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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Fujifilm FinePix F30

Fuji Digital Cameras

   


Fujifilm FinePix F30 Review

Review Date: Jul 24, 2006

Category: Beginner Amateur

Fujifilm FinePix F30 Left & Right Views

Photoxels Editor's Choice 2006 DIWA Awards Fujifilm F30 wins DIWA Platinum Award

HANDLING & FEEL

The Fujifilm FinePix F30 is about the same size and weight as the award-winning FinePix F10 but with a more streamlined look. It retains a classy and elegant design, and can be easily carried in a jeans pocket or fashion purse. The Fujifilm F30 uses the xD-Picture Card.

The Fujifilm F30 is attractive in its metallic silver body with chrome accents. A slightly raised grip on the front and two rows of rubber dots [a nice and original touch] at the back provide somewhat of a secure grip [use of the wrist strap is still highly recommended].

Startup and shot to shot times are fast at about 1.5 sec., and there is no practical shutter lag. Autofocus is fast and precise.

STYLE
- Colours: overall silver with chrome accents
- Looks: classy, elegant, fashionable
   
FEEL
- Comfortable to hold and operate
- Controls & menu are intuitive to use
   
DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT
- Ultra Compact: fits in a jeans pocket or small fashion purse
- Dimensions: 92.7 x 56.7 x 27.8mm /
3.6 x 2.2 x 1.1 in.
- Weight: 155 g / 5.5 oz.
- Takes 1 rechargeable Li-ion battery NP-95 3.6V 1800mAh
   
SPEED OF OPERATION
- Startup with lens extending and LCD turning on in about 1.5 sec.
- Shot to shot time about 1.5 sec.
- No practical shutter lag
   

Included in the box is a rechargeable Li-ion battery that can take a remarkable 580 shots with LCD on (CIPA standard) on a fresh charge and an AC Power Adapter AC-5VW (with power cord) that will recharge a new battery in-camera in approx. 4 hrs.

The Terminal compartment is conveniently on the left side of the camera (viewed from the back), and the rubber flap extends to provide unimpeded access to the A/V OUT, USB and DC IN sockets.

The flash includes a new i-Flash Intelligent Flash System and has a range of 0.6-6.5m/2.0-21.3 ft., which is quite powerful. It is physically placed close to the top edge, so be careful your left fingers do not get in the way when using flash. You can set the flash to Off (Suppressed Flash), Slow Synchro, Red-Eye & Slow Synchro, Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, or On (Forced Flash).

Controls

Fujifilm FinePix F30 Top View

The top of the camera has [from left to right] the Power ON/OFF button, Mode Dial and shutter release button. The Fujifilm F30 has one of the nicest 2-stage shutter release button we've ever used, with a distinct half-press click which allows your finger to pause there without risk of accidentally pressing the shutter fully.

On the F10, the Mode Dial was a collar around the shutter release button, but on the F30, it is a separate dial. Besides AUTO, Manual [really, Programmed AE], Movie and SP (Scene Position) shooting modes, two new settings are A/S (Aperture/Shutter Speed) and Anti-Blur.

The SP mode now also includes a Natural Light scene mode which will use a high ISO and disable flash.

The Anti-Blur (also referred as "Picture Stabilization") setting will select a high ISO and a fast shutter speed to reduce camera shake and blur caused by the subject moving.

A nod to more advanced photographers is the Aperture-Priority AE and Shutter-Priority AE setting. Note that aperture and shutter speed cannot be selected in 'Manual' Mode [we always said camera manufacturers should stop labelling this mode 'Manual' when it is closer to being really 'Programmed AE'].

You'll find most of the functions are easy to set. A bit more involved is manually selecting a Long Exposure which can go from 1 to 15 sec. These long shutter speeds allow very nice night shots using a tripod.

You can record movies with sound until the memory card is full at either 640 x 480 or 320x240 pixels at 30fps. You can preset optical zoom before movie recording but zoom cannot be used during movie recording.

