Fujifilm FinePix F40fd

      Photo Review 8

      In summary

      An affordable snapshooters’ digicam that includes face detection AF and high ISO shooting modes.Fujifilm’s FinePix F40fd is the top model in the F series of digicams and one of the first to support both SD and xD memory cards. Featuring an 8-megapixel image sensor, it benefits from the sixth generation of the company’s Super CCD HR technology and offers ISO settings up to 2000 in two shooting modes: Picture Stabilisation and Natural Light. The ‘fd’ tag refers to the “Face Detection” focus and exposure control, which first appeared on the FinePix S6500fd. . . [more]

      Full review


      Fujifilm’s FinePix F40fd is the top model in the F series of digicams and one of the first to support both SD and xD memory cards. Featuring an 8-megapixel image sensor, it benefits from the sixth generation of the company’s Super CCD HR technology and offers ISO settings up to 2000 in two shooting modes: Picture Stabilisation and Natural Light. The ‘fd’ tag refers to the “Face Detection” focus and exposure control, which first appeared on the FinePix S6500fd.

      The Picture Stabilisation mode is little more than a sensitivity boosting function, which allows faster shutter speeds to be used to prevent blurred shots. In dim lighting the flash can be used with this mode, although not with slow shutter synchronisation. Flash cannot be used with the Natural Light mode and both settings are for point-and-shoot photography.


      The ‘Intelligent Face Detection’ function is activated (and switched off) by pressing a dedicated button. It claims to be able to pick out up to 10 faces in a scene and adjust exposure, focus and flash to deliver optimum results. When only one face is detected, focus is set to ensure it is sharp. For multiple faces, the focus priority is on the face nearest the centre of the frame. When focus cannot be achieved, you should switch the face detection function off and use normal AF/AE controls.
      The sensor is partnered by a fairly standard 3x optical zoom lens that covers angles of view from 36 to 108mm (in 35mm format equivalent). The camera is fitted with an ‘intelligent’ flash (dubbed “i-Flash”), which uses subject size and position in the frame, ambient light and backlight intensity to calculate flash intensity for shots. A 2.5-inch LCD with reasonably high resolution (230,000 pixels) covers most of the rear panel. No viewfinder is provided.


      The front page of the F-Mode menu.
      Also located on the rear panel are the main camera controls, which include a mode dial, arrow pad and buttons for playback, Function access, display and face detection. The mode dial carries settings for Auto, Natural Light & With Flash, Natural Light (without flash), Manual, Picture Stabilisation and two Scene Program settings plus a Movie mode for recording video clips. Both Scene modes access the same suite of settings: Portrait, Landscape, Sport, Night, Fireworks, Sunset, Snow, Underwater, Beach, Museum, Party, Flower close-up and Text.


      ISO settings.

      The F40fd has a quick and easy system for swapping between record and play modes. Hit the playback button and you’re in playback mode; touch the shutter button to return to shooting mode. Most frequently-used adjustments are made via the F-mode menu, which provides quick access to the following shooting mode settings: Power Management (Power Save, Quick AF and Clear Display settings), ISO settings (Auto 1600, Auto 800, Auto 400, 1600, 800, 400, 200, 100), Image Size/Quality (8M, 3:2, 4M, 2M, 0.3M), and FinePix Colour (Standard, F-Chrome, or F-Black and White).

      The shooting menu, which is accessed via the Menu/OK button on the arrow pad, covers settings like exposure compensation, metering modes (‘photometry’), white balance, continuous shooting and AF modes. It also gets you into the set-up menu, which has four pages. The digital zoom, frame numbering, AF illuminator adjustments, date/time settings, LCD brightness, shutter sounds, format controls, language selection and video format are adjustable in this menu.


      The shooting menu.


      Front page of the set-up menu.

      In playback mode, the F-mode menu lets you access the camera’s IrSimple wireless communication system, which allows you to share image files with similarly-equipped devices. (Movie clips cannot be transmitted.) This menu also allows users to view a 9-frame index display, set up automatic slideshow playback and use the DPOF print ordering facilities. The Playback menu, which is accessed via the Menu/OK button when the camera is in playback mode, lets you rotate, protect and copy individual or all frames and add voice memos to selected frames. It’s also used for listening to voice memos and trimming images.
      The F40fd has similar video capabilities to the X5fd model, which we reviewed in February. You can choose between VGA and QVGA resolution, both at 30 frames/second. The zoom is locked while video clips are recorded but the AF illuminator will shine in low light levels unless you turn it off. While the white balance can be adjusted, you can’t change the ISO or colour settings and Macro focusing is also disabled in movie mode. Since the camera’s internal memory can accommodate only 21 seconds of VGA video you need a high-capacity card to use this mode. A 1GB card can hold up to 14.9 minutes of video at VGA resolution or 29.3 minutes of QVGA video.
      Supplied with the F40fd are a USB 23.0 Hi-Speed cable for connecting it to a computer and an A/V cable for linking it with a TV set for direct playback of stored images. Both PAL and NTSC formats are supported. The supplied lithium-ion battery is rated for 300 shots under C.I.P.A standards. The camera also comes with a very comprehensive user manual and a software CD containing an electronic copy of the manual plus Fujifilm’s FinePix Viewer and a USB driver for the camera.


