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Fuji F70EXR Review

Monday 19 October 2009, by Phi, 9937 Views

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My F200EXR was unfortunately stolen - it was a great camera - but as I had to buy another camera I tried the new F70EXR.


Context

I was very happy with my F200EXR, but somehow I was not happy to buy again the same camera so soon after my first purchase.

This time I bought an european one (unfortunately I still need an adapter for mains), hope it will work with european firmware update unlike my japanese F200EXR.

TO BE COMPLETED

Side by Side F70 EXR vs F30

Well, obviously I cannot compare to the F200EXR anymore, but I still have my trusty Fuji F30. This time I try to do all my tests before I lose my new camera.

Normal pictures test

All the following were shot on Astia mode on the F70EXR (because it looks intermediate between Normal and Velvia mode to my eyes), and at 5 Mpix to have the benefit of pixel binning.

Sorry but it was raining in Paris today, and the sky was really bland, so the usual pictures are not very beautiful

JPEG - 2.4 Mb
JPEG - 2.7 Mb

Hall: Above F70 (ISO 800, flash, 1/60 s), below F30 (ISO 800, flash, 1/60 s)

JPEG - 2.4 Mb
JPEG - 3 Mb

Note: all the outside pictures were taken with Cloudy balance on both cameras, and with Astia film on F70 EXR

Building: Above F70 (ISO 100, 1/220 s), below F30 (ISO 100, 1/300 s)

JPEG - 2.4 Mb
JPEG - 3 Mb

Place: Above F70 (ISO 100, 1/180 s), below F30 (ISO 100, 1/240 s)

JPEG - 1.3 Mb
JPEG - 1.9 Mb

Wall: Above F70 (ISO 100, 1/280 s), below F30 (ISO 100, 1/280 s)

JPEG - 2.3 Mb
JPEG - 3 Mb

Restaurant: Above F70 (ISO 100, flash, 1/60 s), below F30 (ISO 100, flash, 1/60 s)

My opinion on the better pictures:
- if you look at 100% originals, the F30 ones will always be a tad better - better lens resolution at wide-angle and perhaps because JPEG compression at 3 Megs at 6 Mpix is better than 2.3 Megs at 5Mpix
- but overall all the pictures are very similar, and of course the F70 EXR has the benefit of wider angle

Default exposition of the two cameras are very similar (bearing in mind that F70 EXR is F3.3 whereas F30 is F2.8), but I think both overexposes compared to F200EXR, perhaps 1/3 to 2/3 at most.

Night Scene ISO Test

Entire Night Scene

Note on methodology:
- the standard F70 5 Mpix picture at 100% is the benchmark, so that comparison is easier I have resized the F30 picture (at 65 %, because of 6 Mpix resolution and wide-angle at 35 mm instead of 27 mm) so the detail is exactly the same.
- Of course, it was basic resizing without using the additional information so that there won’t be a bias with the resizing algorithm, let’s say that F30 pictures could have been better by using a good resizing algorithm.

F70 ISO 100 SN mode 4 s

F30 ISO 100 3 s

F70 ISO 200 SN mode 2 s

F30 ISO 200 2 s

F70 ISO 400 SN mode 1 s

F30 ISO 400 1 s

F70 ISO 800 SN mode 1/2 s

F30 ISO 800 1/2 s

F70 ISO 1600 SN mode 1/4 s

F30 ISO 1600 1/4 s

F70 ISO 1600 Pro Low Light mode 1/4 s - 83%

F70 ISO 3200 SN mode 1/8 s

F30 ISO 3200 1/8 s

F70 ISO 6400 SN mode 1/15 s

F70 ISO 12800 SN mode 1/30 s

According to my tests:
- ISO 400 quality of the Fuji F70EXR is worse than ISO 800 of the F30 but somewhat better than ISO 1600 of the F30 ie like ISO 1200 on F30. ISO 800 quality of the Fuji F70EXR is worse than ISO 1600 of the F30 but somewhat better than ISO 3200 of the F30 ie like ISO 2400 of the F30
- In short you around lose 1.5 stops in ISO quality with the F70 EXR compared to F30, and pratically you never want to go higher than ISO 800 whatever happens, except if the scene is very well lit.
- F70 PRO Low Light mode 1600 ISO is comparable to F70 400 ISO, ie you win almost two stops with this mode
- F30 lens has more flare problems than F70 lens (and about the same purple fringing / chromatic aberrations)

