Fujifilm F470 Review

 
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Fuji F470 Exposure


Color

Saturation & Hue Accuracy
Slightly dark overall color, especially blue tones, and fairly dramatic oversaturation of blue and magenta hues. Despite this, images were generally fairly pleasing.

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 F470 was something of a mixed bag in this regard, leaving colors from orange through yellow to green with almost perfectly accurate saturation, but greatly oversaturating blues, purples and magentas. 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. The F470 produced slightly warm skin tones, but well within acceptable limits.

The other important part of color rendition is hue accuracy. Hue is "what color" the color is. Like most digicams, the F470 shifted cyan colors toward blue, to produce better-looking sky colors, but it also pulled magentas towards violet slightly. Still, results were fairly pleasing overall.

Click to see YDSCF0319.JPG Click to see YDSCF0282-1.JPG

Sensor

Exposure and White Balance

Indoors, incandescent lighting
Best overall color with the Incandescent white balance, though warm and yellow. About average exposure compensation required.

Auto White Balance +1.0 EV Incandescent WB +1.0 EV

Color balance indoors under incandescent lighting was quite reddish in Auto white balance mode, and the Incandescent setting resulted in a more yellow color balance. We found the results with the Incandescent setting the most pleasing. The image was a bit more yellow than we'd prefer, and unfortunately still looked quite yellow when we printed it out. (We sometimes find that images that look too yellow on-screen look noticeably better in the final print. Unfortunately, this wasn't the case with the F470.) The FinePix F470 required an average amount of positive exposure compensation at +1.0 EV. Overall color is a bit dark and yellow here, making the blue flowers very dark and purplish. (A very common outcome for this shot.) Our test lighting for this shot is a mixture of 60 and 100 watt household incandescent bulb, a rather yellow light source, but a very common one in typical home settings here in the US.

Outdoors, daylight
Slightly warm overall color balance, and somewhat dark color. Pretty good exposure accuracy.

Click to see YDSCF0299.JPG
Auto White Balance
Auto Exposure
Auto White Balance
+0.7 EV
Auto White Balance
Auto Exposure

Outdoor shots generally showed accurate exposure with slightly blown out highlights. Shadow detail was also somewhat limited, though not enough to cause concern. Exposure accuracy overall was better than average, the camera generally requiring less exposure compensation than we're accustomed to seeing with consumer digicams.

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

Resolution
High resolution, 1,200 - 1,300 lines of strong detail.

Our laboratory resolution chart revealed sharp, distinct line patterns down to about 1,300 lines per picture height horizontally, and to about 1,200 lines vertically. Extinction occurred at around 1,700. 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. If you zoom in and follow them from the wider portions, you'll see the lines converge and reappear several times, so the lines you see at 1,600 and higher are really only artifacts generated by the camera's imaging system.

Strong detail to 1,300 lines horizontal Strong detail to 1,200 lines vertical

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

Sharpness & Detail
Fairly sharp images, though with some oversharpening in high contrast areas.

Good definition of high-contrast elements, though the camera oversharpens a bit. 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 F470's images are quite sharp overall, though high contrast shots like the house shot above show evidence of some edge enhancement from the camera. (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 at far right shows this in the deeper shadows of Marti's hair, though the more moderate shadows still hold onto a lot of fine detail.

ISO & Noise Performance
Low noise at the normal sensitivity settings, and only slightly high noise at the higher settings.

ISO 64
(Blur from subject motion)
ISO 100
ISO 200 ISO 400

The Fujifilm FinePix F470's lower ISO settings produced low noise, without any strong blurring in the darker areas (the blurring in the image above shot at ISO 64 was caused by subject motion, due to the very slow 1/4 second shutter speed). At ISO 200, noise is higher, but still not terrible. Even at ISO 400, though noise is higher with brighter pixels, overall detail still looks good, easily better than average.

Extremes: Sunlit and low light tests
High resolution and strong detail, though high contrast and limited shadow detail. Pretty good low-light performance, capable of capturing bright images under average city street lighting and slightly 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 F470 had a little trouble with the deliberately harsh lighting in the test above, and produced high contrast with washed-out highlights and deep shadows. Nonetheless, overall detail is still pretty good. Though the exposure at +0.7 EV is slightly dark in the skin tones and midtones, jumping up to +1.0 EV produced a very bright exposure. (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
64
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2 sec
f2.8
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2 sec
f2.8
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2 sec
f2.8
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2 sec
f2.8
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2 sec
f2.8
ISO
100
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1.3 sec
f2.8
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2 sec
f2.8
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2 sec
f2.8
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2 sec
f2.8
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2 sec
f2.8
ISO
200
Click to see F470LL20003.JPG
1/1 sec
f2.8
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1.5 sec
f2.8
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2 sec
f2.8
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2 sec
f2.8
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2 sec
f2.8
ISO
400
Click to see F470LL40003.JPG
1/3 sec
f2.8
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1/1 sec
f2.8
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1.5 sec
f2.8
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2 sec
f2.8
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2 sec
f2.8

Low light:
Our low light testing revealed some limitations in the lens and sensor's ability to gather and process light, but the FinePix F470's performance in this area should be more than adequate for most consumers. Images were bright down to one foot-candle with the 64 and 100 ISO settings, and slightly darker at ISO 200. At ISO 400, we'd consider the images usable down to about 1/4 foot-candle, which is about 1/4 as bright as average city street lighting at night. Color balance was slightly warm from the Auto white balance setting. The camera's autofocus system worked unusually well, able to focus on the subject down to the darkest light levels we test at, without an AF-assist light. Do keep in mind that the longer shutter times here 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
Pretty good range and coverage. Our standard shots required slightly more positive exposure compensation than average.

