Fujifilm F100fd Review
Fuji F100fd Exposure
Saturation & Hue Accuracy
Very good overall color and hue accuracy, with minor oversaturation and undersaturation of some colors.
Saturation. The Fujifilm FinePix F100fd oversaturates some red and blue tones slightly, which is typical of consumer digital cameras. However, bright yellows and greens are actually a little undersaturated. Overall saturation still looked good and pleasing throughout most of our test subjects. Most consumer digital cameras produce color that's more highly saturated (more intense) than found in the original subjects. This is simply because most people like their color a bit brighter than life.
Skin tones. Here, with the color balanced properly for the light source, the Fuji F100fd's skin tones were a little pinkish, though still believable. Where oversaturation is most problematic is on Caucasian skin tones, as it's very easy for these "memory colors" to be seen as too bright, too pink, too yellow, etc.
Hue. The Fujifilm FinePix F100fd showed some minor color shifts relative to the correct mathematical translation of colors in its subjects. Notably, it pushed cyan toward blue (presumable for stronger blue skies), magenta toward red, and yellow toward green. Still, overall color was pleasing. Hue is "what color" the color is.
| See full set of test images
See thumbnails of all test and gallery images
Exposure and White Balance
Indoors, incandescent lighting
Good color with the Manual white balance setting, though slight color shifts with Auto and Incandescent options. Default exposure is slightly dim requiring a jump to ISO 200 and +0.7EV adjustment.
|Auto White Balance
ISO 200, +0.7 EV
|Incandescent White Balance
ISO 200, +0.7 EV
|Manual White Balance
ISO 200, +0.7 EV
Color balance indoors under incandescent lighting was quite reddish in Auto white balance mode, while the Incandescent setting had a stronger warm cast. Manual mode was the most accurate overall, though just a hint cool. The FinePix F100fd's default exposure setting at ISO 100 produced just slightly dim results, and EV adjustments did not work because the F100fd's lowest automatically controlled shutter speed is 1/4 second. Getting a properly exposed shot required a switch to ISO 200, and an adjustment to +0.7 EV. Our test lighting for this shot is a mixture of 60 and 100 watt household incandescent bulbs, a pretty yellow light source, but a very common one in typical home settings here in the U.S.
High contrast under harsh lighting, but good overall color.
|Auto White Balance,
|Auto White Balance,
Outdoors, the Fujifilm FinePix F100fd produced high contrast under very harsh lighting, a common struggle for many digital cameras. On the portrait shot, the shirt is just about completely blown out at +1.0 EV, but any less exposure compensation resulted in unnaturally dark skin tones. The FinePix F100fd does have a useful Dynamic Range adjustment, which actually helped even out the exposure on the portrait at its 400% setting (see Sunlight test below). On the house shot, detail is actually pretty good in the shadows and highlights, though obscured slightly by image noise. Definitely consider the camera's Dynamic Range adjustment under conditions like these.
Very high resolution, 1,800 lines of strong detail.
Our laboratory resolution chart revealed sharp, distinct line patterns down to about 1,800 lines per picture height in both directions. Extinction didn't occur, and though artifacts begin to cloud the lines slightly at 2,000 lines, detail actually remains pretty good. Switching to the 2x target roughly verifies the 1,800 number, and sets extinction at about 3,000 lines. Use these numbers to compare with other cameras of similar resolution, or use them to see just what higher resolution can mean in terms of potential detail.
Sharpness & Detail
Sharp images with strong detail except in low contrast areas. Minor evidence of edge-enhancement on high-contrast subjects, and noise suppression in the shadows.
|Good definition of high-contrast
elements, with only minor
|Subtle detail: Hair
Overall good detail in the shadows,
with a moderate level of
noise suppression blurring detail.
Sharpness. The Fujifilm FinePix F100fd captured sharp details, with good definition. Slight edge enhancement artifacts are visible on high-contrast subjects, but the camera does a good job here; shadow areas lose detail, as seen in the bricks. Edge enhancement creates the illusion of sharpness by enhancing colors and tones right at the edge of a rapid transition in color or tone.
Detail. The crop above right shows fairly heavy noise suppression in the hair, softening more area overall than is normal. Noise-suppression systems in digital cameras tend to flatten-out detail in areas of subtle contrast. The effects can often be seen in shots of human hair, where the individual strands are lost and an almost "watercolor" look appears.
