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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Fujifilm FinePix F10


   


Fujifilm FinePix F10 Review

Review Date: Aug 1, 2005

Category: Point-and-Shoot

Fujifilm FinePix F10

Photoxels Editor's Choice 2005 Award

IMAGE QUALITY

The Fujifilm FinePix F10 is a digital camera targeted to Point-and-Shoot (P&S) photographers. It has 6.3 effective megapixels resolution on a redesigned 1/1.7 in. 5th Gen. SuperCCD HR image sensor with exceptional low noise capabilities that is currently not available on any other consumer (or even prosumer, for that matter) digital cameras. The Fujinon lens is a 36-108 mm (35mm format equivalent) F2.8(W)-F5.0(T), 3x optical zoom.

We find the overall image quality of the Fujifilm F10 to be excellent.

3x Optical Zoom
36 mm 108 mm
Wide-angle 8mm
(36mm, 35mm equivalent)
Telephoto 24mm
(108mm, 35mm equivalent)

In the above pictures, we show the coverage for 36mm and 108mm.

Together with the Real Photo Technology processor and Fujinon lens, the new 5th Generation SuperCCD HR image sensor manages to deliver especially clean images (i.e. low noise) at high ISOs -- a quantum jump in performance from all other image sensors currently available in consumer digital cameras. It would not be too dramatic to say that Fujifilm has raised the bar and other digital camera manufacturers need to catch up -- one solution is to start using a larger (APS-sized) image sensor into their consumer digital cameras. Meanwhile, everyone is waiting with excitement to evaluate how this new image sensor and technology fare in Fujifilm's more advanced digital camera models (the newly announced E900, S5200 and S9000).

Macro
Macro
8mm, Manual (Programmed Auto), Pattern, Custom WB
1/8.5 sec., F2.8, ISO 800, +1EV, Macro

The Fujifilm F10 can focus in Macro mode to as close as 7.5 cm (3 in.). Note that in the Scene Position modes, you cannot use Custom WB and Exposure Compensation in Natural Light mode and cannot use macro in Night mode. Which means that for the above macro shot in low-light, I have no choice but to use M mode (so I can use macro and Custom WB).

Auto White Balance Indoors
AWB Custom WB
AWB Custom WB

As the above two pictures show, the Auto White Balance (AWB) works well indoors under fluorescent light, even better than using WB = Fluorescent 3. The F10 allows you to set a Custom (manual) White Balance, which gives the best results. As expected, AWB works very well in natural light.

ISO Comparisons
ISO 800
ISO 800

The 100% crop above (area delimited by the white rectangle) demonstrates the low noise at the ISO Speed of 800. Note that I have not performed the usual ISO test shots because I have not been able to obtain correct exposure by manually selecting ISO in low-light situations. [I can always do it in daylight, but then where's the fun?]

F10 shutter speed ranges are as follows:

Shooting Mode
Shutter Speed Range
Auto
1/100
1/2000
Manual
1/4
1/2000
SP
- Natural
1/4
1/2000
- Portrait
1/100
1/2000
- Landscape
1/4
1/2000
- Sport
1/100
1/2000
- Night, Long Exposure OFF (auto)
3"
1/500
- Night, Long Exposure ON (manual)
15"
3"

The Fujifilm F10 provides a maximum long shutter speed of only 1/100 sec. in Auto shooting mode and 1/4 sec. in M shooting mode. In Scene Position Night, shutter speed can automatically go down to 3 sec. -- with Long Exposure set OFF. [Thanks to Perry from the dpreview Fuji Talk Forum for pointing this out to me first, even before Fujifilm came back to me with the answer.] To access the 3 sec. to 15 sec. shutter speed range, you need to set Long Exposure to ON while still in Scene Position Night; note that you are then truly in manual mode and have to experiment to obtain the right shutter speed for correct exposure.

All of this seems a bit more complicated than it needs to be for a true P&S digital camera, and recommendation is for Fujifilm to allow the use of the full range of shutter speed in the Auto and M mode.

The difficulty of obtaining my usual ISO test shots arises because I need a shutter speed in the 1/4 to 3 sec. range for correct exposure. In Natural Light mode, ISO cannot be manually selected, so that mode is out of the question (it also doesn't reach below 1/4 sec. anyway). In Night mode, the pictures are consistently underexposed (see tests below) and it is not possible to select exposure compensation to adjust the exposure.

