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Fuji Finepix F30 Review

Saturday 29 April 2006, by Phi, 27585 Views

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JPEGI have just bought the new Fujifilm Finepix F30 this morning which goes up to 3200 ISO. I still have the old Finepix F11, so how is this new digital camera compared to the F11 ?


Thanks a lot to Timo for sending me back my review after my database crashed 8-)

1 Context

I currently have 3 compact digital cameras: a Canon A95, a Sony V1 and a Fuji F11.

For the comparison between Canon A95, Sony V1 and Fuji F11 you can go to my review of the Fuji F11.

The Fuji F11 is the latest I had and my opinion of this camera was the following:

Main positives:
- good ergonomics
- fast starting time
- fast shutter lag (still faster with quick mode)
- fast zoom operation
- usable high ISO which enables pictures impossible with other digital cameras
- very long battery life

Main negatives:
- bad auto white balance (which is too blue in some scene)
- bad manual white balance
- over exposure which leads to loss of details (ex: white sky with no clouds)
- LCD is not readable under strong sunlight
- bad flash pictures at high ISO according to my tests, worse than other cameras
- worse pictures than other cameras in good conditions (sunlight, outdoors)
- menu system is good but could be better (one extra keypress compared to Sony system for example)
- dongle needed for USB/TV or power

This should have led me to use only the F11 camera sometimes. I happened to use it a lot though, more than the others, just because I got used to fast operations and high ISO so I couldn’t no longer go back to a normal digital camera. But I didn’t like negatives because I had to do a lot of settings to have good pictures (exposure, white balance, ISO) whereas before I just used the auto mode of the Canon A95 and Sony V1, I mean I’m not a photographer, I don’t like to have to analyse a scene before taking a picture.

So life was hard with the F11, but on the other hand I couldn’t do without high ISO, so the only solution was to buy the next Fuji camera with high ISO: the Fuji F30 and hope it could address some of the issues.

Please note: I was happy for a while with the Kodak DX4330, and was never happy with the other cameras I bought so far after it. If I’m happy with the F30, it will be my camera for a long while and I won’t write anymore digital cameras reviews ;-).

Warning on the F11 used for the review : tests here makes clear that my F11 has developed a problem with its lens. One month ago, I sent the camera back to Fuji warranty service to remove a speck of dust on the sensor. This was adequately removed and the camera has been returned to me 10 days later. However, and this has been more clear to me while taking pictures for this review, I think the lens has been badly remounted as the pictures taken since are often blurry on the lower half when the subject is farther than 1-2 meters. This was not the case on my F11 review. I don’t think it is that bad except for the blurriness though, based on my previous experience with the camera but I will take it back for warranty repairs before attempting to sell it 8-). Of course, to be fair, I ignore the lower half blur problem for the assessment of the F11 pictures below.

2 Contents

I bought the camera this morning (May 17th 2006) at a French store called Fnac. I went to the La Defense store and there were only 6 left after I took mine.

I paid 375,09 euros including VAT for the camera after 6% reduction thanks to a friend Fnac buyer card, the regular price was 399 euros.

The contents of the box are mainly the following:
- the Fuji F30 camera
- 1800 mAh battery
- wristband
- AC power
- video cable (proprietary F30 connector)
- USB cable (proprietary F30 connector)
- software and manual

The important things are:
- there is no XD-Card provided with the camera!
- there is no leather pouch for the camera like the F11
- at least no more dongle for video, USB, AC power but the connector is not mini-USB but proprietary. Guess my Olympus MAUSB-300 USB XD-card reader is still a great buy. At least the AC Power can connect directly to the camera now.
- the battery is of smaller capacity than the F11 (1800 mAh versus 1950 mAh)
- the ISO starts at 100 instead of 80, good thing for me, one less choice to make between ISO 80 and ISO 100 (for no real difference but you are never sure)

On the camera build:
- I find the camera is after all not prettier than the F11, but there are less bumps
- It seems to be heavier though
- The timings (start, shutter lag) don’t feel slower than the F11
- The camera is almost as noisy as the F11
- the LCD screen is better thanks to the higher resolution
- the LCD screen is far more readable under direct sunlight (tested with my halogen). Of course it might not be enough but at least it is a significant improvement (the F11 LCD is unreadable just put the screen in front of a light bulb and see the reflection of the light bulb on the screen ...)
- the green autofocus light seems less powerful on the F30 (I guess it’s a good thing the F30 autofocus light scares kids even more than the laser pattern of my Sony V1)

On ergonomics:
- the little wheel turns easily
- it’s easier to handle the F30 thanks to the bump in the front and the rubber area in the back
- it’s a little stupid that pressing twice on the arrow doesn’t bring you back to snapshot mode (it writes on the screen that you must press the shutter to go back to snapshot mode)
- direct timer key with pad down (great, like the old F10, would like better if 2 s was before 10 s though)
- the menu fonts seems more readable
- no more ISO setting on automatic mode (unlike F11) !
- direct exposure key (but perhaps not as much needed than on F11/F10), very fast and easy to use

On battery life:

is very good
- still 2 bars out of three after 280 pictures, 8 days after
- still 1 bar left after 520 pictures, 12 days after
- empty after 572 pictures after 18 days

so it’s better than the F11 which could take only 488 pictures although it had a higher capacity battery (1950 mAh instead of 1800 mAh). But when the battery is empty, it’s empty: the camera won’t take any more pictures even if it still has enough power to turn the screen on.

3 First images

First images I have taken since I purchased the camera. All the following images have been taken in automatic mode or AUTO ISO (1600), and handheld with one hand (with 2 s timer in the church).

