Fujifilm FinePix F10
At a Glance
Fujifilm FinePix F10 Compact Camera
The F10 has strong image quality, easy storage, and a high ISO setting, but images had significant noise even at lower ISOs.
The $370 Fujifilm FinePix F10 looks neat and businesslike with its brushed aluminum body. And its excellent image quality speaks for itself, challenging cameras that are much larger and more expensive.
As evaluated at the PC World Test Center, the F10's image quality earned the highest overall score among recently tested point-and-shoot cameras. Most notably, the lack of distortion in its images tied the F10 with a single-lens-reflex camera (the Canon Rebel XT). That's remarkable for a little 6.3-megapixel camera relying on a built-in 3X lens. Also, the F10 scored higher for its color and exposure accuracy than any other point-and-shoot camera we tested, almost matching the scores of the Canon Rebel XT.
The F10 impressed me with its performance in low light. Most cameras of this size offer a sensitivity that tops out at ISO 400, but the F10 goes up to ISO 1600. This is helpful if, as I do, you shoot a lot of photos at evening social occasions, when the light is dim but you'd prefer not to use a flash. The F10's image quality was most impressive at ISO 400 and 800; at these settings I noticed less graininess than I typically see from cameras at their maximum setting of ISO 400. However, at ISO 1600 the F10 created images with a lot of noise, which increased with longer exposure times. The camera's sensitivity does make it easier to take portraits without having to resort to flash. But if you do use the flash, you'll likely be pleased with the results: The image quality of the F10's flash photography scored above the average for point-and-shoot cameras.
The F10's automatic mode is good enough that you don't need a slew of scene modes to prompt the camera that you're shooting at the beach or in a forest. In addition to the ubiquitous portrait, landscape, and sports modes, the F10 takes advantage of its heightened sensitivity with two modes that don't use the flash: natural light, which is ideal for spots where flash photography is prohibited, such as in museums and churches, and night scene, which uses a long exposure and is meant for shots using a tripod. The F10 offers no shutter speed or aperture priority modes, but in the advanced mode you can manually adjust the exposure, focus, and white balance settings.
The slim F10 slips easily into a pocket and sports a 2.5-inch LCD display for composing shots and showing them off to your friends. This display dominates the back of the camera and pushes the F10's controls to a narrow panel on the right of the screen. With a little practice, they're surprisingly easy to operate with your thumb. The "F" button lets you adjust the most common shooting settings, but you access most items through a more deeply nested menu system. There is a slight lag in the display, but unless you're trying to snap rapidly moving subjects, you're unlikely to miss an optical viewfinder. I did notice the lack of an orientation sensor, commonly found in competing models, for automatically rotating your portrait shots as you upload them to your PC.
A single charge of the F10's lithium ion battery exceeded the maximum 500 shots in our battery test (at which point we stop to preserve our technician's sanity); the only other point-and-shoot to reach our limit was Casio's Exilim EX-Z57. A single port keeps the camera's body simple, but it means using an adapter to connect the battery charger, the USB cable, and the video cable. These items, including the adapter, are all small enough to pack in your bag when you travel, but the setup seems unnecessarily complicated--especially if you find such components easy to lose.
For an easy-to-use camera you can carry anywhere, the Fujifilm FinePix F10 is a great value and delivers top-quality images even in low light.
Fujifilm FinePix F10
6.3 megapixels, 2848 by 2136 maximum resolution, 36mm to 108mm focal range (35mm equivalent), f2.8 to f5.0 maximum aperture range, shutter speeds from 3 seconds to 1/2000 second, LCD viewfinder, USB connection, 16MB internal memory and XD-Picture Card slot, rechargeable lithium ion batteries, 5.5 ounces, FinePix Viewer software. One-year parts and labor warranty, 11-hour weekday toll-free support.