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Fujifilm's FinePix F31fd digital camera. Courtesy of Fujifilm, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Fuji announces FinePix F31fd
By Michael R. Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, September 25, 2006 - 03:00 EDT)

An update to the Fujifilm Finepix F30 which was announced at the Photo Marketing Association tradeshow earlier this year, the Fujifilm Finepix F31fd retains essentially all of the features of that model including the image sensor - a very good thing given that the F30 has been praised pretty much universally for its high ISO performance.

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 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.

Fujifilm FinePix F31fd
Fujifilm's FinePix F31fd digital camera. Courtesy of Fujifilm, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
General
Camera Type Compact
Manufacturer Fujifilm
Model Number F31fd
Dimensions 3.6 x 2.2 x 1.1"
91.5 x 56.0 x 28.0mm
Weight 155.9 g
5.5 oz
Planned Price $399.00
Planned Availability Dec 2006
Image Capture
Sensor Type 1/1.7" Fujifilm SuperCCD HR
6.30 megapixels (effective)
Aspect Ratio 4:3, 3:2
Image Dimensions 2848 x 2136 (6.1 megapixels)
3024 x 2016 (6.1 megapixels)
2048 x 1536 (3.1 megapixels)
1600 x 1200 (1.9 megapixels)
640 x 480 (0.3 megapixels)
Capture Speed Standard: 0.7 frames per second
Continuous: 2.2 frames per second for 3 frames
Image Preview / Review
Viewfinder No
LCD 2.5", 230,000 pixels
100% field of view
Lens
Lens Type Fujinon
3x optical zoom
Image Stabilization No
Focal Length 8.0 - 24.0mm (actual)
36 - 108mm (35mm equivalent)
Aperture Range f/2.8 (wide) / f/5.0 (tele) - f/8.0
Focusing System TTL Contrast (Center / Multi) w/ face detection with AF assist lamp
Focusing Range Normal: 25" - infinity (61 cm - infinity)
Macro: 2.0" - 32" (5 cm - 79 cm)
Exposure
ISO Sensitivity Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
Shutter Speed 15 - 1/2000 second
Exposure Modes Aperture, Shutter
Metering Modes 256-zone multi, center-weighted aver age, spot
Exposure Compensation +/- 1.7EV in 1/3EV increments
White Balance Image Sensor - Automatic, Preset (Fine, Shade, Fluorescent [Daylight, Warm White, Cool White], Incandescent light), Custom, Manual
Internal Flash Modes: Auto, Red-eye Reduction, Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Slow Synchro, Red-eye Reduction + Slow Synchro
Range: 2.0 - 21.3 ft (Wide), 2.0 - 11.5 ft (Tele), 1.0 ft - 2.6 ft (Macro)
Creative
Scene Modes Natural Light, Natural Light & with Flash, Portrait, Landscape, Sport, Night, Fireworks, Sunset, Snow, Beach, Underwater, Museum, Party, Flower Close-up, Text
Digital Zoom 6.2x
Self Timer Yes, 2 or 10 seconds
Movie Format AVI (Motion JPEG) with audio
640x480 and 320x240
Max. frame-rate: 30 frames per second
Storage
Recording Medium xD Picture Card, Built-in
File System Complies with Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF)
File Format JPEG (Exif 2.2)
Connectivity
Video Yes, NTSC / PAL switchable
Computer USB 2.0 High Speed
Other DC In
Power
Battery Type Lithium Ion rechargeable
Battery Form Factor Proprietary NP-95
Product Bundle
Software FinePixViewer, ImageMixer VCD2 LE for FinePix
Battery / Charger 1 x Proprietary NP-95 Lithium Ion rechargeable battery and charger
Flash Memory 26.0MB built-in memory
Other
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliant Yes
PictBridge Compliant Yes
Internal Microphone Yes
Internal Speaker Yes
Tripod Mount Yes
Remote Control No
More Photos
Fujifilm's FinePix F31fd digital camera. Courtesy of Fujifilm, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
 

Original Source Press Release:

FUJIFILM BRINGS FACE DETECTION TO THE COMPACT DIGITAL CAMERA CATEGORY WITH THE FINEPIX F31fd

Camera also Boasts 3200 ISO, i-Flash and Picture Stabilization

Valhalla, New York, September 25, 2006 -- Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc., is proud to unveil the FinePix F31fd, the first pocketable digital camera from Fujifilm to feature the company’s new Face Detection Technology.

Fujifilm’s Face Detection Technology debuted on the SLR-styled FinePix S6000fd. It has a tremendous impact on the quality of “people pictures” by ensuring that cameras like the FinePix F31fd will automatically focus on and expose for faces, rather than details that lead to less-than-desirable photographs. Identifying up to 10 faces in a frame, Face Detection Technology ensures photos of friends and family are crisp, clear and properly exposed for a natural feel. It has an advantage over the few other face detection systems currently on the market as the technology is built-in to the camera’s processor, enabling the FinePix F31fd to identify faces and optimize settings within a scant 0.05 seconds.

With the FinePix F31fd, which is similar in style to the FinePix F30, Fujifilm adds Face Detection to the many significant breakthrough features in the award winning and critically-acclaimed FinePix F30 - unprecedented light sensitivities up to ISO 3200 at full resolution, Fujifilm’s Picture Stabilization, the ‘i-Flash’ system, and best-in-class 580-shot battery life. Add a 3x optical zoom lens from Fujinon, a 6-MegaPixel Super CCD HR sensor, and a 2.5 inch LCD screen with glare-reducing coatings and the FinePix F31fd is an ideal companion for consumers looking for a first-class upgrade to their current digital cameras.

