With the exception of its admittedly sleek-looking design, there's not a lot to differentiate the ultracompact Fujifilm FinePix Z5fd from a crowded field of . Granted, it does come in an eye-melting and a sophisticated in addition to basic silver and is available for around £120.
Like most, the 6-megapixel Z5fd offers a 3x zoom lens with a typically narrow f/3.5-4.2, 36mm-108mm-equivalent lens. The 148g camera's dimensions are 93 by 55 by 19mm, which makes it comfortable to stick in your pocket, but not quite as comfortable to shoot with.
For instance, because of the combination of the camera's thin profile and the position of the lens so close to the edge, our fingers frequently crept into the frame -- only once did it actually end up in the photo, though.
Calling out the face detection with a dedicated button -- and, of course, the 'fd' in the model name -- certainly makes it easier to find and use, but we're still on the fence about how useful it is. It can locate more than one face in a scene but must choose a single face to take priority -- usually the one closest to the centre of the frame. The algorithm needs to be able to resolve two eyes, which seems to mean a horizontal angle of about 25 or 30 degrees off face front. It seems to have more tolerance vertically.
A face must be within roughly six metres, and beyond that it starts to struggle. It's not fast enough to keep up with changing positions, and you frequently end up shooting in between face-focus locks -- at which point it acts like normal focus.
Another Fujifilm staple is the Natural Light and Flash scene mode, which shoots two consecutive shots, one at a high ISO setting without flash and one at a lower ISO setting with flash. You can then choose which look you prefer.
The rest of the scene modes are pretty standard: Natural Light (high ISO), Portrait, Landscape, Sport, Night, Fireworks, Sunset, Snow, Beach, Museum, Party, Flower (macro) and Text. A Picture Stabilisation mode merely uses high ISO settings to enable faster shutter speeds. In macro mode the camera can focus as close as about 79mm.
That's about it. The Z5fd completely lacks any manual controls. No shutter or aperture-priority exposure, no metering choices -- not even manual white balance.
Though the 64mm (2.5-inch) LCD tends to blow out in bright sunlight, it otherwise works very well. Plus, the Z5fd offers the option of driving the display at 30 frames per second, 60fps or in a standard power save mode. Though denoted by frame rates, the 60fps does make the screen look slightly higher resolution than the other modes. As you'd guess, it draws more power, as well.
The Z5fd's also features the 'Trimming for Web' tool, which, allows you to crop a photo to 640x480 pixels for easy uploading.