Fujifilm F30 Review

 
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Fujifilm FinePix F30 Exposure


Color

Saturation & Hue Accuracy
Good overall color, though often a slight warm cast. Slight oversaturation of strong reds and blues, but very good results overall.

In the diagram above, the squares show the original color, and the circles show the color that the camera captured. More saturated colors are located towards the periphery of the graph. Hue changes as you travel around the center. Thus, hue-accurate, highly saturated colors appear as lines radiating from the center.
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. The Fujifilm FinePix F30 does oversaturate red and blue tones a little, though results are still quite pleasing. 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. Here, the Fuji F30 performed well, though in some cases skin tones were a hint warm. Again, good results overall.

The other important part of color rendition is hue accuracy. Hue is "what color" the color is. The F30 often produced a slightly warm color balance (especially outdoors), pushed reds toward orange slightly and cyan toward blue, though overall results were still fairly accurate.

See full set of test images with explanations
See thumbnails of all test and gallery images

Sensor

Exposure and White Balance

Indoors, incandescent lighting
Good color with the Manual white balance setting, though a slight warm tint. A little more positive exposure compensation required than usual.

Auto White Balance +1.3 EV Incandescent WB +1.3 EV
 
Manual White Balance +1.3 EV  

Color balance indoors under incandescent lighting was pretty warm with both the Auto and Incandescent white balance settings, though the Manual option produced more accurate results. The FinePix F30 required a little more than the average amount of positive exposure compensation here, at +1.3 EV. Despite the very slight warm cast, overall color with the Manual white balance setting is pretty good, though the blue flowers are quite dark and purple. (Many digital cameras reproduce these flowers with a dark, purplish tint.) 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.

 

Outdoors, daylight
Slightly dark colors overall, and a tendency toward a warm cast and high contrast under harsh lighting. About average exposure accuracy.

Auto White Balance,
+0.7 EV
Auto White Balance,
Auto Exposure

Outdoors, the Fujifilm FinePix F30 tended toward a warmer color balance, with slightly dark hues. The F30 performed about average in terms of exposure, requiring the typical amount (or slightly less) of positive compensation we're accustomed to seeing among consumer digital cameras. Contrast is rather high, however, producing washed-out highlights and dark shadows under the deliberately harsh lighting of our "Sunlit" portrait test shown above left.

See full set of test images with explanations
See thumbnails of all test and gallery images

Resolution
High resolution, 1,300 ~ 1,400 lines of strong detail.

Our laboratory resolution chart revealed sharp, distinct line patterns down to about 1,400 lines per picture height horizontally, and to about 1,300 lines vertically. Extinction didn't occur until past 2,000. 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. Beware that while you might be able to make out what looks like distinct lines at numbers higher than those we've mentioned here, the camera is just doing its best to continue interpreting the lines.

Strong detail to
1,400 lines horizontal
Strong detail to
1,300 lines vertical

See full set of test images with explanations
See thumbnails of all test and gallery images

Sharpness & Detail
Reasonably sharp images overall, though some edge-enhancement on high-contrast subjects. Fairly low noise suppression in the shadows.

Good definition of high-contrast elements, though with some visible edge enhancement. Subtle detail: Hair
Noise suppression tends to blur detail in areas of subtle contrast, as in the darker parts of Marti's hair here.

The Fujifilm FinePix F30 captures fairly sharp images, though some edge enhancement artifacts are visible on high-contrast subjects such as the crop above left. (Edge enhancement creates the illusion of sharpness by enhancing colors and tones right at the edge of a rapid transition in color or tone.)

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. The crop above right shows fairly low noise suppression, with darker areas of Marti's hair showing limited detail. However, quite a bit of fine detail is visible in the strands of hair here.

ISO & Noise Performance
Low to moderate noise at the normal sensitivity settings, though a big jump in noise with strong blurring at the highest settings.

ISO 100 ISO 200 ISO 400
ISO 800 ISO 1,600 ISO 3,200

Noise levels are low to moderate at the Fujifilm FinePix F30's lower sensitivity settings, with only slightly high noise at ISO 400. Even at ISO 800, noise isn't as strong as you might expect. At ISOs 1,600 and 3,200, however, noise levels increase quite a bit, with a strong pattern and strong blurring.

Extremes: Sunlit and low light tests
High resolution with strong overall detail, but high contrast and limited shadow detail. Good low-light performance, capable of capturing bright images under average city street lighting and much darker conditions.