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Restaurant (ISO 800 1/110 s, snapshot picture, very good exposure, the menus are still readable. If I wasn’t walking I could have gone to manual and selected ISO 400)

JPEG - 2.7 Mb

Saint Michel (ISO 800, 1/110 s, good overall picture)

JPEG - 3.1 Mb

Fontaine (ISO 1600, 1/240 s, tele this ISO 1600 is pretty bad, on another hand tele with the F30 or F11 are pretty hard to focus so the 1/240 s was perhaps warranted)

JPEG - 2.9 Mb

Promod (ISO 400 1/110 s, good overall picture but not significantly better than what F11 or other cameras could do with the same scene)

JPEG - 2.7 Mb

Powerade (ISO 800 1/85 s, very good, when zoomed there are some artefacts but overall it makes a beautiful picture)

JPEG - 2.8 Mb

Statue (ISO 800 1/60 s, this picture first shows that the camera don’t always pick maximum ISO 1600 even in difficult lighting conditions, secondly I find it very good)

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Vitrail (ISO 1600, 1/56 s, I put this one instead of others where the camera picked 800 ISO because I think it’s pretty good for ISO 1600, the text can still be read)

All in one it’s a pretty good first batch of pictures, even if they are not exceptional. It means having just picked the camera one can make good pictures straight away and this is very important for me as I’m pretty bad with settings and so on.

White balance / Exposure test

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Automatic white balance: Left F30 (ISO 200 , 1/160 s ), Right F11 (ISO 800, 1/280 s)
My opinion: the F30 picked a better ISO and shutter speed. Except for overexposure from F11, the white balance looks similar. Note that all the details from the sky are blown up on the F11 and not on the F30.

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Cloudy white balance: Left F30 (ISO 200, 1/120 s ), Right F11 (ISO 400, 1/110 s)
My opinion: this time again the F30 picked a better ISO and shutter speed. Except for overexposure from F11, the white balance looks similar. Moreover, the roof shows that there are slighty more chromatic aberrations on the F11 than on the new F30.

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JPEG - 2.9 Mb

Custom white balance: Left F30 (ISO , 1/ s ), Right F11 (ISO , 1/ s)
My opinion: the right balance is the custom one, on this example the custom white balance works well on F30 and F11. I thought for a long time that both didn’t work because for custom white balance, and for both cameras, the white balance don’t apply on the preview LCD but only after the image has been taken.

The F11 white balance isn’t that different from the F30, but the F30 exposure is leagues better than the F11, the details are not blown out by high ISO or overexposure. I guess it’s not necessary anymore to use spot metering and under-exposure from -1/3 or -2/3 on the F30.

Thats means however that as the automatic balance can be still too blue, using
cloudy balance for outdoors is still a good option.

Flash and auto ISO

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F30:Left ISO 100, 1/60 s, F2.8, Right ISO 800, 1/120 s, F2.8

This picture with flash explains why I always use ISO 100 with flash on the F30, I find the artefacts on the ISO 800 (picked by the camera automatic mode) pretty horrible, whereas the ISO 100 picture is nice even if a little dark. Moreover the LIDL sign outside is more readable on the ISO 100 than on the automatic ISO picture.

That was the same with the F11, I guess i-flash isn’t much of an improvement.

=> My recommandation is always keep ISO 100 with flash, or at least AUTO ISO (400).

The i-flash does work but only with high ISO. This means:
- for low ISO there is no improvement due to i-flash
- it’s only on high ISO that the flash throttle down which is demonstrated on Bart Hickman’s page and the result is the background is still visible, and the foreground not washed out.

I guess it makes it more useful, but I still don’t like high ISO flash pictures and the result with my F11 were not very different.

Chrome mode

JPEG - 2.8 Mb
JPEG - 2.7 Mb

F30:Left ISO 400, 1/17 s, F2.8 normal mode, Right ISO 400, 1/17 s, F2.8 chrome mode

Like F11, I think F30 chrome mode boosts too much the colors. An intermediate mode would help because default colors are somewhat not flashy enough.

Video

Sorry no videos to download, it will kill what is left of my bandwidth. Video quality is very good but I think it’s useless because at 640 quality you can only put 14 minutes on one 1 Go card (and 1 Go is the maximum capacity XD-Card available for now). You could have a 2 hours DivX movie with the same storage space.

The Sony V1 video is of lower quality but can store 45 minutes that is 3 times more on one 1 Go card, so I guess I’ll never use F30 video mode like I never used F11 video mode.

Antiblur mode

Main points on the new antiblur mode:
- ISO, white balance, exposure cannot be set
- its not very dependable: with flash off it often aims for 1/300 s shutter speed or more which means often ISO 1600 or ISO 3200
- with flash enabled it seems to settle for 1/80 s even if the flash doesn’t fire when the picture is taken !

I guess it is only useful with flash enabled then.

F30 Auto ISO strategy

The following table gives the auto ISO floor shutter speed according to my testing. The camera is at wide-angle with no flash. All minimums ISO for all modes are ISO 100.

ModeF10F11F30Max F30 ISO
Automatic mode 1/100 s 1/60 s 1/60 s 1600
Auto 1600 mode 1/60 s 1600
Auto 400 mode 1/70 s 400
Natural light mode 1/100 s 1/60 s 1/100 s 3200
Anti-blur mode N/A N/A 1/320 s or 1/600 s 3200

The results are:
- Anti-blur is more or less useless (ISO 3200 always), at least without flash
- Auto ISO 400 and 1600 are quite nice, but of course I would have like a 1/40 s or 1/30 s ISO floor mode
- It would be far better if only the F30 could have an automatic ISO mode where the minimum shutter speed could be set (like the Nikon D70). Meanwhile I use Auto ISO 400 to have my 1/30 s to 1/40 s mode (ie for ISO 100 to 400 it goes to 1/70 s but that doesn’t matter as much because the quality is very good, and at ISO 400 it is capped so it decrease up to 1/30 for most of the scenes with sufficient light)

4 Comparison F30 versus F11 auto mode

It was already late evening, so I had no choice except take pictures in the streets of Paris without sunlight.

