Fujifilm F30 Review
Fujifilm FinePix F30 Operation
Given that the Fujifilm F30 offers a fair range of control over functions like ISO sensitivity, white balance, metering, and autofocus area, its user interface is pretty straightforward. The relatively few buttons on the camera, however, mean you will be scrolling through several menus to operate the finer functions of the camera. Some major paging through the manual will also be necessary to figure out the many features the Fuji F30 offers.
The Power button simply cycles the camera on or off, and the Mode dial sets it to one of four exposure modes - Auto, Manual, Scene Position (with 15 settings), Aperture/Shutter Priority AE, Picture Stabilization, and Movie mode. The camera's optical zoom, flash, macro mode, self-timer, and LCD backlight strength can all be adjusted in Record mode without entering the menu system. The Photo Mode button accesses a simplified menu for quickly adjusting Quality (image size), ISO equivalent, and Color (choices are Standard, B&W, and a Chrome setting for vivid color and contrast). Menus are accessed through the Menu/OK button. When you need to access these menus, screens are short and sweet, and require little navigation.
Record Mode LCD Screens
In Record mode, the Fuji F30's LCD monitor reports the basic exposure settings, as well as other exposure settings such as flash mode, focus mode, ISO, etc. The number of images available, battery status, and the set resolution also appear. Pressing the Display button enables an alignment grid with the information overlay, turns the information overlay off, or enables the 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). The LCD display cannot be turned off, because there's no optical viewfinder. The camera reports the shutter speed and aperture that will be used when the shutter button is half-pressed. In A/S mode, shutter and aperture can be manually adjusted.
Playback Mode LCD Screens
In Playback mode, the display includes an ample amount of information about your shots including the image number, the file size, the ISO, the date and time of capture, and the shutter speed and aperture the image was captured at. For a camera that does so much, it's nice that Fuji includes all this info in playback. The Display button cycles through several other options, where you can turn the information overlay off, enable a nine-image index display for seeing quickly what images are on the memory card, or sort images by date. This last is really a rather unusual feature, and could be quite useful if you have a large flash card and tend to keep images on it for weeks at a time. Up to 11 thumbnails are shown at once, alongside a bar which allows you to see the dates of all images on the flash card; you can then use the Four-way controller to select which day you want to see images from. When in playback mode, the zoom toggle lets you zoom in on the image to check small details, and the Four-way controller lets you pan around the image when zoomed in.
Fujifilm FinePix F30 Modes and Menus
Record Mode: Indicated by an icon on a red background at the top left of the LCD display (unless the display is in image only mode), this mode allows the camera to capture images. Exposure modes include Scene Program, Auto, Manual, and Movie (Manual mode does not allow user control of shutter speed or aperture). Pressing the Menu button displays the following options (not all options are available in all modes):
- Scene Position: Selects from the available Scene modes: Natural Light, Natural Light and Flash, Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Night, Fireworks, Sunset, Snow, Beach, Underwater, Museum, Party, Flower Close-Up and Text.
- Photometry: Metering can be set to Average, Spot, or Multi (Pattern).
- White Balance: Sets the white balance to Auto, Custom (manual setting), Fine, Shade, Fluorescent Light-1, Fluorescent Light-2, Fluorescent Light-3, or Incandescent.
- High-Speed Shooting: Increases autofocus speed (cuts full-autofocus shutter lag to about 0.3 second.) Battery life will be reduced when this is set to On.
- Continuous Shooting: Modes include Off, Top 3 (shoots and saves 3 frames), Final 3 (shoot up to 40 frames, camera saves last 3), or Long-period continuous (the camera shoots and saves up to 40 frames).
- Exposure Compensation: Allows for +/- 2.0EV of exposure compensation from the metered exposure, in steps of 1/3EV.
- AF Mode: Sets the autofocus mode to Center, Multi, or Continuous. Continuous mode increases battery drain, since the camera is focusing all the time between exposures, not just when the shutter button is half-pressed.
- Set-Up: Allows user to activate Setup Menu (see below).
- Setup Menu: Accessed from the Set-Up option in all Record or Playback menus (but not the Photo Mode or DPOF menus), the Setup menu offers the following options:
- Image Display: Turns the post-capture image review screen off, or sets it to a duration of 1.5 or 3 seconds.
- Frame Number: Renews frame numbering with each new memory card, or continues numbering from card to card.
- AF Illuminator: Enables or disables the camera's (extremely bright green) autofocus illuminator lamp.
- Digital Zoom: Enables or disables the camera's 6.2x digital zoom. If enabled, the camera will pause when crossing the boundary at which the optical zoom is at full telephoto and the digital zoom is enabled. You must let go of the zoom rocker briefly and then press it again to continue from the optical to digital zoom, or vice versa.
- LCD Mode: When enabled, dims the camera's backlights after ten seconds of inactivity, to save power. (A nice feature.)
- Long Exposure: Enables or disables the long exposure mode, which allows exposures from three to 15 seconds in length to be manually selected when in the Night scene mode.
- Date/Time: Sets the camera's internal clock and calendar.
- Beep Volume: Adjusts the volume of the camera's operating sounds in three steps, or disables it altogether.
- Shutter Volume: Adjusts the volume of the shutter noise in three steps, or disables it altogether.
- Playback Volume: Calls up the Playback volume menu, where you can disable playback sound altogether, or set the volume in ten arbitrary steps from 1 to 10.
- LCD Brightness: Calls up the LCD Brightness menu, where you can set LCD brightness to the default, or adjust it in arbitrary steps from -5 to +5. This adjustment is separate from the Record-mode LCD brightness adjustment option, so the effect of the two is added together.
- Format: Formats the xD-Picture Card, which erases all files, regardless of whether they've been "protected" via the Playback menu.
- Language: Sets the menu language to Simplified Chinese, English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Turkish, Russian, Korean, Chinese, or Japanese.
- Auto Power Off: Turns the power save option off, or sets it to shut down the camera after two or five minutes of inactivity.
- Time Difference: Allows a second date/time setting for another time zone.
- Background Color: Lets you select the color scheme for the camera's menus, with options being light / dark blue, light / dark purple, light / dark pink, light / dark orange, light / dark green, and grey / black.
- Video System: Sets the video output signal timing to match either the NTSC or PAL standard. (NTSC for the US and Japan, PAL for Europe.)
- Reset: Resets all camera settings to their defaults.
Playback Mode: Indicated by an icon on a blue/green background at the top left of the LCD display (unless the display is in image only or thumbnail mode). Here, you can review captured images and movies, as well as manage files and set up images for printing. Pressing the Menu button displays the following options:
- Erase: Deletes the current frame or all frames.
- Image Rotate: Calls up the Image Rotate menu, where you can rotate the image clockwise (Down arrow) or anti-clockwise (Up arrow) in 90-degree increments. The OK button saves the change, or the Back button cancels.
- Protect: Write-protects the displayed image, preventing it from being accidentally erased or manipulated (except via card formatting). Also removes protection, and offers options to protect or unprotect all images on the card.
- Copy: Allows you to transfer saved images between the internal memory and an xD-Picture Card.
- Voice Memo: Allows you to record a 30 second audio clip to accompany the current image. The OK button starts and stops recording; the Back button restarts recording when it is under way, and cancels recording if you have not yet started it.
- Trimming: Allows you to crop a portion from the current image using the same controls as the Playback zoom function, and save it as a new file.
- Set-Up: Allows you to access the Setup Menu.
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.