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Digital Cameras - Fuji FinePix 3800 Test Images

(Originally posted: 01/31/03)

 

The photos below are of my standardized test subjects.
Click here for a "gallery" of more interesting photos of random subjects.

 

I've begun including links in our reviews to a Thumber-generated index page for the test shots. The Thumber data includes a host of information on the images, including shutter speed, ISO setting, compression setting, etc. Rather than clutter the page below with *all* that detail, we're posting the Thumber index so only those interested in the information need wade through it!

 

Outdoor Portrait:

Good resolution and detail, with very good color.

The extreme tonal range of this image makes it a tough shot for many digicams, which is precisely why I set it up this way, and why I shoot it with no fill flash or reflector to open the shadows. The object is to hold both highlight and shadow detail without producing a "flat" picture with muddy colors, and the FinePix 3800 performed fairly well.

The shot at right was taken with a +0.6 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which produced good midtone values, but at the cost of highlight detail, due to the camera's somewhat high native contrast. I chose the Auto white balance setting for this shot, though it produced nearly identical results to the Daylight setting. Skin tones look pretty good, ad do the blue flowers in the bouquet. (This is a very difficult blue for many digicams to get right, and the FinePix 3800 does a great job here.) Saturation is good throughout the frame, though the red flowers are a bit "hot" (over-saturated).

Resolution is moderate, with a lot of detail in the flower bouquet, and good detail in Marti's face. The shadow areas also have good detail, with moderate noise.

To see the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0, see files F38OUTAP0.HTM through F38OUTAP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.


 

Closer Portrait:

Good resolution and detail, the 6x zoom lens prevents distortion.

Overall results are similar to the wider shot above, and the FinePix 3800's 6x zoom lens helps prevent distortion of Marti's features. (A longer zoom lens is handy to have for doing close-up portrait shots like this, to avoid distorting your subject's features.) The level of visible fine detail increases greatly, and detail in Marti's face and hair have good definition. The shot at right was taken at the default exposure setting, which is just about right. (Although the strong highlights of Marti's shirt are once again blown out.) Shadow detail is good, with moderate noise.

To view the entire exposure series from -0.3 to +0.3 EV, see files F38FACAM1.HTM through F38FACAP1.HTM on the thumbnail index page.


 

Indoor Portrait, Flash:
Normal Flash
Slow-Sync Flash

Low flash intensity.

The FinePix 3800's built-in flash is a little weak here, and the 3800's exposure compensation adjustment doesn't seem to have any effect over the flash exposure. (Here's an example with a +1.0 EV exposure compensation adjustment, and here's one shot at the default exposure setting.) The background incandescent lighting results in an orange cast on the back wall, which spills onto Marti's features as well as onto the flowers. The camera's Slow-Sync mode allows more ambient light into the image by timing the flash with a slower shutter speed. This brightens the image a fair amount, but increases the orange cast as well. The slow-sync shot at right has a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, and anything brighter produces hot highlights on the white shirt.

To view the entire series in the Slow-Sync flash mode from zero to +1.0 EV, see files F38INFSP0.HTM through F38INFSP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.


 

Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Auto White Balance
Incandescent White Balance

Noticeable color casts with both white balance settings, but good overall exposure.

This shot is always a very tough test of a camera's white balance capability, given the strong, yellowish color cast of the household incandescent bulbs used for the lighting. The FinePix 3800's white balance system had a little trouble here. The Auto setting resulted in a pink cast, while the Incandescent setting produced a warmer image. While you'd generally want at least some evidence of the warm room lighting, I personally feel that it should be less than what you see here. I chose the Auto setting for the main shot, with a +0.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment. Increasing the exposure only resulted in loss of detail in the highlights on Marti's shirt.

To see the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV, see files F38INAP0.HTM through F38INAP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.


 

House Shot:
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance

Good resolution and detail, with accurate color.

The FinePix 3800's Auto white balance setting produced the best color and white value here, as the Daylight white balance resulted in a slightly greenish cast. Resolution is fairly high, with good detail in the tree limbs and shrubbery. Details appear sharp, though some of the apparent definition seems to derive from the slightly high contrast. There's quite a bit of softness in the upper corners of the frame, although only faint traces in the bottom corners.


 

Far-Field Test

Good resolution and detail, with good definition, but limited dynamic range.