Video Storage Capacity
(min. sec.)
Internal
Memory
(10MB)
1GB
640x480
30fps
8s
14.9m
320x240
30fps
16s
29.3m

About 10MB of Internal Memory comes with the camera, so no xD-Picture Card is included. Only 8 sec. of movies can be saved in the 10MB of Internal memory. If you plan to do lots of movies, plan on using a large capacity xD-Picture Card.

xD-Picture Card Storage Capacity (approx. # images)
Quality Pixels 10MB 256MB 512MB 1GB
6M F 2848x2136 3 85 170 341
6M N 2848x2136 6 169 339 680
3:2 3024x2016 6 169 339 680
3M 2048x1536 12 325 651 1305
2M 1600x1200 15 409 818 1639
0.3M 640x480 77 1997 3993 7995

As the above chart shows, at 6M F image quality, only 3 images can be saved in the 10MB of Internal Memory. We recomend that you purchase either a 512MB or 1GB xD-Picture Card, depending on the number of images you normally shoot in one session.

Fujifilm FinePix F30 Back View

FUNCTIONS ACCESSIBLE BY CONTROL BUTTONS (clockwise starting from the Zoom Lever)
- Zoom Lever: from W to T, less than 1 sec in 7 steps
- Playback: If you just hold it for about 1 sec. without turning on the camera, it will automatically go into Playback mode
- Photo (F) button: ISO ( Auto 1600, Auto 400, 3200, 1600, 800, 400, 200 100), Quality, Color Effects (Standard, Chrome, B&W)
- 4 Way Arrows (Erase/LCD Brighten, Flash, Self-timer (10 sec. and 2 sec.), Macro
- Exposure Compensation (also used to switch between Aperture-Priority AE and Shutter-Priority AE; also used to set long shutter speeds)
- DISPLAY (Info, No info, Info + Framing Grid, Post Shot Assist Window)
   
EXPOSURE COMPENSATION
- Exposure compensation is accessed directly by pressing the Exposure Compensation button
- Once set, the Exposure Compensation Indicator conveniently stays displayed on screen until it is reset to "0"
- Range: -2 EV to +2 EV (1/3 EV increments)
- The screen brightness will increase or decrease to reflect the value you use
- Note: the exposure compensation value selected is retained even when the camera is turned off (so remember to reset to "0" after using it or the next time you turn the camera on, your shots may be over- or under-exposed.)
- No Histogram is available
   
LONG SHUTTER SPEED
- To access shutter speeds from 1 to 15 sec., you need to first go into SETUP and set Long Exposure ON.
- Long Shutter is available only in Night scene mode, so you must rotate the Mode Dial to SP.
- Then press the Exposure Compensation button to engage the feature. Now, use the LEFT and RIGHT ARROW keys to select a shutter speed from 1 to 15 sec. Press the Exposure Compensation button again to set that shutter speed.
   
DISP/BACK
- Besides acting as a Display button to select whether info is displayed on screen or not, this button also serves as a "Back" button to back out of MENU choices -- something like the Cancel key on your computer keyboard
   

At the bottom of the camera, the tripod mount thread is plastic. The Battery/xD-Picture Card door is also plastic and looks like it could open accidentally; however, I can happily report that it works quite well and hasn't opened accidentally at all during the time I used it. The battery also has a latch to keep it from accidentally falling. You won't be able to change battery or card when the camera is on a tripod.

LCD & Menus

There is no optical viewfinder but a very nice and extra large 2.5 in. LCD monitor with a high 230,000 pixels resolution. It's one of the best LCD monitor I've used. It has an anti-glare coating that works extremely well, even in bright sunlight, and, if further needed, the LCD monitor can be conveniently and quickly brightened with a press of the UP ARROW key. The LCD has a fast enough refresh rate for a smooth display in good and low light. The LCD also gains up well in low-light.

There is a very effective AF-assist Illuminator and I've found auto focusing to be quite fast and precise in low-light situations.

You can also display a framing grid [one of the selection when you press the DISP button continuously] of horizontal and vertical lines, which is very useful when you need to align vertical and horizontal lines precisely. The lines are fine and grey and do not interfere with the composition -- the way we like them.

The Fujifilm FinePix F30 is unmistakably built with quality in mind. From the moment you pick it up to your first pictures, you gain a sense that it has been well thought out in construction and design. Controls are logically placed and intuitive to use, with only a few niggles that should not detract from either the capability of this camera or the enjoyment of its user. A beautiful high-resolution LCD monitor, incredible low-light capability, high performance, compact and light,... the FinePix F30 is a perfect take-anywhere digital camera for the point-and-shoot photographer in your family. More advanced photographers will also find that the Aperture/Shutter Speed option allows enough exposure control to satisfy them.

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