Home | Reviews | Q&A | Links | Gallery | Free Photo Hosting

Fujifilm FinePix F10 - Digital Camera Review
Review Date: 13/06/05
Rating: Recommended!
Author: Matthew Waller
Buy Now from Amazon: £244 / $329


Introduction: The Fujifilm Finepix F10 zoom, is available for £244 / $329 - and is a 6.3 megapixel digital camera, with a 3x optical zoom lens (Equivalent to 36 - 108mm on a 35mm camera), and a 2.5" TFT screen. The camera is enclosed in a silver metal body, with a rubber cover over the usb/power port. It records unlimited 640 x 480 / 30fps videos with sound. The camera comes with a fuji 'NP-120' rechargable battery. The camera's size is: 92 x 58.2 x 27.3mm (without protruding parts), and weighs 155g (without the battery and memory card), 200g loaded.

Fujifilm have this to say about the camera:

"Fujifilm F10 - the 24 hour camera: Most digital cameras are only part-timers. Why? As the day wears on, their batteries start to run dangerously low, and their low-light performance is beset by image quality problems. The F10 Zoom, with its new Real Photo Processor, is the exception. With a 500-shot battery life and an incredible sensitivity range that stretches from ISO 80 to 1600, the FinePix F10 Zoom is a camera to be used at any time of the day or night. "

You can find more information on their website.

The Camera: It's fairly compact and made out of silver metal with plastic battery cover
(Photos of the camera taken with a Fujifilm FinePix 2800 Zoom)


Front - Camera off.


Front - Camera on, lens extended, focus assist lamp, flash


Back - the 2.5" TFT screen, wide/telephoto rocker, photo play mode, film select button, 4 way controller / ok button in the middle, back button and on the right, the strap hole.


Top - on/off, mode dial, shutter release


Bottom, under the camera there is a plastic tripod mount, and the battery compartment.


Left Side combined AV/USB/DC plug.


Nothing on this side apart from the strap connector.

Size Comparison: Compared to a dvd.


Size comparison.

Specifications / Features:

  • 6.3 MP CCD
  • 3x optical zoom
  • Color, Black + White, Fujichrome film
  • 3:2 ratio pictures
  • Unlimited 30fps movie clips with sound
  • Large 2.5" LCD
  • Digital Print Order Format (DPOF)
  • 7.5cm - 80cm Macro mode
  • ISO80 - ISO1600

Box Contents:

  • Digital Camera
  • 16 MB fuji XD Memory Card
  • battery
  • 121 page printed deconstruction manual
  • installation CD
  • power cable (3pin to 8 cord)
  • power adaptor
  • Strap
  • AV Cable
  • USB Cable
  • multi function converter (power/USB/av to single Cable)

Notes about box contents - a larger memory card and a case would seem sensible, as this otherwise is a very nice looking digital camera and I wouldn't want to scratch it.

Battery usage: Aparently it can take upto 500 images according to Fuji - I have easily taken over a hundred and fifty pictures after the first charge without getting down to 2 bars remaining. Battery life shouldn't be a problem unless you're on a 3 week safari and can't get near some 'standard' power.

Menu Options / Modes: The camera mode is selected using the rotating dial. At any time when the camera is on, you can select playback mode with the play button

Photo mode/menu: The menu button brings up the menu screen as shown on the right below:

Photo mode (ready to shoot) Manual Exposure Compensation

Screen / LCD display in photo mode: (shown on the left) The screen is a good resolution, and updates smoothly - the colours appear accurate. There is no live histogram available but the screen is clear and the text and menus are easy to read. In bright conditions (direct sunlight) it can be difficult to read though. There is an additional 'brighten screen' button which you can push when trying to locate your target in semi- darkness.

Optical viewfinder There is no room for an optical viewfinder. Instead it has a very large screen, and I soon got used to it.