Moreover, it was not easy to choose how to compare these two cameras. As I know that the F11 overexpose should I compensate for the F11 overexposure (or the too blue white balance, or the wrong selection of high ISO) ? but this could have been unfair for the F30, because I don’t know yet what the best settings for this camera are. So back to automatic mode, but this could also be unfair to the F30 because automatic mode goes up to ISO 1600 on F30 whereas it goes up to ISO 800 on F11.

As it was raining I had to decide and I chose automatic mode for the two cameras, at least a newbie will use these settings for the cameras so I guess it means something.

Note: all the following were handheld (no tripod).

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Album: Left F30 (ISO 400 1/60 s), Right F11 (ISO 800 1/110 s)
My opinion: F30 is better than F11, the picture is less noisy because it was intelligent enough to select ISO 400 which is more than adequate with a shutter speed of 1/60s.

JPEG - 2.9 Mb
JPEG - 2.7 Mb

Street: Left F30 (ISO 1600 1/52 s), Right F11 (ISO 800, 1/27 s)
My opinion: this is the reverse F11 is better than F30, the F30 can go up to ISO1600 whereas F11 automatic mode is capped at ISO 800. The F11 picture loses less detail than the F30 but is less sharp so it’s not that much a difference. Note the lens flare on the F11 picture (no lens flare on F30). Note though that we could have the same picture or better quality with the F30 by setting ISO 800 instead of automatic ISO.

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JPEG - 2.8 Mb

Notre Dame: Left F30 (ISO 1600 1/14 s), Right F11 (ISO 800 1/6 s)
My opinion: equivalent, same ISO here but this time I think both are similar because F11 is blurred (because of 1/6 s), but we could have the same picture or better quality with the F30 by setting ISO 800 instead of automatic ISO.

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Library: Left F30 (ISO 800 1/85), Right F11 (ISO 800 1/75)
My opinion: F30 is definitely better and sharper, see for example the sign "City Light Books"

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JPEG - 2.7 Mb

Rotisserie: Left F30 (ISO 400 1/85 s), Right F11 (ISO 800 1/140 s)
My opinion: F30 is definitely better, was more intelligent by picking ISO 400 instead of ISO F11, which gives a sharper, and less noisy picture than F11.

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JPEG - 2.9 Mb

River: Left F30 (ISO 100 1/500 s), Right F11 (ISO 80 1/500 s)
My opinion: both pictures are of similar quality

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JPEG - 2.8 Mb

Fountain: Left F30 (ISO 100 1/60 s F4.0), Right F11 (ISO 100 1/60 s F2.8)
My opinion: Slightly better exposure for F30 which picked F4 instead of F11’s F2.8.

JPEG - 2.8 Mb
JPEG - 2.8 Mb

Jolie: Left F30 (ISO 800 1/60 s), Right F11 (ISO 800 1/60 s)
My opinion: Both pictures taken with flash. The F30 flash or sensitivity is a little more powerful than the F11, the F30 picture is better.

New series

The four following pictures have been taken after repair of my F11 on a very sunny day (automatic mode, sometimes cloudy balance on both cameras):

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JPEG - 2.9 Mb

Quatre Temps: Left F30 (ISO 100 1/500 s, F5), Right F11 (ISO 80 1/400 s, F5)
My opinion: Both are excellent and equivalent

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JPEG - 2.8 Mb

Nexity: Left F30 (ISO 100 1/800 s, F6.4), Right F11 (ISO 80 1/640 s, F5.6)
My opinion: Both are excellent, but the F30 is less exposed

JPEG - 3 Mb
JPEG - 2.8 Mb

Tag: Left F30 (ISO 100 1/480 s, F6.4), Right F11 (ISO 80 1/420 s, F5.6)
My opinion: Both pictures excellent and equivalent

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JPEG - 2.9 Mb

EDF: Left F30 (ISO 100 1/320 s, F7.1 tele), Right F11 (ISO 80 1/400 s, F5.0 tele)
My opinion: Both pictures are good but the F30 picture when zoomed is slighty better.

From this small set one can see that:
- the F30 pictures are globally better than the F11 pictures. It could even always be better if we go to manual mode.
- the ISO and shutter speed selection of the F30 is far more intelligent than the F11’s, perhaps manual control of ISO and exposure is not needed anymore for ordinary pictures (I should do some additional pictures tests under sunlight to check this)
- the F30 pictures are always sharper, perhaps in camera sharpening processing has been enhanced. I rather like it.
- the difference between F30 and F11 is slight on very sunny days however
- the F30 lens seems better, at least for lens flare

The F30 fares very well for this first test

5 High ISO tests

Comparison F30 versus F11 high ISO

Second test is an ISO test for both cameras to try to answer this question: is the ISO XXX of the F30 better / worse /same as the F11’s ? The timer was used this time and a tripod, so there is no shake. Light was not enough that is why all the pictures except the ISO3200 ones are capped at 1/4 s shutter.

As I was lazy, I started only at ISO 200.

