Friday, June 16, 2006

New FujiFilm FinePix F30 low light camera a technological miracle!

My new Fujifilm FinePix F30 low-light photography camera arrived yesterday and I tested it out. I turned the lights off in my office, had the blinds closed (the room was quite dark) and took a picture of a vase of roses I have on my desk. The picture looked like I had taken it with a flash. I used the “museum” shooting mode setting (one of the presets) which automatically suppresses the flash and turns off all of the audible sounds of shutter, etc. It automatically adjusted itself to an ISO of 3200 and an aperture setting of 2.8 with a shutter speed of 1/15 and I had zoomed to about 2X. Normally, hand holding at 1/15 second is pretty risky, even with my Panasonic FZ20 and its advanced image stabilization system. But the Fujifilm has an even more advanced image stabilization system and the shot was impressive.

Shooting with its intelligent flash is even better (when you’re permitted). I took a picture of the same vase of roses using the totally automatic setting and the resulting image was evenly exposed (foreground and background), the ISO adjusted automatically to 800, the shutter speed adjusted to 1/90, and I got an aperture setting of F4.

Another thing I like about this camera is the ability to switch from a displayed menu back to shooting mode by just touching the shutter. It also has a one touch Macro mode and a power save LCD adjustment that lets you change from standard LCD viewing to fine detail LCD viewing. Among its preset shooting modes is an underwater setting that I hope to use for aquarium pictures. Although I won’t be physically underwater, I will be shooting through glass at fish underwater so I’m hoping this setting will help to correct the color balance that is usually skewed a bit because of the tint of the glass and the water. It also has a special flower setting that is designed to capture true vivid flower petal colors, a text setting for taking clearer shots of letters, and a color mode menu option that lets you switch from standard contrast and color saturation to F-chrome with contrast and color saturation set to high for landscapes and flowers – sort of like in the old days when you would use Kodachrome film for better color capture instead of Ektachrome that often had a slightly bluish cast to it but was available in faster film speeds.

The camera also has a custom white balance mode where you can take a picture of a white sheet of paper in the existing ambient light and it will autoadjust the white balance setting accordingly. The battery is also recharged inside the camera by way of a very petite AC charger and, in fact, the camera itself fits in the palm of my hand so I can pack it right in the same case as my large Leica lens 12X zoom Panasonic FZ20 so I don’t have to add one more bag to sling over my shoulder. I hope to give it a real field trial over at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art next door before I go up to the Maryhill Museum of Art in Goldendale, Washington for a scheduled shoot in August.
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