The Fujifilm FinePix F60fd isn't much of a change from the popular F50fd, which it replaces: many of the specs are the same and it looks basically the same. For your £170, you get a bump to 12-megapixels and a variety of tweaks to the settings.
The F60 is very similarly styled to the F50. The black version looks the business with a matte black body and matte graphite trim, giving it a brick-like industrial feel. There's a slight ridge at the front, but it's just paying lip service to grippiness as there isn't really enough to grab hold of.
The screen is a massive 76mm (3-inch) LCD. It's very bright, but diagonal lines are rendered a bit jagged. Next to the screen, the mode wheel, clickpad and buttons still don't feel too cluttered.
Even though the layout of the buttons is straightforward, their purpose is much less clear. Intuition suggests that the F button should provide access to a short list of common shooting functions, with the Menu button delving into a more comprehensive list of less commonly used options.
But in practise there isn't a clear demarcation of purpose between the two, with the first option under the F button being the power management option. So we have one-touch adjustment of the LCD screen brightness, while actually useful functions like the white balance and continuous modes are a bit of scrolling away under the Menu button.
Image stabilisation and face detection get their own buttons, but frankly we leave digital image stabilisation off and face detection on most of the time so two dedicated buttons seems unnecessary. The whole control system seems like it needs a rethink, especially with the added minor annoyance that the playback button isn't a toggle: pressing the playback button takes you to your photos, but Fujifilm still insists that pressing it again should generate an error message instead of just taking you back to shooting.
Similarly the menu button is also the OK button, so you press it to enter the menu but have to press the shutter to exit. To us, it's all extremely counter-intuitive.
Face detection is one of Fujifilm's strong points, with the F60fd packing face detection 3.0. It copes well with faces that aren't straight on, even flashing an onscreen notification when it spots a profile -- although we did have occasional issues with subjects in spectacles. Multiple faces were no problem, with the camera tracking up to ten faces as subjects move around.
Scene recognition mode is excellent at identifying what it is pointing at, shifting settings to macro, portrait or landscape with alacrity. The constant hunting for focus gave off a horrible spidery ticking noise on our sample model, though.
As well as automatic scene recognition you get the usual misnamed manual mode, which isn't particularly manual but does afford you some flexibility over shooting options such as white balance and metering. Aperture and shutter priority give you ten aperture settings and the option to set the shutter speed from 1 second to 1/1000 second. An eight-second long shutter mode is also available for more interesting lighting effects, although there's no indication of how to actually set the shutter speed.
Aside from these features, the specs aren't anything to write home about: a 3x zoom and 35mm wide angle lens are par for the compact course.
The F60fd takes two to three seconds to start up, with a respectable if unremarkable shot-to-shot time and a range of faster burst modes. A range of much faster continuous modes snap multiple shots while you hold down the shutter. Top three captures only the first three shots. It does this in a snappy one second, but then takes a good eight to ten seconds processing the images, during which time the camera is out of action -- and this is with a fast Panasonic SDHC card.