The F31fd has a resolution of 6.3-megapixels, and with Fuji’s Super CCD technology, with its large octagonal sensor cells arranged in a diagonal pattern rather than the perpendicular chequerboard pattern of smaller square cells used in a conventional CCD. This provides the advantage of a larger area to capture light, usually giving slightly better dynamic range and colour depth than an equivalent conventional CCD.
Despite the addition of new technology, the F31fd’s performance results are identical to the F30. It starts up in approximately 1.5 seconds, which is quicker than most, and its shot-to-shot times are also excellent. In single shot mode it can manage a shot every two seconds, which is quite respectable. It has three continuous shooting modes; in the long period mode it can shoot a frame every 1.4 seconds and keep it up until the card is full. The other two modes fire at two frames per second, but then only save either the first or the last three shots of the sequence.
It has the same fast AF system as the F30, locking on to a subject in under half a second even in low light, thanks to a powerful AF illuminator with a range of about four metres.
Like the F30 the F31fd is powered by a very large 1800mAh Li-ion battery, the largest I’ve seen in a compact camera, which Fuji claims is good for am extraordinary 580 shots on a full charge. I took more than 250 shots with it over three days and the charge meter didn’t move from registering full.
At maximum resolution and quality it produces JPEG files averaging around 3MB, and a 1GB xD-Picture card is enough for approximately 341 shots, or 14.9 minutes of video shooting at 640 x 480 resolution and 30fps.
I’ve yet to be convinced that face detection technology is anything more than a gimmick. I suppose it could have its uses if you’re shooting a portrait against bright backlighting, but then a good matrix metering system should cope with situations like that, and if it doesn’t then any camera sufficiently sophisticated to have FD technology probably also has spot metering as well, as indeed does the F31fd, which is specifically included to cope with difficult lighting conditions.