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Fujifilm FinePix F30 Review
Date: Jul 24, 2006
Friday, Jul 7, 2006 - Here's what I receive in
- FinePix F30
- No memory card [Fujifilm sent me a 256MB xD-Picture
Card for the review]
- Li-ion Battery NP-95 3.6V 1800mAh
- AC Power Adapter AC-5VC with Power Cord
- Hand Strap
- USB and A/V Cables
- Documentation (English & French): QuickStart;
- Software CD: Software for FinePix CX Version
5.2b for Windows and Macintosh
Currently, the Fujifilm FinePix F30 may
be the best compact digital camera for general
and low-light photography. It simply allows you
to capture exceptional quality low-light shots
to ISO 400, with the added bonus of going as high
as ISO 3200.
Granted, at ISO 3200, the images viewed at 100%
size look like watercolour paintings. But at 4x6
in. prints, and displayed for web size -- as most
P&S pictures are viewed -- I find them more
than acceptable. I took pictures without flash
in low light situations that my other digital
camera just could not handle.
Does this mean that you can hand-hold low-light
shots without worrying about camera shake or subject
motion at all? Putting aside all marketing
claims to the contrary, the simple answer is,
Not quite. Take a look at the low-light
shots in the Fujifilm
F30 Photo Gallery and you'll see many shots
that another non-dSLR digital camera just will
not be able to take. However, I made sure I rested
the Fujifilm F30 on a solid surface at all times,
used the self-timer sometimes, braced myself to
prevent camera shake, and took lots of pictures.
But, you already knew to do all that, right? Notwithstanding,
in performance and low-light capability, the FinePix
F30 comes closest to a digital SLR than any other
digital camera in its class.
[The Fujifilm F30 is joined at the top of this
list by the newly announced Fujifilm
F20 and Fujifilm S6000fd,
which also share the same 6th Generation Super
CCD HR image sensor.]
The Fujifilm F30 improves on the award-winning
FinePix F10 with:
- Even better low-light capability, offering
ISO 3200 (though losing ISO 80).
- A beautiful extra large 2.5-in. LCD monitor
with double the resolution.
- Two new shooting modes: Aperture-Priority
AE and Shutter-Priority AE.
- A new Anti-Blur or "Picture Stabilization"
shooting mode selects a high ISO and fast shutter
speed to help reduce blurring caused by subject
On the performance front, the FinePix F30 is
fast at startup, has no practical shutter lag,
and the battery lasts forever.
Of special note is that the battery gives a fantastic
580 shots per charge (CIPA Standard)! No anemic
100-200 shots here, though you do have to wait
approx. 4 hours to fully charge it. It's well
worth the wait for now, at last, you don't have
to worry about running out of battery power during
your shooting session. I took the FinePix F30
to Disney and shot pictures all day, leaving the
camera on for long periods to ensure I can catch
a shot fast. [If you've seen someone acting very
strangely at Disney Florida taking the same shot
with 2 different compact digital cameras, that
The LCD monitor is one of the most beautiful
I've used, with 230,000 pixels resolution, and
a very effective anti-glare coating that makes
for easy viewing even in bright sunlight, and
gain-up in low-light. This is how all LCD monitors
should be built.
The Fujifilm F30 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.
Good news! The Terminal Adapter that was separate
in the F10 [some folks just hated that!] is now
back into the F30 body proper, without the latter
gaining any extra size and weight.
The FinePix F30 has 2 rows of non-slip rubber
dots on the back for the thumb rest, and these
considerably improve the safety factor of the
The Fujifilm F30's audience will undoubtedly
still be mainly the Point-and-Shoot (P&S)
and beginner amateur photographers. However, more
advanced amateur photographers will welcome the
additional manual control provided by the new
Aperture-Priority AE and Shutter-Priority AE shooting
I use the Fujifilm F30 almost exclusively in
the M mode, which is more akin to Programmed AE
mode, where you can select ISO, WB, etc.
Selecting Long Exposure is a bit more long-winded
than it should, in my opinion: you must first
enable it in SETUP [why not just default it to
ON, folks?]; then, set shooting mode to SP and
select Night scene mode; a press of the Exposure
Compensation button to engage the feature; press
LEFT and RIGHT ARROW keys to select a shutter
speed between 1 and 15 sec.; press the Exposure
Compensation button again to set the selected
shutter speed. This Long Exposure feature is also
present in other digital cameras and require similar
contortions to set. Someone should be able to
reprogram the firmware to allow a selection of
LONG EXPOSURE on the Mode Dial without having
to go through all that rigmarole
[M-W Dictionary, 2nd definition] to select a long
Trompe-l'oeil (mural illusion)
at Disney MGM Studios
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. You can easily run a full-screen slide
show. 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: Auto adjust, Manual adjust
(Brightness, Saturation, Hue, Contrast), Sepia/B&W,
Sharp/Soft, Correct Red-Eye. I used the ImageMixer
Movie Editor to easily extract 10 sec. clips for
the movie samples.
The Fujifilm F30 Owner's Manual is well illustrated
and written, though more cross-indexing between
the Camera Parts and actual content would be helpful.
I found The Fujifilm FinePix F30 especially
hard to part with. Besides its exceptional low-light
capability, high performance, beautiful LCD monitor,
and great battery life, it is also a pleasure
to use and operate, giving excellent image quality
shot after shot with point-and-shoot simplicity.
I like the availability of long exposures as well
as the additional manual control in the Aperture-Priority
AE and Shutter-Priority AE shooting mode. Do yourself
a favour and check it out before you decide on
a new compact digital camera.