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Fujifilm FinePix F30 Design

Though the F30 isn't the thinnest camera on the market in this compact category, its dimensions of 3.6 x 2.2 x 1.1 inches (92.7 x 56.7 x 27.8mm) make it small enough to slide into a bag or coat pocket and take along anywhere. While from a distance the camera might look like a rather ordinary silver box, on closer inspection you'll notice the F30's luxurious curved finish, with the smooth, light silver of the camera's back metal plate wrapping around the right and locking into the darker silver faceplate. With an xD-Picture Card and its rather large-size proprietary rechargeable lithium ion battery, the camera weighs a substantial (but not quite hefty) 6.77 ounces (192 grams).

The F30's metal front panel is nearly flat with the lens retracted, except for the small surfboard-like metal fingergrip, which extends slightly out from the middle right of the camera. Turning the F30 on extends the lens about an inch from the camera body. A shutter-like lens cover protects the front of the lens when closed, and quickly retracts when the camera is powered on. Near the top of the front panel are the flash, self-timer lamp, and an AF assist lamp. Two small holes below the lens barrel mark the location of the camera's microphone.

The right side of the camera (as viewed from the rear) holds only the recessed eyelet for the wrist strap.

The opposite side of the Fujifilm F30 is smooth and featureless, except for a small rubber flap covering the A/V Out, USB, and DC IN 5V power input sockets.

On the F30's top panel are the Power button, Mode dial, and Shutter button.

The remaining camera controls are on the rear panel, sharing space with the LCD monitor. Note that the Fuji F30 forgoes any form of optical viewfinder, in favor of a larger 2.5" LCD display, which dominates the left side of the camera's rear. The LCD does seem fairly easy to view in most lighting conditions (it's even surprisingly usable in full sunlight), so many users likely won't even miss the optical viewfinder. The zoom rocker is at the top right of the rear panel, and a small indentation in the center of the rocker and series of rubber dots below it that provide a reasonable thumb rest to counter the front fingergrip. The Playback and Photo Mode buttons (the latter marked with a stylized 'F' character in Fujifilm's FinePix logo font) are side by side, centered vertically on the camera's right rear. The Playback button doubles as a second power switch, allowing you to turn the camera on directly in Playback mode (without the lens extending) if you hold the Playback button in briefly.

A Four-way arrow pad next to the lower right corner controls macro and flash modes, the self-timer, the LCD brightness and the delete functions, and also provides navigation controls for the LCD menu system. In record mode, the left arrow doubles as a Macro button, and the right arrow cycles through Flash settings, while the up arrow boosts the LCD's backlight for better visibility, and the down arrow cycles through the camera's self-timer modes. Located in the center of the Four-way arrow pad, a Menu/OK button calls up the camera's Record or Playback-mode menu system, and acknowledges changes to menu items. Directly to the lower left of the Arrow pad is the Back/Display button, for backing out of menu screens, or cycling through the available LCD display modes. In Record mode, the display modes options are text overlay, image only, framing guidelines with text, or post-shot assist (which shows the last three images captured since switching the camera to record mode alongside a live view, to assist in framing shots with similar composition). To the lower right of the Four-way arrow pad, is an exposure compensation button that can only be operated in the Manual and Aperture/Shutter Priority modes.

The Fujifilm F30's bottom panel is flat, with the threaded plastic tripod socket on the left side. The shared xD-Picture Card and battery compartment is to the right of the tripod mount (as viewed from the rear), with a hinged door that slides over before opening. The door doesn't lock, but latches closed fairly firmly.

Between the tripod socket and shared xD-Picture Card and battery compartment door, nine holes in a three by three grid indicate the location of the speaker.


Fujifilm FinePix F30 External Controls

Mode Dial: In the middle of the camera's top panel, this dial controls the camera's exposure modes, offering the following options:

Shutter Button
: Located on the right of the top panel this button sets focus and exposure when halfway pressed, and fires the shutter when fully pressed. When in Playback mode, half-pressing this button quickly returns the camera to Record mode.

Power Button
: Located to the left of the Mode dial, this button turns the camera on and off.

Zoom Rocker
: In the top right corner of the rear panel, this rocker controls the 3x optical and the up-to-6.2x digital zoom. In Playback mode, these buttons let you zoom in on captured images, for closer viewing.

Playback Button: Below the zoom rocker and immediately to the right of the LCD display, this button that toggles the camera between Record and Playback mode. If the camera is powered off, holding this button in briefly will power the camera on in Playback mode, so the lens doesn't extend.

Photo Mode Button: Marked with an F and located to the right of the Playback button, this button displays the Function menu when pressed in Record or Playback modes. The following options are available:

Record Mode

Playback Mode

Four-way Arrow Pad and Menu/OK Button
: Directly below the Playback and Photo Mode buttons, this large rocker button features four arrows for navigating through menu screens and captured images. The central Menu / OK button activates the menu system in any camera mode, and subsequently confirms menu selections. In playback mode, if a movie is playing the Menu button calls up the Playback volume menu. In Record mode, the left arrow turns Macro mode on or off, while the right arrow controls the flash mode. The up arrow brightens the LCD display's backlight, and the down arrow cycles through the self-timer options. In Playback mode, the right and left arrow keys scroll through captured images. All four arrow keys pan the view of an enlarged image.

Display/Back Button
: Directly below the Four-way controller near the lower right corner of the LCD monitor, this button controls the LCD display in Record mode. Pressing the button cycles through the available display modes. In Record mode, these are text overlay, image only, framing guidelines with text, or post-shot assist (which shows the last three images captured since switching the camera to record mode alongside a live view, to assist in framing shots with similar composition). In Playback mode, they are text overlay, image only, nine-image index, or 11-image index by date. When menus are activated, the Display / Back button backs out of menu screens without making any changes.