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The Fuji F31fd was released in late 2006 but 3 years on its still one of the best point and shoot cameras on the market. On first glance it seems pretty ordinary, weighing in at a meagre 6 megapixels, 3x optical zoom and not particularly pretty - but image quality is where this camera comes into its own.
Super picture quality
I only truly realised this when I actually used the F31fd to take snaps of my sisters wedding a few months ago (an indoor affair with soft ambient lighting). Everyone had bought their point and shoot cameras along and was taking pictures and at the end the whole family had ordered prints. All the images were grainy and grey except from those pictures taken from my camera. The vibrancy of the coulours it produced was excellent - almost as good as if the ceremony had been done outdoors.
However, you can't push it too far - don't expect to get any pictures worth printing at ISO 1600 (ISO is a measure fo correction for low light - the higher the ISO the grainier the image usually). ISO 800 will produce prints that are ok for small prints up to 7" by 5" (but a discerning eye will be able to tell the image is a bit grainy). I took it on a camping trip in dense woodland where there was little light coming through canopy. Even at the heights of midday - the camera's auto mode was switching to ISO 800/ISO 1600. For those conditions and SLR is probably needed. However, anything printed up to ISO 800 is a beauty to behold.
Huge battery life
The other big bonus with this camera is the massive battery life. I've taken up to 400 pictures with it before needing to recharge. So its perfect if you're going away for a few days, packing light and don't fancy taking the charger. I've recharged less than twenty times in three years of owning this gem. You've absolutely no need to worry about back up batteries - the one it comes with will last you.
Durable but bulky
If you're always dropping things like me then durability is essential. Its worth getting the leather case thats made to fit the F31fd. Enclosed in that, I've dropped it several times on rocks and hard ground and never even had the tiniest scratch work its way on to the metal casing. The screen is a bit of a magnet for finger prints but is as sturdy and firm as the metal casing. Its reassuring to know this camera can take some beating and still survive. As a comprimise it feels a little bulky and makes an unsightly bulge in your trouser pocket - alternatively you can just tie the drawstring around your wrist if you need to be constantly ready for the opportune shot.
Grey and ugly
Not particularly pretty. Just a lump of grey metal really. The beauty is all in the image processing inside.
It has a small 2.5" by 1.5" screen that is fairly dim - but the brightness can be increased a press of a button. The small size of the screen means judging the quality of the picture you just took is difficult immediately (when blown up on your computer screen in fact it could be quite blurry)
The zoom has a range of only 3x, which is just standard. However, it is quite noisy. Thats probably not a problem for most people, but worth noting if taking pictures of animals etc.
Focussing on close range objects can be difficult even in macro-mode. Anything farther than a foot is fine - but closer and the focssing is noiser and takes longer. The macro-mode range is also quite poor, more than 5cm in my experience. If you're taking a picture of a resting butterfly, for example, the combination of the long focussing time and poor range.
The flash makes your shots look overexposed except when its pitch black (however, I still haven't mastered the art of using flash well so this may be down to skill).
The face detection is pretty poor. Its quick to recognise faces, but people in your shot have to be looking directly at the camera - so not great for capturing those split-second emotions. For that, you may as well pay the premium for a DSLR anyway :)
Good value for money
I got this camera from the Fuji Refurbished Site for half-the-price it normally would be at £120. However, you only get half the warranty but considering the superior build quality it shouldn't really break down anyway so in my eyes its worth the gamble. The manufacturer refurbishes to the standard of a new camera also - so there is little reason to worry.
All in all, a great little camera, expecially if you're inside and can't afford an expensive dSLR.
I have had this camera for one year and a half now and I have taken an incredible amount of pictures until now. I am not going to give you loads of technical details and pretend I have a degree in electronics because that is not the case with me.
Fujifilm FinePix is a 6 megapixels digital camera, don't let the megapixels set you back from buying it as I have noticed that my friends that own cameras with the same amount of pixels don't work so well. This camera from fuji is defiantly a leader in this category of digital cameras and if you are on a low budge go for it.
These are the raw practical facts I have found by using this camera and the little tricks and tips I have discovers in the time of use:
- It starts really fast and is ready for photos. If like me when someone else is driving the car and you pass near something interesting and you don't want to miss it, this cameral you be ready in no time to do its job.
--Even if you on the move this camera will manage to take good clear photos
-The auto setting for the camera will produce outstanding quality photographs so you don't have to bother your head with what settings to choose, so is a great camera for point and shoot
-Make sure the sun is behind you when you are taking a photo so this way your picture will be of good quality.
-It has a strap you can wrap around your hand; this is very useful so you don't drop it.
-It has a party scene position that has a flash like no other, is great at parties and you need to take good photos
-Is resistant in time
-It performs well is most conditions
-Long battery life, you can fill a 1 megabyte card with it and still have the battery going for more.
- Face detection feature will ensure that everyone gets to a clear sharp image of themselves
-The large LCD screen has a sharp image that will help you determine whoch photos you like best
- Loads and loads of features and extremely easy in understand them, I did not even needed to study much the manual
-Quality clear picture of your close-ups at 2 cm
-One thing I dislike and annoys me about this camera is that I can not use it as a webcam.
-I have noticed a design fault in this camera while using it: when you try to take photos in close-up with the flash on you will get a dark shadow in the down right side corner of the photos that can be pretty annoying. This shadow is approximately 30% of the photo, depending of haw close you are taking the photo at. That has something to do with lenses making a shadow due to the position of the flash. This is a downfall as when you are taking photos of close-ups, lets say for example of small objects you wish to sell on the internet, you need a nice sunny day or an extra light near by you to achieve those good quality photos.
