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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Fujifilm FinePix F10

Fuji Digital Cameras


Fujifilm FinePix F10 Review

Review Date: Aug 1, 2005

Category: Point-and-Shoot

Fujifilm FinePix F10

Photoxels Editor's Choice 2005 Award


Thursday, Jul 11, 2005 - Here's what I receive in the box:

  • FinePix F10
  • 16MB xD-Picture Card
  • Li-ion Battery NP-120
  • AC Power Adapter AC-5VW
  • Hand Strap
  • USB and A/V Cables
  • Terminal Adapter
  • Documentation (English & French): QuickStart; Owner's Manual
  • Software CD: FinePixViewer 5.0, ImageMixer VCD2 LE for FinePix

The Fujifilm FinePix F10 is a major milestone in the development of consumer digital cameras. For a number of years, consumer digital cameras were faced with three major challenges:

  1. Slow operation. Most cameras had an unacceptably long shutter and Autofocus lag, i.e. you pressed the shutter release button and the camera took the picture... 1 or 2 secs later.
  2. Lack of a good AF Assist Illuminator. In low-light situations, the camera is not able to focus (and the LCD monitor is also pretty much useless in low-light).
  3. Noise. This is most apparent when high ISOs are used, and the inability to use high ISOs meant that pictures taken in low-light situations (if you could achieve focus in the first place) were usually blurred due to the use of a long shutter speed and resultant camera shake and/or subject movement.

Most consumer digital cameras have pretty much got the first two challenges under control. The one challenge left to eliminate was the issue of noise at high ISOs. A digital camera that would address these three challenges more or less successfully would satisfy most photographers, especially those who desire a fuss-free Point-and-Shoot digital camera.

The Fujifilm F10 -- with its new 5th Generation Super CCD HR image sensor, Real Photo Technology Processor and quality Fujinon lens -- has the distinction of being the first consumer digital camera to have addressed all three of the above challenges.

The Fujifilm F10 comes with an AC Power Adapter, which means that you can plug the camera in when you come back from a day's shoot, and immediately start transferring images to your PC without having to recharge the battery first. The small self-timer lamp lights red while the battery is charging and turns off when it is fully charged. Note that there is a safety mechanism built-in: if the battery is too hot (e.g. after a full day's non-stop shooting), the recharging process will not start until the battery has cooled down appropriately. It's all automatic, so just leave it plugged in. Fully recharging a depleted battery takes about 4 hrs.

You can optionally purchase the Battery Charger BC-65 which will fully recharge a depleted battery in about 225 minutes; it doesn't shave off much time but at least you can go out again and keep shooting with a spare battery while the depleted one is recharging.

The Terminal Adapter supplied with the camera is a small rectangular box that contains 3 sockets: DC IN 5V, USB, and A/V OUT. Fujifilm took them out of the camera to keep its dimensions and weight down. It is an extra piece that you must remember to carry with you if you intend to do any image transfer on the road or viewing images on a TV at a friend's place. I just leave it plugged into the power adapter and bring the two together if I think I will need them on the road; otherwise they both stay at home, with the Terminal Adapter functioning like a mini docking station.

The Fujifilm F10 is fast, lens extending out and LCD turning on in about 1 sec. There is no practical shutter lag, and if you turn the display off, you can pretty much take pictures one after another. With the display on (you have a choice of 1.5 sec. or 3 sec.), slightly depress the shutter release button to immediately return to Record mode.

There has been a lot written about the menu structure of the Fujifilm F10, and I was expecting a disaster. In fact, it looks quite nice, and as long as you ignore the numbered tabs, it's pretty normal.

The Fujifilm F10 is targeted to Point-and-Shoot (P&S) photographers, but everyone has been waiting so long for its revolutionary image sensor that there is understandably some disappointment from more advanced amateur photographers that there are not more manual controls. My major complaint has to do with the inability to access the full range of shutter speed (15 - 1/2000 sec.) in M mode.

Shooting Mode
Shutter Speed Range
- Natural
- Portrait
- Landscape
- Sport
- Night Long Exposure OFF (auto)
- Night Long Exposure ON (manual)

Please note: SP Night mode defaults to 3" to 1/500 of a second. In order to enable the 3 second to 15 second range the user must follow the instructions in the manual titled Long Exposure -- on pages 46 thru 48 to set Long Exposure ON.

Some early users of the Fujifilm F10 thought the camera incapable of taking good night shots because of the lack of a true manual mode. While it is challenging, you can obtain excellent night shots using the Scene Position Night (Long Exposure OFF or ON). I took a number of good fireworks shots at 3 sec. and got lucky. If I wanted to use 2 sec. or less, I would be out of luck.

Tarzan Rocks Concert
8mm, M (Programmed Auto), Pattern, 1/100 sec., F2.8, and ISO 400, Flash
Adjusted and sharpened in Photoshop Elements

To put things in perspective, you can take low-light pictures with no flash, but it will mostly be at ISO 1600, and noise will be visible. Even so, the Fujifilm F10 rocks because it allows you to capture low-light shots that no other P&S currently can!

I use the Fujifilm F10 almost exclusively in the M mode, and a press of the MENU/OK button conveniently brings up the menu positioned on the Exposure Compensation setting. The "F" button, however, brings up Image Quality as the first option when ISO would be a more useful choice. One setting that does not make sense is the LONG EXPOSURE in the SET menu choice. This option allows you to manually select a shutter speed between 3 to 15 sec. when shooting mode is set to the Night Scene Position. It's 14 button presses away, making it very inconvenient to access. Without LONG EXPOSURE set to ON, Night Scene is limited to 3-1/500 sec. An easy solution would be to simpy add an additional Scene Position of LONG EXPOSURE.

IllumiNations Parade at Epcot
24mm, M (Programmed Auto), Pattern, 1/58, F5.0, ISO 1600

I mentioned this before in other Fujifilm reviews: I simply love the FinePixViewer software because all the information is contained in one screen. Each image's filename is clearly visible and you do not need to launch another window to view the EXIF info. There is (still) some valuable screen real estate wasted along the rightmost column with the "Register Now" ad. You can do basic image editing, re: brightness, saturation, hue, sharpness.

The Fujifilm F10 Owner's Manual is well illustrated and written, though the print font is very small.

On our improvements wishlist:

  • provide the full range of shutter speeds in M (Programmed Auto) mode;
  • ideally, LCD should swivel for easy macro photography.

The Fujifilm FinePix F10 is the almost perfect P&S digital camera, especially with the low noise at high ISOs capabilities. It has set a new standard that other digital camera manufacturers will have to reach.

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