What the J10 lacks in features it almost makes up for in overall performance. It starts up in a respectably quick 1.6 seconds and shuts down again just as quickly. In single-shot mode at maximum image quality it can maintain a shot-to-shot time of just over two seconds, which is again quite reasonable. The J10 lacks a proper continuous shooting mode, and in the Top 3 shooting mode it can only manage just over one frame a second, which is a bit disappointing. The autofocus system is reasonably quick, focusing in under half a second in good light, but it does slow down noticeably in poor light, and fails completely most of the time at pub/club lighting levels, which is again a bit of a disappointment for what would seem to be a purpose-built social snapshot camera.
Overall picture quality is also something of a mixed bag. The level of fine detail is surprisingly good for an 8MP camera, and the lens is sharper than average, at least in the centre of the frame. It does suffer from a drop-off in quality in the corners, with some blurring, purple fringing and a tiny hint of chromatic aberration. Noise control is also very good for a budget camera, producing good printable image quality at 400 ISO, although there is a sharp increase in noise levels at 800 ISO. Colour rendition and dynamic range are also better than expected, although like a lot of small-sensor cameras it tends to burn out highlights in order to preserve shadow detail. There is however one major problem with image quality, and it’s one that I haven’t seen for a while. If you look at the wide-angle sample shots you’ll see immediately that the corners of the image are much darker than the centre. This effect is called vignetting, and it can be caused by several things. In this case it is most likely caused by the very compact lens being too close to the sensor, causing light from the edges of the frame to strike the sensor surface at too oblique an angle. Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done about this short of re-designing the camera.
The Fujifilm FinePix J10 is a nice-looking little camera, and is competitively priced compared to its main rivals. It is a bit short on modern features though, and some of the controls are very fiddly and annoying to use. It also has a major image quality problem with very visible vignetting at wide-angle zoom settings. Add to this its poor low-light focusing ability and I’m afraid it’s not looking good for Fuji’s new ultra-compact.
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