The Fujifilm FinePix E550 is one of the newest digital cameras of the Fujifilm assortment. On the eve of the PMA 2005 show, we did find out that a new series will be announced shortly, but this model, the E550, will be a topical digital camera for the next few months. The Fujifilm FinePix E550 has a distinctive, rather traditional appearance; it hasn't been hit by the lifestyle virus that seems to pursue us lately. It's an entry-level digital camera, with extra functions to give the photographer a chance to grow to a higher photographic level. The amount of buttons is restricted; therefore the Fujifilm E550 looks well-organized. Novices and intermediate users will recognise the camera's appearance that is similar to a traditional 35mm camera, which will make it a familiar and pleasant acquaintance. The Fujifilm E550 has a clearly visible, somewhat stiff handgrip and a reasonably low weight, (285 grams, batteries included). Its size however makes him just too big to take with you in your trouser pocket or shirt pocket, so a carrier case will be the solution. The housing of the Fujifilm FinePix E550 feels solid and consists of a metal/plastic mixture.
Fujfiilm FinePix E550 - Lens and optical viewfinder
The optical zoom lens is neatly hidden inside the housing but extends in an impressive speed when the camera is activated. Zooming in happens fluently and quickly. The lens is protected by a mechanism that opens or shuts really fast. The front of the Fujifilm E550 offers place to a compact optical viewfinder, with beside it the 4x optical zoom and also next to it a sensor for the flash. Below we find a small microphone. The camera's front is completely flat, when deactivated, apart from the sticking out hand grip. Underneath the lens we find a small button to press the ring around the zoom lens in order to be able to use an adapter ring. This adapter enables the use of various lenses. To finish it off, the front of the hand grip contains a small built-in lamp to show the status of the self-timer.
Fujfiilm E550 camera - Built-in flash
The built-in flash is positioned on top of the Fujifilm FinePix E550, spot on in the centre. The flash has to pop out through pushing the button on the slanting part of the back, in order to be able to use the flash. The on/off button is found next to the well-known command dial that contains various main programs. Most at front on top of the hand grip we detect the release button. The side of the Fujifilm E550 carries a large loud-speaker and three connectors, covered with a single plastic cover. Unfortunately the cover isn't tethered to the camera's housing which makes it too easy to loose. The connectors consist of an AV connection, a USB connection and an AC power connection.
Fujfiilm E550 - LCD monitor & Multi functional button
The back of the Fujifilm FinePix E550 shows us the large bright LCD monitor with on the left top a small optical viewfinder. Left next to the monitor we find a button for exposure compensation. On the right the zoom button is located which can be operated blind-folded with your thumb. Also handy is the quick button for record and play mode. Fujifilm's blue coloured 'F' button, well-known by now, and a Back button are the two remaining small sized buttons. The multi functional button operates functions like flash settings and macro mode and of course helps you to navigate through the menu of the E550. The amount of buttons is limited which makes the camera well organized and clear.
Fujfiilm digital camera - Battery and Flash memory compartment
The bottom of the Fujifilm FinePix E550 is flat with the (plastic) tripod connection placed slightly off centred. A cover, with a cheap texture, covers the combined compartment, which contains a set of AA batteries and the xD Picture Card. When opening this compartment one should hold the camera upside down to prevent the batteries from falling out. This could cause real damage to the batteries. A delivered docking station adapter supports a so-called optional Picture Cradle. This station recharges the batteries automatically and images can be transferred onto a computer easily and fast.