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ISO 200: Left F30 (1/4 s), Right F11 (1/4 s)
My opinion: F30 is sharper, F11 is more blurred and with lens flare

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JPEG - 2.9 Mb

ISO 400: Left F30 (1/4 s), Right F11 (1/4 s)
My opinion: F30 is sharper, F11 is more blurred and with lens flare

JPEG - 2.9 Mb
JPEG - 2.8 Mb

ISO 800: Left F30 (1/4 s), Right F11 (1/4 s)
My opinion: F30 is sharper, F11 is more blurred and with lens flare. Moreover the white balance of the F30 is better (yellow cast on F11 white balance)

JPEG - 3.1 Mb
JPEG - 2.7 Mb

ISO 1600: Left F30 (1/5 s), Right F11 (1/4 s)
My opinion: F11 for this one I think that even if the F30 picture is more sharp and has better white balance, the ISO 1600 artefacts of the F11 might be more pleasing to the eye than the F30’s (blurriness might be a good thing when there is lots of noise)

JPEG - 3 Mb

ISO 3200: F30 (1/9 s)
My opinion: not that bad for ISO3200, of course at 100% resolution it’s not pretty ... Whereas ISO 1600 makes fine black and white prints, this is not the case for ISO 3200 because the artefacts are not grainy like F10/F11.

All in one the F30 seems better, but the F11 is pretty good. Please note though that some of the blurriness of my F11 might be related to the removing of a spot of dust on the CCD (zut cela va être rapé pour la revente du F11 8-) mais je vais le ramener au SAV avant de le mettre en vente héhé) which was done under warranty (perhaps the sensor and lens was not put back at precisely the right place).

Comparison F30 versus Nikon D70 high ISO

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ISO100: F30 (1/4 s)
My opinion: better than the others high ISO pictures even if a little dark

JPEG - 2.9 Mb
JPEG - 2.2 Mb

ISO 200: Left F30 (1/4 s), Right D70 (1/2 s)
My opinion: F30 looks better focused than D70 (damn, did I make another error with the settings of the D70 ?)

JPEG - 2.9 Mb
JPEG - 2.5 Mb

ISO 400: Left F30 (1/6 s), Right D70 (1/5 s)
My opinion: F30 looks better focused than D70 (same as above)

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ISO 800: Left F30 (1/10 s), Right D70 (1/10 s)
My opinion: F30 still looks better but noise levels seems similar

JPEG - 3 Mb
JPEG - 2.5 Mb

ISO 1600: Left F30 (1/20 s), Right D70 (1/20 s)
My opinion: D70 slighty better on noise here

JPEG - 2.9 Mb

ISO3200: F30 (1/52 s)
My opinion: no miracle here, it is far worse than the 1600 ISO pictures

The main results of this test are the following:
- first F30 ISO are real ISO, the shutter speeds increase (there is a cap at 1/4 s for the first ISOs) at the same rate than the Nikon D70 and are quite similar (although lenses are of course different)
- second the white balance of the F30 is better than Nikon D70’s
- third: F30 ISO are very good until ISO 800, acceptable at ISO 1600, pretty bad at ISO 3200
- last: I find the pictures of the F30 are of similar quality than Nikon D70 on noise, if not better! And the ISO range of the F30 is larger than Nikon’s

6 Side by Side with F11, Canon A95, Sony V1 and Nikon D70

Please note the following:
- my F11 lens seems defective, the lower half of the picture is often blurred. I suppose this is because I had a repair under warranty for the removing of a blob of dust, and the lens was badly mounted back. Of course in the following opinions I don’t take it into account.
- the Nikon D70 appears as very noisy, I might have made a wrong setting (it’s not mine) I think the Nikon D70 picked ISO 1600, the camera was on auto ISO for 1/30 s but before it was set at ISO 1600. I really hate the D70, I never ever managed to have a good photo with it (thank god I made someone else buy it so I can borrow it ;-) ), I had to do new photos with the D70, so they are not taken at the same time I guess this make the side by side less useful.
- I used automatic mode for all cameras, except for the Fujis where I used cloudy white balance, and for the Fujis again for the hall pictures with flash were I set the ISO at minimum for both

Opinions on the following side by sides are not final 8-)

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Left F30 (ISO 100, 1/640 s, F5,6), Right F11 (ISO 80, 1/550 s, F5)

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JPEG - 1.8 Mb

Left Canon A95 (ISO auto, 1/1250 s, F8), Right Sony V1 (ISO 100, 1/250 s, F8)

JPEG - 2.3 Mb

Nikon D70 (ISO auto, 1/60 s, F3.5)
Hall My opinion:
- Nikon D70
- F30
- F11
- Sony V1 and Canon A95

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JPEG - 2.8 Mb

Left F30 (ISO 100, 1/640 s, F5,6), Right F11 (ISO 80, 1/550 s, F5)

JPEG - 2.2 Mb
JPEG - 2.1 Mb

Left Canon A95 (ISO auto, 1/1250 s, F8), Right Sony V1 (ISO 100, 1/250 s, F8)

JPEG - 2.7 Mb

Nikon D70 (ISO auto, 1/400 s, F10)

Building My opinion:
- F30
- Sony V1
- Nikon D70
- Canon A95 is third (low noise) then F11 (still low noise)
but all pictures are pretty good

JPEG - 3 Mb
JPEG - 2.9 Mb

Left F30 (ISO 100, 1/600 s, F5.6), Right F11 (ISO 80, 1/600 s, F5.6)

JPEG - 2.3 Mb
JPEG - 2.2 Mb

Left Canon A95 (ISO auto, 1/1600 s, F8), Right Sony V1 (ISO 100, 1/320 s, F8)

JPEG - 2.8 Mb

Nikon D70 (ISO auto, 1/400 s, F10)

