Coming in a range of bright colours the Fujifilm FinePix Z20fd promises to brighten up the faces of your subjects when you whip it out of your pocket, but is the camera all about looks and not about substance? We get snapping to find out.
Bright Champagne Pink, Ice Blue, Panther Black, Tropical Green and Diablo Red aren't the usual colour of a digital camera and the FinePix Z20fd clearly stamps its mark in the consumer category with this move.
The 10 megapixel digital camera is the follow-up to the Z10fd upping the ante with more megapixels (the Z10 had 7) while actually reducing the internal memory to 45MB over a previous 54MB.
The camera might look the part with the colour, but that hasn't stopped Fujifilm creating a camera that is fairly plastic to the touch giving it a rather cheap feel over the initial first impression on colour. Clearly the £149.99 price tag has had some affect on the materials used.
Sporting a sliding lens cover that also acts as the on/off switch, it's surprising how large and cumbersome the cover actually is and we can't really see why Fujifilm has added it. With a 3x optical zoom that doesn't extend beyond the casing and a small lens opening there is no need to have something so excessively large.
Removing it would have not only help shave millimetres off the design (something that is good for a compact in the pocket), but also avoid the problem of it opening in your pocket, a problem we encountered. The slider might have some resistance, but not enough to stop the same old flaw with this design still happening.
Around the back and controls are kept simple with two circles: one for zoom and playback the other for activating image stabilising, timer, flash and macro modes.
On top there are two shutter buttons, video and still, and they are separate enough that you don't press the wrong one at any given time.
The camera's design is completed with a large but secure battery and xD-Picture card slot opening.
Elsewhere and the specs are virtually identical to the Z10 with both models sporting a 2.5-inch screen and 3x optical zoom lens.
New to the FinePix Z20fd model is face detection helping you focus on the faces of people rather than a random object in the frame and an MPEG recording mode offering you video in mere 640 x 480 or 320 x 240 compared to other offerings on the market that boast 720p HD ready footage.
The tool of the moment seems to be Face Detection, and this model combines detection of up to 10 faces in a frame with automatic red-eye removal.
A green square surrounds the face of the primary subject on the camera's LCD screen, whilst white squares identify up to nine other subjects.
Fujifilm adds that movement tracking keeps the camera "locked on" to its subjects until they move out of the picture and in our tests we would agree with Fujifilm’s claims. Face Detection worked a treat, although it failed to lock on to my two young children, perhaps their faces aren't face-like enough for the technology yet (they are both under 2 after all).
Hoping to appeal to the bloggers or social media networking junkies there is a "Trimming for blog" feature as well as the ability to transmit files from the camera via infrared to a compatible device.
Trouble is, we can't remember the last time we saw an infrared option on a device that wasn't a remote control making this about as much use as a chocolate teapot. Now Bluetooth or wireless connectivity, that would have been a different story altogether.
As for the "Trimming for blog feature" this presumes that you'll automatically want your images 640 x 480, and so resizes them automatically horizontally in camera.
Get past the still elements of the camera and the Fujifilm FinePix Z20fd offers the usual movie mode found in most digital cameras on the market. Here the selling point is the ability to edit 60 second movie clips in-camera, as it's certainly not the quality available to you.
So what about image quality for still images? Well surprisingly, considering the plastic and cheap build quality, the images on the whole were better than we expected, although we did experience plenty of purple fringing on high contrasting areas in our images. Especially when large amounts of white was in the picture (see sign image).
Images while capturing good levels of detail, were at times filled with noise even at low ISO on a bright day suggesting it's very much a case of you get what you pay for.
The bright colours might be a refreshing change, however the camera and its features aren't.
The Fujifilm FinePix Z20fd is a cheap digital camera and it feels like it. The compact design is still overly large, the video function lacking against the HD touting competition and the picture quality average rather than cracking.
We did like the Face Detecting feature, however this isn't enough to save the camera from an average score.
If you're looking for a good compact snapper, there are better options out there, even from Fujifilm itself.
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