ISO & Noise Performance
Low to moderate noise at the normal sensitivity settings, with moderate noise suppression. Higher noise suppression and blurring at the higher settings.
|ISO 100||ISO 200||ISO 400|
|ISO 800||ISO 1,600||ISO 3,200|
(2,048 x 1,536 pixels)
(2,048 x 1,536 pixels)
The Fujifilm FinePix F100fd produced fairly low noise at its normal sensitivity settings, with good results at ISO 400 as well; however, noise suppression is clearly at work, softening fine detail in most of the model's hair. At ISO 400, a lot of fine detail is gone. At ISO 800, the effects of noise suppression are much stronger with blurred detail throughout the frame. At the 1,600 and 3,200 settings, the noise pattern is more pronounced. The highest ISO settings of 6,400 and 12,800 are limited to the 2,048 x 1,536-pixel image size, and results at both settings definitely appear more like a Renoir.
Extremes: Sunlit and low light tests
Very high resolution and strong detail, though high contrast under harsh lighting. Poor low-light performance in normal shooting mode, but much better results with Night mode.
|+0.7 EV||+1.0 EV||+1.3 EV|
Sunlight. The Fujifilm FinePix F100fd produced very high contrast under the deliberately harsh lighting in the test above, with blown-out highlights and very deep shadows. Detail remains fairly strong in the shadow areas, though the hot highlights lose a considerable amount. At +1.0 EV, the highlights are definitely a little too bright, but this was the best exposure for the subject's face. At +0.7 EV, the highlights are a little more tame, but the face is quite dark. The camera's Dynamic Range adjustment did help out quite a bit here (see below), and at the higher settings produced a much more even exposure. Consider adjusting the Dynamic Range in situations like these with the F100fd, though shooting with a fill flash or in the shade may be better options under harsh lighting.
|Dynamic Range Settings|
As mentioned previously, the FinePix F100fd's adjustable Dynamic Range settings helped in harsh lighting as in the portrait shots above. You can see that highlight detail in the white shirt is blown-out in the first two images, but increasing the dynamic range setting helped to bring out more detail in this area, as well as in the shadows and midtones. Unfortunately, that detail is marred by the increase in noise and noise reduction at 400%, which used ISO 400.
Because digital cameras are more like slide film than negative film (in that they tend to have a more limited tonal range), we test them in the harshest situations to see how they handle scenes with bright highlights and dark shadows, as well as what kind of sensitivity they have in low light. The shot above is designed to mimic the very harsh, contrasty effect of direct noonday sunlight, a very tough challenge for most digital cameras. (You can read details of this test here.)
Low light. The Fujifilm FinePix F100fd had trouble on the low-light test. Images were quite dark even at the brightest light level until ISO 800. The slowest shutter speed available in auto modes is 1/4 second. However, switching over to Night mode produced much better results, with shutter times as long as 8 seconds available. In Night mode, the camera kept the ISO at 100, and images were bright down the the 1/8 foot-candle light level, though there were quite a few "hot pixels" visible (likely not a problem for normal sized prints). So, for the best results, use Night mode in dark conditions like these. Color balance was a hint cool with the Auto setting, but still pretty good. The camera's autofocus system worked well also, as it was able to focus on the subject beyond the 1/16 foot-candle light level unassisted. Keep in mind that the longer shutter times here demand a tripod to prevent any blurring from camera movement. (A useful trick is to just prop the camera on a convenient surface, and use its self-timer to release the shutter. This avoids any jiggling from your finger pressing the shutter button, and can work quite well when you don't have a tripod handy.)
How bright is this? The one foot-candle light level that this test begins at roughly corresponds to the brightness of typical city street-lighting at night. Cameras performing well at that level should be able to snap good-looking photos of street-lit scenes.
NOTE: This low light test is conducted with a stationary subject, and the camera mounted on a sturdy tripod. Most digital cameras will fail miserably when faced with a moving subject in dim lighting. (For example, a child's ballet recital or a holiday pageant in a gymnasium.) For such applications, you may have better luck with a digital SLR camera, but even there, you'll likely need to set the focus manually. For information and reviews on digital SLRs, refer to our SLR review index page.
