Overall the F601Z's flash performed well, no visible cast on flash shots, perhaps a slightly conservative approach to flash power output. Luckily the F601Z does provide control over flash power which can be boosted up to +0.6 EV.
The F601Z only allows a maximum exposure length of two seconds, this does limit the ability to take night shots. Below you will find a full range of 2 second exposures taken at every available sensitivity setting, remember that at ISO 800 and 1600 you can only take 1280 x 960 images.
|ISO 160, 2 sec, F2.8|
|ISO 200, 2 sec, F2.8|
|ISO 400, 2 sec, F2.8|
|ISO 800, 2 sec, F2.8 (1280 x 960)|
|ISO 1600, 2 sec, F2.8 (1280 x 960)|
Barrel and Pincushion Distortion
As this is the same lens used in the 6800Z we expected, and got, identical results to that camera. Virtually no pincushion distortion at full telephoto but fairly strong (above average) barrel distortion at wide angle.
|Barrel Distortion, 1.8% @ Wide Angle||Pincushion Distortion, 0% @ Full Tele|
Purple Fringing (Chromatic Aberrations)
As with the 6800Z the F601Z didn't exhibit any strong purple fringing. There was a little blooming around high contrast areas of the image and a very slight light blue fringe, but nothing to be concerned about.
|No purple fringing, even around high contrast areas|
|Our now standard chromatic aberration test shot|
Overall Image Quality / Specific Issues
Just like other SuperCCD digital cameras the F601Z gains a lot from the things SuperCCD does well. Colour is good (although see concern over reds below), dynamic range is good (better than most other consumer cameras) with a good tonal balance and good resolution considering the sensor's 3 megapixel source resolution. That said SuperCCD III doesn't appear to bring any major image quality improvements over the previous generation.
The F601Z's default output size is six megapixels, almost double the captured resolution. The camera does this by 'processing' (Fujifilm don't like to call it interpolation) each input photosite (pixel) and translating it into about two output pixels. Despite the unique 45 degrees layout of the photosites on the SuperCCD you simply can't produce six megapixels of resolution from a three megapixel sensor.
Three megapixel images from the F601Z are as good as the best three megapixel digital cameras, and therefore you must consider this when selecting the F601Z.
Just like the S602Z the F601Z suffers from orange looking reds (this also tends to push oranges towards yellow). This effect appeared to be caused by too much green in what should be pure red. I found this could be easily "fixed" with a reds selective colour -6 hue adjustment in Photoshop (but this shouldn't be necessary).
|Fixed (-6 hue adjustment on reds)|
Typical SuperCCD Artifacts
SuperCCD images have their own distinct look, because they are 'processed' from a smaller image any artifacts or errors tend to be amplified and made more visible. When viewed at 100% almost all SuperCCD images will have one or more of these artifacts visible. You have to decide whether it will be a problem to you or not. If you are mostly shooting for the web, e-mail or small prints then this probably won't be an issue, however for larger prints or that 'purity of image' you should spend some time looking over our provided samples (both here and in the samples gallery) to decide for yourself.
|Examples of jagged diagonals and visible moiré|
|Dotted effects (almost like noise) as well as jagged diagonals|