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Digital Camera Reviews > Fujifilm FinePix
Fujifilm F70EXR Review
Date: Oct 08, 2009
Category: Beginner Amateur
Photoxels Editor's Choice 2009 - Compact Ultra Zoom
Wednesday, Sep 23, 2009 - Here's what I receive in
- FinePix F70EXR
- No memory card [Fujifilm sent me a 2GB SD memory card for the review]
- Li-ion Battery NP-50 3.6V 1000mAh 3.4Wh
- BC-45W Battery Charger
- Wrist Strap
- USB and A/V Cables
- Documentation: Basic Manual
- Software CD: Owner's Manual; Software for FinePix CZ Version
5.5b for Windows and Macintosh
The Fujifilm FinePix F70EXR may be Fujifilm's first long zoom digital camera, but they have certainly scored a hit. You would not know it's a long zoom because outwardly the F70EXR looks -- and is about the same size as -- an ultra compact digital camera. At 22.7mm (0.9 in.) thin, Fujifilm claims the F70EXR is the world's slimmest 10x optical zoom digital camera -- and they're probably right because the F70EXR easily slips right into my trousers pocket. Turn it on and start using it, and you'd be surprised at how easy it is to obtain great pictures with the F70EXR.
The "EXR" label indicates that the Fujifilm F70EXR uses the same type of Super CCD EXR image sensor as the one used in the F200EXR. Indeed, you'll find "EXR" as one of the mode right on the Mode Dial. You can specify one of three different kind of scenes : highest resolution possible using all 10M in good lighting (RESOLUTION PRIORITY); high ISO and low noise at 5M resolution in low light (HIGH ISO & LOW NOISE); and wide dynamic range at 5M in scenes that incorporate both dark areas and bright highlights (D-RANGE PRIORITY). The F70EXR even makes it easy for the photographer by providing an EXR AUTO shooting mode that will analyze the scene and automatically select the most appropriate of the three EXR modes.
The Fujifilm F70EXR is a very good low-light digital camera with excellent quality low-light shots
at ISO 100, 200, and even 400, with usable shots at ISO 800. D-RANGE PRIORITY allows images to be captured with a wide dynamic range, perhaps putting an end to blown highlights forever.
Though the Fujifilm F70EXR's audience will undoubtedly
still be mainly the Point-and-Shoot (P&S)
and beginner amateur photographers, there are Aperture-Priority and Manual modes but only two aperture settings are available at any focal length.
I used the Fujifilm F70EXR almost exclusively in
the EXR AUTO mode, letting the camera decide the appropriate scene mode as well as EXR mode. Note that the resolution of the image will depend on the EXR mode selected: 3616 x 2712 pixels [10M] for EXR RESOLUTION PRIORITY or 2592 x 1944 [5M] for the other two modes.
As far as the 10x optical zoom is concerned, it is more than enough and the sensor-shift image stabilization means that you'll get sharp images even hand holding the camera. Note that the Owner's Manual talks about "Picture Stabilization" instead of "Image Stabilization" -- which is an error since the former is almost always used to mean there is no mechanical stabilization (optical or sensor-shift), only upping the ISO. Then, the manual lists the stabilization as: "Optical stabilization (CCD shift)." It's one or the other, can't be both, and as far as we know, it's sensor-shift. Obviously, a typo there.
Performance is better than on the F200EXR. Though startup (our definition of "startup" is "time-to-first-shot" -- the time it takes for the camera to turn on, the lens to fully extend, the LCD to display an image and the shutter release button ready to take a picture) is still at 2+ sec., I find that you can take pictures as soon as the LCD displays an image.
You can pretty much take one picture after another for 3 frames, and then the camera pauses slightly to clear some buffer space. However, when in EXR HIGH ISO & LOW NOISE or D-RANGE PRIORITY mode, I could pretty much take one shot after another for as many shots as I wanted (though I stopped at 20 shots), so it might have something to do with whether you are using 10M or 5M resolution.
With the F200EXR, you could not expect to whip it out and capture a fleeting moment, but I did not feel that the F70EXR had this problem. After every shot, you do not have to wait for the picture to finish writing to memory card before taking the next shot, but unfortunately -- and something that Fujifilm could improve -- you still won't be able to access the Menu until the picture has completely finished writing to memory card (@ 4 long sec.).
Since there is no AF Area mode that allows you to select where on the screen you want the camera to focus on, I find that I rely a lot more on Face-Prority AF to ensure focus is on the subject's face and eyes. Fujifilm has fixed how Face-Priority AF works on the F70EXR, yeah! On the review F200EXR camera I had, I complained that Face-Priority AF would detect and lock AF properly on a face when you half-press the shutter release button, but then it would restart the face detection all over again as you finish depressing the shutter release button fully to take the picture. This would not be a problem except that at times it detects the face but then fails to lock on it, resulting in a picture where the focus is somewhere other than the face. What it should do, so I said about the F200EXR, is that once the shutter release button is half pressed, the AF (whichever AF mode is chosen) should lock -- and stay locked at that focus point. Well, I'm glad to say that's exactly how it works now on the F70EXR: half-press the shutter release button to lock Face-Priority AF and when you depress the shutter release button fully, it stays locked and does not refocus. That's how pre-focusing should work, and it does so correctly on the F70EXR.
The FinePixViewer software is one of my favorite
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 also do basic image
editing, re: auto adjust, manual adjust of brightness, saturation, hue, contrast, sharpness, sepia, B&W, correct red-eye.
A Basic Manual in how to setup and operate your camera is provided in print. The Owner's Manual is now on the CD, which means you can't carry it with you, but on the other hand it is easily searchable.
The Fujifilm FinePix F70EXR is a very enjoyable compact long zoom digital camera to use. I especially like the ease of use and image quality, especially where high ISOs are concerned. Consider that in a ultra compact package, it has very good low light capability, has the ability to capture images with a wide dynamic range, has fast AF, and now adds 10x ultra zoom. What more could you ask for in a take-anywhere camera?