+0.3 EV +0.7 EV +1.0 EV

Sunlight:
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.)

The Fujifilm FinePix F30 produced high contrast with washed-out highlights and deep shadows under the harsh lighting of the test above. Noise suppression is visible in the shadows, contributing to the loss of detail there. Though some areas look a little dark at +0.7 EV, I preferred it to the image at +1.0 EV, which appeared much too bright and washed out. (In "real life" though, be sure to use fill flash in situations like the one shown above; it's better to shoot in the shade when possible.)

  1 fc
11 lux
1/2 fc
5.5 lux
1/4 fc
2.7 lux
1/8 fc
1.3 lux
1/16 fc
0.67 lux
ISO
100
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1.5 sec
f2.8
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3 sec
f2.8
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8 sec
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15 sec
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15 sec
f2.8
ISO
200
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1/1 sec
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1.5 sec
f2.8
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4 sec
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8 sec
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15 sec
f2.8
ISO
400
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1/2 sec
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2 sec
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8 sec
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ISO
800
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1/5 sec
f2.8
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1/2 sec
f2.8
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1 sec
f2.8
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2 sec
f2.8
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4 sec
f2.8
ISO
1600
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1/10 sec
f2.8
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1/5 sec
f2.8
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1/1 sec
f3.2
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1 sec
f2.8
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2 sec
f2.8
ISO
3200
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1/20 sec
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1/4 sec
f2.8
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1 sec
f2.8

Low light:
The Fujifilm FinePix F30 captured bright images down to the 1/16 foot-candle light level (about 1/16 as bright as average city street lighting at night), at all ISO settings except 100. Here, images were bright to about 1/8 foot-candle, which is still quite good. The camera's autofocus system was able to focus on the subject down to the darkest light level, without any assistance. Do keep in mind though, that the very long shutter times necessary here absolutely demand the use of a tripod or other camera support to get sharp photos. (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.)

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.

Flash

Coverage and Range
Fair flash intensity and coverage, though a slight pink cast indoors under incandescent lighting. Exposure compensation has no effect on flash exposures.

36mm equivalent 108mm equivalent
Normal Flash, Default Exposure Slow-Sync Flash, Default Exposure

Flash coverage was a little uneven at wide angle, with some falloff at telephoto as well. In the Indoor test, the Fujifilm FinePix F30's flash underexposed our subject at its default setting, but the camera's exposure compensation adjustment had no effect on flash exposures. There's a very slight pink cast from the incandescent lighting, which is likely intensified by the dim exposure. The camera's Slow-Sync flash mode produced brighter, more even results, though again, exposure compensation had no effect. Shots with the Slow-Sync flash resulted in a warmer color balance.

Flash Range: Wide Angle
6 ft 7 ft 8 ft 9 ft 10 ft
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1/60 sec
f2.8
ISO 100
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f2.8
ISO 100
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ISO 100
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1/60 sec
f2.8
ISO 100
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1/60 sec
f2.8
ISO 100
16 ft
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f2.8
ISO 100

Flash Range: Telephoto
6 ft 7 ft 8 ft 9 ft 10 ft
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1/100 sec
f5.0
ISO 100
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1/100 sec
f5.0
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f5.0
ISO 100
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f5.0
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1/100 sec
f5.0
ISO 100
16 ft
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1/100 sec
f5.0
ISO 100

 

The F30's flash remains bright to about 10 feet at wide angle, and to about six feet at telephoto before intensity falls off. Fujifilm's specs list the F30's flash as effective to about 21 feet at wide angle, and to about 11 feet at telephoto.

Output Quality

Print Quality
Excellent print quality, great color, good 13x19 inch prints. ISO 400 images are excellent at 8x10, higher ISO shots are frankly amazing.

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.)

We were really quite impressed with the Fujifilm Finepix F30's printed output. At 13x19, its ISO 100 prints were excellent, quite impressive for a 6 megapixel camera. Even ISO 400 prints were very good at 13x19. ISO 800 images were very good at 8x10, and ISO 1600 images just started to decay, but were still acceptable at arm's length. Finally, at 3200, 8x10 images were a little too soft, but became acceptable at 5x7 and just fine at 4x6. This is an amazing performance from a point and shoot camera, the best we've seen from a camera this small.

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Fujifilm FinePix F30 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 F30 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!

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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.

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