Photo menu options: I soon got used to the different modes for this camera:

  1. Scene Position, where you choose a scene mode depending on what kind of photo you want to take, eg; Portrait mode is described 'Used for photography getting beautiful skin tones and soft overall tone.'
    scene mode is also where you can access the 3-15 second exposure option (night mode).
    The 'sport' scene mode is described as 'Used for shooting sporting events. This mode gives priority to faster shutter speeds', but in practice in the dark / semi-dark indoor conditions this does not work well as it still permits slow shutter speeds and does not use iso 1600 to compensate, unless you manually override this.
  2. Auto mode, where some of the manual functions are disabled, like white balance and exposure compensation.
    This mode I used for most of the photos as iso settings, film type and flash are still selectable
  3. Manual mode, where exposure compensation, manual white balance and multi-shot mode is available
  4. Video mode - The recorded videos are 'Motion JPEG OpenDML, 320x240, Millions Unsigned integer, Mono, 16000 Hz, 8bit' according to quicktime. These also play in realplayer and windows media player. [There is a large (9meg) sample video recorded at 320x240 from here]

Scene menu Playback, select by date

Playback mode: Scrolling through the photos is fairly quick. The zoom is fairly quick.

Playback menu options: Rotates, Crop, Erase, Print order,

Picture Size / Quality: The camera takes the following size pictures, and the following number of images will fit on the 16mb memory provided with the camera:

Size / Quality: Number of Photos Stored
  Fine Normal
6mp (2848x2136) 5 10
3:2 (3024x2016) - 10
3mp (2048x1536) - 19
2mp (1600x1200) - 25
0.3mp (640x480) - 122
Video 640x480 30fps 13 seconds
Video 320x240 30fps 26 seconds

You can fit a small number of images on the 16mb memory card - a larger memory card is definitely recommended. I managed to survive by utilising 2mp mode for the weekend. There is a good choice of image sizes (I particularly liked 3:2 mode, which makes pictures look like 35mm film) but not much choice regarding image compression. I would have liked a slightly less compressed version of the 2mp mode. This was noticable next to solid blocks of colour, and when comparing an alternate 2mp digital camera when taking pictures of grass, also in the dark background of images where noise should have been visible.

A larger memory card is relatively cheap, and highly recommended, I later purchased a 256mb olympus XD card, for about £24 pounds which means I can take over 80 fine mode pictures. With multiple or larger memory cards, you will be able to take more photos / shoot longer videos. Listed below are links to some memory cards that will work with the Fujifilm Finepix F10:

Find the latest prices for xD memory cards at Amazon UK: 128mb xD - £16.99, 256mb xD - £23.99, 512mb xD - £39.99 from Amazon.co.uk.
Need more help deciding what memory card to buy? Have a look at our guide to digital camera memory cards or our article what size memory card should I buy?

Additional resources: A camera like this fine model (pardon the pun) requires sufficient battery power, as does your Dell laptop and your friendly robot dog. Find a resource about batteries, including digital camera batteries, batteries for your Gateway laptopPDA batteries and even batteries for  Rex the Plastic Pooch!

Speed: The camera is fairly quick to switch on - taking about 1 seconds - focus in dark indoor conditions is quite good thanks to the [blinding green] focus-assist lamp. The screen updates are quite quick and smooth (in good light). The playback mode is also fairly quick. Playback zoom and panning is quick. In playback mode, you can also show all photos taken on a specific date, which is a nice touch. The camera has a fairly quick continuous shooting mode, at 2.2fps. The camera shutter response feels instantaneous. Shot to shot time feels like just over a second - This is an eternity when you really need to take a few shots, but is probably a bit faster than manually winding film. If that's not good enough, then you can use 'high speed shooting mode', which doesn't make much difference, but might be useful when the object or person you're trying to photograph won't stay still.

Ease of use: The camera is easy to use, although it does have a lot of options and features. The controls on the back of the camera are fairly easy to use - the menus are fairly responsive and easy to read. The camera is compact and easy to hold even with two hands. The menus are also easy to use, and the options are big enough and easy enough to see clearly. The modes are easy to access, quick and simple - there's a fully automatic mode as well as various scene modes for simple point and shoot operation.

