Fuji Finepix F100fd Review
Performance - How well does it take pictures?
The Fuji Finepix F100fd shows good color accuracy with moderate oversaturation of red hues in standard color mode. It also has a chrome color mode which boosts saturation for more punchy results. The white-balance system of the F100fd is excellent and shows neutral colors even under artificial lighting. This is one of the best white-balance results we have seen from any camera, although we managed to trick it by taking pictures with brightly colored backgrounds. In such cases, use of preset white-balance corrected the problem cleanly.
The metering system is quite good and manages to balance shadows and highlights very well. This is certainly helped by this camera's exceptional dynamic range. One thing that users will need to know is that the dynamic range captured by the Fuji F100 is much greater than what can be shown on the camera's LCD screen. As such, wide dynamic range shots may appear to be overexposed while they are not. Back to metering, this digital camera also supports average and spot-metering which behave exactly as expected.
One key characteristic of Fuji cameras is their excellent dynamic range. The Fuji Finepix F100 does even better than its predecessor by providing user-control of dynamic range. There are 4 options: Auto, 100%, 200% and 400%. Auto works extremely well, and it should, since the camera's metering system should be aware of scene tonalities. The other settings are dependent on the current ISO setting, with all options available from ISO 400 to 1600. Remember that since all JPEG files have the same bit-depth, increasing the dynamic range reduces scene-contrast since more tonalities are squeezed into the same range of RGB values. This is why it is good that the user has choice. As expected, expanding ISO range increases details in image highlights by up to 2 stops.
The Fuji F100 is equipped with an exceptional lens as well as an exceptional sensor. Throughout its 5X zoom range, the F100's lens shows excellent image sharpness and very little optical distortion except for macro focusing at near wide-angle.
Image noise is well controlled by the Fuji F100. From ISO 100 to 400, noise is barely perceptible and large prints are easily possible. This is great news since ISO 400 is the lowest setting which can be used with 400% dynamic range. ISO 800 and 1600 evidently show more image noise but good looking medium size prints are possible. Note that at these settings, noise still shows on medium-size prints but is very subtle. ISO 3200 can make a relatively good small print but higher ISO settings are excessively noise. Add to that a reduced image resolution and what we have are settings which show visible noise even on small prints. Still, pictures taken at ISO 6400 and 12800 do produce recognizable images which is quite good for any camera, all fine details are lost though.
The Fuji Finepix F100 does everything fast. Startup is quick, focusing is incredibly quick, zooming is fast, shutter-lag is very short and shot-to-shot speeds are good. This is another area where the F100 improves considerably over the F50. Focusing in particular is quick down to very low light levels. Playback mode is also extremely fast. With the control-wheel, one can scroll through images blazingly fast.
The Fuji Finepix F100 has image stabilization which proved reasonably effective at all focal lengths. Even in macro mode, the stabilization helped by about 2 stops compared to normal hand-holding. Note that this camera generally prefers to increase the ISO, when the ISO is set to automatic, than to lower the shutter-speed and let the stabilizer handle it. Luckily, there are several automatic ISO modes which allow the user to choose an ISO limit from 400 to 1600. This lets users select which is the maximum ISO acceptable to them.
There are 5 continuous drive modes on the Fuji F100: Top-3, Final-3, Long-Period, High-Speed Top-12 and High-Speed Final-12. The Long-Period mode is pretty useless. It shoots at less than 1 FPS and the LCD remains mostly blank while shooting, showing only a brief preview while the image is being focused. The Top-3 shoots continuously at 2 FPS a maximum of 3 images, which is not very continuous. Top-12 mode works similarly but shoots at 5 FPS up to a maximum of 12 images. The catch is that the image resolution is lowered to 3 megapixels and it only takes 10 seconds to write the images.
Final-3 and Final-12 modes perform similarly to their Top-3/Top-12 counterparts except that they shoot continuously but only save the last 3 or 12 images shot, respectively. These modes are designed for action photography where it is difficult to anticipate the action. Unfortunately, in the Top-3 and Final-3 modes, there is a significant lag between what the LCD displays and the photographs being taken. Like with the F50, entering playback mode strangely cancels the continuous shooting mode. Finally, Fuji states the battery life of the F100 to be 230-shots per-charge. This is clearly below average but seems like a general tendency as cameras are being built with brighter-larger LCDs and higher resolution sensors.
