I've been soldiering on with a Canon D500 point and shoot for several years now mainly because nobody seems to be able to make a better one. There's nothing fancy about the SD500 (7MP, 3x zoom) but it takes decent pictures and is built like a tank. I thought about going with an SD800 because of the wide angle but the sensor was smaller and the picture quality suffered because of the wide angle. My G7 (electronics, asphalt = bad) died so this summer I had to rely solely on the SD500 this summer for the 14 GB or so of photos I took. It did ok but it got me to thinking about a new small point and shoot pocket camera. The SD500 would still be great if it had image stabilization and some manual controls. I've been watching Fujifilm and it's SuperCCD for quite a while and I think they might have created my next camera....
My requirements for a small point and shoot camera are this:

  1. small
  2. manual controls
  3. wide angle lens
  4. decent low light performance
  5. image stabilization
  6. decent photo quality
The SD500 hits on 2 of these, the G7 hits on 4. Some of the newer Canon point and shoots like the SD870 would satisfy 4 with only low light performance suffering. The Panasonic cameras cover about 4 with photo quality suffering.

I will be eagerly waiting a review of the Fujifilm 50fd . For now here is the specs at DPreview. It has manual shutter and aperature control, excellent low light performance thanks to Fuji's SuperCCD, image stabilization via CCD shift, is small and supposedly the image quality is good. Notice I didn't mention the 12 MP CCD? I don't care about CCD resolution because we've gone way overboard on this. I do however care about CCD size and the Fuji 50fd has the largest CCD of any point and shoot that I know matching the G7s. It's also the SuperCCD so ISO 1600 is roughly equivalent to ISO 400 on most point and shoots. I've seen comparisons where the Fuji SuperCCD kept head to head with a DSLR in low light conditions which NO point and shoot has been able to even come close to. Most point and shoot cameras do ok at ISO 200, are grainy at ISO 400 and are worthless at ISO 800 or above. The marketing departments keep pushing the ISO rating now and I've seen ISO 2000 out there. The Panasonic's are good up to ISO 200 until the noise control gets way out of hand. You'd better be in range of the flash if it's dark and you have a Panasonic.

So if the Fuji 50fd can pull of the image quality of previous Fuji cameras, has a decent menu system and the Image Stabilization helps I may be sold. The only thing it's missing is the wide angle but if the Canon SD800 is any indication a wide angle on a camera this small may be wishful thinking if you want to keep image quality.

It's selling for pre-order at Amazon for $300.