The FinePix F31fd includes ISO sensitivities as high as ISO 3200 equivalent courtesy of a sixth generation, six megapixel Super CCD HR imager which offers an improved signal to noise ratio, and a two-stage noise reduction system that breaks down and removes noise in low and high frequency bands in separate steps. Fuji's Super CCD HR sensors use an octagonal array of photodiodes that increase image resolution in the horizontal and vertical planes - where the maximum detail in pictures should be found.
The main difference between the FinePix F31fd and F30 is the addition of Fuji's Face Detection functionality, first seen in the FinePix S6000fd model. Achieved with a dedicated LSI chip in the camera, the feature can detect up to ten faces in the photo simultaneously, with Fujifilm rating the feature as capable of achieving this in just 1/20th of a second. With the feature enabled, the camera indicates the faces detected in the scene by framing them with rectangles in the display - white for all but the top priority face, which is framed in green. The locations of faces are then used by the Fuji F31 to confirm the appropriate location for focus and exposure detection, so as to ensure that your subject is correctly focused even when off center. In Playback mode, the feature can be cleverly used to automatically zoom images to the primary face in an image (for confirmation of pose, focus, etc.), and can also be used to automatically crop a shot for optimum portrait framing. The face detection functionality can be disabled, as desired.
On top of the face detection feature, the built-in storage memory in the Fuji FinePix F31 is more than doubled as compared to the F30, from 10MB to 26MB (and is of course still supplemented with xD-Picture Card storage. One other slight change is a restyling of the trim piece on the camera's front that also serves to provide purchase for your fingers when gripping the camera body to frame a shot. The press release also very briefly mentions infra-red connectivity, dubbed "IR Simple".
The Fujifilm F31fd's image sensor is coupled with a 3x optical zoom lens with a 35mm equivalent focal length range of 36 - 108mm - a moderate wide angle to a moderate telephoto. On top of the exceptional ISO / noise characteristics (by compact camera standards, anyway), the Fuji F31fd also includes an intelligent flash system dubbed "i-Flash", which takes a range of variables including subject size and position in the frame, ambient light and backlight intensity into account, then calculates the required flash intensity. Aperture- and shutter-priority modes are provided to allow users to unleash their creative side, and the Fujifilm F31 also has a larger than average 2.5" LCD display with a resolution of 230,000 pixels is used to frame and review photos, in lieu of any optical viewfinder.
The Fuji FinePix F31fd's retail pricing is set at $399 when it ships this December - the same as the original F30 model listed for at launch. The F30 will remain in the product line, with a price drop of $50 to $349 list.