Digicams: The New 2 Megapixel Monsters

FujiFilm FinePix 50i

The 50i is similar in design to the Dimâge X, and is less than 2.5 centimeters thick. The Fuji camera not only takes photos, it can capture video sequences, and can even be used as a personal stereo for playing MP3 files. Fuji therefore has a lead on its rivals, who will have to hurry up if they want to get in on the act. The 50i is supplied with a 64 MB memory card to store around 500 low-resolution photographs or about one hour of music. The downside is that it is the most expensive of the four cameras tested, costing US$599 (899 Euros).

Design And Controls

The casing contains three main parts: the camera itself, covered with an aluminum-magnesium alloy; a charger for recharging the camera and transferring photos from the camera to a PC; and a remote control for navigating the files when the camera operates as an MP3 drive.

There are not many control buttons, as few as seven. On the top is the main control for POWER, OFF or MP3 drive, and the shutter release. The remaining five buttons on the back are used mainly to operate the digital zoom and switch to video mode, MP3 mode, or photo mode and to access the recording options. It is a pity that the flash is always operated via the menu and not through a dedicated button. Among the various recording options offered are a macro mode, a delay mechanism, a sound recorder, a manual white balance with seven levels, and a choice of resolution between VGA, 1, 2 and 4 megapixels. On the other hand, there is no choice for recording the images, the only option is the JPEG.

The LCD screen is 1.8 inches diagonal and is well defined. The colors are bright but the response time is rather slow. This leaves a noticeable trail during movement.

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