Face Detection Technology
Fujifilm’s Face Detection Technology was originally developed for the company’s photofinishing division where it has been improving the quality of photos produced at retail photo centers nationwide by Fujifilm’s Frontier Digital Lab Systems. Fujifilm’s Research & Development team adapted the technology for use within digital cameras, where it is now a genuinely useful tool for making subjects look their best.

A selectable option, Fujifilm’s Face Detection Technology identifies faces by triangulating a subject’s eyes and mouth using an algorithm to optimize focus and exposure. It simultaneously displays a green rectangle around the primary subject, while white squares identify up to nine other subjects. Movement tracking keeps the camera ‘locked on’ to its subjects until they move out of the picture. The technology works regardless of the subject’s position in the frame, and is not confused by eyeglasses. In Playback mode, Face Detection automatically zooms to subjects’ faces and trims the shot for optimum portraits.

Low Light Photography and Picture Stabilization
Fujifilm has identified low light photography as one of the true benchmarks of a digital camera's performance, as many images are taken when light is limited. Limited light requires the use of a flash, however, a flash can leave subjects looking ‘washed out’ and background detail almost non-existent. Higher light sensitivities make flash-free photography possible with available light, balancing foreground and background exposure and contributing to a natural look and feel.

Higher light sensitivities also enable the camera to shoot with faster shutter speeds, which lessen the likelihood of blurry pictures caused by a moving subject or the shake of an unsteady hand. To make it easy for consumers to achieve blur-free results, the FinePix F31fd features a helpful “Picture Stabilization” mode dial setting. This easy-to-identify, automatic setting lets the FinePix F31fd choose the correct light sensitivity and best-matching shutter speed, producing the highest quality digital pictures without blur and the noise often associated with high sensitivity photographs.

i-Flash
For those occasions when flash is required, Fujifilm’s intelligent ‘i-Flash’ system sets flash power output to achieve natural foreground illumination with balanced background exposure. Fujifilm’s i-Flash system is more advanced than similar flash systems because it can detect more accurately the subtle lighting differences within a scene, and then light the subject accordingly with a wider range of flash intensities. Together, the Face Detection and i-Flash technologies produce photographs with prominent subjects exhibiting pleasing, natural tones.

“Fujifilm set the benchmark for digital camera performance earlier this year with the introduction of the FinePix F30, a model that helped consumers take better pictures through innovative technology breakthroughs and best-in-class performance,” remarked David Troy, Senior Product Manager, Consumer Digital Cameras, Electronic Imaging Division, Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. “With the addition of Face Detection Technology to an already outstanding camera package, the FinePix F31fd will turn just about any picture-taker into a top-notch photographer.”

The FinePix F31fd has a number of useful features that make it easy to snap outstanding photos:“Natural Light & with Flash” Dual Shot Mode: In this mode the FinePix F31fd quickly shoots two images in succession -- one with and one without the flash -- saving both. This convenient function lets the user perform an on-the-spot picture comparison and decide whether the FinePix F31fd produced the most pleasing photo with flash, or without.

“Natural Light” shooting mode: This mode preserves scene mood and enhances background detail by shooting with faster shutter speeds at higher light sensitivities (if necessary) with a suppressed flash.

Fast Operation: The camera’s fast response times, 0.01 second shutter lag and 1.5 second start-up time, ensure it will catch all the action and spell the end for missed photo opportunities.

LCD: The FinePix F31fd features a large 2.5 inch, 230,000 pixel LCD screen coated with Fujifilm’s proprietary CV film. This minimizes glare and reflection so that images can be viewed from any angle and even in sunny conditions, when glare would usually be a problem. In addition, the screen’s brightness adjusts automatically, depending on the amount of light available, to further enhance ease of viewing.

Better Movie Quality: Movie capture for the FinePix F31fd is enhanced by noise reduction, making it possible to capture clear, sharp moving images even at high ISO sensitivity speeds. It is also capable of VGA movie capture at 30 frames per second with sound.Special scene modes: The FinePix F31fd has 15 scene positions including beach, snow and fireworks for optimum photography, no matter what the event. Manual settings: Includes shutter and aperture priority, for more user control.The FinePix F31fd will be available in December at a retail cost of $399.

About Fujifilm
Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. is a subsidiary of Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd. and delivers technology solutions to meet the imaging and information needs of retailers, consumers, professionals and business customers. As a global leader in digital imaging, Fujifilm pioneered the development of digital medical systems, and today is the leader in digital minilab systems. The company was ranked number 18 for U.S. patents granted during 2005, employs more than 75,000 people worldwide and in the year ending March 31, 2006, had global revenues of $22.8 billion.

In the United States, Fujifilm is a leader in delivering high quality, easy-to-use imaging and information solutions in the following categories: Digital Imaging Systems, Film and Imaging Systems, Recording/Storage Media, Motion Picture Film, Graphic Arts and Printing Systems and Medical Imaging and Diagnostics Systems. Fujifilm is an environmentally friendly, humane enterprise and an exemplary corporate citizen.

For more information on Fujifilm products, consumers can call 800-800-FUJI or access the Fujifilm USA Web site at www.fujifilmusa.com. Consumers also can receive news and information direct from Fujifilm USA via RSS. Subscription is free at www.fujifilmusa.com/rss.

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All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their registered owners.

*With Fujifilm’s commitment to constant improvement, the company reserves the right to alter specifications without prior notice.

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