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Fuji FinePix F601 Zoom

A new SuperCCD sensor gives Fuji's latest ultra compact true 3.1 megapixel resolution and great color.

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FinePix F601 Test Images

Review First Posted: 6/21/2002

 

I've begun including links in our reviews to a Thumber-generated index page for our 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, I'm posting the Thumber index so only those interested in the information need wade through it!

 

Outdoor Portrait:

High contrast, but color is very good.

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. The object is to hold highlight and shadow detail without producing a "flat" picture with muddy colors, and the F601 Zoom does a pretty good job, although its contrast is a little higher than I'd like. The shot at right was taken with a +0.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which puts the highlights right on the verge of washing out, even though the shadows are fairly dark.) An exposure compensation of +0.3 EV held the highlights very well, but was just too dark overall.) I shot with the Auto white balance setting, which produced very similar results to the Daylight setting. Both resulted in somewhat cool, greenish color balances. The blue flowers of the bouquet are a little dark, but their color is very good, with only hints of the purple hue that plagues many cameras on this shot (this is a difficult blue for many digicams to get right). Skin tones look just about perfect though, and other color in the flowers are spot-on. Resolution is high, though details are a little soft onscreen. (A typical consequence of the interpolation used with Fuji's SuperCCD technology. - Printed photos look much sharper than the images do onscreen.) Detail is moderate in the shadow areas, with low noise.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV, see files F61OUTAP0.HTM through F61OUTAP3.HTM on our thumbnail index page.

 

 

Closer Portrait:

Fine detail increases, though contrast is again high.

Overall results are similar to the wider shot above, and the F601 Zoom's 3x lens helps prevent distortion of Marti's features. The level of fine detail increases in Marti's face and hair, but details remain slightly soft. The main shot was taken with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which held onto the highlights, but at some cost in the rather dark shadows and lower midtones. Skin tone is really excellent though, a hallmark of Fuji's SuperCCD cameras.

To view the entire exposure series, from zero to +1.0 EV, see files F61FACAP0.HTM through F61FACAP3.HTM on our thumbnail index page.

 

 

Indoor Portrait, Flash:

Normal Flash
Slow Sync Flash

Great intensity and color, very nicely done.

The F601 Zoom's flash did a good job illuminating the subject, with good intensity. In the normal flash mode, the flash produced great results, without any exposure compensation. Because the flash was just a little too bright here , I also snapped an image with a -0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, but felt that that one came out a bit too dark. The camera's slow-sync flash mode produced similar results as in the normal setting, again with good intensity and no exposure compensation. The strong incandescent lighting in the room produces a slight orange cast in all three shots, with just traces of the orange cast on Marti's white shirt. Overall color looks good though, with a nearly accurate blue in the flower bouquet, and good skin tones.

 

 

Indoor Portrait, No Flash:

Auto White Balance
Incandescent White Balance
Strong color casts with both white balance settings.

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. (A very common shooting condition for indoor photography in the US, though.) The F601 Zoom's white balance system had some difficulty here, producing color casts with both white balance settings. The Incandescent setting resulted in a warm, yellowish color balance, while the Auto setting resulted in a pinkish color balance. The blue flowers are dark and purplish, a common problem among digicams with this shot.

 

 

House Shot:

Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance

Good resolution, and good color, albeit with a slightly warm color cast.

Both the Auto and Daylight white balance settings produced slightly warm results on this shot. The Auto setting had a slight yellow cast, while Daylight resulted in a more greenish cast. I thus settled on the Auto setting for the main shot, as it appeared the most natural overall. The F601 Zoom picks up a lot of fine detail throughout the frame, with good definition in the tree limbs and house front details. The in-camera image sharpening is apparent in the elevated contrast around the details of fine foliage in front of the house, and I noticed a few artifacts around the finer leaves and branches (particularly those against the bricks). Details are just slight soft, even more so in the corners of the image and along the entire right side of the frame.

 

 
 

 

Far-Field Test

Good detail and color, though slightly 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. The F601 Zoom picks up great detail in the tree limbs above the roof and shrubbery in front of the house. Details are just slightly soft (again though, download and print these photos to get a truer sense of the level of detail delivered), but still well defined. Corner softness isn't quite as evident on the left side of the frame as in some of the other shots, but the entire right side is again a bit softer than I'd like. Exposure looks good, though the camera loses a lot of the brightest details in the white trim on the bay window in front, due to the harsh lighting. However, the shadow area above the front porch fares very well, as the brick pattern is clear and distinct. Noise is moderate in the shadows and midtones, and higher than I'd expect in the midtones as well. I also noticed some artifacts in some of the window screens. The table below shows our standard resolution and quality series, followed by ISO and sharpness series.

