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Fujifilm Bows ‘Face-Detection’ Digicams

Fujifilm is taking an in-your-face approach with its latest Finepix S-series model, packing the camera with a newly developed face-tracking autofocus chip.

The 6-megapixel FinePix S6000fd falls into the company’s ultra-zoom, fixed lens category and packs a 10x optical zoom wide angle lens (28mm-300mm/35mm equivalent). It will be the company’s first model with face detection, a hardware-based solution which features its own dedicated chip which helps speed operation, the company said.

When framing a picture, the camera can automatically identify up to 10 faces in a scene, adjusting exposure and focusing accordingly. The camera will prioritize the face closest to the camera for focusing purposes. The mode will be accessible through a dedicated button on the camera and will highlight faces on the model’s 2.5-inch LCD. A green bracket will highlight the primary face while white brackets will surround the secondary faces.

When a subject moves, the technology can follow the face, but it can only lock onto faces looking straight into the camera — not profiles.

The S6000fd is not the first digital camera to offer a form of facial recognition, several models from Nikon offer a similar mode. According to a Fujifilm spokesman, the technology (which was migrated from the company’s Frontier digital mini labs)will appear on future digital cameras.

The camera will feature CV film on the LCD to prevent glare, and ISO sensitivities of 3200 when shooting in full resolution. The S6000 ships in September for a suggested $499.

The company also announced the 6-megapixel Finepix F20. Similar to the existing F30, the F20 will offer Fujifilm’s Super CCD sensor, a 3x optical zoom, 2.5-inch LCD and picture stabilization mode. It will offer lower ISO sensitivity at 2,000 for full-resolution photos, and a shorter battery life at 300 photos-per-charge. It will ship in August for a suggested $299.

The existing V10 model will also get a price drop, from a suggested $349, to $299, effective immediately.