The Good 3.4X zoom in a highly portable package; decent performance.
The Bad Very few features; no burst mode; subpar photo quality.
The Bottom Line Fujifilm’s sleek, 5-megapixel F450 makes a few too many compromises.
The beauty of capitalism is that, when consumers clamor for sleek point-and-shoot cameras that take printable photos, manufacturers will fall over themselves to churn out models with portable designs and higher pixel counts. The 5-megapixel Fujifilm FinePix F450 stands as a somewhat exaggerated case in point; though it boasts a pocket-size, uniquely shaped body and a high-resolution sensor, it lacks all but the most rudimentary manual features and makes several compromises in image quality.
The first thing we noticed about the FinePix F450’s design was its square body. It fits easily in a pocket, and at a mere 5.8 ounces, the F450 is comfortable to hold with only one hand. Still, because it’s narrower and a bit taller than some of its candy bar-shape competitors, the camera’s square design may frustrate those who prefer two-handed shooting. All of the F450’s top and rear controls are within range of your right thumb, giving you a clear view of the camera’s 2-inch LCD screen. This LCD presented a far more practical solution for composing shots than the tiny optical viewfinder that’s also included.
Even by point-and-shoot standards, the Fujifilm FinePix F450 suffers from a somewhat below-average feature set. Positioned to compete with stylish compact offerings such as Sony’s DSC-T1 and the Pentax Optio SV, the FinePix F450 lacks the DSC-T1’s VGA (640×480) movie-capture capabilities and the SV’s continuous-shooting mode. The F450’s movie resolution tops out at a substandard 320×240, and you’re further limited to 60 seconds of footage at a paltry 10fps. We give the F450 credit for its better-than-average 3.4X optical-zoom capability, but we also deduct points for its somewhat narrow-angle, 38mm-to-130mm (35mm equivalent) focal-length range.
SHOOTING SPEED IN SECONDS (Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Stripped-down feature set aside, the Fujifilm FinePix F450 managed to log decent performance scores. We found that the F450’s time to first shot from power-up was typically 2.8 seconds, about average for a 5-megapixel snapshot camera. Under typical conditions and without a flash, the F450’s shot-to-shot time averaged 3.9 seconds–again, not stellar, but slightly better than some of its competitors. The camera’s flash-enabled shot-to-shot time of 4.4 seconds is rather sluggish, but most point-and-shoot cameras slow down substantially once you turn on the flash, and the FinePix F450’s added delay was comparatively minimal. Shutter-lag scores were average, coming in at 0.6 second under ideal conditions and 0.9 second under poor conditions. The F450 isn’t a speed demon, but you generally won’t miss any important shots.
Poor demosaicing causes these yellow discolorations (top), and there’s a suprising amount of noise for an ISO 80 shot.
Unfortunately, our test shots revealed that the F450 is prone to compressing dynamic range. Though this pleases some consumers going directly to print by avoiding over- and underexposures, in practice it also dulls highlights, eliminates shadows, and makes for flat, undersaturated colors. Using the flash in almost any indoor setting led to rampant red-eye. On the plus side, we didn’t note any of the purple fringing that plagues many consumer point-and-shoots.