Resolution Series:

Large / Fine
Large / Normal
Large / Economy
Medium / Fine
Medium / Normal
 
Small / Fine
Small / Normal
 
 
Tiny / Normal
 

 

ISO Series:

ISO 160
ISO 200
ISO 400
ISO 800
ISO 1600

 

Sharpness Series:

Soft (-2)
Normal (0)
Hard (+2)

 
 

 

Lens Zoom Range

A typical 3x 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 (3x, in this case), and at full telephoto with the digital zoom enabled. The F601 Zoom's lens is equivalent to a 36-108mm zoom on a 35mm camera. Following are the results at each zoom setting.

 

Wide Angle
3x Telephoto
4.4x Digital Telephoto

 

 
 

 

Musicians Poster

Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance

Good resolution and detail, though slightly warm color balance.

Both the Auto and Daylight white balance settings produced very similar images. I chose the Daylight setting for the main image, as the Auto produced a just slightly warmer color balance. Though overall color is just a hint warm with Daylight white balance, skin tones look good. There's a slight reddish tint to the blue background that isn't in the original. (The heavy blue in the composition often tricks digicams into producing overly-warm images, so the F601 Zoom doesn't do too badly here.) The blue robe has faint greenish tints in the highlights from the warm cast, and slight purplish tints in the deep shadows, but still looks good. (This is a tough blue for many digicams to get right). Resolution is high, with a lot of strong detail in the embroidery of the blue robe as well as in the flower garland.

 

 

Macro Shot

Standard Macro Shot
Macro with Flash
Very good macro performance.

The F601 Zoom performs very well in the macro category, unusual in a compact camera. It captured a minimum area of only 2.37 x 1.78 inches (60.1 x 45.2 millimeters). Resolution is high, with excellent detail on the coins, brooch, and dollar bill. Details are just slightly soft, however, and corner softness is again evident. Actually, both the left and right sides of the image are soft as well. (This is most likely due to curvature of field in the optics, a very common problem in digicam lenses when shooting at macro distances.) Exposure looks good, though color balance with the Auto white balance setting is a bit warm. The F601 Zoom's flash also did a good job throttling down for the macro area, actually slightly underexposing the shot.

Overall, excellent macro performance for a compact camera.

"Davebox" Test Target

Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance

Good exposure and detail, though color balance is again on the warm side.

For this shot, both the Auto and Daylight white balance settings again resulted in slightly warm images, with the Auto setting producing the least warm cast. Daylight resulted in a greenish color cast, while the Auto setting was just a little yellow. Exposure looks about right, as the camera picks up the subtle tonal variations of the Q60 target well. Though slightly warm, the large color blocks are nearly accurate, but saturation in the subtractive primary colors (cyan, magenta, yellow) is a bit weak. Despite moderate noise, detail in the shadow area of the charcoal briquettes is good. Following is an ISO series.


ISO Series:

ISO 160
ISO 200
ISO 400
ISO 800
ISO 1600

 

 

Low-Light Tests

Overall a good performance, though noise is quite high at the higher ISO settings.

Though the F601 Zoom has a Manual exposure mode, it's maximum shutter time is three seconds, which limits the camera's low-light shooting capabilities. The camera captured bright, clear images at light levels as low as 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) at the 1,600 ISO equivalent setting, and as low as 1/4 foot-candle (2.7 lux) at ISO 800 and 400. ISO settings of 100 and 200 wouldn't go much below one foot-candle (11 lux), though a somewhat dark image could potentially be used at 1/2 foot-candle (5.5 lux). Autofocus worked to surprisingly low levels, about 1/8 foot-candle (1.3 lux) at all ISO settings. Since average city street lighting at night is equivalent to about one foot-candle, or 11 lux, the F601 Zoom should handle much darker shooting conditions fairly well, though you'll need to boost the ISO. The color balance was a bit warm using the Auto white balance setting, but saturation is good in most cases. Noise is moderate at the 100 and 200 ISO settings, but increases to a very high level at ISO 800 and 1,600. (Additionally, the camera automatically adjusts the image resolution to only one-megapixel at these higher ISO settings.) The table below shows the best exposure I was able to obtain for each of a range of illumination levels, at each ISO setting. Images in this table (like all sample photos) are untouched, exactly as they came from the camera.