Coverage and Range
A weak flash, though coverage is fairly uniform for a 28mm equivalent lens.
|28mm equivalent||140mm equivalent|
Coverage. Flash coverage was slightly uneven at wide angle, with a small amount of falloff in the corners and at the edges of the frame. At full telephoto, the target was almost too far for the flash to illuminate it. In the Indoor test, the F100fd's flash underexposed our subject at its default setting, and raising the exposure value had no effect. The camera's Slow-Sync flash mode produced slightly brighter results at +0.3 EV, though with a stronger pinkish-orange cast from the background room lighting.
ISO 100 Range. At wide angle, flash shots at ISO 100 were bright at 6 feet, but began decreasing gradually in brightness from there. At telephoto, results were already dim at 6 feet, and continued to darken.
|Manufacturer-Specified Flash Range|
Auto ISO 400
Auto ISO 400
Manufacturer Specified Flash Test. The Finepix F100fd performs close to Fujifilm's stated flash range, though the camera had to boost ISO to get bright results. At wide angle, the camera produced a bright exposure at the rated distance with its ISO set to Auto (which selected ISO 400). At telephoto, the image is slightly dim, despite the boost ISO 400. Our standard test method for flash range uses a fixed setting of ISO 100, to provide a fair basis of comparison between cameras. We've now also begun shooting two shots using the manufacturer-specified camera settings, at the range the company claims for the camera, to assess the validity of the specific claims.
Good print quality, good color, sharp 13x19-inch prints. ISO 400 images are soft but usable at 13x19, ISO 800 shots are still good at 8x10.
The Fujifilm FinePix F100fd had enough resolution to make good looking 13x19-inch prints from ISO 100 to ISO 400, quite an accomplishment. Some areas at ISO 400 are a little softer than we'd like particularly hair and low contrast areas, where detail is blurred along with the noise, but these are mostly acceptable with a reduction to 11x14 inches; areas with greater contrast, though, are surprisingly sharp. The difference in sharpness between the high and low-contrast areas becomes more pronounced at ISO 800, which means that while high contrast areas are more than acceptable, low contrast areas are a blurry mess. With the exception of a few subjects, these areas are much better at 8x10. ISO 1,600 shots are decent at 8x10, with the same exceptions, but certainly usable at arm's length. ISO 3,200 images are okay at 5x7, and better at 4x6, but at either size the color is faded. The switch to ISO 6,400 cuts the resolution and brings some of that color back for a fuzzy 4x6, that's better than most, but the color fades again for ISO 12,800 which looks like a photo of a Renoir painting at 4x6. They might have avoided the criticism if they'd called it Impressionist Mode.
Testing hundreds of digital cameras, we've found that you can only tell just so much about a camera's image quality by viewing its images on-screen. Ultimately, there's no substitute for printing a lot of images and examining them closely. For this reason, we now routinely print sample images from the cameras we test on our Canon i9900 studio printer, and on the Canon iP5200 here in the office. (See the Canon i9900 review for details on that model.)
The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Fujifilm FinePix F100fd Photo Gallery.
Recommended Software: Rescue your Photos!
Just as important as an extra memory card is a tool to rescue your images when one of your cards fails at some point in the future. We get a lot of email from readers who've lost photos due to a corrupted memory card. Memory card corruption can happen with any card type and any camera manufacturer, nobody's immune. A lot of "lost" images can be recovered with an inexpensive, easy to use piece of software though. Given the amount of email I've gotten on the topic, I now include this paragraph in all my digital camera reviews. The program you need is called PhotoRescue, by DataRescue SA. Read our review of it if you'd like, but download the program now, so you'll have it. It doesn't cost a penny until you need it, and even then it's only $29, with a money back guarantee. So download PhotoRescue for Windows or PhotoRescue for Mac while you're thinking of it. (While you're at it, download the PDF manual and quickstart guide as well.) Stash the file in a safe place and it'll be there when you need it. Trust me, needing this is not a matter of if, but when... PhotoRescue is about the best and easiest tool for recovering digital photos I've seen. (Disclosure: IR gets a small commission from sales of the product, but I'd highly recommend the program even if we didn't.) OK, now back to our regularly scheduled review...
Not sure which camera to buy? Let your eyes be the ultimate judge! Visit our Comparometer(tm) to compare images from the Fujifilm FinePix F100fd with those from other cameras you may be considering. The proof is in the pictures, so let your own eyes decide which you like best!
|Print this Page|
Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.