Shots taken at 1600 ISO with the F10 were, in my estimation, about as good as shots taken at 200 ISO on virtually any other camera. My first test shots were taken in bright sunlight, but high ISO settings are typically used in low light conditions, so I went out later and took another set of test shots in the evening just to confirm my findings. In fact, although there is some loss of fine detail at 800 and 1600 ISO when compared to 80 or 100 ISO, there is virtually no image noise, which makes the F10 unique in this respect. Finally using a high ISO setting is a real alternative to using the flash in low light conditions. The technology behind this breakthrough is Fujifilm’s new “Real Photo Processor”, of which I suspect we will be seeing a great deal in future models.
Unfortunately, the F10 does have some image quality faults that rather undermine this unique performance. The exposure system has a tendency to over-expose and burn out highlights, and also suffers egregiously from purple fringes along the top left edges of highlights. This is a fairly common problem with a lot of high-resolution digital cameras, but the F10 does have it worse that most.
Despite these problems, overall image quality is very good. In contrast to the 5.1MP FinePix Z1, which also has a SuperCCD HR sensor, colour reproduction, fine detail and edge definition are all excellent. Combined with the fast AF system this means that the F10 is capable of turning in superb snapshots in a very wide range of lighting conditions, although it is definitely at its best in low natural light. With 6.3 megapixels, images can be printed out at A4 with virtually photographic quality. I can only hope that we will soon see the Real Photo Processor technology in a camera with a higher specification.
Slick performance, good build quality and excellent handling, but the biggest bonus is the remarkable high-ISO performance, which produces virtually noise-free pictures in all lighting conditions. It is a real breakthrough, and makes the FinePix F10 a unique camera. Although it is not without its faults, there isn’t another camera on the market that can match its low-light performance.