What I think of the Finepix F30

Posted: December 14, 2008 in General

Im a little late to the party on this, but I just picked up a Fuji Finepix F30. Curiously, this is the 3rd Fuji that I’ve bought (which is nice since I have a pile of xD memory cards that can only be used in Fujis). I bought this camera based on reviews of it’s excellent low-light capabilities. I’m happy to say that it delivers in that category.

Very dark room at ISO 3200, 1/4 sec., scaled down

The F30 is not magic, and I will be doing some comparisons between it and the Canon Rebel SLR in the near future. I did run around last night and fired off several shots around the house (sans-flash). At ISO 3200 the images at 1:1 are very noisy, and although scaling the images down (for use on the web for instance), helps some, there is still a lot of noise. This isn’t all that disappointing though, I don’t have unreasonable expectations. I was taking a photo in a mostly dark room lit only from indirect light from the hallway. Truly an unrealistic test (since I doubt the Canon SLR would do much better).

What I do like is that you actually have some pretty good control over this camera. In automatic mode it will try to balance ISO and shutter speed, but you can pop it over to manual mode and dial in the ISO and aperture (it still sets the shutter for you). The UI is pretty straight forward, and I didn’t have any huge issues operating the camera without the manual (although there are so many modes on this camera, that I doubt I will ever truly know everything about this camera).

I only have three issues with the camera. The first is a minor issue. Fuji went with a camera specific battery for the F30. This does provide more life between charging, but unlike the other two Fujis which used AA batteries, you’re screwed if you run out of battery juice. My second issue is that they still use a non-standard USB connector (at least not the mini-USB that other devices use), so it’s one more cable that I need to keep around.

The last issue is the most annoying. When the camera focuses it will shine a bright green LED light to illuminate the area for focusing. This can last 3/4 of a second or so and is rather annoying. My wife closed her eyes because it was so bright so that I got a nice picture of her closed eyes. This seems to happen unless there is copious amounts of light (so pretty much every time I tried to take a picture). Part of the reason I got this camera was because I don’t like using the flash, and if I’m in a position to take a picture when it’s darker I don’t want a lot of light emanating from my camera.

“Reasonable Shot”
ISO 1600 @ 1/60

Overall this camera gets good marks. I feel like I can take this into a room lit by a 60W light bulb and get a decent picture without worrying about image stabilization, motion blur, or a lot of manual settings. I know that the resulting photo may have artifacts, but really this camera is great for capturing moments when another point and shoot couldn’t do it, and the SLR is too big and bulky to be easily stowed. This is the perfect camera for this.

Bonus points to Fuji for this camera. It’s just too bad that they don’t make it anymore (or anything as good as it).

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