capsule review

Fujifilm FinePix F30

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Fujifilm FinePix F30 Compact Camera

    TechHive Rating

Fujifilm FinePix F30
Photograph: Chris Manners

The unassuming FinePix F30 is a master at low-light photography. The sensitivity of most cameras this size usually tops out at ISO 400 or 800, but you can crank Fujifilm's proprietary sensor all the way up to ISO 3200. This gives you more options when shooting in dim light. You can avoid using flash more often, giving your shots more depth and more natural colors. And, although you may still suffer some graininess, you can take acceptable shots in situations that other cameras just can't handle. At lower settings, the F30 produces images with comparatively less noise.

In our formal testing, the F30 scored well in the areas that are most important to its low-light capabilities. We saw accurate exposures in a variety of lighting situations, especially when tested without flash. Our jury awarded the F30 high scores for sharpness and low distortion.

Several of the camera's many scene modes take advantage of its heightened sensitivity. The natural-light mode attempts to preserve the ambience of low-light scenes, while in the natural-light-and-flash mode, the camera takes two shots in quick succession, one with flash and one without. The museum mode suppresses the flash and silences the camera's button beeps and imitated shutter noise. The antiblur mode reduces camera shake and the blur of moving subjects by selecting a faster shutter speed.

Experienced photographers will appreciate the F30's aperture- and shutter-priority modes, which you can combine with an exposure compensation setting to achieve a very wide range of control. Oddly, the manual mode lets you set many shooting parameters, but not the aperture size or shutter speed.

Priced at $399 (as of 6/15/06), the F30 seems on the expensive side for a 6.3-megapixel camera with a 3X zoom and no viewfinder. It lacks a panorama mode, and the included software is quite primitive compared with what you can find in rival cameras from Canon, HP, Nikon, and others. However, at 230,000 pixels, the 2.5-inch LCD has a higher resolution than many of its competitors and is especially easy to view in bright light.

The F30 comes with no memory card, but has 10MB of built-in memory to get you started. You have to invest in an xD-Picture Card to store a respectable number of images; this format is compatible only with cameras from a couple of manufacturers. Also, the F30 doesn't accept the more widely used SD Card that works with many devices, such as mobile phones and MP3 players.

The sleek metal body feels very sturdy, but the plastic cover over the A/V and power ports looks like it may not survive the life of the camera. You need to open and close this cover each time you charge the battery, because that's where you connect the included adapter. An optional charger costing $60 will let you recharge the battery outside of the camera. A single charge of the F30's lithium ion battery reached the maximum 500 shots in our battery test.

Paul Jasper

This story, "Fujifilm FinePix F30" was originally published by PCWorld.

To comment on this article and other TechHive content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.
At a Glance
  • TechHive Rating

    A little pricey, but a sharp, bright LCD and very high ISO setting (3200) are pluses. Offers some manual controls.

Shop Tech Products at Amazon