Fujifilm FinePix Z10fd Review

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Steve's Conclusion

The new Fuji FinePix Z10fd follows in the footsteps of previous "Z" cameras with the implementation of style and technology. The stylish ultra-compact Z10fd comes in 5 colors: Wasabi Green, Wave Blue, Sunset Orange, Hot Pink and Midnight Black, all trimmed with a chrome-like finish. The camera itself features a 7-megapixel imaging sensor, 3x internal optical zoom lens and a 2.5" LCD screen. Making this camera easy enough for anyone to pick up and use are features like Face Detection Technology that with just the touch of a button allows the user to turn on this feature that can find up to 10 faces at once. Another great feature is "i-Flash," which adjusts the flash for any subtle lighting differences. Finally the best addition to the Z10fd over past models is the ability to not only read xD cards but SD and SDHC cards, which perform much faster.

Framing and displaying your photographs is done with the 2.5" LCD screen. The shiny coating on the screen does show reflections, however, the very bright images help to show through the glare. The camera does an excellent job of gaining up in low light situations, however the image that you see on the screen is very noisy, making it hard to judge detail.

Just as the Z5fd, the Z10fd also has built in IR communication and Blog Trimming. The IR communication allows you transfer images via infrared technology to other IR communication enabled devices. This is a great feature for people who like to share photos, allowing them to do so without a computer. Blog trimming is another great feature for anyone who shares on the web. This feature will automatically save a new copy of your photos down to either 640x480 or 320x240 for easy sharing and emailing.

The performance from the Z10fd was good for a camera in this class. The time from startup to the first image that can be captured is just 2.2 seconds. When focused there is virtually no shutter delay, and just 1/2 second when allowing the camera to focus without a flash and around 1 second with the flash depending on the distance and light. When shooting in normal single exposure mode, I was able to capture an image once every 2.2 seconds and once every 2.4 with the flash. The camera also includes a couple of burst modes. In continuous mode I was able to capture 5 images in 8.2 seconds. There are also a top 3 and final 3 modes, in which the camera will capture 3 images in 1.4 seconds either at the beginning or end of you pressing the shutter release. All of our tests were conducted using a Kingston 4GB SDHC memory card with the camera set to ISO-64, flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults. Times may vary depending on lighting conditions, camera settings, media, etc.

The Z10fd's image quality was average for a 7-megapixel consumer model. The outdoor images were sharp and crisp. The images may be slightly overexposed due to the wonderful Ohio weather and 10" of fresh snow in the sample photographs. The colors (other than white and gray) came out very bright and vivid, however they are a bit on the cool side (blue tint). The 3x optical zoom (38-114 35mm equivalent) allows for good framing of landscapes and close up portrait photography. At the wide end you will notice some barrel distortion, with slight pincushioning at the telephoto end. There was some noticeable chromatic aberrations (purple fringing) in areas of high contrast. While this lens is great for close-up, portrait, and landscape photography, it lacks the focal range to single out a subject that is off in the distance.

Our indoor images also came out average. Our photos are relatively sharp, and show good overall exposure. Colors are well saturated, however we did see some issues with the white balance. We noticed some variations in the camera's white balance system between shots taken with and without the flash. Shots without the flash tend to be on the warm side, giving the white areas a yellowish tint. While, images with the flash show a nice true white. Fuji claims that the flash has a range of 9' to 11.5' depending on the zoom. When shooting in portrait mode, the camera automatically returns to ISO setting to Auto and raises it to around 400, which added some unwanted noise to the background of our portrait sample. However, the it does show good facial detail and pleasing skin tone. Even though the camera selects a high ISO setting, I had to stay within 5 to 6 feet of my subject in order to get a properly exposed image.

Video capture on the Z10fd was ok. It does capture smooth 640x480 video at 30fps with clear audio, however, it does struggle to produce a clear picture in even moderate lighting conditions. There is also the option to record at 320x240 resolution to save space on your memory card. As can see from our movie example on the samples page, the video quality does get a bit grainy in marginal lighting (like a typical living room).

Drawing its power from a 3.6v 740mAh rechargeable Li-ion battery, the Z10fd's battery life was descent. Fuji claims you can capture 200 images on a single charge. Keep in mind that using the flash, shooting movies and viewing your pics will greatly reduce this number. I was able to capture around 75 images, several videos and complete all of my tests on a single charge of this battery; however, it was getting low. As always we recommend getting a second battery to keep handy.

Bottom Line - The Fuji FinePix Z10fd offers a nice combination of style and technology that really appeals to the younger, on the go, generation of photographers. The ultra-compact model is incredibly easy to use, and with the full auto mode, anyone can slide the camera open and start taking nice pictures. There are also several more advanced features for the novice or more creative photographer. With a street price of US$199 or less, we feel with its style, performance and image quality, the Z10fd will be a popular model this year.

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