Place My opinion:
- Sony V1: Why do I prefer this one ? The details (on the white walls of the building for examples) are blown up compared to F30 or others, the tree is not that well defined. But there is something like perfection when I look at the whole image, perhaps thanks to the good optics.
- D70, F30, F11 and Canon A95 (loses some details like Sony V1)

JPEG - 2.9 Mb
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Left F30 (ISO 100, 1/600 s, F5.6), Right F11 (ISO 80, 1/600 s, F5.6)

JPEG - 2.1 Mb
JPEG - 2.1 Mb

Left Canon A95 (ISO auto, 1/1600 s, F8), Right Sony V1 (ISO 100, 1/320 s, F8)

JPEG - 2.6 Mb

Nikon D70 (ISO auto, 1/500 s, F8)

Wall My opinion:
- Nikon D70
- F30 and Sony V1
- Canon A95
- F11

The results are that of course Nikon D70 is very good, followed by Sony V1, but F30 is not that bad, better than Canon and F11 on average which is a very good result, and has less noise than Sony V1.

6 My Opinion (draft)

TO BE COMPLETED

Main positives
- good ergonomics even better than F11 because of timer key and exposure key
- fast starting time
- fast shutter lag (still faster with quick mode)
- fast zoom operation
- usable high ISO which enables pictures impossible with other digital cameras
- good exposure, far better than F11, less blown details
- good lcd, with effective antireflecting glare unlike F11
- very long battery life
- acceptable outdoors pictures thanks to the improved exposure and ISO selection

Main negatives
- high ISO is not really better than F11, yes it goes up to 3200, but I find that the artefacts of ISO 800 to 3200 might be less pretty than the ones of the F10/F11: the grainyness and the blur of the F10/F11 pictures makes them more DSLR. The sharpening and processing makes the F30 ISO 100-400 looks better, ISO 800 same quality but different, higher ISO less beautiful for me as the artifacts unlike the grain of the F10/F11 converts less easily to black & white pictures (which is the best way to save high ISO pictures). Well, I suppose it is a matter of taste 8-).
- still bad flash pictures at high ISO according to my tests, worse than other cameras (i-flash not very useful, the new natural & flash mode is not very interesting as natural is often ISO 3200, horrible green eye effect)
- no optical viewfinder (to assist LCD when there is too much sunlight) or the LCD readeability could still be improved
- tele pictures needs hands of stone (+ manual settings fiddling) or high ISO (I guess the camera is too light)
- XD card capacity is limited to 1 GB which is too small (this camera would warrants a 2 GB or 4 GB card)

All in one, I think it’s a good upgrade compared to the F11, hope it is more solid than the F11 (tests here makes clear that my F11 has developed a problem with its lens, which is because Fuji warranty service has badly mounted the lens after removing a blob of dust on the sensor, it wasn’t blurry on my F11 review).

I think I have found my camera, not perfect but good enough to take good pictures without being too hard to use or having to know lots of settings. Normally you shouldn’t buy a camera except if the pictures taken at pbase with this camera are fine to you, and this hasn’t been the case for me for the Fuji F10 or F11 (the average quality of the pictures taken are far below the Sony V1 ones or Kodak DX4330 for example), I think it was because the default settings of the cameras was overexposure, I expect that the average picture quality of this new camera will be far higher thanks to improved automatic mode.

After 572 pictures

I still think it’s really a great camera. Only thing is like the F11, flash pictures on automatic is not great (and with autofocus people seems to get an horrible green eye), but all in one I use more natural light with flash than with the F11. The improved LCD is acceptable outdoors even with bright sunlight, so I guess I can do without viewfinder. Battery life is outstanding (469 pictures, still 2 bars). Very few pictures are bad if I use my "best settings". Really, the only thing missing now is a 2 Gb or 4 Gb XD-Card, and I don’t think I need another camera for the 10 following years. I am going to sell my F11, and Sony V1, and give my Canon A95. Hugo has done outstanding pictures with his F30 (he’s a great F10/F11 photographer, but he does some post-processing under photoshop something I never do), so I guess even if my review is an amateur one, the conclusion is correct, that is it is a very good camera.

What are best settings for this camera ?

The only setting I will always do with this camera would be:
- never take pictures with flash
- if you have to take pictures with flash, set the camera at 100 ISO (at most at auto 400 ISO)
not too hard to remember 8-)

Perhaps I’ll set cloudy white balance when outdoors, but that around sum it up.

Possible settings to use the different modes
- Manual mode at auto ISO (400) no flash, good for outdoors (+cloudy balance), or indoors while being sure that there is minimum noise (+timer 2 s if needed): great for planned photos
- Auto mode no flash: good for indoors or outdoors knowing it will goes up to ISO 1600 (catch almost everything but avoids the ISO 3200 mode): great for snapshot photos
- Natural mode with flash: flash (this means almost always ISO 800) + bonus natural mode picture. I don’t like flash at high ISO because I don’t print the pictures but display them on a computer, so the noise artifacts shows, but if you want to print them at 6x4 inches it might be fine: one possibility for flash pictures.

with this you cover planned photos, snapshots photos and flash pictures.

the only thing missing will be flash at ISO 100, you would have to set the manual mode for this and replace the planned photos settings: my preferred mode for flash pictures (but only works up to a range).

you still have the antiblur mode where you are sure to get ISO 3200 90% of the time, but I really don’t know in what case it could be useful (natural + flash would be better for me, you get ISO 3200 if needed and flash).

