Fuji f30 struggles & tips

2006-12-15
After some fuji30 test shots, though I can confirm that f30 is really a great camera for low light photography, I ran into a couple of struggles with surprises and I want to summarize below along with tips that I learned from others

Struggles:

1. Auto mode tends to go into high iso setting such as iso1600 in indoor and pictures are acceptable but I will not rate them as good pictures. I am somewhat disappointed with the auto mode and I try to stay away from Auto mode completely. I try using all manual mode with ISO set for 100-200 outdoor and auto iso400 for indoor. Pictures coming straight out of the camera tend to be soft and flat. And I do get a high number of unsharp images. I try changing 'Photometry' from 'multi' to 'spot' and 'average and I am yet to experiment on the two settings.

2. In bright daylight outdoor, I get many over-exposed pictures in auto-mode with blown sky. I know, I know, many people suggested -1/3 ev for compensation, I have yet to try that

3. AutoFocus AF is relatively slow in keeping up with kids' movement. At first, I thought the f30 is great for taking pictures on kids indoor, I am yet to find the proper setting. Many indoor pictures without flash don't come out satisfactory especially on moving kids' pictures. Perhaps, I need to try more on S priority. As of now, I get many pictures (without flash) that have ghost images due to longer shutter. It is a tricky balance between iso, quality, and shutter speed, etc.

4. The biggest gripe is on the xD card, the proprietary USB connection and the software on FinePix that comes with the purchase. The little plastic cover makes it extremely difficult to connect to the PC. It is very frustrating experience every single time that I connect to the PC. I have never seen anything this bad in transferring photos to PC. The FinePix software that come with Fuji f30 purchase serves no purpose but negative impressions on fuji -- it is not worth installing on one's computer.

5. The xD card with Olympus type H is slower than the my two year old SD card rated at 60x. This is not a surprise as I know this way before purchase. But the first 4 points and the next on Firmware upgrade are all surprises for me.

6. Firmware upgrade. I did manage to get 1.02 firmware on my f30. The experience in downloading firmware to my f30 is really nightmare due to poorly documented instructions in fujifilmusa site.


Tips:

1. Over-exposure in daylight:
I started using -1/3ev and -2 on LCD brightness.

2. Inconsistent metering with 'multi' photometry (subjective)
I am trying both 'spot' and 'average' photometry setting.

3. Kid's moving picture

I am experimenting with 'fast speed focus ON' in menu setting. I am also starting to rely on the flash when necessary on kids picture for indoor.

4. Focus hunting

I am trying to pick focus on constrasty area and practice with different orientation on the camera.

5. Occasional color and contrast seem to be flat (subjective)
I am playing with 'chrome', wb setting, pp

6. Occasional Soft pictures (subjective)
I get suggestion to use a higher aperture f number such as f4 instead of f2.8. I am yet to experiment on Aperture priority

7. Others
Continuous shot to get mutiple
Natural + Light to take double pictures
First and last three shooting
2 and 10 second timer

Related:

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

F30 is a very good high ISO cam so it's a waste not to make full use of it in some circumstances. so don't be afraid of shooting at ISO800 or even ISO1600 when all else fails, to get a good exposed shot.

ducati said...

Definitely use higher ISO's when needed. I did a series of ISO shots on a tripod this weekend, and printed them on my HP B9180. The ISO 1600 shots are indistinguishable from the ISO 100 shots when exposed correctly and printed at 8x10 (at normal viewing distances).

To address your issues:
1. I use -1/3 or -2/3 EV in bright contrasty conditions, you'll figure this out.

2. I also use Average metering. The matrix metering on this camera tends towards overexposure, as you have seen.

3. If you're getting motion blur, this is shutter speed related only, not the camera's fault. Up the ISO and shutter speed or use flash.

4. Focusing on a contrasty area is something you need to do with any camera.

5. I don't have a problem with this, and actually think the default tone curve is too contrasty and saturated for my tastes if I want to do any post processing. OK defaults, though, for straight out of camera processing.

6. Soft pictures: I bet you are getting "camera shake." I did a series of tests on a tripod at all apertures, an my F30 is sharpest at F4, followed by F2.8, followed by F5.6 and F8 least sharp. F2.8 is VERY sharp. If you're getting soft results at F2.8 you're probably getting some camera shake. Up the ISO.

You can see some of my F30 photos here; some are from my F30, others from my D200:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ndjedinak/

I also put them here:
http://web.mac.com/ndjedinak/iWeb/Site/Randoms.html

Have fun! It's a nice little point and shoot.

jhonan said...

Hi - For uploading photos to your PC, don't bother installing the Fujifilm software. I just connected my F30 to my WinXP PC and it automatically detected the camera and asked me what I wanted to use to copy the photos.

I use Picasa from Google (it's free, and its a great photo organiser) - So Picasa copied the photos across and deleted them from the memory card.

Toby said...

Thanks for the tips! Just got an F30.

Anonymous said...

Not sure about the f30, but the f31 lets you cap the auto ISO in the M setting (use the f button to get there).

Focus is definitely slower than comparable Canon, but IQ so far on mine is excellent.

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