Digital Cameras - Fuji FinePix S3100 Test Images
|I've begun including links in our reviews to a Thumbnail index page for the test shots. The data on this page 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 thumbnail index so only those interested in the information need wade through it!|
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 S3100 produced good color, but its high contrast led to over-bright highlights and deep shadows.
The shot at right was taken with a +0.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which held onto most of the highlight detail, but left the midtones and shadows rather dark. Anything brighter only resulted in a complete loss of highlight detail. I chose the Daylight white balance setting for the main series, though results were warm, and similar to the Auto setting.
Marti's skin tones are warm and slightly orange from the warm color cast, and the blue flowers in the bouquet are a little darker than in real life. (Many digicams have trouble with this blue, which is in reality a light navy with just hints of purple in it.) The greens and yellows are slightly dark as well, but the red flowers are bright and a little oversaturated. Allowing for the warm cast though, I'd rate the overall color as very good. Resolution is high, and detail is strong in the flower bouquet, as well as in Marti's face. Shadow detail is moderate, with a moderate level of image noise.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV, see files S31OUTAP0.HTM
through S31OUTAP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
Even better detail and resolution, though again a warm color cast and high contrast.
Overall results are similar to the wider shot above, with warm color and high contrast. The shot at right was taken with no exposure compensation adjustment. The resulting image has very dark midtones, but I felt that even +0.3EV made the highlights on Marti's face too bright. The S3100's 6x zoom lens helps prevent geometric distortion of Marti's features, and captures sharp details. Resolution and detail are much stronger in this close-up shot, with excellent definition in the fine details of Marti's face and hair.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV, see files S31FACAP0.HTM
through S31FACAP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
Indoor Portrait, Flash:
Good intensity and coverage with the built-in flash, even at its default exposure setting, though warm color.
The S3100's built-in flash illuminated the subject well at the default exposure, with good coverage. (This is pretty unusual for this shot, most cameras need a fair bit of exposure boost.) Overall color is warm, but still pretty good. Colors are dark in the flower bouquet, and skin tones are pink. Additionally, the background incandescent lighting results in an orange cast on the back wall, which spills onto Marti's features. The camera's Slow-Sync flash mode produced a brighter overall exposure, though the longer exposure time results in a stronger orange cast from the background lighting. I chose an exposure compensation adjustment of +0.3 EV, though the highlights on Marti's shirt appear to glow.
To view the entire exposure series in the Slow-Sync flash mode, see files
S31INFSP0.HTM through S31INFSP3.HTM on the thumbnail
Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Warm color balances, but a pretty good exposure and low image noise.
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 S3100's Auto white balance option produced a strong red cast here, while the Incandescent setting had a stronger yellow cast. I chose the Incandescent setting for the main series, as the overall color appeared more natural, but I'd personally like to see this shot with about half as much color left in it from the room lighting. The warm cast results in very warm skin tones, and dark color in the flower bouquet. The main shot was taken with a +0.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment, though the highlights on Marti's shirt are just a little bright. Image noise is also a bit lower than average.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV, see files S31INTP0.HTM
through S31INTP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
High resolution, but warm color balance.
Though slightly warm and yellowish, I chose the S3100's Daylight
white balance setting here, as the Auto
setting resulted in a stronger red cast. Resolution is high, and detail
is strong in the tree limbs and front shrubbery. Details are slightly
soft throughout the frame, with increased softness in the two left corners
of the frame.
High resolution and a lot of fine detail. Fairly good dynamic range, though slightly cool color.
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
S3100 does indeed capture a lot of fine detail. The tree limbs over the
roof and fine foliage in front of the house show strong detail, with well-defined
leaves and branches. However, details are slightly soft, with slightly
increased softness in the corners of the frame. The camera picks up moderate
detail in the bright white paint surrounding the bay window, a trouble
spot for many digicams. Detail is also moderate in the shadow area above
the front door. Overall color is slightly cool with the Auto white balance
setting, and exposure is about right. The table below shows a standard
resolution and quality series, followed by a sharpness series.
Lens Zoom Range
Excellent 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 S3100's lens is equivalent to a 39-234mm zoom on a 35mm camera. That corresponds to a moderate wide angle to a pretty substantial telephoto. Following are the results at each zoom setting.