Well lit ISO test

The well lit scene is the following:

Entire test scene

Note on methodology:
- the standard F70 5 Mpix picture at 100% is the benchmark, so that comparison is easier I have resized the HR picture (at 71%), and F30 picture (at 65 %, because of 6 Mpix resolution and wide-angle at 35 mm instead of 27 mm) so the detail is exactly the same.
- Of course, it was basic resizing without using the additional information so that there won’t be a bias with the resizing algorithm, let’s say that HR and F30 pictures could have been better by using a good resizing algorithm.

F70 ISO 100 SN mode 1/7 s

F70 ISO 100 HR mode 1/6.5 s

F30 ISO 100 1/6.5 s

F70 ISO 200 SN mode 1/13 s

F70 ISO 200 HR mode 1/12 s

F30 ISO 200 1/10 s

F70 ISO 400 SN mode 1/26 s

F70 ISO 400 HR mode 1/25 s

F30 ISO 400 1/20 s 1/20 s

F70 ISO 800 SN mode 1/52 s

F70 ISO 800 HR mode 1/45 s

F30 ISO 800 1/50 s

F70 ISO 1600 SN mode 1/105 s

F70 ISO 1600 HR mode 1/90 s

F70 ISO 1600 Pro Low Light mode 1/120 s - resizing at 86% needed

F30 ISO 1600 1/90 s

F70 ISO 3200 SN mode 1/200 s

F30 ISO 3200 1/80 s

F70 ISO 6400 SN mode 1/400 s

F70 ISO 12800 SN mode 1/210 s - but F jumped from 3.3 to 6.4

On well lit ISO test:
- the Fuji F30 was truly extraordinary: F30 ISO 400 is comparable to F70 ISO 100, F30 ISO 1600 is comparable to F70 ISO 400 and F30 ISO 3200 is comparable to F70 ISO 800: you almost win two stops with the F30 (or lose two stops with the F70 ...)
- in this test not only the F70 HR don’t show more noise than the F70 SN modes but in some case it’s even better: I think SN mode is not useful at all in well lit scenes
- F70 ISO 1600 Pro low light mode can allow you to win up to two stops (comparable quality as F70 ISO 400 or F30 ISO 1600), but of course the subject must not be moving and you must be very stable
- You really don’t want to go over ISO 1600 on the F70, ISO modes 3200, 6400 and 12800 are not useful

Others F70 EXR topics

Film mode

Standard film mode

Astia film mode

Velvia film mode

As for the F200EXR, Astia (soft mode) looks more saturated than normal mode to me, so I leave the setting at Astia film mode (which works also for auto mode).

I prefer Astia (which is officially Soft) versus Standard as the colors are more saturated and the picture has more contrast than Standard. But looking at the Disney cover picture it is true that Astia seems a little softer than Standard, but honestly the difference is very slight and unlikely to really make a difference on sharpness. I have uploaded the full pictures so you can decide yourself (look at the 100 pages de BD! bumper).

White balance

As with all Fujis I had to date, I prefer to set the WB to Cloudy outside instead of auto so I can have warmer pictures (it was less necessary for the F200EXR after the latest firmware update).

Overexposure

As the F30, the F70R overexposes somewhat between 1/3 to 2/3. It’s a pity they didn’t keep the F200EXR exposure which was perfect.

Either you put -1/3 to -2/3 permanently or you put metering to average, but unfortunately this setting is not used on auto, natural light and special settings, and it breaks my ISO wheel exposure (see later on).

Battery

Here are the results with my official Fujifilm NP-50 battery:

#2 bars1 barEmptyComments
1st try 261 309 330 Standard LCD brightness, 5 Mpix SN, continuous IS
2nd try 215 302 342 Minus 1 LCD brightness, 5 Mpix SN, continuous IS
3rd try 419 489 523 Minus 1 LCD brightness, all full 10 MPix, spot IS
4th try 514 544 605 Same as above
5th try 491 543 585 Same as above
6th try 402 451 488 Same as above

Note that most of the pictures taken are without flash, and I switched to 10 MPix for all pictures after my tests which showed no improvement on ISO quality for 5 Mpix SN mode over full resolution.

