Fujifilm FinePix F700 review
I have owned a number of digial cameras over the last couple of years including the Kodak LS443 (not great), Canon Ixus 400 (slow operation but very high resolution images) and the Konica Kd510 (again, very high res and excellent colour balance but dated menu system and narrow-angle lens). I consider the F700 to be an excellent compromise amongst these, though it is not without its problems:
1. Very rapid operation. Start-up times are only equalled by the very latest compacts (eg Sony P100), were ground-breaking at the time and remain competitive.
2. Lens is excellent in terms of the lack of barrel distortion (all but unnoticeable), lens shading or corner softness.
3. Autofocus is rapid in operation and generally reliable. Low-light A/F is not perfect but better than other compact digicams I have experienced
4. Very customisable via an extensive menu. Full manual control and an intuitive menu system.
5. Image quality is generally good, with excellent colour balance (though only when correctly adjusted; see below) and moderately-low noise levels at ISO200.
6. At current price levels, I would consider this camera a bargain.
7. As much as I would love a new compact digicam, I have yet to find one free of reported major image quality issues and with the range of abilities of the F700
1. Resolution is not on a par with Canon/Sony 4 or 5mp competitors. It is certainly sufficient and images look sharp but cropping ability is limited. I use the 3mp setting as I am not keen on the look of 6mp images.
2. It takes a little experience with the camera to make the most of its abilities. For example, I use the 'Chrome' setting for portraits for its accurate skin tone and the white balance must be adjusted fairly frequently, particularly in sunny conditions with a lot of sky or water in view (manual or cloudy wb settings avoid the auto's tendency towards blue casts under these conditions). The Canon Ixus series requires fewer user adjustments to obtain optimum image quality. I feel that many negative user reviews of this camera will be due to a lack of understanding as to how to squeeze the best from it.
3. I do not find dynamic range to be greatly improved in relation to competing models
4. No direct adjustment to saturation and contrast are available, though it is possible to work around this with experience (see above).