Warm, slightly reddish color, but good resolution.
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. Both the S3100's Auto
and Daylight white balance settings were tricked
slightly, and produced warm, reddish color casts as a result. Skin tones
are red, and the blue robe and background have purplish tints that aren't
in the original image. However, resolution is high, and the embroidery
on the bird wings of the blue robe shows a lot of fine detail. (The original
data file for this poster was only 20MB though, so cameras like the S3100
are definitely capable of showing more detail than the poster has in it.)
About average macro performance, but good detail. Flash throttles down a little too much, is shaded slightly by the lens.
The S3100 performed about average in the macro category, capturing a
minimum area of 2.99 x 2.24 inches (76 x 57 millimeters). Resolution is
very high, and detail is strong in the dollar bill, as well as in the
coins and brooch. Details soften in the corners of the frame from some
lens distortion, but are still well-defined elsewhere. The S3100's flash
throttles down a little too well for the macro area, and underexposes
the shot. (Probably plan on using external lighting for your closest macro
shots with the S3100.)
"Davebox" Test Target
Pretty good exposure, though warm color and slightly high saturation in several of the red color blocks.
The S3100's Auto and Daylight
white balance settings produced similar, warm images here, so I stuck
with the Auto setting for the main shot. Exposure is good, just slightly
dark, and the S3100 distinguishes the subtle tonal variations of the Q60
target well. Though warm, the large color blocks are well-saturated. Most
colors are fairly accurate, but the red hues are rather over-saturated,
and the dark blue and purple blocks are undersaturated, as well as darker
than in real life. Overall though, the S3100's color rendering is more
accurate than that of many cameras. Shadow detail is moderate in the charcoal
briquettes, but image noise is a little high there.
Limited low-light shooting capabilities, but good enough for typical city night scenes. Very limited low-light autofocus capability though.
The S3100 produced clear, bright, usable images only down to the one foot-candle (11 lux) light level. Color is warm with the Auto white balance setting, and the warm cast increases as the exposure dims. Image noise is moderate. Its ability to capture images at one foot-candle would let it snap decent-looking pictures under typical city street-lighting at night, but its biggest low-light limitation is its autofocus system, which can only focus well down to about a two foot-candle limit. - You'll thus only be able to expect sharp photos under very bright outdoor lighting at night. 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 sample photos) are untouched, exactly as they came from the camera.
(Note: If you'd like to use a light meter to check light levels for subjects you might be interested in shooting, a light level of one foot-candle corresponds to a normal exposure of two seconds at f/2.8 and ISO 100.)
Flash Range Test
Flash is bright to 14 feet, with only a moderate drop in intensity.
High resolution, 1,150 - 1,200 lines of "strong detail." Average barrel distortion, higher than average pincushion though. Moderate chromatic aberration, better than average sharpness in the corners of the frame.
The S3100 performed well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 600~800 lines per picture height, in both horizontal and vertical directions. I found "strong detail" out to 1,150 - 1,200 lines in both directions. "Extinction" of the target patterns occurred around 1,300 lines.
Optical distortion on the S3100 is about average at the wide-angle end,
where I measured approximately 0.8 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto
end fared only slightly better, as I measured approximately 0.6 percent
pincushion distortion. (That's a fairly large amount of pincushion, but
not unusual for a long-zoom lens.) Chromatic aberration is moderate, showing
about four or five pixels of coloration on either side of the target lines,
visible at both wide angle and telephoto focal lengths. (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 S3100 does do a bit
better than average job of maintaining sharpness in the corners of its
images, something a lot of digicam lenses have difficulty with.
Resolution Series, 50mm
Resolution Test, Zoom Series
Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity
A slightly tight electronic viewfinder and LCD monitor.
The S3100's electronic "optical" viewfinder (EVF) is surprisingly a little tight, showing only about 88 percent of the final image area at both wide angle and telephoto zoom settings. The LCD monitor proved slightly more accurate, showing about 90 percent frame accuracy at wide angle, and about 91 percent at telephoto. Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the S3100's LCD monitor has a little room for improvement here. Flash distribution is slightly uneven at wide angle, with just a little falloff at the corners and edges of the frame. At telephoto, flash distribution is more uniform, though with a hint of falloff in the corners.
S3100 Test Images
S3100 "Picky Details"
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