7 Other reviews

Réponses Photos n°171S June 2006 review p 140 (French photography magazine)

Main reviews points for F30 review are the following:
- Operation: start 1.5 s (good), shutter lag: 0,4s (good), between 2 photos: 3s (average), battery life: 225 mn (very good), wide angle max distorsion: 0.4% (good), wide-angle vignettage: 0,25 IL (good), JPEG compression: 1:6 (fine)
- Strong points:low noise, image quality, design, LCD screen definition, operation timings
- Low points:A/S mode operation, zoom is too fast, no histogram, LCD angle readibility
- Scores: design and operation: 14/15, image quality: 14/15, focus: 13/15, lens: 12/15, functions: 13/15, quality/price: 22/25
- Other: LCD is not very readable in strong sunlight, F30 ISO 1600 is equivalent to Pentax *ist DS 3200 ISO (with a 10x smaller captor)

Total score: 88/100, Top Achat Réponses Photo

Just to compare main review points for F11 review by the same magazine (January 2006) were the following:
- Strong points:low noise, good built, image quality, aperture and shutter speed modes
- Low points:no histogram, no optical viewfinder, overexposure
- Scores: design and operation: 14/15, image quality: 14/15, focus: 12/15, lens: 12/15, functions: 13/15, quality/price: 22/25

Total score: 87/100, Top Achat Réponses Photo

Fnac store review (French store Fnac review on p 13)

Main review points for F30 review are the following:
- Lens: wide angle resolution: 15.9/20, tele resolution: 15.7 geometric distorsion 16.2/20, vignettage 17/20, chromatic aberration 14.9/20
- Color daylight: 17.4/20, indoors: 16.8/20
- Sensitivity: 15.8/20
- Flash: Power 17/20, wide-angle uniformity: 13.2/20, tele uniformity: 14.9/20
- Operation: start 1.5 s, shutter lag: 0.6 s, between 2 photos: 1.8 s
- Autofocus: low light 0 Lux, low contrast 12%

Technical total score: 4 out of 5 stars
Opinion: excellent high ISO, intelligent flash and capable of two simultaneous shots with flash and without

Just to compare, main review points for F11 review by the same store were the following:
- Lens: wide angle resolution: 15.9/20, tele resolution: 15.7 geometric distorsion 16/20, vignettage 16,8/20, chromatic aberration 14.2/20
- Color daylight: 17/20, indoors: 16.1/20
- Sensitivity: 12.8/20
- Flash: Power 16.6/20, wide-angle uniformity: 12.8/20, tele uniformity: 13.3/20
- Operation: start 1.2 s, shutter lag: 0.5 s, between 2 photos: 1 s
- Autofocus: low light 0 Lux, low contrast 9%

Technical total score: 4 out of 5 stars
Opinion: fast, very long battery life, good sensitivity in manual [this stupid review used automatic mode for noise test, as the Fuji F11 use by default high ISO this is why the sensitivity mark was relatively low at 12.8/20]

=> Looks according to Fnac the F30 is very similar to the F11 with better sensitivity, slightly better flash (dunno about slower timings though). Anyway as Fnac is a retailer their reviews must be taken with a pinch of salt.

8 Useful links

Forums

Dpreview Fujitalk Best forum for Fuji digital cameras

Topic Hardware.fr (French) Best French forum for Fuji F11 and F30 digital cameras

Images and reviews

Portal Pacher Fuji F70EXR Review My review of the new Fuji F70EXR with 27 - 270 mm zoom

F200EXR Review: First impressions My review of the new Fuji F200EXR digital camera - first impressions

My Fuji Finepix F11 Review

Fuji F30 Allabout review (Japanese) Samples ISO 100 to 3200 images are here

DC Watch impress review (Japanese) Japanese review with 1600 and 3200 ISO pattern (compare with EOS 30D here and Fuji F11 here)

Fuji F30 taiwanese review (Chinese) There are some ISO 3200 samples.

Fujifilm site samples images (Japanese)

F30 PMA images (Russian)

Digital Camera Info First impressions First impressions on F30 without review of image quality as it was a demonstration model at PMA

French store Fnac review (French) This is the catalog of a French retailer Fnac, the Fuji F30 test is on page 13

Others

Fuji F30 English Manual

Portal Pacher review of Fuji F11 My old review of Fuji Finepix F11 with side by side pictures with Canon A95, Sony V1 and Nikon D70.

Babelfish Altavista In case you are not fluent in all the languages used by the above links ;-)


67 Forum posts

  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 14 May 2006 23:26, by Stephan

    I am expecting with interest your review and comments on FinePix F30. The comments in DPReview Fujitalk and the first reviews (In Japanese, Chinese sites) are also interesting.

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 17 May 2006 23:27, by Antoine

    C’est génial ce que tu fais! Merci beaucoup! Mais TOI, qu’est ce que TU en penses.

    Puisque je vois que tu traduis tout en anglais, je traduis mon post! ;)

    It’s great what you’re doing! Thanks! But what ab

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 17 May 2006 23:29, by James

    The thumbnails point to the promod pic... All of them... Could you correct that? Anyway that’s nice, thanks.

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    • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 17 May 2006 23:30, by Phi

      :P thats normal, the upload of the pictures isn’t finished yet

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      • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 17 May 2006 23:30, by James

        Ok, I trust you even though I had the impression that teh upload was done but that it pointed to an other pic...

        Anyway, I’d be very interested to know your opinion about this cam so far...

