Learning never exhausts the mind

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This is a quick review of my latest compact digital camera which will replace my ageing Olympus mju700. The Fuji Finepix F70 has more megapixels, more zoom and more features.

For starters, the Fuji Finepix F70 EXR has a 10mp sensor, 10x optical zoom, optical image stabilisation, HDR and all this for only £170! (mine came with a free 4GB SDHC card as well!)

The camera controls are easy to use, however it can be a little time consuming to set the correct mode. The full auto does a decent job but seems to want to always use a high ISO setting - (auto select 400/800/1600). The camera is able to detect the type of scene being photographed and adjust the settings, however, I can't seem to notice any difference. Face detection works well and creates some good portraits. "SP" mode allows you to manual select scenes.

Portrait Photography using Fuji Finepix F70

Portrait Photography using Fuji Finepix F70

"Pro Focus" mode is supposed to work by taking two separate images and merging them together to give an enhanced depth of field usually only reserved for DSLRs which benefit from a larger sensor. Every time I tried it the camera failed and simply stated "unable to create an effect". Obviously, I need to read the manual on this one.

HDR works very well, in the test you can still see detail on the landscape despite the camera being pointed directly into the sun.

Fuji Finepix F70 EXR HDR Example

Fuji Finepix F70 EXR HDR Example

The zoom on the Fujifilm FinePix F70 EXR consists of a 10x optical zoom from the Fujinon lens and a further 4x digital zoom. Tip for any camera: Never use digital zoom as the image quality will be greatly reduced.

Fuji FinePix F70 EXR

Fuji FinePix F70 EXR

Fuji FinePix F70 EXR

Fuji FinePix F70 EXR

It's good to see a full manual setting on a compact camera, something that the old Olympus didn't have. Shutter speed can be selected from 8 seconds through to 1/2000 sec and aperture from f/3.3 to f/6.4 in wide angle and f/5.6 to f/11 in telephoto.

Other quirky features include the ability to emulate Fujifilm emulsion films such as Velvia and Astia and the ability to change the aspect ratio of the images (4:3/3:2/16:9).

All in all a great compact camera, however, it is let down by overly high ISO settings in anything other than manual, a poor AF assist light and rather short battery life.

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