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DCRP Review: Fuji FinePix F30
by Jeff Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally posted: June 28, 2006
Last Updated: April 6, 2008
The Fuji FinePix F30 ($399) is the follow-up to the company's popular F10 and F11 models. Like those two cameras, the F30's claim to fame is its high ISO performance, which is unmatched in the compact camera arena. In fact, Fuji says that the F30 should do even better than those two -- thanks to its improved SuperCCD HR sensor and image processor -- and they've increased the maximum ISO to 3200 as a result.
Other new features on the F30 include an improved LCD, manual controls (finally), a new flash metering system, and even better battery life. I'll touch on other minor changes in the review itself.
I was a big fan of the FinePix F10. Will the F30 follow in its footsteps? Find out in our review!
What's in the Box?
The FinePix F30 has an average bundle. Inside the box, you'll find:
One thing that didn't improve on the FinePix F30 was the memory card situation. While Fuji included a 16MB card with the F10, they chose to go the internal memory route with the F30. Unfortunately they included just 10MB of onboard memory, which holds just three photos at the highest quality setting. That means that you'll want to buy a memory card right away, which drives up the initial cost of the camera. The F30 uses xD Picture Cards -- which currently top out at 2GB -- and I recommend a 512MB card as a good starter size. Do note that xD cards tend to a little more expensive than the more popular Secure Digital cards. I don't think that a high speed memory card is needed for use with the F30.
The F30 uses the new NP-95 rechargeable lithium ion battery. This battery packs 6.5 Wh into its plastic shell, which is pretty darn good for a compact camera. The NP-95 is actually less powerful than the NP-120 battery used by the FinePix F10, but Fuji managed to squeeze more out of it. Here's how the battery life looks:
As you can see, the FinePix F30 has best-in-class battery life. It just keeps going, and going, and going -- no Energizers needed.
The usual negatives about proprietary batteries like the NP-95 apply here. For one, they're expensive -- $40 a pop. Secondly, you can't pop in "off the shelf" batteries when your rechargeables die, like you could on a camera that uses AA batteries. There are a few cameras out there that are similar in size to the F30 that use AAs, if that's important to you.
The F30's battery is charged while it's inside the camera. Just plug in the included AC adapter, pour a cup of coffee (or three) and after an agonizing four hour way the battery will be ready to go. For faster charging you can pick up the BC-65S external battery charger, which costs a whopping $60.
Like all ultra-compact cameras, the F30 has a built-in lens cover, so there are no lens caps to worry about.
Aside from extra batteries and the external charger that I
already mentioned, the only accessories available include an underwater housing ($145) and a soft
case ($27). The underwater housing (model WP-FXF30) lets you take the F30 up to 40 meters underwater.
[Paragraph updated 7/2/06]
FinePixViewer 3.4 for Mac
Fuji includes their FinePixViewer software with the F30. The Mac version is very basic, doing things like slideshows, image rotating, resizing, and e-mailing. There are no editing functions at all.
FInePixViewer 5.2 for Windows
Windows users get a slightly better product, with basic editing features in addition to what's listed above. You can adjust brightness, saturation, hue, contrast, and sharpness, and there's an auto adjust feature as well.
The bundled ImageMixer VCD2 LE software lets you create Video CDs (for viewing on your DVD player) and CD albums (for your computer) of your photos. If you shell out a whopping $50 for the unlimited version you can also burn to DVD discs.
[Software section updated 7/1/06]
The FinePix F30 comes with a fairly run-of-the-mill manual. While it's certainly complete, it certainly does not win any points for being user friendly.
Look and Feel
The FinePix F30 is a sleeker version of the F10 and F11 before it. It's made almost entirely of metal, and it feels very solid for the most part. Weak points include a plastic tripod mount and the door over the memory card / battery compartment.
Ergonomically speaking the F30 is pretty good. The important buttons are easy to reach, and the camera can be used with just one hand. The camera isn't as small as, say, the FinePix Z3, but it's still pretty compact.
Speaking of which, lets see how the F30 compares with other compacts in terms of size and weight: