FinePix F700 ($599) isn't just another compact digital
camera. While you can't tell by looking at it, the F700 uses
Fuji's revolutionary new SuperCCD SR sensor. The SR sensor's
main goal is to capture photos with more dynamic range than
traditional CCDs. The diagram below shows how it's done:
that chart makes sense. The F700's sensor has 3.1 million S-pixels,
and 3.1 million R-pixels. Using interpolation, the camera can
produce images with 6 million pixels, or you can stick with the
native 3 MP resolution. Note that the total number of pixels
on this camera is up for debate. I'm in the 3.1 Mpixel crowd,
the new sensor make the F700 stand out from the crowd? Find out
now in our review!
to the fact that the F700 shares a lot in common with the recently-reviewed
S5000, I will reuse text where appropriate.
in the Box?
FinePix F700 has a very good bundle. Inside the box, you'll find:
3.2 (effective) Mpixel FinePix F700 camera
xD Picture Card
featuring FinePix SX software
page camera manual (printed)
includes a 16MB xD card with the camera. That's enough to get
started with, but you'll want a larger one right away. xD cards
are currently available as large as 512MB, and Fuji lists them
as supported in the manual.
cameras usually use proprietary batteries, and the F700 is no
exception. It uses Fuji's NP-40 lithium-ion battery, which has
a so-so 2.6 Wh of power. Fuji estimates that you can take about
200 pictures with 50% LCD use. Proprietary batteries are quite
expensive ($60 a pop) and you can't use AAs when you're in a
bind -- which is why I prefer cameras that use "regular
it's time to charge the battery, plug in the included AC adapter.
You can plug the adapter directly into the camera, or you can
use the camera dock, which is shown above. It takes 2 hours to
charge the battery.
addition to battery charging, the dock can also be used for transferring
photos to your Mac or PC. In most cases, the FinePix software
will launch as soon as you put the camera in the dock.
F700 has a built-in lens cover, so there are no lens caps to
worry about. As you can see, it's also quite small.
aren't a whole lot of accessories available for this camera.
The only interesting one that I could find was an external battery
includes their FinePixViewer software with the F700. The version
numbers are 4.0 for Windows, 3.2 for Mac OS 8/9, and 1.4 for
Mac OS X. Even with the differing version numbers, the software
acts about the same on each platform. FinePixViewer is for basic
image organizing and editing, and is no substitute for something
like Photoshop Elements. Fuji also includes a RAW File Converter,
and ImageMixer VCD (for making video CDs, Windows only) on the
camera manual is typical of those included with digital cameras.
It's complete, but finding what you're looking for may be difficult.
There's lots of small print as well.
F700 has a stunning, all-metal body, that will definitely get
people's attention. The construction is excellent, and the camera
feels quite solid. All of the important controls are easy to
get to, and it's simple to operate the F700 with just one hand.
camera is a little wider than most, and some will find it too
large to fit in your pocket. I think it's just right.
official dimensions of the F700 are 4.3 x 2.1 x 1.1 inches (W
x H x D, excluding protrusions), and it weighs just 170 grams
begin our tour of the F700 with a look at the front of the camera.
camera uses an F2.8-4.9, 3X optical zoom Fujinon lens. The focal
range is 7.7 - 23.1 mm, which is equivalent to 35 - 105 mm. The
lens is not threaded.
to the right of the lens is the C-AF button. Holding this down
will allow the camera to continuously focus on the subject, which
helps reduce AF lag. Slightly above that is the microphone.
the top-right of the photo, you can see the built-in flash. The
flash has a pretty nice working range of 0.3 - 5.0 m at wide-angle,
and 0.6 - 4.0 m at telephoto. The FinePix F700 does not support
an external flash.
the left of the flash, we find the optical viewfinder, AF-assist
lamp, and self-timer lamp. That's right, the F700 is one of the
rare Fuji cameras that actually has an AF illuminator! It works
by blasting the subject with a green light, which aids the camera
only other item of note on the front is the flash sensor.
onto the back of the camera. The 1.8" CG Silicon display
is one of the best LCDs I've ever seen on a digital camera. It's
incredibly bright, sharp, and fluid. It has a resolution of 134,000
pixels. Brightness can be adjusted via the setup menu.
above the LCD is a rather small optical viewfinder. It shows
about 80% of the frame. There is no diopter correction feature
available to help focus what you're looking at.
Photo mode menu
the left of the LCD, you'll find three buttons plus the speaker.
The blue button (with an "f" on it) is known as the
photo mode button, and it lets you select:
quality (6M, 3M, 2M, 1M)
sensitivity (200, 400, 800, 1600)
(Standard, chrome, B&W)
thing I love about the photo mode menu is that it tells you how
many photos you can take at a given image quality setting (see
above). It's also a very good looking screen!
lowest ISO on the camera is a rather unusual 200. If you need
more sensitivity (at the expense of noise), you can bump it up
to 400, 800, or even 1600. Do note that ISO 1600 is only available
at the 1M resolution.
FinePix color options let you select normal color, chrome (high
contrast and saturation), and black & white.
other two buttons I mentioned are for metering (multi, spot,
average) and exposure compensation (-2EV to +2EV, 1/3EV increments).
on the right side of the LCD, you'll find a few more buttons,
including display (toggles info shown on LCD), back (for menus),
and the four-way controller. In addition to navigating the menus,
the four-way controller is also used to activate macro mode and
to change the current flash setting (auto, redeye reduction,
forced flash, flash off, slow synchro, redeye reduction + slow
the top-right of the photo, you can see the zoom controller.
The controller moves the lens smoothly from wide-angle to telephoto
in under two seconds -- very quick. Rapid presses of the buttons
will allow you to be more precise.
the top of the F700, you'll find more buttons and dials. I'll
work my way from left to right.
button on the far left is for continuous shooting. The F700 has
four options to choose from:
5-frame - camera takes 5 frames in a row with intervals "as
short as" 0.2 sec
bracketing - Camera takes three shots in a row with different
exposures. Choose from ±1/3EV, ±2/3EV, ±1EV
5-frame - Hold the shutter release button down to take up to
25 shots at 0.2 sec interval; camera saves the last five shots
taken before the shutter button is released
continuous - camera takes up to 40 shots (interval of 0.6 sec)
at 1M setting
to the right, we find the mode wheel. The items here are:
mode (portrait, landscape, sports, night scene) - you just
select SP on the dial, you cannot choose one of the items in
gray; I don't know why Fuji did this.
mode - more on this later
record - point and shoot
mode - still point and shoot, but you have access to all camera
priority mode - you choose shutter speed, camera picks appropriate
aperture. Shutter speed range is disappointing at 3 - 1/1000
priority mode - you choose shutter speed, camera picks aperture.
Range is F2.8 - F8, depending on focal length
manual - you choose both the shutter speed and aperture; same
ranges as above
was disappointed to see that the slowest shutter speed available
on the F700 is 3 seconds (at least its more than the 2 sec limit
on the S5000). There are plenty of other low-cost cameras that
do 15 seconds, or more.
Program mode, you can do something called "program shift",
by using the four-way controller. You can cycle through sets
of shutter speed/aperture combinations, which lets you use a
faster shutter speed (when you don't have a tripod) or a smaller
aperture (for more depth of field).
the far right, we find the shutter release button, with the power/playback/record
switch below it.
only thing to see on this side of the F700 are the camera's two
I/O ports, which are surprisingly not protected from the elements.
The ports are USB + A/V out (one port for both) and DC-in (for
included AC adapter).
to see on this side.
the bottom of the F700, you'll find the battery compartment,
xD card slot, and metal tripod mount. The battery and memory
card slots are protected by a fairly sturdy plastic door.
tripod mount is not centered, nor inline with the lens.
included NP-40 battery and optional 64MB xD card are shown at
the Fuji FinePix F700
with zoom lenses don't start any faster than the F700. It's startup
speed is stunning: it takes just 1.8 seconds before you can start
shooting. I don't think I've ever seen a lens extend and retract
F700 is just as fast in terms of AF speeds. It locked focus in
about 1/2 second in most cases. In low light, it's AF illuminator
helped it focus pretty well, although it blinks on and off much
faster than others I've seen.