I really love photography, and believe or not with this little camera I have managed to even take photos that I sold on a professional websites. It has not been an easy job to get pictures sold at 6 mega pixels but me being quite determined and artistic I manage to pull it of. Is not all about the pixels these days. Soon I will be able to say also that with this camera I made my money back I paid for it, I am at just a throw of a stick in reaching that.
Overall I recommend this camera if you want to get something that doesn't cost a fortune and does a great job. You can take quality personal pictures of yourself, family, friends, travels, and even for the thing you see online on auction sites as you buyers will be very pleased to have good photos.
This review has been posted on ciao.co.uk also!
This is a fantastic point and shoot camera- at a budget price.
The auto mode will be sufficient for most users. Fuji have wisely stayed out of the megapixel race and concentrated on the quality of their sensors and light meters. Inexperienced camera buyers assume that more megapixels = better cameras. This is not the case and this camera proves it. Fujis excellent sensor means that it is a perfect camera for novice users as it allows a lot of light into the lens. This means that great photos can be taken in low light conditions without flash- great for parties and overcast days out!
There are plenty of features for more advanced users. The usual ISO/White balance/Exposure settings are all there. But because it is so great in low light conditions- a lot of basic exposure problems are overcome.
Te camera also has a face recognition feature which automatically focuses on peoples faces in a snapshot. This is not entirely necessary if u have more than a basic understanding of how to use your camera to focus but I dare say some will find it useful.
The movie mode is better than the average standard digital too although it is by no means meant to be used as a camcorder.
A crackinglittle digital camera overall.
This camera is brill!
This camera was recommended to me by my brother in law. It has great settings for different scenarios: beach, underwater, snow, museum, text, portrait, natural light, natural light and flash etc. It also has auto setting and you can even set your own aperture. We also havr the underwater housing for this camera, and have some fantastic underwater pictures and video. Unfortunately we lost our camera (and all of our pictures) on the way home from our honeymoon, so we were desperate to get a replacement, and nowhere seemed to stock the camera as the newer models were out. We managed to track down one of the last new ones, but many camera shops told us this camera was stopped because it was worth more than it was being sold for.
So if you get the chance to purchase one of these cameras, I wouldnt hesitate to snap it up. I have been told that its predecessors are not as good, but I havent used them to compare.
We are just worried now about breaking our current one as we have the underwater housing for it!
I already have an Canon SLR and bought this camera to use for social nights out and also on occasions where i wouldn't really want to risk breaking/losing the SLR. This camera has been great for taking pictures in darkened pub environments where it will using its "face detection" feature to easily pick out all of the people you want in the frame by putting a square around them. The other bonus to this camera is the video; again in darkened pub surroundings this video will pick up good detail, so if uploading embarrassing videos of your friends onto youtube is of interest then this camera will perform this task very well! Battery life on this camera is also good at approx 600 shots. The one downside to this camera is that the zoom isn't particularly great, however i didnt buy this for taking landscape artsy pictures so for me it has been a great buy
The Fuji FinePix F31fd is a compact digital camera, that one paper is very big on features. Offering a 6.3 million pixel resolution, face detection technology, up to ISO 3200 and an impressive 2.5-inch LCD screen. With all this boasting of uber-features, and some already great feedback from reviewers and end users, I was very keen to see what all the fuss was and still is about.
Out of the box, you get a hand strap, USB and AV cables, for transferring your photos to a computer and the latter for viewing on a larger screen. You also get a CD containing the FinePix Viewer software and ImageMixer VCD2, an owners manual, AC Power Adapter and a lithium-ion battery to power this little baby.
What first struck me, was how solid the F31fd felt. Many digital cameras around this price bracket feel cheap and very light, but the F31fd is very well made and gives the impression that it would take the odd knock. Certainly, the in and out of the pocket, case or handbag (depending on your use) will be no problem.
The 2.5-inch screen on the back of the unit is nice and bright, with nicely saturated colours, and a nice update speed. The screen needs to be good, as there is no optical viewfinder. With this is mind, I would recommend fitting some sort of screen protector to the F31fd, to keep the screen in top condition.
The controls are very well laid out, and switching between scene modes, zooming in and out, in fact all of the navigation is absolutely superb. The zoom is very responsive and the focus on near and distant objects is pretty quick. On some distant objects the F31fd does search a little for focus, but once locked on you are ready to go. It is worth mentioning that no memory card is supplied. You do get 26MB of internal memory, but you really should factor in buying an xD memory card in your budget.
In use we took some macro shots, in which we were able to focus from a very short distance. Fuji quote 5cm which is pretty accurate, though we did manage a little closer than this. We also made use of the high ISO setting in low light situations, but at 3200 there was a lot of noise. ISO 1600 was aceptable, and at 800 things started looking pretty darn good. The face detection technology is pretty neat too. It picks up the iris' of any faces in the picture you are composing, and once it has detected them (maximum of 10), it ensures that each face is correctly focused and exposed. I was impressed with how this works and just how quick it does the job. Face Detection is also present in the S6500fd and Z5fd, so if you take a lot of family snaps, then this could be worth checking out.
In summary, if you are in the market for a nice compact digital camera, that has lots of nice features, that are actually useful in day-to-day use. Add to this the importance of build quality and of course the mega-important image quality, then you cannot go far wrong by adding the Fujifilm F31fd to your shopping basket. I was most impressed by the Face Detection, followed closely by the image and screen quality.
Note: I am the original author of this review at www.geekanoids.co.uk