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 18 May 2006 23:28, by Zorg

    Très intéressant.J’attendais avec impatience les premiers essais et commentaires sur le F30.Quel plaisir de pouvoir travailler en basse luminosit?.Je crois que j’ai trouvé le compact qui épaulera mon Nikon D70

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 18 May 2006 23:28, by Anonyme

    is there any pict on the intelligent flash>

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 18 May 2006 23:31, by vince

    Dis moi phi, je viens de tomber sur ton site: c’est normal que toutes les photos du f11 soient floues alors que celles du f30 soient nettes???? :shock:

    Sinon, les photos de notre dame, tu les as pris à main levée? Car pour du 1/4s, le f30 e

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 18 May 2006 23:34, by Coco

    C’est grandiose! Tes premières impressions sont plus que bienvenue. Il parait qu’il y a un nouveau flash qui dose l’éclair suivant plein de facteurs. Est-ce que tu as remarqué que le flash était beaucoup mieux que sur les autres compa

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 18 May 2006 23:35, by Omer

    Thank you very very much, great work. F30 seems much better too in white balance, images are fresher, snappier which is the main drawback of F11.

    But I think your F11 is defect-ed, I had one and your results in all images are too blurred.

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 18 May 2006 23:37, by Anonyme

    C’est marrant, mon F10 est aussi flou (sans être vraiment flou) que ton F11. J’ai l’impression qu’il y a une mauvaise série de F10 / F11 qui sans être vraiment mauvais ne sont pas excellents.

    J’espère que

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 18 May 2006 23:38, by Anonyme
  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 20 May 2006 23:39, by Stefan

    I could not understand your opinion for Place.

    Why Sony V1 on I-st place when the Photo is more grainy and less sharp than F30? Colors are less pleasent than F30 too.

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    • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 20 May 2006 23:39, by Stefan

      I also think that it is not correct to publish in Internet comparison rview when one of the cameras (F11) is damaged.

      Are you shure the others are OK?

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      • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 20 May 2006 23:40, by Phi

        Hello, I think the other cameras are ok, in the case of the Nikon D70 though I clearly don’t master this DSLR. I haven’t made my mind yet on which pictures are better (not final).

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        • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 20 May 2006 23:40, by Phi

          For the F11, I just found out that it is damaged with this review (back recently from repairs), however I don’t think it is that damaged (only lower half of the picture which is blurred) compared to my experience of it before repairs.

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 21 May 2006 23:41, by newF30fan

    Thanx 4 your opinions. Had 2 decide between Exilim-Z850, Sony T30, F11 and F30. Will choose the F30 as soon as it is available. Greetings from Germany.

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 21 May 2006 23:42, by Anonyme

    Good work, mate, I think the new coated Lens does make very constrated pix.
    Verx nice

    B.w. D. Martin

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 21 May 2006 23:42, by Darkest

    Thanks for this wonderfull review, really great!
    I have i question: Can you tell me if this camera have a spot-metering mode, please?

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 22 May 2006 23:45, by Packy

    Can’t see how you could do a high ISO test with the D70 when you didn’t have the ability to even get the D70 to lock focus. Not one of the D70 images are in focus!

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 22 May 2006 23:45, by exde

    Thank you very much for your effort. Now I know that f30 will be perfect camera for me. Greets from Poland :)

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 22 May 2006 23:46, by Anonyme
  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 23 May 2006 00:48, by Swedish Ingvar

    Thank you for a really interesting lesson! For my use, and because I am not a fan of flash photos, I think F 30 is the thing for me.

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 23 May 2006 00:49, by Alex

    Thank you very much for your effort! I will get my F30 as soon as possible javascript:smile(’:)’)
    Smile
    Greeting form Munich

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 25 May 2006 00:51, by Anonyme

    Very comprehensive and detailed review.

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 25 May 2006 23:46, by BenBen

    Thanks a lot for this great comparisions. I ordered a F30 two days ago and hope to get it soon.

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 26 May 2006 23:47, by peer

    This testpage is new for me. very good!!
    a note on the Fuji F30: bluefringe is really bad when i see the samples. It’s almost everywhere!
    i dind’t hear much about that!

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 27 May 2006 23:47, by bob

    thank you for all your effort,f30 for me

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 27 May 2006 23:48, by Anonyme

    Very good test.
    Its missing a movie test in a dark room. Mayby you can put some snapshot :)

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 28 May 2006 23:49, by Markus

    thank you very much for collecting this rare information about F30. I also think, that the amount of bluefringe is an issue. But anyway - there’s no better compact camera, so the F30 will be the one. Greetings from Stuttgart

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 30 May 2006 23:49, by benjamin

    ...your f11 was not ok! look at thoose pictures, only the center ist sharp all other areas are blurry(most on the left part of the pictures).[CR][NL]thats the reason, why your nightshots are without any contrast, my nightshots look like youre f30 shots :

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 30 May 2006 23:51, by manatlan

    your F11 pictures are very strange (blury, strange ray lights, ...)...
    I’d take a lot of picture with my F11, somes are very similary ...
    And mines are more correct ... like f30 ...
    perhaps your f11 was broken ... or your lens

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 31 May 2006 23:50, by ozt

    Very well done - thank you for posting your impressions of this camera. The statue picture is quite impressive wrt noise, and at 800iso...wow.

    I would like to add a request for a sample of low-light video. It’s something I haven’

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 31 May 2006 23:51, by Minica

    Hi! Very in depth knowledge! Very Impressed! Thanks!One question,would you recommend any other digital compact camera that is a better point and shoot than F30?I need to get one for my wife she wants just to press the button and nothing else(no settings!)

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 1 June 2006 23:52, by Lisa

    :D Super! Thank you very much for this very helpful article!

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 1 June 2006 23:53, by peer

    Very good test. Merci!!
    le premier vrai testdu F30 dans le monde. chapeau!!
    nevertheless, maybe some attention for purple/bluefringe that’s still around in the pics would be good.

