Previous page Next page


Image Quality

Well. Fuji made a lot of claims about their new SuperCCD's, the main one being that a standard SuperCCD with a 2 megapixel CCD could produce an image as good as a standard CCD with 1.6 times the number of pixels. And thus we discovered that indeed the "4.3 M" (as the label on the front of the camera proclaims) does not in fact stand for 4.3 million pixels on the CCD but rather that the camera produces a 4.3 million pixel image from the 2.4 million pixel SuperCCD.

Because Fuji's SuperCCD isn't orientated squarely (its pixels are aligned in a diagonal pattern) it's not as straightforward to generate the pixel for pixel image directly from the CCD, the pixels on your monitor for instance are squarely orientated, as are the pixels of ink from a printer. Thus the Fuji algorithm manages to generate 4.3 million pixels from just 2.4 million pixels of "information".

This always troubled me. For some time Agfa sold a range of cameras with interpolation, images larger in pixel count than the CCD, these cameras didn't have many fans. The golden rules has always been you can't generate information you didn't capture. Imagine shooting a very fine wire mesh fence. If one of the wires falls between a pixel then you simply don't have the information to create that wire in the final image, it doesn't matter how clever the algorithm it just won't know that wire was ever there.

And here is the problem with the 4700Z. Yes, the images are big, printed at 300 dpi they'd come out 8" x 6" which is big. But going by what I've found and the test images below show this image would be no better (and in some cases worse) than the identical shot taken with a 2.1 megapixel camera interpolated in a standard manner using something like PhotoShop (bicubic interpolation) or other interpolation algorithms.

Not only that but the 4700Z actually performed worse than my standard test camera, a Nikon Coolpix 950 and significantly worse than a 3.3 megapixel Canon S20. Going by the pixel count labels on the front of the camera your average consumer would indeed be confused. UPDATE: I've had it confirmed by Fuji UK that models in the UK will not have the 4.3 label on the front of the camera and that there will be full clarification (as much as is possible) of how the camera generates 4.3 megapixel images from the 2.4 megapixel CCD (thanks to Fuji UK for that).

Reducing images down to monitor resolutions does give good results (as it does with most 2+ megapixel cameras), and I've no arguments with the cameras white balance and colour dynamics, both of which are excellent. If you're buying a camera for images for the web then the 4700Z would indeed be a good choice. To see that just have a look at the images in the samples gallery, they look excellent at monitor resolutions, to get up close you can click on any sample for the untouched original.

Come on Fuji, you've let down an excellently designed and built with average image quality.


Compared to the Powershot S20 & Nikon Coolpix 950

The following scenes were shot with each camera from the same tripod, same lighting within minutes of each other. Cameras were set to automatic white balance, JPEG compression set to the best setting.

Unaltered Originals

In the first set of samples below each 200% crop was taken out of unaltered images, remembering that each of these cameras has different pixel counts you need to look at the image quality and amount of definition rather than size of details.


Subject One: Test Poster Shot

 
FujiFilm FinePix 4700z
2400 x 1800 Untouched
1,558 KB

 
Nikon Coolpix 950
1600 x 1200 Untouched
825 KB

 
Canon Powershot S20
2048 x 1536 Untouched
2,084 KB

 

Looking purely at colour balance the Fuji's image is warmer with a slight yellow cast, Nikon seems fairly neutral if a little underexposed and the S20 is bright if a little cold (blue). For definition, the S20 takes the lead, closely followed by the 950. The 4700Z's image seems fuzzy and smeared by comparison, also looking at the edges of the shot there's pretty pronounced chromatic aberrations.


Subject Two: Still Life Bottles

 
FujiFilm FinePix 4700z
2400 x 1800 Untouched
1,713 KB

 
Nikon Coolpix 950
1600 x 1200 Untouched
726 KB

 
Canon Powershot S20
2048 x 1536 Untouched
2,189 KB

 

Here again, the S20 has captured the most detail (due to it's 3.3 megapixel CCD and sharp lens), the 950 has done a good job for a 2.1 megapixel camera and once more, up close, the 4700Z image seems smeary with strange pixel artifacts and chromatic aberrations.


Subject Three: Resolution Chart

 
FujiFilm FinePix 4700z
2400 x 1800 Untouched
1,650 KB

 
Nikon Coolpix 950
1600 x 1200 Untouched
358 KB

 
Canon Powershot S20
2048 x 1536 Untouched
2,358 KB

 

Here we find that none of the cameras could pick out the 90 lines per inch, all managed to define 45 lines per inch but the 4700Z suffered again from chromatic aberrations (visible as blue/red smearing around the black text) and strange pixel artifacts on horizontal and vertical lines.

Previous page Next page
3
I own it
1
I want it
11
I had it
Discuss in the forums

Comments