You can see that I achieve a very high figure (605 pictures taken !), perhaps because HR native resolution takes less processing power than SN mode, spot IS uses less battery and that because on the third or fourth charge the Fuji NP-50 battery always give its full potential.

As on F200EXR, you have almost no reserve when battery reaches 1 bar.

Anyway, can’t complain on Fuji F70EXR battery life at all as it is officially rated for only 230 pictures - it is significantly better than F200EXR (but I never tried only full HR with my F200EXR).

My first tests with no-name batteries gives only 160-170 photos - around the same on F200EXR and F70EXR - not worth it over regular Fuji ones unless you need them for emergencies.

Note: I have tested with my "bad" Kodak klick battery first because I charged it before receiving the camera - no way I was going to wait for 2h30 for the new Fuji NP-50 battery to charge before playing with it 8-)

Operation tips

This time auto mode is less brain dead than on the F200 EXR or others Fuji - at least it allows the film and ISO setting (unfortunately it doesn’t keep the exposure correction which can be needed).

If I set P at Auto ISO 400, EXR at Auto ISO 800, Auto at Auto ISO 1600 I magically have a sort of ISO control with the wheel ! (although due to image quality at ISO 1600 it might be better to set ISO 200 / P, Auto ISO 400 / EXR, Auto ISO 800 / Auto, and SP mode PRO Low Light for ISO 1600).

Is there a difference between EXR SN mode and selecting M image format instead of L ?

If there is one it is very subtle, basically no difference.

Is SN picture mode significantly better than L image format / HR on image noise ?

I did a test at night, taking at the same shutter speed pictures at 5 Mpix SN and 10 Mpix:

JPEG - 30.4 kb

5 Mpix SN mode ISO 800 1/4 s

JPEG - 31.5 kb

10 Mpix HR mode ISO 800 1/4 s

JPEG - 34.7 kb

5 Mpix SN mode ISO 1600 1/4 s

JPEG - 37.4 kb

10 Mpix HR mode ISO 1600 1/4 s

Honestly I don’t see much difference, perhaps 10 Mpix L pictures have somewhat less details than 5 Mpix EXR SN picture which are more grainy.

Of course at 100% 10 Mpix pictures are somewhat more noisy, but when resized at the same size I find 10 Mpix pictures is as good or even better than 5 Mpix ones. I have included the full pictures, just look for yourselves and decide if it’s better or worse.

The well lit ISO test above includes HR mode besides F30 pictures that show that HR is even better on noise than SN mode on that scene.

That might mean it’s better to always shoot at high resolution whenever possible.

What about Pro Low Light mode ?

Here is a ISO 1600 SN picture:

JPEG - 34.7 kb

5 Mpix SN ISO 1600 1/4 s

The same picture in Pro Low Light Mode:

JPEG - 29 kb

5 Mpix Pro Low Light ISO 1600 1/4 s

The quality is very good, basically it allows ISO 1600 pictures to be around the same quality as ISO 400 ones:

JPEG - 34.1 kb

5 Mpix SN ISO 400 1 s

You can win 2 stops for night scenes with Pro Low Light mode. The drawback is that the subject must not be moving and that you should hold the camera very still.

For a better lit scene what are the results ?

Note: you can click on the picture to view the original picture

JPEG - 37.1 kb

5 Mpix SN ISO 1600 1/105 s

The same picture in Pro Low Light Mode:

JPEG - 30.8 kb

5 Mpix Pro Low Light ISO 1600 1/120 s - don’t know why it zooms slightly, must be the processing

The quality is good, but the gain is lesser than with night scenes, it allows ISO 1600 pictures to be around the same quality as ISO 800 ones in this case:

JPEG - 35.4 kb

5 Mpix SN ISO 800 1/52 s

The 400 ISO pictures is significantly better:

JPEG - 36.6 kb

5 Mpix SN ISO 400 1/26 s

So one or two stop advantage with the pro low light mode depending on the available light.

Conclusion

F70EXR is a good all rounder camera with good image quality, colors, and a great 27-270 mm zoom range. Just a pity it overexposes by default, and that high ISO is not that good anymore.