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 1 June 2006 23:54, by BUG

    Settings error
    F10 Metering mode Spot
    F30 Metering mode Multi-segment
    please renewedly to shoot

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 1 June 2006 23:55, by Anonyme

    Hi
    Czekam już kiedy będzie w sprzedaży w Polsce.
    Greetings from Poland :)

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 3 June 2006 23:55, by miva

    this is the best review for me- the pictures show the capabilities of the F30 better than any table of spec could ever do.

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 3 June 2006 23:56, by Anonyme

    Thank you very much for going to the trouble of providing this review. I am thinking of buying an F30 and your review is very helpful.

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 3 June 2006 23:56, by Smokey

    Thanks for your great review and valuable links!

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 5 June 2006 23:57, by Torsten

    Thank you for sharing all the information with us. I live in Germany, and as of June 05, 2006 the F30 is neither yet available nor is there any test in German magazines. You produced an excellent basis for my purchase decision in favor of the F30. :)

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 7 June 2006 23:57, by Anonyme

    CE SERAIT EN FRANCAIS QUE CE SERAIT MIEUX. Oui je sais, par courtoisie on parle anglais aux autres, et aussi par courtoisie on est content que les autres parlent en anglais. C’est exactement ce que font les anglais et les américains dans l’a

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    • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 7 June 2006 23:59, by Anonyme

      j’en ai plus que marre des crétins qui se croient plus intelligents parce qu’ils causent (même bien) anglais. Quand vous aurez compris que la défense de sa langue c’est plus que défendre Corneille, Racine, Molière etc. c’est su

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      • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 7 June 2006 23:59, by Anonyme

        :oops: :o :P :oops: 8) ;) :oops: :x :( 8) :shock: :D

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        • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 7 June 2006 00:00, by Phi

          Bah je ferais bien mon article en français mais mon site français sur http://www.newtale.com/pp est victime de hackers ses derniers temps c’est pourquoi j’ai publié en d’abord sur mon site anglais :P

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          • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 19 June 2006 00:09, by Engilsh speaker

            The guy complaining about this article being in English is a moron. English is the world’s universal language. French lost that privilege a hundred years ago when France started going down hill. This is an excellent review. Keep up the good work!

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 8 June 2006 00:01, by Bernard

    Merci beaucoup for the F30 review!
    The results aren’t bad at all. BUT:
    Insufficient wide angle (only 36 mm equiv.)
    No fine jpg quality setting at 3:2 ratio (fine+normal at 4:3)
    0.4-0.6 sec. shutter lag too slow

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    • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 8 June 2006 00:02, by Bernard

      F30 cons: Flash power not manually adjustable, no flash accessory shoe, no sharpness setting, uses expensive xD-card instead of SD

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 11 June 2006 00:02, by Phill

    Excellent review. Thanks for taking the time to do it.

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 12 June 2006 00:03, by Anonyme

    :shock: :x :x

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 14 June 2006 00:03, by 谢谢(chinois)

    thanx u...i’ll get my F30 this 15th Jun.

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 16 June 2006 00:04, by Simon

    Your review is far better and more comprehensive than CNET’s review. Could you include more coverage for indoor under low or natural light condition, preferably with human as subject? I tried capturing a wedding celebration in a ball room with my C

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    • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 16 June 2006 00:04, by Simon

      Canon Powershot,and I get terribly disappointed with motion blur even with max ISO(400) and the unwanted noisy picture.If you could provide coverage on F30 performance on such environment,I think you’ll win me over and convince me to bin my Canon.

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 16 June 2006 00:05, by gololo

    Super le test. On sent bien la différence de rendu entre f11 et f30.
    Merci pour le temps pass

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 17 June 2006 00:06, by GC

    Great review. Why the Canon A95? I’m buying one on Amazon today (from Chicago). There’s a $50 rebate.

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 17 June 2006 00:06, by Shin’Uchi

    I disagree with some of the conclusions, for instance I like the homogenous graininess of the F11 noise (artefacts) much better than the sharp noise reduction of F30. As for the article, however: THIS is the way cameras should be reviewed! :D Tres bien!!!

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 18 June 2006 00:07, by Maciek

    Nie wiem kiedy będzie dostępny w Polsce - napewno kupię.

    Thanks a lot for your detailed review and dedicated effort of going an extra mile and showing REAL photos. Very helpful.

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 19 June 2006 00:07, by sapo

    snapshot from movies compare with Finepix F700 can found here
    http://www.zahnd.info/f30/f30_test.htm
    ;)

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 19 June 2006 00:08, by gab

    Excellent and thorough review. I’ve been waiting to find out if the F30 lives up to its earlier hype. What are your views on the merits if the F30’s high ISO vs the OIS systems found on Panasonics and some Sonys and Canons?

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 22 June 2006 00:09, by Isabelle

    Je vis en allemagne et ici jusqu’a présent: ni Fuji F30 dans les magasins, ni test avec foto. Enfin un test vraiment complet, merci beaucoup, ca m’a vraiment aidé- mes félicitations!

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 13 July 2006 00:11, by jabiduttilukki

    F30 is a super camera excepted for three things:
    1.the super CCD make the pics look handcolored black&white photos(lot of B&W contrast, and colors are quite lifeless) 2. a lot of purple fringe!! 3.insufficient on board memory.expen

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 14 July 2006 00:11, by enrico

    great review though i find it would be interesting to see some further testing of the F30’s indoor/poor light capabilities.

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  • Fuji Finepix F30 Review 14 July 2006 00:12, by Anonyme

    An excellant review. Wish everything was reviewed like this! I now own a F30 and it really is outstanding. If you want a hotshoe, then by a SLR! Otherwise, buy this. Two week trip to disney, 600 pics and no charging, excellant.

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