lag is barely
No histogram in record mode
speed is also excellent. Assuming you have the post-shot review
feature turned off, you can shoot as fast as you can compose
setting "image view" in the setup menu to "preview",
the camera will let you decide whether to keep or delete a photo
after it is taken.
let's take a look at the resolution and quality choices available
on this camera.
photos on 16MB card (included)
(2832 x 2128)
(2048 x 1536)
(1600 x 1200)
(1280 x 960)
would be nice to have different compression levels available
on this camera, as Fuji really over-compresses their JPEGs. File
sizes are about half that of other cameras with the same resolution.
you can see, there is a CCD-RAW mode on the F700. The files are
especially large for a RAW file, too. If you want to view the
images in your favorite software, first you'll need to use Fuji's
RAW converter software. There's no extra delay in saving RAW
files to the memory card.
camera names files as DSCF####.JPG, where # = 0001 - 9999. The
camera maintains the numbering even if you erase the memory card.
FinePix F700 has a super attractive, easy-to-use menu system
-- one of the nicest I've seen. Here's what you'll find in the
(Off, 2, 10 seconds)
balance (Auto, custom, sunlight, shade, fluorescent x3, incandescent)
mode (Manual, area, center, auto) - more below
(±1/3EV, ±2/3EV, ±1EV) - choose the interval
for AE bracketing
(Hard, normal, soft)
brightness (-0.6EV to +0.6EV, 1/3EV increments)
(Set-up menu, LCD brightness, volume)
you can see, the F700 has a custom white balance mode. This allows
you to shoot a white or gray card to get perfect color in any
F700 has four focus modes. Manual focus lets you use the C-AF
+ four-way controller to get your subject in focus. Unfortunately,
without any indication of the focus distance on the LCD, it's
harder than it should be. Center AF always chooses whatever is
in the center of the frame. And Area AF divides the frame into
a 6 x 6 grid, and lets you choose a spot to focus on by using
the four-way controller and C-AF button.
addition to that menu, there's also a setup menu, with the following
display (On, off, preview) - post-shot review; preview will
confirm that you want to save each photo to memory
save (2, 5 mins, off) - turn off camera automatically after
a few minutes
(Off, 1-3) - volume level
(Off, 1-3) - volume level
(on/off) - whether LCD is on by default
number (Continuous, renew)
mode (DSC, PC-Cam) - the latter option lets you use the F700
as a webcam for videoconferencing; Windows only.
(on/off) - take shots in 6M/RAW mode
(Japanese, English, French, German, Spanish, Chinese [I think])
system (NTSC, PAL)
- settings to defaults
enough about menus, let's do photo tests now.
only real complaint I have about the macro test shot is that
the F700 locks the lens at the wide-angle position. Once there,
you'll have a focus range of 9 - 80 cm. Colors and detail both
look good in the above shot.
this an interesting shot. It seems that the F700 has no noise
reduction system for long exposures, hence the "hot pixels" in
the photo. It's a shame too, as it took in plenty of light and
would've been great otherwise. The F700 has a 3 second max shutter
speed, which seems too short to me. Purple fringing is obvious
in this shot as well.
F700 did a very good job with the redeye test, which surprised
me, considering how close the lens and flash are. There's just
the slightest hint of red. Do note that I enlarged this crop
a bit, so you can see the detail.
distortion test shows very mid barrel distortion, and no vignetting
everyone wants to know: does the SuperCCD SR sensor live up to
the hype? Well, yes and no. Does it improve dynamic range? Yes,
to a degree, but its certainly as revolutionary as Fuji was claiming
it would be. Rather that just blab on about it, let's take a
look at some photos.
is going to take some work on your part. Open the images below
in separate windows so you can compare.
with noticeable differences in dynamic range
two to open are the F700 and V4 shots. You'll first notice
how much sharper the F700 is. But have a look at the
background, under the arches. There's more detail on
the F700 in the shadows. At the same time, notice how
the S5000 does almost as well.
an example where you can really see the difference. Look
inside the building (through the glass). Check the sign and
the windows. It also seems that noise levels are higher in
these shadowed areas than elsewhere in the image.
shot below is my torture test for exposure and purple fringing.
