Fujifilm FinePix F810 Review
Conclusion - Pros
- Excellent resolution in 12MP mode, very good in 6MP mode
- Vivid, vibrant colors
- Low noise
- ISO 800 setting (only 3MP, but low noise)
- Clean, sharp results
- Excellent photographic controls
- Useful 32.5 - 130mm zoom range wider than normal
- Fast start-up, very low shutter lag
- Program shift function
- Superb build and handling
- Good flash performance
- Excellent movie mode
- Fast file writing (>2MB/s)
- Fast, reliable focus
- RAW mode (though see cons, below)
- Comprehensive and logical controls
- AF Illuminator
- USB 2.0
- PictureCradle dock included
- Bright, high resolution screen
Conclusion - Cons
- No control over quality (JPEG) settings at 6MP
- Slightly high contrast - cannot be changed in-camera
- Tendency towards slight underexposure (exposes for highlights)
- 6MP images look over sharpened (changing sharpness setting helps slightly)
- 4-shot limit in continuous mode
- Purple fringing at wideangle
- Maximum F5.6 aperture at tele end (can lead to camera shake)
- RAW converter offers no control, RAW mode offers no quality advantage
- Screen can be hard to see in very bright light
- Optical viewfinder not very impressive
- Battery life only 115 shots
The FinePix F810 Zoom is a very classy camera ideal for the serious photographer wanting a 'carry anywhere' companion to an SLR. The design, built and speed of operation are superb, and the range of controls comprehensive. Even more importantly, all the everyday photographic functions are easily accessible via external controls or fast, well-designed menus. The 32.5-130mm lens offers more versatility than the more common 38-115mm equiv. found on many similar cameras, and is very sharp across the frame. Resolution is excellent, noise very well controlled and the colors really jump out at you. The ISO 800 mode is not only usable, but very useful too - the low noise means you can often get away without using flash in social situations.
On the downside the 6MP mode is too compressed, the default contrast too high and the default sharpening too aggressive (much less so at 12MP). Most disappointing is the RAW mode, which - using the supplied 'RAW Converter LE' offers no control and no noticeable quality improvement over JPEG. It will be interesting to see if this changes when (and if) Adobe adds support for the F810 to Photoshop CS.
If you don't mind doing a little post-processing to your pictures and being careful with exposure (using the F810 is a bit like shooting with transparencies), this is a camera that can produce really stunning results, and it's a joy to use. The widescreen mode - though of course nothing more than in-camera cropping - does make you look at framing in a different way, and the screen is lovely.
Finally, it is impossible to talk about the FinePix F810 without mentioning the FinePix E550 - a considerably less expensive model that has exactly the same lens/sensor/processor (and thus produces exactly the same results) as the F810. You don't get the super-slim design, USB 2.0, metal body, wide screen or included dock, but you do get the option of wide and tele converters with the cheaper camera. We'll be updating this review to include the E550 in the very near future.
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