      Shots taken with the test camera were typical of a small sensor digicam. Colours were bright and punchy but contrast was on the high side and exposures were positioned to record detail in highlights. In bright sunlight, this caused shadowed areas to block up, although in the shade or under overcast skies we achieved some excellent pictures. The Face Detection function performed to specifications, outlining a face with a bright green box. In a group of people it picked out the face nearest the centre of the field of view and it appeared to have problems with profiles and subjects wearing hats (although not glasses). No false detections were seen.

      Resolution varied widely between vertical and horizontal planes and from near the centre to the edge of our Imatest test shots. We obtained some outstanding results for samples from near the centre of the frame but only average figures close to the edge, indicating significant edge softening. This edge softening was also visible in standard test shots.

      Resolution declined significantly at ISO ratings of 800 and above, although our Imatest results for ISO 1600 were better than many competing cameras. On the basis of our test shots, though, we caution against using this setting unless there is no alternative as noise levels are very high. JPEG compression ratios were modest, as shown in the table below.



















      Imatest showed colour accuracy to be above average but indicated elevated saturation in reds and oranges, although overall saturation was modest. Lateral chromatic aberration was low but we observed noticeable purple/green fringes towards the edges of shots taken in bright conditions.

      Flash performance varied and the test camera appeared to have difficulties establishing the correct flash levels in auto mode. In our test sequence, shots taken at ISO 400 and 1600 were correctly exposed, while the ISO 800 shot was under-exposed by approximately 2EV. Digital zoom shots were soft and artefact-affected but close-ups were competently handled.

      The auto white balance setting produced good colour correction with fluorescent lighting but failed to compensate for the orange cast of incandescent lights. One of the three fluorescent pre-sets delivered accurate colours, as did the manual measurement setting but neither the pre-set nor the manual mode could compensate fully for incandescent lighting. Video quality was generally good at the VGA/30 fps setting.

      The test camera powered-up within three seconds and shot-to-shot times averaged just under three seconds without flash and between three and seven seconds with flash. Focusing was generally fast and accurate. We measured an average capture lag of 5.5 seconds, which was totally eliminated with pre-focusing. The standard continuous shooting mode recorded five shots at intervals of approximately 2.3 seconds, while the ‘Top 2’ setting captured two shots with 0.6 seconds between them and the ‘Final 2″ setting recorded the last two shots in a sequence with 0.7 seconds between them.


      Continuous shooting options.


      While the FinePix F40fd will satisfy many users as a snapshot camera, it performs best in moderate light levels and is likely to produce disappointing results in bright Australian sunlight, although it should handle overcast conditions and adequately-lit interiors very well. Low light shooting is limited by noise at high ISO settings and an unpredictable flash. Some experimentation may be necessary to get well-exposed pictures.

      The camera’s limitations include few compression settings, no in-camera sharpness or contrast controls and no 16:9 aspect ratio option for either stills or video. Nevertheless, the F40fd is compact and stylish and, although some buttons are rather small, most controls are logically positioned and simple to use and the menu system is straightforward.






      Resolution performance near the centre of the image field.



      Resolution performance towards the edge of the image field.



      Resolution at high ISO settings.




      Auto white balance with fluorescent light.



      Auto white balance with incandescent light.






      Digital zoom.




      Image sensor: 1/1.6-inch type (8.08 x 6.01 mm) Super CCD HR with 8.3 megapixels (effective)
      Lens: Fujinon 8.0-24.0mm f/2.8-5.2 zoom (36-108mm i n35mm format)
      Zoom ratio: 3x optical, up to 6.9x digital
      Image formats: Stills ““ JPEG (Exif 2.2); Movies ““ AVI 9Motion JPEG/WAV)
      Image Sizes: Stills ““ 3296 x 2472, 3504 x 2336, 2304 x 1728, 1600 x 1200, 640 x 480; Movies ““ VGA/QVGA at 30 fps with monaural sound
      Shutter speed range: 4-1/2000 second
      Image Stabilisation: ISO boost
      Exposure Compensation: +/- 2EV in 1/3EV steps
      Focus system/range: single, Continuous, Centre, Multi AF; range 45 cm to infinity; macro 7-80 cm
      Exposure metering/control: TTL 256-zone metering (multi, spot, average); Program AE plus 16 pre-set SP1/SP2 modes
      ISO range: Auto, ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600; up to ISO2000 with Picture Stabilisation and Natural Light modes
      White balance: Auto, Fine, Shade, Fluorescent (x3), Incandescent, Custom
      Flash modes/range (ISO auto): Auto, Red-eye Reduction, Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Slow Synchro, Red-eye Reduction + Slow Synchro
      Sequence shooting: Top-2 (max. 1.3 fps), Final-2 (max. 0.9 fps) and Long period (max.0.6 fps)
      Storage Media: Approx. 25 MB of internal memory plus expansion slots for xD-Picture Card and SD media
      Viewfinder: n.a.
      LCD monitor: 2.5-inch TFT colour LCD with 230,000 pixels
      Power supply: NP-70 rechargeable lithium-ion battery (CIPA rated for up to 300 shots per charge)
      Dimensions (wxhxd): 95.7 x 59.0 x 23.3 mm
      Weight: Approx. 145 grams (without battery and card)






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