Fujifilm FinePix F410 Zoom Review
By Movable Type Admin
The FinePix F410 uses Fujifilm's fourth-generation Super CCD HR (High Resolution) to capture still images at resolutions up to 2816 x 2120 (6.0 million recorded pixels) by way of its native 2048 x 1536 3.1 million pixel imager. It can also record 3- and 2-megapixel as well as VGA resolution when large prints aren't required. Like the FinePix F401 Zoom, the F410 is housed in an all-metal body with a built in lens protector, the overall build quality of the camera is excellent. The minimal control buttons are well laid out and clearly marked as to their functions.
The F410 has no creative exposure modes like shutter-speed priority and aperture priority AE, but it does have a "M"anual record mode. The "M" Record is accessed through menu selection and allows you to control ISO, Exposure Value (EV) compensation, and seven choices of preset white balances. The Movie mode captures motion video with sound at 10fps in the larger 320 x 240 size for unlimited lengths (until you run out of storage space.) The audio caption recording mode lets you attach a voice memo to a previously captured still image. The overall performance of the F410 is very impressive for a camera this compact.
The auto focus speed is above average at less than a second unless the light conditions get too dim and then it often fails altogether as there is no low light level focus assist illumination of any type. In today's market there are more and more manufacturers putting some kind of focus assist lamp on their cameras. Fuji doesn't offer it on any level of point-n-shoot. Indoor flash shots are very well color balanced on the Caucasian skin tone, a nice improvement over the F601. The flash range is somewhat limited but to be expected when you see how small the flash unit is. If shooting in wide angle the range is less than the specified 11.5 feet, it's more like about eight feet. One thing I did notice was almost a total lack of any serious chromatic aberrations (purple fringing) which has been common in a lot of other digicams.
The lens is impressive for its diminuitive size and exhibits only a slight amount of wide angle distortion. At power up the lens extends and the camera is ready to snap the first picture in about three seconds. The shot to shot time is about one and a half seconds even at the largest image size/quality. Add about another second if using the flash. The time it takes to write to the media is not much of an issue as it does this very quickly. I shot about twenty frames one after the other without any processing delay noticed. To capture fast action sequences there's the Top 4 mode that can capture up to 4 full size, 2-megapixel images in about two seconds. When powered down, the lens retracts fully into the body and is protected by an automatic metal cover - no more lost or dangling lens caps.
The F410 Zoom makes use of the new xD-Picture Card media that is smaller than a postage stamp. Fuji supplies a 16MB card and they are available now up to 256MB. The F410 is powered by a small proprietary lithium rechargeable battery. This battery pack performed well in our use and if the color LCD is used sparingly, I see no problem with the battery delivering enough power for a conservative day's use. As with any camera that uses a proprietary battery pack, it is always a good idea to purchase and carry a charged spare at all times. The included power supply / charger is an auto switch type and operates on 100-240V AC which is convenient when traveling. It charges the battery in 3 hours (or less) while in the camera and also functions as an AC power supply for extended use at home. The battery is also charged any time the camera is placed in the optional camera dock.
As always the bottom line is image quality and price. The FinePix F410 delivers well saturated color images that are very true to the original colors. There's a little confusion with the maximum image size because of the SuperCCD imager. The F410 uses a 3- megapixel imager but can deliver a 6-megapixel image in its highest resolution setting. These 6-megapixel size images are optimized for making larger prints. The problem with the images is that Fuji has used too high of a compression level. There is no choice for compression so you cannot improve the image quality by using a finer compression level. If you look at the file sizes on our sample photos page you'll see that the 6-megapixel images are only 1.5MB and the 3-megapixel images are around 750KB. Other 3-megapixel cameras generate 1.6-2MB size images in their Large/Fine mode. We saw significant "noise" in blue sky and other solid colored areas, there is a lot of red channel noise. I also feel that the F410 is priced too high for a true 3.1 MP camera ($499 MSRP as of 04/2003).
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