If a camera can detect faces in your shots, then why shouldn't it find flowers and mountains too? The 12Mp Fujifilm FinePix F60fd adds automatic scene recognition to the face-detection abilities of its predecessor, the Fujifilm FinePix F50fd.
When you point the camera at your subject, the Fujifilm Finepix F60fd's new SR-Auto setting evaluates the shapes, focus distance, and lighting conditions, then chooses one of four scene modes automatically.
If a flower is close to the lens, it automatically sets a macro mode to focus on the fine detail. For low-light and night scenes, the Fujifilm Finepix F60fd adjusts the shutter speed and sensitivity to reduce blur. It chooses extra sharpness and depth of field for landscapes. And it optimises the focus, aperture, and speed to keep all the faces it finds in portraits sharp and evenly exposed.
And all this automated optimisation produces little to no shutter lag - the Fujifilm Finepix F60fd continuously monitors the subject, so it's very quick to lock in and shoot when you press the shutter button.
However, the extra power required for automatic scene recognition may be the reason the Fujifilm Finepix F60fd didn't fare well in our battery tests. We took 190 shots on a single charge, significantly down from the 276 we achieved with the F50fd.
When SR-Auto mode is turned off, you still pick from a set of scene modes to shoot complex subjects such as fireworks displays, sporting events, and beach outings. What's more, when you need maximum control, you can also select aperture priority, shutter priority, or full manual modes.
Whichever mode you're using, the Fujifilm Finepix F60fd's built-in dual image stabilisation system helps to reduce the effects of unsteady hands, especially in dark surroundings or when the 3x zoom lens is extended for telephoto shots. While it also extends its face detection function to remove red-eye from portraits, the camera does lack a few advanced features, such as exposure bracketing (automatically shooting at a variety of settings, then letting you select the best one), panoramic stitching, and manual focus.
Though the Fujifilm Finepix F60fd has a larger screen, at 3in (and easily viewed from an angle), than the F50fd, it maintains the understated look of its predecessor. It's available in an uninspiring silver finish, but my review model came in a more sophisticated-looking matte black. If you're after something in a flashier colour, you'll have to look elsewhere. The camera supports SD and SDHC memory cards, in addition to the slightly more obscure xD card.
We awarded the Fujifilm Finepix F60fd high marks for the fine sharpness and low distortion of its images. However, the relatively weak flash hampered its results in our flash shots. In our testing, we tried to leave the flash off as much as possible. One of the strengths of Fujifilm's proprietary Super CCD sensor design is its performance in low light.
Finally, the Fujifilm Finepix F60fd has a movie mode, shooting 640-by-480 AVI (motion JPEG) clips with mono sound. But you'll have no zoom while you're filming, although zooming is quite common in video-capable point-and-shoot cameras.
If you take mainly impromptu photos of family and friends, you'll find the Fujifilm FinePix F60fd a breeze to use. Its automatic scene recognition means there's little to think about before you start snapping, yet it also offers plenty of advanced features for when you have more time.