 

1fc<
11lux
1/2fc
5.5lux
1/4fc
2.7lux
1/8fc
1.31lux
1/16fc
0.67lux
Click to see F61LL0103.JPG

2 secs
F2.8

Click to see F61LL0104.JPG

2 secs
F2.8

Click to see F61LL0105.JPG

2 secs
F2.8

Click to see F61LL0106.JPG

2 secs
F2.8

Click to see F61LL0107.JPG

2 secs
F2.8

Click to see F61LL0203.JPG

1 secs
F2.8

Click to see F61LL0204.JPG

2 secs
F2.8

Click to see F61LL0205.JPG

2 secs
F2.8

Click to see F61LL0206.JPG

2 secs
F2.8

Click to see F61LL0207.JPG

2 secs
F2.8

Click to see F61LL0403.JPG

1/ 2 secs
F2.8

Click to see F61LL0404.JPG

1 secs
F2.8

Click to see F61LL0405.JPG

2 secs
F2.8

Click to see F61LL0406.JPG

2 secs
F2.8

Click to see F61LL0407.JPG

2 secs
F2.8

Click to see F61LL0803.JPG

1/ 4 secs
F2.8

Click to see F61LL0804.JPG

1/ 2 secs
F2.8

Click to see F61LL0805.JPG

1 secs
F2.8

Click to see F61LL0806.JPG

2 secs
F2.8

Click to see F61LL0807.JPG

2 secs
F2.8

Click to see F61LL1603.JPG

1/ 8 secs
F2.8

Click to see F61LL1604.JPG

1/ 4 secs
F2.8

Click to see F61LL1605.JPG

1/ 1 secs
F2.8

Click to see F61LL1606.JPG

1 secs
F2.8

Click to see F61LL1607.JPG

2 secs
F2.8

 

 

Flash Range Test

Good intensity to about 11 feet, brightness decreases from there.

The F601 Zoom's flash was brightest to about 10 feet, with only a slight decrease in intensity at 11 feet. From that point on, intensity decreased with each additional foot of distance, becoming very dim at the 14 foot distance. Below is our flash range series, with distances from eight to 14 feet from the target.

 

8ft. 9ft. 10ft. 11ft. 12ft. 13ft. 14ft.
Click to see F61FL08.JPG

1/ 60
F2.8

Click to see F61FL09.JPG

1/ 60
F2.8

Click to see F61FL10.JPG

1/ 60
F2.8

Click to see F61FL11.JPG

1/ 60
F2.8

Click to see F61FL12.JPG

1/ 60
F2.8

Click to see F61FL13.JPG

1/ 60
F2.8

Click to see F61FL14.JPG

1/ 60
F2.8

 

 

ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test

Good performance, with strong detail to 1,200 lines/picture height.

The F601 Zoom performed nicely on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as high as 550 lines per picture height, but showed "strong detail" out to at least 1,200 lines. "Extinction" of the target patterns occurred at about 1,450 lines. (There were a lot of artifacts in the closely-spaced target lines at resolutions well below the 1200-line limit though.)

Optical distortion on the F601 Zoom is a good bit higher than average at the wide-angle end, as I measured a 1.44 percent barrel distortion at that zoom setting. The telephoto end showed only about 9 pixels of pincushion distortion present, about 0.33 percent. Corners of the target are quite soft, but there's fortunately only a little color there from chromatic aberration. (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. - There's about 8 or 9 pixels of blur, but the coloration is fairly slight.)

Resolution Series, Wide Angle

Large / Fine
Large / Normal
Large / Economy
Medium / Fine
Medium / Normal
 
Small / Fine
Small / Normal
 
 
Tiny / Normal
 

 

Telephoto

Large / Fine

 

Sharpness Series, Wide Angle

Soft (-2)
Normal (0)
Hard (+2)

 

 

Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity

A very tight optical viewfinder, slightly more accurate LCD monitor. - Poor optical V/F performance, only adequate LCD.

The F601 Zoom's optical viewfinder was very tight, showing only about 76 percent of the final frame area at wide-angle, and approximately 77 percent at telephoto. Images framed with the optical viewfinder were also shifted toward the lower right corner, with some extra space along the top and left sides. The LCD monitor was only slightly more accurate, showing approximately 86 of the final frame accuracy at wide-angle, and approximately 88 percent at telephoto. Given that I generally prefer LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the F601 Zoom falls short in this area. Flash distribution at wide angle is pretty even, with slight falloff at the edges and corners of the frame. At telephoto, flash distribution is more even, and the flash exposure is slightly brighter as well. 


Wide Angle, Optical

 


Telephoto, Optical

 

Wide Angle, LCD

 

Telephoto, LCD

 

 

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