TO BE COMPLETED

Compared to the F200EXR

Pros:
- 27 mm instead of 28 mm. Wide-angle distorsion don’t seem worse than F200EXR to my eyes.
- Tele at 270 mm instead of 140 mm. I thought I didn’t care but it is really impressive. With digital zoom it goes up to 1080 mm !
- IS is better, 1/6 s is possible instead of 1/13 s with F200EXR
- Far better zoom control, very smooth and not drunken like F200EXR
- New Pro Low Light mode which gives really a very significant difference for non moving subjects - ISO 1600 pictures are same quality as ISO 400 pictures
- Faster focus, I use the camera a lot to take pictures of items at near range (for my web pages), unlike the F200EXR, it focuses on them at a tele where there are less lens distorsion. As good as my old F30.
- LCD screen is better, more resolution (same but smaller), seems brighter with better viewing angles
- Ergonomics is better, with the wheel on an edge, an extended braille area, and buttons further apart.
- The camera is more beautiful like a sleek piece of metal with rounded corners
- Zoom can be used during video (with a slight zap sound recorded)
- Instead of a bulky Video + USB cable we have two separate cables (unfortunately USB cable is still not standard)

Cons:
- Pretty bad purple fringing and chromatic aberrations whereas it all but disappeared on the F200EXR
- Somewhat overexposes - could do with -1/3 to -2/3 permanent exposure correction - fortunately the camera keeps the correction even after switching off (but it does not apply for auto mode)
- White balance has moved back in Menu page 2 instead of F Menu which is less convenient for me as well as DR mode and JPEG quality
- Slightly slower operation (moving between menus items, more keypresses to change settings with the dedicated buttons)
-  SN mode for high ISO is overrated, seems to bring no benefit compared to HR or 10 Mpix mode. Seems to lose about 1/2 stop quality compared to F200EXR which translates to 1.5 stop quality loss compared to F30.
- Video sound seems worse than F200EXR, always some background noise
- Video is as bad or even worse at low-light than F200EXR (F30 low light video is far better)

other cons which are not a problem for me:

- LCD is slightly smaller (2.7 inches versus 3 inches)
- 5 Mpix instead of 6 Mpix (or 10 Mpix instead of 12 Mpix)
- No XD-Card support anymore

To be tested:
- Image quality
- LCD in bright light

If my new F70EXR was stolen, will I buy a F200EXR or a F70EXR ?

I think I’ll buy an F70EXR, after all the pros and cons, the real con which bothers me in the end being the overexposure of 1/3 to 2/3 which gives me additional work (I’m more point and shoot) - the 1/2 stop ISO quality I lose is more than compensated by 1 stop I win thanks to better IS and 27 - 270 mm zoom range.

Compared to F30

Pros:
- Wide angle and long zoom from 27 mm to 270 mm
- Very good image quality with correct high ISO quality
- Good color and useful film modes
- 10 Mpixels mode even with high ISO
- effective IS, you win around 2 stops
- Pro Low light mode, you win around 1.5 stops (but the subject must be still)
- Menus are in improvement from F30 (keep settings in different modes, better auto mode with ISO and film settings, more AUTO ISO modes)
- DR modes
- SD Card up to 16 Go for more than 5000 pictures!
- Better slimmer design

Cons:
- high ISO is more noisy than F30, you lose about 1.5 stops
- very average battery life compared to F30
- horrible video modes
- lens has distorsion at wide angle, it is better to zoom a little, for example for portraits
- a slighty worse LCD than F30

The F30 is still extraordinay, the ISO test shows how far above other cameras it is for high ISO, almost two stops from the F70EXR.

Unfortunately I don’t now if such a pocket camera will ever be made again, so I’ll keep my F30. It’s the first time I keep the previous camera when upgrading to a new one, most of the time I sell the old one or give it to family

Useful Links

My Fuji Finepix Real 3D W3 Camera review 3D digital camera with two lenses and 3D screen !

My Fuji Finepix F200EXR Review

My Fuji Finepix F30 Review

My Fuji Finepix F11 Review

Fuji F70 EXR Owner’s manual

Dpreview Fujitalk forum

DCResource Fuji F70EXR Review DCResource has always been my favorite digital camera review site - and he has reached the same conclusion on the absence of benefit of SN mode

Electronista F70 review

Digicam Review F70 review


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