This 6MP digicam seems designed for the photographer who wants a lot of
big-camera functions and performance in a small package.
The Fujifilm Finepix posted impressive numbers in the lab, keeping noise at bay all the way up to ISO 3200, which scored a 2.45 (Moderate) in our noise test, with just about a 20% drop in resolution (1310-Very High) over the resolution results for ISO 100 (1655-Extremely High.) Fujifilm is doing a lot of things right with their in-camera processing and noise suppression algorithms to post results such as these. Color accuracy is excellent (Average Delta E: 7.94 ISO 100 Auto White Balance.) The 3x zoom shows slight barrel distortion at 38mm (17%), imperceptible barrel at 78mm (.07%) and imperceptible pincushioning at 108mm (.02%.) Click for full test results.
Bear in mind that there is visible noise, or "speckling," as Fujifilm calls it, at the higher ISOs of 1600 and 3200. But noise, grain, or "speckling" is a reality at higher ISO ratings, whether you are talking film or digital.
ISO 100 and 3200 compared
The light-recording medium in a camera, whether emulsion on acetate or a CCD in a digicam, is making an image with 1/32 the amount of light at ISO 3200 than at ISO 100! Regardless of what amazing breakthroughs in image processing and optical engineering may come about, ISO 3200 will almost always be grainier/noisier than ISO 100 in the same system, whether it be a line of film emulsion, or the in-camera processing of a specific camera.
Would you choose to use ISO 3200 if you could make a usable image at ISO 200, 400, or 800? Some fine-art types may say yes to convey a sense of something, but for the most part, a good general rule to follow is to use the slowest ISO that provides a fast enough shutter speed to freeze a subject and minimize camera shake under the lighting conditions.
In a pinch, when you need to (or just really want to) make an image under abysmal lighting conditions, a noisy image with some resolution loss may be a better option than no image at all -- and there are few compact cameras that will handle low light as well as the Fujifilm Finepix F30. The noise results that this camera boasts at ISO 800 are better than the results many other compact digicams post at 400, even 200 in some cases!
In burst mode, the Fujifilm F30 will fire off three shots (without flash) in just under one second in "Top Three" mode. It can fire off multiple shots at the rate in "Final Three" mode, but will only save the last three images after you stop shooting. In "Long Period" continuous mode, the camera fired off 10 shots in 20.5 seconds at ISO 100, and slowed just a bit to 24.9 seconds for 10 shots at ISO 3200.
With its high ISO range, the Fujifilm Finepix F30 goes with a digital Anti-Shake function, which cranks up shutter speed to minimize camera shake. There is also the now-common scene mode, where the photographer can select from presets for many situations, from sports to sunsets and so on. Each scene mode has presets that may optimize results under various conditions.
On the playback side, there is a rudimentary slideshow feature, Direct Printing, in-camera cropping, and up to 30 seconds of Voice memo which can be added to a selected image, and the usual functions: Protect, Rotate, and Erase.
Video is recorded at 30 frames per second, at up to 640 x 480 resolution. You can record at any focal length; however, you cannot zoom during recording.