The Fuji Finepix F100fd now replaces the F50 as the best performing ultra-compact digital camera. Not only does it improve in terms of image quality and speed of operation upon an already exceptional performer, it manages to do that and add a true wide-angle lens.
While image quality is at its best, with exceptionally low image noise, excellent dynamic-range, accurate colors and good image sharpness, the user-interface is frustrating at times. Particularly, access to exposure-compensation and white-balance takes too long because the menu-button is overloaded to invoke the virtual mode-dial and menu system. Across the board, speed is excellent, even shot-to-shot speeds and low-light focusing. All in all, an excellent performance for an ultra-compact.
Competition-wise, the F100fd is in a league of its own. Given a 12 megapixels sensor with expanded dynamic range and a wide-angle lens with image stabilization, no ultra-compact currently matches this. Loosing the wide-angle, the Canon Powershot SD950 IS can be considered, but it most likely cannot compete in terms of image noise and dynamic range. The Panasonic FX100 is similarly specified but we have no word on its image quality or performance.
Fuji F100fd Facts
Panasonic Lumix GX850 Review
Highly compact mirrorless with 16 MP Four-Thirds CMOS sensor capable of 4K Ultra-HD video. Fast 10 FPS drive and 1/16000s-60s hybrid shutter. 4K Output for 30 FPS bursts, Post Focus and built-in Focus Stacking.
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Review
Olympus professional Micro Four-Thirds mirrorless with 20 MP sensor, built-in 5-axis Image-Stabilization, 121-Point Phase-Detect and Contrast Detect AF, 60 FPS Drive, 18 FPS with Continuous AF, Ultra-HD and Cinema 4K Video. Large built-in 2.4 MP 0.45" EVF with 100% Coverage, 0.74X magnification and Eye-Start Sensor in a freezeproof and weatherproof body with dual control-dials.
Fujifilm GFX-50S In-Depth Review
In-depth review of the Fujifilm GFX-50S Medium Format Mirrorless Digital Camera, a groundbreaking 50 megapixels camera with large 44x33mm sensor and unique modular EVF system. ISO 50-102400 range, 3 FPS drive and 1080p video.
Fujinon GFX Lens Roundup
Roundup of reviews for GFX Medium Format Mirrorless lenses: Fujinon GF 23mm F/4R LM WR, GF 32-64mm F/4R LM WR and GF 110mm F/2R LM WR.
Nikon D500 Review
Full-review of the ultimate Nikon flagship APS-C DSLR. The Nikon D500 offers a new 20 MP CMOS sensor with incredible ISO 50-1638400, 10 FPS, 4K Ultra-HD and a 153-Point Phase-Detect AF system sensitive to -4 EV. Built for professionals into a weatherproof body with dual control-dials and large 100% coverage viewfinder with built-in shutter.
DxO ViewPoint 3 Review
Review of DxO ViewPoint 3. Perspective, distortion and horizon correction software.
Nikon D5 XQD Review
Nikon flagship professional DSLR with 20 megapixels Full-Frame CMOS sensor. All-new 153-point Phase-Detect AF sensitive to -4 EV. ISO 50 to unprecedented 3,276,800! 12 FPS Drive for 200 JPEGs or 180 RAW. First Nikon DSLR with 4K Ultra HD video.
Olympus Professional Lens Roundup
Roundup of Olympus Professional and Premium lenses: M.Zuiko 7-14mm F/2.8 PRO, M.Zuiko 12-40mm F/2.8 PRO, M.Zuiko 40-150mm F/2.8 PRO, M.Zuiko 12mm F/2, M.Zuiko 60mm F/2.8 Macro.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II Review
Olympus second generation base OM-D with an anti-alias-filter-free 16 MP Four-Thirds CMOS sensor mounted on a 5-axis in-body stabilization system. Speedy 8.5 FPS drive, full HD @ 60 FPS and a wealth of features in a compact and lightweight body. Offers a 2.4 MP 0.45" EVF with 0.62X magnification and 100% coverage, plus dual control-dials and a highly customizable interface.
Fuji X-Pro2 Review
Fuji flagship XF-mount mirrorless with 24 MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS III sensor. 273-Point AF with 169 Phase-Detect points. 8 FPS Drive, 1080p video. Dual control-dials, direct dials and a hybrid viewfinder in a weather-sealed freezeproof body.