This image is shot at infinity to test far-field lens performance. NOTE that this image cannot be directly compared to the other "house" shot, which is a poster, shot in the studio. The rendering of detail in the poster will be very different than in this shot, and color values (and even the presence or absence of leaves on the trees!) will vary in this subject as the seasons progress. In general though, you can evaluate detail in the bricks, shingles and window detail, and in the tree branches against the sky. Compression artifacts are most likely to show in the trim along the edge of the roof, in the bricks, or in the relatively "flat" areas in the windows.

This is my ultimate "resolution shot," given the infinite range of detail in a natural scene like this, and the FinePix 3800 performed well. A lot of fine detail is visible in the tree limbs over the roof as well as in the fine foliage in front of the house, with good definition. There's a lot of fine detail here, although to my eye the camera's default image sharpening setting obscures the finest elements of the scene. Sharpness is quite even across the frame here though, with none of the corner softness we saw in the house poster target, shot in the studio. The combination of the F3800's somewhat high contrast and very harsh lighting cause it to lose nearly all detail in the bright white paint surrounding the bay window, a trouble spot for many digicams. While detail is moderate in the shadow area above the front door, the overall dynamic range of the camera seems to be a bit limited. Overall color looks good however, though exposure is very bright. The table below shows a standard resolution and quality series, followed by aperture and sharpness series.

Resolution Series:

Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
2,048 x 1,536
F38FARLF
F38FARLN
1,600 x 1,200
F38FARMF
 
1,280 x 960 F38FARSF  
640 x 480
F38FARSSF

Aperture Series:

Aperture Series
f/2.8 f/4.8 f/8.2

Sharpness Series:
As noted above, the 3800's default sharpening setting is a little heavy-handed (although probably just right for inkjet prints).The camera does give you options for low, normal, or high sharpening though, and the "low" setting avoids the problems I saw with the "normal" option. Processing the very soft "low" sharpening images with the unsharp masking operator in Photoshop (try 200-250%, at a radius of 0.4 pixels) produces very nice results.

Sharpness Series
Low
Normal
High



 

Lens Zoom Range

A good 6x zoom range.

I routinely shoot this series of images to show the field of view for each camera, with the lens at full wide angle, at maximum telephoto (6x, in this case), and at full telephoto with the digital zoom enabled. The FinePix 3800's lens is equivalent to a 38-228mm zoom on a 35mm camera. That corresponds to a moderate wide angle to a pretty substantial telephoto. The F3800 does quite well at it's maximum telephoto setting, although there is some increased coma and chromatic aberration along the edges of the frame at that zoom position. I like how the 3800's digital telephoto works too - Rather than resampling the image back up to the maximum resolution (producing a larger, but terribly blurred image), the 3800 limits the amount of digital zoom to that which can be achieved at the current image size setting, cropping an image of the chosen size out of the central portion of the CCD sensor's image. This produces a smaller image but doesn't result in the blurring you'll see in images from cameras that resample their digital telephoto shots. Following are the results at each zoom setting.

Wide Angle
6x Telephoto
Digital Telephoto,
1.0 megapixel
Digital Telephoto
0.3 megapixel


 

Musicians Poster
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance

Great color and a good detail throughout the frame.

This shot is often a tough test for digicams, as the abundance of blue in the composition frequently tricks white balance systems into producing a warm color balance. The FinePix 3800's white balance system did very well though, producing good color with both the Auto and Daylight settings. The Daylight setting looked slightly greenish to my eye, so I chose the Auto setting as the most accurate, although both were very close. Skin tones look pretty good, as does the blue robe. The deep shadows of the blue robe have slight purple tints, a problem many digicams have with this shot. Resolution is high, with strong detail in the embroidery of the blue robe, as well as in the flower garland and beaded necklaces.


 

Macro Shot
Standard Macro Shot
Macro with Flash

Average macro performance, though good detail. The camera's flash is blocked by the lens at closest approach though.

The FinePix 3800 is about average in the macro category, capturing a slightly large minimum area of 4.06 x 3.04 inches (103 x 77 millimeters). Resolution is high, with strong, well-defined detail in the dollar bill, coins, and brooch. There's only a little softness in the corners, but barrel distortion is a bit high. The color balance here is a little warm also. The camera's flash had trouble throttling down for the macro area, and the lens cast a shadow over the lower part of the frame.