35mm equivalent 105mm equivalent
Normal Flash +1.0 EV Slow-Sync Flash +0.7 EV

Flash coverage was rather uneven at wide angle, but quite uniform at telephoto. In the Indoor test, the F470's flash underexposed our subject at its default setting, requiring a +1.0 EV exposure compensation adjustment to get bright results, about average for this shot. In the Slow-Sync flash mode, the longer shutter speed required less positive exposure compensation at +0.7 EV, and flash coverage appears much more even. There is a faint pink cast from the background incandescent lighting, and some bluish coloration in areas illuminated only by the flash, but overall color isn't bad given the mixed lighting.

Flash Range: Wide Angle
6 ft 7 ft 8 ft 9 ft 10 ft
Click to see F470FL06W.JPG
1/60 sec
f2.8
ISO 100
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1/60 sec
f2.8
ISO 100
Click to see F470FL08W.JPG
1/60 sec
f2.8
ISO 100
Click to see F470FL09W.JPG
1/60 sec
f2.8
ISO 100
Click to see F470FL10W.JPG
1/60 sec
f2.8
ISO 100
11 ft 12 ft 13 ft 14 ft 15 ft
Click to see F470FL11W.JPG
1/60 sec
f2.8
ISO 100
Click to see F470FL12W.JPG
1/60 sec
f2.8
ISO 100
Click to see F470FL13W.JPG
1/60 sec
f2.8
ISO 100
Click to see F470FL14W.JPG
1/60 sec
f2.8
ISO 100
Click to see F470FL15W.JPG
1/60 sec
f2.8
ISO 100

Flash Range: Telephoto
6 ft 7 ft 8 ft 9 ft 10 ft
Click to see F470FL06T.JPG
1/60 sec
f4.9
ISO 100
Click to see F470FL07T.JPG
1/60 sec
f4.9
ISO 100
Click to see F470FL08T.JPG
1/60 sec
f4.9
ISO 100
Click to see F470FL09T.JPG
1/60 sec
f4.9
ISO 100
Click to see F470FL10T.JPG
1/60 sec
f4.9
ISO 100
11 ft 12 ft 13 ft 14 ft 15 ft
Click to see F470FL11T.JPG
1/60 sec
f4.9
ISO 100
Click to see F470FL12T.JPG
1/60 sec
f4.9
ISO 100
Click to see F470FL13T.JPG
1/60 sec
f4.9
ISO 100
Click to see F470FL14T.JPG
1/60 sec
f4.9
ISO 100
Click to see F470FL15T.JPG
1/60 sec
f4.9
ISO 100

 At wide angle, shots at ISO 100 are bright out to a distance of about 9 feet, decreasing in brightness from that point on. At full telephoto and ISO 100, images start darkening at about 7 feet. Bottom line, flash range at ISO 100 that's a little on the short side, fairly typical for compact camera models.

Manufacturer-Specified Flash Range
Wide Angle Telephoto
Click to see F470FL_MFRW151IA0320.JPG
15.1 feet
Auto ISO
(ISO 320)
Click to see F470FL_MFRT085IA0200.JPG
8.5 feet
Auto ISO
(ISO 200)

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. In the shots above, the Fujifilm F470 exposed properly at the officially rated distances (slightly dark at telephoto), but only by boosting the ISO somewhat, which increases image noise.

Output Quality

Print Quality
Good print quality, great color, usable 13x19 inch prints. ISO 400 images are surprisingly clean and sharp at 8x10.

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 Fuji FinePix F470 turned in a very good results in our print tests. Its images held enough detail to make 13x19 inch prints that were a little soft, but eminently usable for wall display, and very sharp 8x10 inch prints, even with some cropping. Its high-ISO performance was a very pleasant surprise as well: ISO 400 shots printed at 8x10 were surprisingly clean, and only a little softer than those shot at lower ISO settings.

Color-wise, the Fuji F470's images looked very nice when printed on the i9900, with bright, vibrant color. It did tend to push the blues a fair bit, but the results in most shots we printed still looked pretty believable. The one disappointment was that the rather yellow-tinged indoor shots (captured under household incandescent lighting) still looked very yellow when printed. (Many times, yellowish shots taken under incandescent lighting clean up a little when we print them, but this wasn't the case with images from the F470.)

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Fujifilm FinePix F470 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 F470 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!

Fujifilm F470

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