Auto (ISO Auto) vs. Auto (ISO manually set)
Auto
ISO Auto = 800
24mm, 1/4 sec., F5.0
Auto
ISO 800
24mm, 1/4 sec., F5.0
 
M (ISO Auto) vs. M (ISO manually set)
M
ISO Auto = 800
24mm, 1/4 sec., F5.0
M
ISO 800
24mm, 1/4 sec., F5.0
 
Natural Light SP (ISO Auto) vs. Night SP (ISO manually set)
Scene Position = Natural Light
ISO Auto = 1600
24mm, 1/5 sec., F5.0
Scene Position = Night
ISO 1600
24mm, 1/15 sec., F5.0

Notice that Scene Position modes give different metering than Auto or M shooting modes (with my review camera). The 6 pictures above show that if you select Auto or M shooting mode with ISO set to Auto, the camera selects ISO 800 and correctly exposes the pictures. If you manually select ISO 800 in either mode, the pictures are also correctly exposed.

However, switch to Scene Position mode, and results are not the same.

In Scene Position Natural Light, the camera selects ISO 1600 -- instead of ISO 800 -- resulting in a slightly overexposed image. This slight overexposure may or may not be apparent to you in your final image depending on the subject matter, and may be an intentional programming on Fujifilm's part.

[A big thanks to Stephanie Seto (from the dpreview Fuji Talk Forum) who performed the same test as above for me to corroborate these results. You can view her results here and also visit her Fujifilm F10 Gallery.]

Now, switch the camera to Scene Position Night (Low Exposure OFF), set the ISO to the same one selected in Scene Position Natural Light (i.e. ISO 1600), and the camera gives you an underexposed image.

What does all this mean in practice? Simply that for everyday hand held low-light picture-taking situations, use either shooting mode Auto or M, with ISO set to Auto. If you are strictly a P&S photographer, Auto shooting mode is your best bet with a minimum shutter speed of 1/100 sec., fast enough to eliminate camera shake. The camera will select the appropriate ISO for correct exposure, and though higher ISOs will typically get selected, the low noise compensates for that. Natural Light mode is also good but it might give a slight overexposure (which may be a good thing in low-light situations) but will not allow flash use.

For more advanced photographers, use shooting mode M (Manual, but really is 'Programmed Auto'). I almost exclusively use shooting mode M, ISO 80 for sunny outdoors shooting, and manually set the ISO higher as needed. In low-light situations, I switch to ISO Auto. Using shooting mode M instead of Auto allows me to use slower shutter speeds up to 1/4 sec. though I am fully aware that unless I brace the camera somehow at these low shutter speeds, camera shake will inevitably yield a blurry shot. Using shooting mode M instead of Scene Position Natural Light allows me to specify whether to use the flash or not; in Scene Position Natural Light, flash, Custom WB and Exposure Compensation are disabled.

Worth noting is that in Auto shooting mode, the ISO is not chosen automatically unless you also specifically set ISO to Auto in the menu. This could easily trip some P&S photographers who might think that Auto mode would automatically set ISO also.

For P&S photographers, Natural Light mode is a great way to obtain natural looking low-light shots, but advanced amateur photographers will find the inability to access the full range of shutter speeds in M mode (limited to a long shutter speed of 1/4 sec.) a frustrating limitation of this camera.

Chromatic Aberrations
CA

CA (purple fringing) is visible in very strong highlights situations but not that big a problem in everyday shots. In the shot above, CA is visible at the corner delimited by the red square at top left (reproduced at 100% crop at bottom right).

I don't know how Fujifilm did this but long exposures (3+ sec.) yield surprisingly rich dark blacks -- without the extra (double) time usually required to do a noise reduction. So I was able to take fireworks pictures one after another without long wait times in between. Overall, excellent images, exceptional low noise capabilities and fast operation should make this camera a favourite of P&S photographers.

The pictures in the Fujifilm FinePix F10 Photo Gallery page provide a good sample of what the camera is capable of. I have provided samples at 800x600 pixels (compressed to Quality 60/100 in Photoshop Elements) as well as the 2848 x 2136 pixels original size (click on the image for the original version).

You can safely assume that most macro shots and slow shutter speed shots required the use of a tripod. Any image that is adjusted for levels in Photoshop has "_adjusted" appended to the file name.

I have defaulted the image size to 800x600 pixels. For those who have their monitor resolution set to 1024x728 pixels, everything should snugly fit and you should not have to scroll to see the whole image. If your monitor is set to 800x600 pixels resolution, start the slide show and then scroll to the right to position the image within your screen width. Then, press F11 (if you are using Internet Explorer) to switch to full screen mode, and the image should fill your screen nicely. Press F11 again at any time to switch your monitor display back to normal mode.

To return to this page from the Photo Gallery, click on the animated graphics of the camera.

Please open and download the original size version only if you need to and only once to your hard drive -- and save me some precious bandwidth. Thanks!

 

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