Ergonomics and Buttons: (Feel, placement, labels, etc) The buttons are fairly easy to use, and they are in a good position. There seems to be the right amount of buttons. The buttons feel okay, although the 'back' button is difficult to press, and the delete photo button is sometimes 'ok' right 'ok' 'ok' and sometimes its 'up' 'ok' to not delete, and 'up' 'right' 'ok' to delete, but so far I haven't accidentally deleted any photos. The shutter release is quick and obvious. (while the 2800, everyone used to turn the camera off instead of taking a picture) The buttons are labelled fairly well. I thought the camera felt very good ergonomically, and was the correct weight - it seemed a decent weight and felt solidly built. The play/photo button makes it easy to know which mode you're in. The camera fits into loose trouser pockets and coat pockets easily (no tight jeans.) I like the zoom rocker, although it took a little time to adjust from the 2800's up down rocker.

Image Quality: Here are some sample photos taken in various settings, such as Inside, Outside, Macro, Zoom to demonstrate the quality of pictures taken and also show different features of the camera. Larger versions of these photos, plus more photos are available in the new gallery!

Inside:

Indoors, no flash Indoors, flash

Inside: The camera has very good colour. Can take good photos in low light, and also has a flash plus background mode (if you can remember which icon to select) which means that not only the foreground appears in photos. The camera did a good job at focusing the majority of the time, thanks to the focus-assist lamp. Red-eye isn't a problem so long as you select the 'eye' flash mode.

Noise: Noise is generally a bad thing - it removes detail, and gives a grainy effect over the image. With digital cameras noise can be a real problem as digital camera noise is often made out of blue, red or green dots. As the ISO setting increases, pictures tend to have more noise. Noise is most noticeable in dark areas of photos. The camera has an Automatic mode for ISO levels, and manual ISO settings (ISO80, 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1600) - below you'll find the noise test scene, plus actual pixel crops from the scene taken at different ISO settings.


Noise test photo - flash off (area shown in red, center of scene)

From left to right, iso1600 (1/100th sec, f2.8), iso800 (1/100th sec, f2.8), iso400 (1/100th sec, f2.8), iso200 (1/60th sec, f2.8), iso100 (1/10th sec, f2.8)
basically, I adjusted the exposure compensation to maintain the shutter speed in each photo. That meant that the iso200 photo has the same light coming in, but using slower film, it doesn't come out as light.

Noise levels appear low at ISO100 to ISO400. At ISO400 noise is visible, and it is possible that at ISO800 you might see some noise in your pictures, although this is generally masked well by the jpeg compression / noise reduction. In auto mode, photos will not be taken at iso 1600, unless you manually select it.

Outside:

hockley against a bright background bridesmaids in a leafy background

Outside, the camera had very good colour, with good contrast and saturation. There was good detail, and although I thought images were slightly soft, they are a massive improvement relative to the f2800 zoom (a 2mp digital camrea). For some reason auto selected iso200 settings and overexposed the sky in some photos, but I am still learning about the various light meter settings. I think that the camera may have benefitted from a lower jpeg compression setting for some images. The F-CHROME setting on the camera os described: 'contrast and color saturation are set to high. This feature is effective for taking more vivid shots of subjects such as scenery (blue sky and greenery) and flowers.)' I found the images looked overly bright and garish, so at the moment there are no samples as I just deleted them immediately.

Zoom: This camera has a 3x optical zoom lens and a built in digital zoom, (which is disabled by default) Generally it's best to avoid using digital zoom as it degrades the quality of the image and, often, better results can be obtained by using a photo package such as Adobe Photoshop. I've included examples below to show what the zoom is capable of.

Wide-angle f10, 3x Optical zoom 2800, 6x optical zoom
 
  f10, actual pixels (enlarged 2x) 2800, actual pixels (enlarged 2x)

Lens noise and zoom: The lens is quiet. The lens is quick at going from wide to telephoto.

Other Image Quality issues: There was some purple fringing, in a very harsh test which was not seen in the f2800 zoom.

