Seeking Feedback Regarding the F750EXR

Started Mar 17, 2013 | Questions thread
DS21
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Re: Seeking Feedback Regarding the F750EXR
In reply to NewsView, Mar 17, 2013

NewsView wrote:

After a hiatus from DPReview, happily making use of a Fuji FinePix F30 all these years, I'm back in the camera market. (My trusty F30 with its amazing 500-shot battery life still works but there is dirt in the lens that appears on my outdoor photos.) Recently, I found what seemed to be a good match for my needs, the Fujifilm F750EXR. As was the case with the F30, I am impressed at the true-to-life color Fujifilm cameras are known for. Still, I need to know if some of what I've observed is par for the course for this model vs. cause for concern:

  • In low light, image quality without flash is not much improved over my F30 with SuperCCD sensor. (Pictures are characteristically grainy both indoors and out, regardless of mode, with or without viewing at "actual size".)

You can improve on this by shooting the camera in M size (8 Mp) when in P or A modes, with DR set to 400%. 16 MP is too much for the sensor in low light. Still, it is not much better then F30 in most cases.

  • In a dimly lit room a white drywall ceiling above the subject looked like it is crosshatched (no flash). The striations were not apparent to the naked eye upon comparison.

Putting the camera in M size might help.

  • Indoors, when photographing a dimly-lit room in which there is a large, incandescent lamp, there is color banding present in the light reflection on the ceiling, resembling pink/green ringlets along the outer edges. (Firmware on camera is up-to-date. First thing I checked.
  • When photographing outdoors at dusk (the sunset), there are magenta halos around nearby street lamps.

This is a known problem for this model, because of the particular way the sensor color filter array was made, lens flare becomes a problem whenever strong point light sources are present in the frame, or outside of the edge of the frame and pointing to the camera (the stray light bouncing inside the lens reflects back from the sensor, and then from the lens elements back to the sensor).

  • In portrait orientation at wide angle there is a noticeable vignette apparent at the top left corner, apparent both indoors in dim light and outdoors under blue skies. None of the other corners darken, however! (Unlike the F770EXR, the F750EXR does not give me the option to shoot in raw, otherwise I would do a comparison.)
  • In outdoor sun, purple fringing is prevalent along columns, branches and eves. (I had assumed all these years later that chromatic aberration would be less the problem it once was.)

This two problems could be eliminated by exchanging the camera, lens manufacturing variation i s also an issue with this model.

  • When late-afternoon sun shown directly on a cluster of large, brightly-colored orange flowers, the resultant image displayed strong color bleed/blooming (resembling an "angelic" filter effect). The same was observed when sunlight glanced off a white stone fence while visiting a Buddhist temple with my recently-purchased F750EXR. The affected area softened, appearing as if a puff of smoke or fog hovered above the handrail.

Again lens flare problem, you have to avoid this situations with this camera, or change the angle and position slightly until it is less noticeable (it shows on LCD screen preview).

  • The pop-up flash seems under-powered compared to similarly-sized cameras (not unlike the F30's flash. Although I don't like using flash all that often, when you need it it is weak).

Also normal for this model, as well as many today's small cameras. But this one is very week.

  • When photographing a large, tabby cat outdoors in mild mid-afternoon shadow the LCD display made the gray cat look harshly over-exposed with a moire effect on the fur upon review. Only in viewing the images on a computer later did I appreciate that the LCD display was misrepresenting the accuracy of the cat's color (the images were fine, the LCD thumbnail was not). Similarly, when using exposure compensation the LCD display is a poor indicator --- pictures in harsh outdoor sun that looked adequately compensated were dim on my computer, for instance.

Shooting in M size mode, with DR set to 400% will help, but not completely fix this problem, you have to practice with this camera to learn its quirks.

In closing, I thank you for your input. In the event I got a lemon, what are some similarly compact alternatives? I am looking for a camera that is pocketable, with at least 10x optical zoom, one that represents a step up in low light functionality, does not have a stronger-than-average tendency for its type to blow-out highlights, and does not apply overly-aggressive noise reduction. Having previously returned an under-performing Nikon CoolPix, which was no match for my existing F30, I am beginning to get the impression the point-and-shoot camera category has gone downhill since last I was on the market. If cost and bulk were no object, I'd spring for a higher-end Fuji but at this stage both are factors.

Unfortunately there are no really better options in 10x or more zoom range, the camera market has gone downhill very much with the introduction of long zoom lenses in small cameras with too many MP on the sensor. Of other options, I can recommend used F70EXR or F72EXR as a reasonable option to replace F30, not a step up in low light (about equal with right settings), but at least not so many problems with lens flare and exposure inconsistencies (but it does have PF), or Canon SX260 as the most reasonable pocket superzoom option on the today's market (only 12 MP), and currently on sale for good prices (new model coming soon). If 5X zoom is enough, according to many Fuji F200EXR (used) is the best Fuji pocket point and shoot ever made, and good replacement for F30.

Also, there is way to fix the dirt on the lens with a vacuum cleaner, but it is not for the fainthearted. I did manage to do it a couple of times on various F30 and F31 cameras.

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