F50se/Fujifilm FinePix F50
This camera has been replaced by the much more powerful Sony RX100M3. A lot has happened in the world of digital camera technology since I wrote this review back in 2008. For a review of the RX100M3 please jump over to my photography website.
One of the most important items for any traveler to have is a reliable camera. When I began my quest for the perfect camera I was pretty much blown away with all of the different options! I had no idea there would be so many choices to make.
I decided that instead of wandering around Best Buy and toying with cameras and reading signs that I knew nothing about, I should look online at my options and read about different camera styles.
When I began looking into digital cameras I had 3 criteria:
1. The camera had to be small. I hate to carry things around with me and even try to leave my purse at home, so a large camera was not an option for me because I knew I would never use it.
2. It had to have the turn dial for modes and I had to be able to access most of the menu through buttons on the screen. When I was messing around with cameras in Best Buy I found it so difficult to change between modes on certain cameras just because of the buttons!
Some cameras now have nearly no buttons and use a touch screen instead, which I really do not like because then I have finger prints all over the same screen that I am viewing photos through. Other cameras had a set of buttons or just a menu button to access the different picture modes, and for the most part I could not even find the different modes, let alone choose between them based on the given description. Because of this the dial to switch between modes was very important to me.
3. I also wanted some manual adjustments. I wanted to be able to zoom in and out, and be able to change the aperture and shutter settings. I am not great with cameras, but wanted to become more literate with them and figured that my only way to do this was through being able to manually adjust the shutter and aperture.
This criteria did not seem too outrageous to me, but I soon found that if I wanted a small point and shoot camera AND be able to manually adjust some settings, then my options were very limited. Most of the stores that I went to (Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Sears, and Ritz Camera) couldn’t help me.
So I began my search online and eventually came to find one of Fujifilm’s newer cameras, the FinePix F50. After reading about it through Fujifilm’s site and on different camera reviews, I found that this elusive little camera was exactly what I wanted.
What I love about the Fujifilm FinePix F50se:
1. The camera is tiny. It may sound dumb, but this was one of the most important characteristics I looked for when researching cameras. I have traveled through some of Europe, and brought an old but really good film camera of my Dad’s. Although I really liked the camera, I never used it because it was so heavy to lug around. All I had to show from 3 weeks of traveling was a few rolls of pictures because I always left the camera in the hotel.
2. The Fujifilm FinePix F50se has the mode dial that I really wanted. It switches between modes both easily and quickly, so I don’t have to wait 30 seconds between modes. This is so important, especially when you are taking pictures of something moving quickly and need to switch modes.
One of my favorite features of this camera is it’s natural/flash mode. This mode takes two pictures in a row: one without flash and one with. I really like this feature as it allows me to compare the two photos and I don’t have to switch modes to take both pictures when I’m not sure if I need a flash or not.
3. I also have some manual controls! With the Fugifilm FinePix F50se I can change the aperture and shutter speeds. The aperture has a manual range of 4 to 60 stops and the shutter speed has a range of 1 to 1/1000 seconds.
5. The camera automatically picks up faces. This means that faces are automatically brightened and red eye is automatically reduced.
6. The battery life is really long. I do not know the exact times, but I very rarely have to charge my battery (so far twice within 6 weeks of traveling).
7. The Fujifilm FinePix F50se LCD screen is really easy to view. I originally wanted a camera with a viewfinder, but my camera one does not have one I don’t miss it. The screen on this camera is large and I have never had a problem viewing it because it automatically filters out sunlight.
8. The buttons are specific. The buttons on the Fujifilm FinePix F50se allow me to access most features directly, so I don’t have to waste time looking through a long list of menu items.
9. This camera has a 12 mega sensor so the pictures are incredibly detailed! I have not seen the level of clarity that I get from this camera in many others, it is just amazing. I love that regardless of how zoomed in I am the pictures are never fuzzy. (The pictures below with the birds is an example of the camera zoomed in all the way with digital zoom.)
1. The zoom is only a 3x optical zoom. I was really upset about this at first, especially considering all of this cameras features, but found that it was not actually that big of a deal. The digital zoom works really well, and although once in a while I cannot zoom in as close as I want to, the pictures from the digital zoom are incredibly clear at reasonable viewing sizes.
2. Some reviewers did not like how small this camera is. A few reviews said that because it was so small it was awkward to hold, but my hands are pretty small so this is a benefit for me.
I have the FinePix F50se version, but it is no different than Fujifilm’s FinePix F50fd. The SE signifys that my camera was from an early release batch. This little camera is perfect for me, I have not had any problems using it and really enjoy the flexibility that I have in adjusting the settings and ease in changing modes.