Macro: To use this camera in macro mode, you push the flower button - you can use the macro mode at wide angle, all the way to telephoto. You can use the flash in macro mode. The manual states the camera can be roughly as close as 7.5cm away from the subject from the front of the lens in Macro mode (30cm when using 3x zoom).

Macro Mini Actual Pixels (100%)

The macro mode is good - the camera does a good job of toning down the flash (assuming your subject isn't too close, and you don't change the ISO setting), and colours and detail are good.

Movie: 640x480 / 30fps up to 30 seconds - 320x240 - 30fps limited only by available memory. The movie is recorded as an .AVI file. The quality of the movie(s) is good, although memory is eaten pretty quickly.

Conclusion

Image Quality: Image quality is very good, the images have very good colour, saturation, contrast and good detail with farly low purple fringing - especially at iso 80 and iso 100. Images are a bit too well jpeg compressed in all but fine quality modes, and so this could limit how much you can do post processing in photoshop. The camera did a good job focusing. The macro mode is good. Auto white balance was sometimes tricked although there are three different settings for this. I would prefer a 'wider dynamic range' setting if possible. Red-eye was controlled well. The movie mode is fine, but I barely used it.

Everything else (the camera as a whole): The camera is compact and is designed well - the camera feels comfortable, but buttons are a bit small & sensitive, at the moment, with my big hands, I still need to look at the buttons to operate any of the more complex settings.. I'm sure I'll get used to it with time. The camera is easy to use, the menu system is easy to use (I especially liked the film select button) There is a fairly good layout of buttons and controls. There is a good choice of features and options to suit all levels of experience, film settings, scene modes, as well as manual white balance. The camera speed is good.

Alternative 6 megapixel digital cameras: See more suggestions sorted by megapixels here.

Summary: The Fujifilm Finepix F10 is a great all round camera, with a good 3x optical zoom lens, and plenty of resolution and image quality. It works well as a basic point and shoot camera and is ok for people who like a little more manual control. The camera has a very good battery life, is very compact and so is great for 'regular' environment photography - Those going on long holidays may wish to invest in a second battery. The camera can be mounted on a tripod and will take long exposures if necessary. Image quality is very good, the camera is capable of some excellent results - the only areas where this camera may be less than ideal are, the occasional auto-balance overexposures, some slight purple fringing (at edges of shiny objects and bright sky), and possible (but rarely noticable) jpeg overcompression (relative to a 2800 in fine mode). This is a good high quality 6 megapixel camera at a competitive price point, great for parties and more serious use.

  • I'm very impressed that I can go places where you'd normally use the flash, and just not have to, which means more natural looking photos.
  • I'm very impressed that if you have very steady hands, you can point the camera at the sky and take pictures of the stars. (5 second exposures, iso 400)
  • I'm very impressed with the resolution when photos are taken at iso 80 and iso 100, and colour quality.
  • I am used to using a manual SLR, and using this camera I did miss not being able to control the F settings, to control the light level. The in screen indicator does tell you how slow the picture you're going to take will be, but quite a few indoors shots were taken where the shutter speed was really slow and if I'd known what to do I could have manually altered the EV setting or the ISO but that takes time.
  • Manual focus would have been nice, but probably too confusing, and as long as you think about what to focus on when you take the photo, the shots were in focus, [unless I'm closer than 7cm to the target]. I think the focus is confused when you take pictures in pitch black.

Fujifilm Finepix F10 Rating: Recommended!
Buy Now from Amazon: £244 / $329

What I like:

  • Very good image quality - very good colour
  • Fast 3x optical zoom lens
  • Compact
  • Long battery life
  • Focus-assist lamp
  • manual rotate and crop images

What I don't like:

  • No manual shutter speed mode
  • Not as good iso 800, iso 1600 performance as I'd hoped.
  • Too many cables to connect to computer
  • No case as standard, small memory card standard
  • Plastic tripod mount (despite the metal body)

Remember to have a look at the test photos in the new gallery.