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Fuji FinePix F700 Digital Camera@DASHING THING REVIEW

11 Jul

Fuji FinePix F700 Digital Camera

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Camera QuickLook
User Level
Novice to experienced amateur
Product Uses
Family / Travel / Special Events
Digicam Design
Point and Shoot, Full Manual Control
Picture Quality
High, 6.2-megapixel Super CCD SR
(Roughly the same spatial resolution as a conventional 3.1 megapixel chip)
Print Sizes
Up to 8×10 with good detail, 11×14 possible
Availability
Now
Suggested Retail Price
(At introduction)
$ 599.95

 


Introduction


Universally known for great color and performance, Fuji has also made a name for itself in the digicam arena as a technical innovator. Several years ago, they introduced their “SuperCCD” technology, which increases visually apparent resolution in digital images, relative to those captured with conventional CCDs. This year (2003), they’ve developed the new “SR” SuperCCD technology, which cleverly combines low- and high-sensitivity photo elements to produce an extended tonal range more akin to that of film. The FinePix F700 is the first camera to utilize the Super CCD SR technology, and my experience with it seems to validate Fuji’s claims of superior tonal response. Occupying the upper midrange of Fuji’s line of cameras, the F700 uses 6.2 megapixel sensors (3.1 million high-sensitivity and 3.1 million low-sensitivity) to produce files with resolution that lies somewhere between that of conventional 3- and 6-megapixel cameras. With a sharp 3x zoom lens, compact size, and straightforward user interface, the F700 is a high-end point & shoot design that should appeal to novice users and more experienced shooters alike. Read on for all the details.

Camera Overview
Rounding out Fuji’s offering of midrange digital cameras, the Fuji FinePix F700 offers the best of both worlds in terms of exposure control. Automatic and “Scene” modes simplify operation for point-and-shoot users, while a range of exposure options including a full manual exposure mode provide enough control to satisfy even experienced photo enthusiasts. Small, compact, and light weight, the F700 offers Fuji’s fourth generation 6.2-megapixel Super CCD SR, which produces file sizes as large as 2,832 x 2,128 pixels. The Super CCD “SR” combines 3.1 million large, high-sensitivity pixels with 3.1 million smaller, low-sensitivity pixels to create a high resolution CCD with a much greater dynamic range than that found on many digicams, in an effort to mimic the performance of film. (Dynamic range refers to the range of dark to light brightness levels that a device can faithfully capture or reproduce.) The camera’s dimensions are small enough for most average shirt pockets, at 4.3 x 2.1 x 1.1 inches (108 x 54 x 28 millimeters), and the metal body is light weight at 6.7 ounces (190 grams), including the battery and memory card. The 3x telescoping lens and built-in lens cover keep the F700’s front panel fairly smooth when not in use, allowing the camera to easily slip into a pocket or purse without a hang-up.

The F700 features a 3x Super EBC Fujinon lens, equivalent to a 35-105mm lens on a 35mm camera, a range from a moderate wide-angle to a moderate telephoto. Fuji claims that their Super EBC Fujinon lenses have lower distortion than many digicam lenses, a claim that appears to be well supported by my own tests of the F700. Aperture can be automatically or manually adjusted from f/2.8 to f/14, with the extremes of the range depending on the zoom setting. Focus can also be manually or automatically adjusted, and ranges from 2.0 feet (60 centimeters) to infinity in normal mode, or from 3.5 inches to 2.6 feet (9 to 80 centimeters) using the camera’s Macro setting. The F700 employs a contrast-detection autofocus mechanism, and offers an adjustable AF area. You can assign the AF area to the center of the image area, or move it to one of several points around the frame. The F700 also features a continuous autofocus mode, accessed by holding down the C-AF button on the front of the camera. In addition to the 3x optical zoom, the F700 offers as much as 2.2x digital zoom, but keep in mind that digital zoom decreases the overall image quality, since it just enlarges or “stretches” the center pixels of the CCD’s image. An AF-assist lamp on the front panel helps the camera focus in low-lighting (though I found it still had a little trouble focusing during the low-light portion of my testing). For framing shots, the F700 offers both a real-image optical viewfinder and a 1.8-inch color LCD monitor. The optical viewfinder is “tighter” than most, showing only 85% of the final frame area at the wide-angle lens setting, and only 78% at telephoto. The LCD viewfinder is much more accurate, showing 100% of the final image area. An information overlay reports camera settings (including aperture and shutter speed) on the LCD monitor, and a framing guideline option displays an alignment grid. The grid divides the image area into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, making it easier to line up tricky subjects.

