Fuji F70EXR versus Sony WX1 - My personal opinion

Started Aug 11, 2009 | Discussions thread
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Fuji F70EXR versus Sony WX1 - My personal opinion
Aug 11, 2009

Both use state-of-the-art sensors. But which will be a better low light compact? There are just a handful images available on the Internet at the moment, but even from these few samples it is evident that the Fuji F70EXR has an edge over the Sony WX1 in image quality.

The Sweep Panorama feature in the Sony WX1 is quite appealing. The F70EXR makes up by having a Bokeh creating feature instead. Both these features won't work perfectly always because there will be some practical constraints. But I'd rather have these features in-camera in spite of their imperfections. When used intelligently both these features appear quite decent enough when the output is downsized for web viewing or printed out in post card size.

The Fuji F70EXR seems to have a slightly better sharper output both at wide angle and telephoto. Chromatic aberrations in the F70EXR are still visible, but lesser than its predecessors. I find it as sharp as the Panasonic TZ7/ZS3 lens at full telephoto (12x). The output from the Sony WX1 appears softer/mushier as a result of heavier NR.

One thing sorely lacking in the F70EXR is HD video. This is the Sony WX1's strong point. But then again, on counter-point, the F70EXR allows you to 'silently' zoom optically all the way through 10x. Not sure if the Sony WX1 allows 5x optical zooming during video (most probably it doesn't). Lack of HD video in the F70EXR will be a turn off for quite a number of potential buyers BUT the silent zooming option (a la Panasonic TZ7/ZS3) is definitely a useful feature.

The F70EXR, on the other hand, does offer more manual control... but only ever so slightly. The WX1 does not even have Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority or even a Manual mode (though it has plentiful automated modes.) The F70EXR offers Aperture Priority (not too useful though!) and has a Manual mode that offers some control on setting the shutter speed. It offers a good number of automated modes too.

The Sony does have more interesting features! Smile Shutter is now quite standard on all new Sony offerings!! Another amusing feature is Party Shot. A rotating base can be purchased as an extra option to use this feature. Simply place the WX1 on it and position the rotating base in an appropriate position. The camera will pan left and right and tilt up and down to capture pictures automatically via its Smile Shutter and Face Detection technologies!

The Sony WX1 has a higher speed CMOS sensor capable of shooting ten images at full 10 MP resolution in one second. The Fuji F70EXR has a slower CCD sensor but provides more detailed final output with a wider default tonal range. With post processing, additonal detail can be extracted with a few simple mouse clicks.

So which will be a better low light compact?

I personally think both compacts will sell well and are decent low light compacts when their output is viewed at web sizes or printed out on post cards. But if one is discussing image quality alone, the F70EXR will perform slightly better.

Both these compacts have the potential to confuse first time users! The WX1 will really also need to be understood well in order to exploit the best image quality from it.

If High Definition video is priority, I'd suggest the WX1.

If better dynamic range and image quality with an impressive optical zoom range is a priority, then the F70EXR is indeed the better choice.

If you are going to print larger than post card sizes, the F70EXR is satisfy you more.

If hassle-free panoramas is what you are after, the WX1 will do it for you in a simple shutter press (with some constraints.)

If stacked images for improved low light catches your fancy, the F70EXR will provide slightly more detail with slightly sharper cleaner edges obtained from a stack of 4 images. The WX1, however, can provide results from 6 stacked images via two shooting modes... 1) Handheld Twilight Mode which obtains reasonably good detail with a low shutter speed; and 2) Anti-motion Blur Mode which obtains sharper images with a higher shutter speed/higher ISO combo.

If a bright and smarter in-camera flash is a necessity, the F70EXR has the more capable in-camera flash.

I'd suggest giving both cameras a try before you spend your dollars. Both are quite different enough to suit different needs and tastes.

Hope my experience and observations about both these recent compacts will help some of you arrive at a better more informed decision in the absence of more detailed reviews. I have been an avid camera collector/user for more than two decades (ranging from professional large sized medium-format cameras all the way to tiny compacts). I am a cinematographer/videographer by profession.


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