 

"Davebox" Test Target
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance

Slightly greenish color balance with both white balance settings, strong color though, and exposure is good.

The FinePix 3800's Auto and Daylight white balance settings produced nearly identical images here, with slightly greenish color casts. Because the Auto setting had the least color cast, I chose it as the most accurate. Despite the slight color cast, the large color blocks look pretty good, with appropriate saturation. That said, the additive primaries (red, blue, and green) are a bit bright, and the bright yellow swatch is a little reddish. Exposure is about right, as the camera distinguishes the subtle tonal variations of the Q60 target well. Detail is moderate in the shadow area of the charcoal briquettes, with low noise.


 

Low-Light Tests

Should work fine under average city street lighting at night.

The FinePix 3800's Night Scene mode extends its shutter-speed range to a maximum of three seconds, vs the 1/2 second of normal shooting mode. This allows the camera to capture clear,bright images at light levels as low as 1 foot-candle, and marginally usable ones at half that brightness. (The camera's autofocus system also seemed to work acceptably at these light levels, a happy surprise.) Given that average city street lighting at night is equivalent to about one foot-candle (11 lux), the 3800 should be usable for most outdoor nighttime photography. Color balance in this test was slightly warm, but noise was quite low. The table below shows the best exposure I was able to obtain for each of a range of illumination levels. Images in this table (like all of our sample photos) are untouched, exactly as they came from the camera.

  1fc
11lux
1/2fc
5.5lux
1/4fc
2.7lux
1/8fc
1.3lux
1/16fc
0.67lx
ISO
100
Click to see F38LL03.JPG
3 secs
F2.8
ISO : 100
Click to see F38LL04.JPG
3 secs
F2.8
ISO : 100
Click to see F38LL05.JPG
3 secs
F2.8
ISO : 100
Click to see F38LL06.JPG
3 secs
F2.8
ISO : 100
Click to see F38LL07.JPG
3 secs
F2.8
ISO : 100


 

Flash Range Test

Reasonably bright, powerful flash, though intensity decreases slightly starting at 11 feet.

In my testing, the FinePix 3800's flash illuminated the test target all the way out to 14 feet, though intensity decreased somewhat with each additional foot of distance, particularly once I got beyond the 11 foot mark. Below is the flash range series, with distances from eight to 14 feet from the target.

8 ft 9 ft 10 ft 11 ft 12 ft 13 ft 14 ft
Click to see F38FL08.JPG
1/ 125 secs
F2.8
ISO: 100
Click to see F38FL09.JPG
1/ 125 secs
F2.8
ISO: 100
Click to see F38FL10.JPG
1/ 125 secs
F2.8
ISO: 100
Click to see F38FL11.JPG
1/ 125 secs
F2.8
ISO: 100
Click to see F38FL12.JPG
1/ 125 secs
F2.8
ISO: 100
Click to see F38FL13.JPG
1/ 125 secs
F2.8
ISO: 100
Click to see F38FL14.JPG
1/ 125 secs
F2.8
ISO: 100


 

ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test

Good performance, with 1,000-1,050 lines of "strong detail." Very high barrel distortion, but moderate pincushion.

The FinePix 3800 performed well on our "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 800 lines per picture height vertically, and as low as 600 lines horizontally. I found "strong detail" out to at least 1,050 lines horizontally, and about 1,000 lines vertically. "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until about 1,250 lines.

Optical distortion on the FinePix 3800 is quite high at the wide-angle end, where I measured approximately 1.15 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end fared a little better, as I measured a 0.62 percent pincushion distortion, but that's still a good bit higher than average among digicams I've tested. (Although long-ratio zoom lenses tend to have more distortion at the ends of their range, so the 3800 perhaps deserves a little slack for that.) Chromatic aberration is low, showing only about three or four faint pixels of coloration on either side of the target lines. (This distortion is visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.) The only other distortion I noticed throughout testing was some slight corner softness, but it did not extend far into the image area.

Resolution Series, Wide Angle
Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
2,048 x 1,536
F38RESWLF
1,600 x 1,200
F38RESWMF
1,280 x 960 F38RESWSF
640 x 480
F38RESWTF

 

Resolution Test, Telephoto
2,048 x 1,536
(Fine, Tele)
F38RESTLF



 

Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity

Good accuracy from the EVF and LCD monitor.