The F700 offers a full range of exposure control, with Auto, Program AE, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, and Manual exposure modes available via the Mode dial. There’s also a Scene Program mode, with Portrait, Landscape, Sports, and Night Scene options. In straight Auto mode, the camera controls everything about the exposure, except for options like zoom and drive (single shot or continuous shooting) settings. Program AE mode keeps the camera in charge of aperture and shutter speed, while the user retains control over all other variables. Within Program AE mode, you can select from a range of equivalent exposure settings, simply by pressing the up and down arrow keys. Aperture and Shutter Priority modes provide user control over one exposure variable, while the camera maintains control over the other. Finally, Manual exposure mode lets you control both aperture and shutter speed independently. Shutter speeds range from 1/2,000 to three seconds. Metering options on the F700 include the default 64-zone Multi mode, which bases exposure on contrast and brightness values read from the entire scene, as well as Spot and Average options. The camera’s Exposure Compensation setting lets you increase or decrease the automatically-determined exposure from -2 to +2 EV in one-third-step increments. White balance options include an Auto setting, as well as Outdoors, Shade, Daylight Fluorescent, Warm White Fluorescent, Cool White Fluorescent, Incandescent, and Custom settings. (The latter lets you set the color balance based on a white card held in front of the lens.) The F700 also features an adjustable light sensitivity setting, with Auto, 200, 400, 800, and 1,600 ISO values available. The Auto option actually ranges from 160 to 400 equivalents (providing slightly lower image noise when shooting under brightly-lit conditions), and the 1,600 setting is only available at the 1,280 x 960-pixel resolution. The settings menu also offers adjustments for color and image sharpness, as well as an Auto Exposure Bracketing mode for automatically snapping several shots at slightly different exposure settings.

The F700’s built-in flash is effective from 1.0 to 16.4 feet (0.3 to 5.0 meters), and operates in Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, Forced, Suppressed, Slow-Synchro, and Slow-Synchro with Red-Eye Reduction modes. The Red-Eye Reduction mode fires a pre-flash a fraction of a second before the exposure itself, to make the irises of your subjects’ eyes contract, avoiding the red-eye effect. Slow-Synchro combines the flash with slower shutter speeds, to allow more of the ambient lighting into your exposure. (Slow-Synchro is handy for getting more natural-looking flash photos at night, with more of the background visible.) An intensity adjustment lets you adjust the strength of the flash output, from -0.6 to +0.6 EV, in one-third-step increments. A Self-Timer mode provides either a two- or 10-second delay between a full press of the Shutter button and the time that the shutter actually opens, helpful in self-portraits or group photos. (The shorter delay is handy for times when you want to prop the camera on something when shooting under dim conditions, to avoid blurred photos caused by camera shake.) Three continuous shooting modes are available through the drive setting, including Top 5 Frame, Final 5 Frame, and Long-Period modes. Top 5 Frame captures a series of images very rapidly (at about four frames per second) and records the first five frames captured, while Final 5 Frame records only the last five frames. Long-Period mode is only available with the 1,280 x 960-pixel resolution, and captures as many as 40 consecutive frames at 0.6-second intervals. (The actual number of images in a series will depend somewhat on the subject, and may be limited by the amount of available memory card space.) The F700 also features a Movie mode, which captures movies with sound at either 320 x 240- or 160 x 120-pixel resolutions. Maximum recording times vary, depending on the resolution and amount of available memory space. A Voice option in Playback mode lets you record short audio clips to accompany captured images, like “audio captions.”

The F700 stores image files on xD-Picture Cards, and comes with a 16MB starter card. You’ll want to purchase a larger size fairly soon, given the F700’s maximum 2,832 x 2,128-pixel image sizes and CCD RAW file format setting. For power, the F700 uses a single NP-40 lithium-ion battery pack, which comes with the camera. Worst-case battery life is about an hour and a half, but I’d strongly recommend purchasing a second battery to pack along on extended outings as a spare. An AC adapter is also included, as well as Fuji’s Picture Cradle, which serves as both an in-camera battery charger and a connection dock for a computer. Also included with the camera is a USB cable for direct connection to a PC or Macintosh computer, and a software CD loaded with Fuji’s FinePix software. An A/V cable connects the camera to a television set for reviewing images in Playback mode.

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Posted by on July 11, 2011 in cameras

 

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