None of the cameras did very well (the Samsung was pretty
awful), and you can certainly see a difference. Even so,
the F700 didn't do a great job with this shot.
of the recent FinePix models that I've tested can produce
images with 6 million pixels through interpolation. The
F700 does a FAR better job than the S5000, as you can
see in the comparison below. The 6MP mode is actually
useful on the F700, especially for making large prints.
else I noticed...
I took a shot with really tough metering, the F700 always
produced this light blue sky, which I found quite unnatural.
The shots below at the left and center illustrate it, as
does the building shot above. The shot on the right, taken
at the same time, shows what the sky looked like to the human
it really boils down to is whether or not the camera's fancy
new sensor is worth the price? I'd say probably not. At the same
time, this is a darn nice camera, regardless of the sensor being
used. It takes nice pictures in normal situations, and does pretty
well in really tough situations -- it's just not a miracle worker.
Three other photo quality notes: purple fringing was low, color
was excellent, and images were quite sharp.
got a large F700 photo gallery for
you to look at. Be sure to compare it to the Fuji
S5000 and Samsung
V4 galleries, as many of the photos were taken at the same
movie mode on the F700 is as good as it gets. You can shoot VGA
quality video (640 x 480) at 30 frames/second, until the memory
card is full. Sound is recorded as well. You can only store 13
seconds of VGA video on the included 16MB xD card (or 26 seconds
at 320 x 240). A 256MB card can hold about 3.7 and 7.3 minutes,
most cameras, you cannot use the zoom during filming.
are saved in AVI format, using the M-JPEG codec.
a fairly short movie -- but be warned, it's a big download since
it's 640 x 480. The quality is most impressive for a digicam.
to play movie (11.1MB, AVI format)
Can't view it? Download QuickTime.
mode on the F700 is typical of those on other cameras. Basic
features are here, including slide shows, DPOF print marking,
image protection, thumbnail mode, and zoom and scroll.
zoom and scroll feature lets you enlarge your image anywhere
from 8-18X, depending on the resolution of the photo, and then
move around in the zoomed-in area. When you enlarge an image,
you have the option to trim (crop) it down.
F700 allows you to add 30 second voice clips to each image.
you want to see more information about your photos, you're out
of luck with this camera. What you see above is all that the
camera tells you. The F700 does move through images with great
speed, with virtually no delay between them. Everything is fast
on this camera!
Does it Compare?
up with my conclusion for the Fuji FinePix F700 review has proven
to be difficult. On the one hand, the F700 is an excellent camera
in terms of most everything: photo quality, features, movie mode,
and performance. The construction and menus are excellent as
well. This is the best Fuji camera I've used in a long time.
the same time, I'm not sure that the improvement in photo quality
(notably dynamic range) from the SuperCCD SR sensor is great
enough to justify the $600 price tag. For around that price,
you can buy a PowerShot G3, Coolpix 5400, or DSC-F717, all of
which are nicer cameras. Or, for half as much, you can pick up
something like the PowerShot A70, which has most of the same
features and competitive photo quality (at the 3M setting). I
think the F700 would be a more compelling product if it was priced
a little closer to the other 3MP cameras -- and I do believe
that people are willing to pay a little more for the improved
picture quality. I just think $300 is a little too much to ask.
the purchasing decision lies with you, the reader. I've given
several examples of the SuperCCD SR sensor earlier in the review,
and I've got a bunch of sample photos for
you to check out. You'll have to decide if the F700 is worth
the extra bucks.
good photo quality; Dynamic range is better, just not revolutionary.
menus; easy to use.
rate movie mode
of the best LCDs I've seen
I didn't care for:
from new sensor are not enough to justify the $600 price
shutter speed available is 3 sec
slow shutter noise reduction?
guide in manual focus showing current focus distance
exposure info for photos in playback mode
like to choose compression levels. JPEGs are too compressed
and there's nothing to do about it.
are no other cameras that use a sensor like the SuperCCD SR.
here for a list of other 3 Megapixel cameras in our Reviews & Info
always, I recommend a trip down to your local reseller to try
out the FinePix F700 before you buy!
how the photo quality stacks up in our photo
welcomes your comments or questions. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Due
to my limited resources, please do not send me requests for
personal camera recommendations.