The FinePix 3800's electronic "optical" viewfinder (EVF) is only a little tight, showing approximately 90 percent of the frame at wide angle, and about 93 percent at telephoto. The LCD monitor turns in the same numbers, since it essentially shows the same view. Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the FinePix 3800's LCD monitor falls just a little short, but does provide much better accuracy than typical optical viewfinders do. Flash illumination is dim at wide angle, with some falloff at the corners and edges of the frame. At telephoto, flash distribution is more even, with only very slight falloff in the corners.

 


Wide Angle, Optical

Telephoto, Optical

Wide Angle, LCD

Telephoto, LCD


Photo Gallery

The shots below are random photos of some more interesting subjects than my standardized test photos, to give you more of an idea of each camera's performance with a variety of subjects. (Photos in this gallery were shot by Gibbs Frazeur or Stephanie Boozer. Thanks Gibbs and Stephanie!)

NOTE: that these are big files, so be aware that (a) they'll take a while to download, and (b) they'll chew up a pretty good chunk of bandwidth on us. (Read the "support this site" blurb at the top the carrier pages, and think about it while you're waiting for the images to download.

NOTE TOO: Some browsers have difficult with very wide images, and distort them a lot when they display them. (I don't know about others, but IE 5.0 on the Mac definitely does this. If the full-sized images appear to be stretched horizontally, you may need to just download them to your hard drive and view them in an imaging application, or possibly try another browser.)

 

Click to see YDSCF0001.JPG
YDSCF0001.JPG
1,267.3 KB
Shutter: 1/ 300
Aperture: F8.2
Exposure EV: 14.3
ISO Speed: 100
Click to see YDSCF0002.JPG
YDSCF0002.JPG
1,190.9 KB
Shutter: 1/ 240
Aperture: F8.2
Exposure EV: 13.9
ISO Speed: 100
Click to see YDSCF0003.JPG
YDSCF0003.JPG
1,297.4 KB
Shutter: 1/ 400
Aperture: F4.8
Exposure EV: 13.1
ISO Speed: 100
Click to see YDSCF0004.JPG
YDSCF0004.JPG
1,169.8 KB
Shutter: 1/ 220
Aperture: F8.2
Exposure EV: 13.8
ISO Speed: 100
Click to see YDSCF0005.JPG
YDSCF0005.JPG
1,283.7 KB
Shutter: 1/ 400
Aperture: F8.2
Exposure EV: 14.7
ISO Speed: 100
Click to see YDSCF0006.JPG
YDSCF0006.JPG
1,181.7 KB
Shutter: 1/ 140
Aperture: F8.2
Exposure EV: 13.2
ISO Speed: 100
Click to see YDSCF0007.JPG
YDSCF0007.JPG
1,177.3 KB
Shutter: 1/ 160
Aperture: F8.2
Exposure EV: 13.3
ISO Speed: 100
Click to see YDSCF0008.JPG
YDSCF0008.JPG
1,226.3 KB
Shutter: 1/ 180
Aperture: F8.2
Exposure EV: 13.5
ISO Speed: 100
Click to see YDSCF0009.JPG
YDSCF0009.JPG
1,287.6 KB
Shutter: 1/ 280
Aperture: F2.8
Exposure EV: 11.1
ISO Speed: 100
Click to see YDSCF0010.JPG
YDSCF0010.JPG
1,271.7 KB
Shutter: 1/ 280
Aperture: F2.8
Exposure EV: 11.1
ISO Speed: 100
Click to see YDSCF0011.JPG
YDSCF0011.JPG
1,281.0 KB
Shutter: 1/ 150
Aperture: F4.8
Exposure EV: 11.7
ISO Speed: 100
Click to see YDSCF0012.JPG
YDSCF0012.JPG
1,280.5 KB
Shutter: 1/ 350
Aperture: F2.8
Exposure EV: 11.4
ISO Speed: 100
Click to see YDSCF0013.JPG
YDSCF0013.JPG
1,261.9 KB
Shutter: 1/ 4
Aperture: F2.8
Exposure EV: 4.9
ISO Speed: 100
Click to see YDSCF0014.JPG
YDSCF0014.JPG
1,255.1 KB
Shutter: 1/ 9
Aperture: F2.8
Exposure EV: 6.1
ISO Speed: 100
 

 

3800 Review
3800 Test Images
3800 Specifications
3800 "Picky Details"
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