This is a camera for which I have been waiting with some interest for several months, ever since a marketing executive from Fujifilm told me that the company was working on a camera which eliminated image noise at all sensitivity settings right up to 1600 ISO – that’s like hearing about a car that goes at 200mph and gets 200mpg. Image noise is the bane of digital photography, so fame, fortune and glory awaits for the company that can conquer it first. The official press release that accompanied the review sample was a little less boastful, but still mentioned a “low noise” ISO 64-1600 sensitivity range, so I was keen to see what it could do.
Pitched at the higher end of the snapshot market with a price tag of £225, the FinePix F10 is a decent-looking and well-made camera with conventional and even rather pedestrian styling. Measuring 92 x 58.2 x 27.3mm it sits toward the larger end of the scale for modern zoom compacts, and at 155g it’s also surprisingly heavy for its size. It features a 2x optical zoom F2.8-5.0 lens, a 6.3 megapixel SuperCCD HR and a big 2.5in LCD monitor screen.
The screen is specially toughened to resist scratches, and I can attest that it definitely works. The review sample that I was loaned by Fuji had already been used by one of the camera magazines, and it looked like part of their testing procedure involved kicking the camera down a flight of concrete steps. The corners of the case, the lens surround, the handgrip and the top panel were covered in scratches and scuff marks, but despite this the monitor screen was completely undamaged. Perhaps Fuji should have made the rest of the camera out of the same stuff it uses to coat the LCD.
Despite my love of photography, there are few cameras that I would describe as a real pleasure to use, but the F10 is one of them. It feels solid and comfortable in the hand, the controls fall neatly under the fingers and thumb, and respond quickly and positively. The camera’s performance is also exemplary. It starts up in 1.3 seconds, which is respectably quick for a camera in this class. It has minimal shutter lag, and a consistent shot-to-shot time of just over a second in High-Speed Shooting mode. The AF system is particularly good. I was testing this camera alongside a similarly-specified model from another manufacturer, and in every situation the Fuji focused and shot faster.