Fujifilm FinePix F30 Zoom review

Price when reviewed

The latest addition to Fujifilm’s comprehensive range of digital cameras is a compact digital, with a 6.3 megapixel CCD sensor placing it at the top end of that market.

Fujifilm FinePix F30 Zoom review

The Fujinon lens starts at 36mm and extends to 108mm for a total optical zoom of 3x, which should prove enough for most purposes. Flipping the mode wheel gives you access to an unusually broad array of manual modes, which makes the F30 ideal for those looking to inject a little more creativity into their shots and to advance their technical skills. You can adjust either the shutter speed or the aperture (although not both for the same shot).

Best-quality images weigh in at a resolution of 2,848 x 2,136 and around 3MB, and the F30 excels at producing images for A4 prints, even with a touch of cropping. Detail is resolved reasonably well, although best-quality JPEG compression is a little high for our liking, which means that printing at 100% is best avoided. Chromatic aberrations in high-contrast scenes were pleasingly low-key, and the F30 coped well in most outdoor conditions.

Colours were accurately portrayed, and the ability to manually set white balance is also a plus. Otherwise, white balance settings are good rather than excellent – sun, shade, tungsten and three kinds of fluorescent presets are available, but a white balance setting for flash photography is notably lacking. ISO sensitivity is a headline feature, though, and you can select from 100 to a huge 3,200. This kind of range is normally the preserve of DSLR models, and it makes indoors flash-free shooting a viable option. The only caveat, not surprisingly, is that noise becomes a real problem at ISOs higher than 800.

In use, the F30 is pleasingly responsive. Push the top-mounted power button and it’s ready in a shade under two seconds. Auto-focusing with no zoom is virtually instantaneous and, even at maximum zoom, the F30 rarely had trouble focusing on well-defined subjects. It’s slightly larger than the A-Listed Canon Ixus 60 at 34mm deep and weighing 192g. It feels weighty rather than heavy, though, and it’s easy enough to browse through the menus one-handed. The preview screen helps too – it’s an excellent 2.5in model with 230,000 pixels. It’s coated with Fujifilm’s CV film, which reduces glare in bright sunlight – a distinct plus given the lack of an optical viewfinder.

The F3’s battery lasted for several days on a single charge, even with fairly intensive use of the flash. There isn’t a battery charger in the box – instead, you need to connect the DC adapter and leave the camera to charge, which isn’t ideal. Internal memory is a paltry 10MB, enough for merely three pictures at the maximum resolution, so you’ll need to factor in the cost of an xD card, too, with 512MB versions costing less than £20.

The Ixus 60 remains on the A List by virtue of being slightly smaller, and offering better value and generally better image quality. Even so, the F30 is a trouble-free camera and is perfect for those looking to experiment with manual photography without making the leap to a more complex and expensive DSLR.

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