Lair Of The Multimedia Guru

October 6, 2007

Fujifilm F50fd vs. Canon digital ixus 30

I wanted a small compact digicam which is better at taking pictures in bad light than my ixus30, has full manual controls, a wider angle lens, … well no such camera exists currently. So i decided to try the F50fd, it has aperture and shutter priority modes, can take images at up to ISO 6400 and has a image stabilizer.

Size and weight: Well its a bit bigger and heavier than my ixus30 but it still is small enough to fit in my pocket

The image stabilizer: Well, what can i say, i took many images at the telezoom side at 1/5sec shutter with it in continous mode, with it in shot only mode and with it disabled, no single image was useable. Repeating the test at the wide angle side of the zoom at 1/5sec some images where ok others where not, the stabilizer again didnt make much of a difference, sadly ive lost patience and didnt take more than about 5 images each with stabi in mode 1 in mode 2 and without stabi so i dont have statistically significant data for that part. What i can say though is that the stabi did not help me take a single useable image at a shutter speed at which i wouldnt be able to take a good one with a few tries without the stabi

The manual control: Well it does work, and even quite well, you can change the aperture with a single button press, the exposure correcton as well can be changed with a single button press (after you switched the buttons into the right mode which needs 1 button press). Very sadly to change the ISO you have to press at least 3 buttons (4 after the camera is turned on). On the ixus30 you need 1 button press to cange ISO and exposure correction if you are in the correct menu (yes you can take images without leaving the menu on the ixus this doesnt work with the f50 ISO menu), you need 2 button presses to change between the ISO and exposure menues and 2 to reach the exposure and 4 for the ISO menu after power on on the ixus, so in summary the manual control could be made available more directly on both cameras.

Arbitrary limitations: There where a few surprises for me as i was playing around with the camera, first the aperture priority mode is limited to a shutter of 1/4sec at the long side, the shutter priority mode though can be used with up to 1sec. Longer exposures (up to 8 sec) are possible but only at ISO 100

Deleting images: I was mildly annoyed that i had to press 3 buttons to delete an image, but what was much more annoying was that the deletion comes with a nice animaton which you cant disable and which you have to let finish before you can do anything else. That is, its not hard to press the 3 button sequence a few times while the animation plays sadly it has no effect

Auto focus: This one does work better than on the ixus in low light with the focus assist lamp disabled

High ISO image quality: Well i hoped that the F50 would be a lot better at taking images at high ISO, sadly the difference is not that large, but see yourself:
F50 ISO3200 1/4sec f/2.8 Now how does one compare this to the IXUS30 which just has ISO400 well one (mis)uses the exposure correction to get the exposure one wants and then fixes the brightness/contrast in software
IXUS30 ISO400 -2EV 1/5sec f/2.8 (way too dark yes)
after -vf ow=7:8:16 and gimp to fix levels So which looks better? teh F50 one of course, lets compare it to a longer exposure of the IXUS
ISO400 -1EV 1/2sec f/2.8
fixed up levels in gimp
and with -vf ow=7:8:16 With the 2x longer exposure i would say the IXUS is at least as good as the F50 (with the shorter exposure). And there would be thumbnail images if wordpress would generate them or i knew how to upload several images at once instead of each one individually …

ISO values: well the more i played with the F50 the more i noticed that its ISO values dont match the IXUS ones, that is the IXUS30 at ISO400 seems to match approximately ISO600 on the F50 (matching here means same shutter, aperture and equally bright final images)

Colors: well the F50 is about as (in)accurate as the IXUS30 though they are different

Will i keep the F50? Probably not the improvement is too small over the IXUS30 also i dont like the heavy noise reduction the camera does, it becomes noticeable already at ISO400, the IXUS30 doesnt do this though more recent IXUS versions seem to also follow the trend of butchering images with noise reduction

Ill upload more pictures tommorow …

Filed under: Cameras,Pictures — Michael @ 3:44

6 Comments »

  1. The f31fd is supposed to be really good at low-light photos if you can find it (http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/fujifilmf31fd/); no IS though.

    I have an IXUS800/sd700is which has a lot less noise reduction than the newer ones; it works pretty well for low-light in manual but auto mode is only really good outside.

    Comment by astrange — October 6, 2007 @ 7:33

  2. I wanted to get the F31fd originally :) but fuji doesnt produce it anymore so its not available anywhere except used …

    About a new ixus, well i have an ixus30 so this boils down to the question of how much better the more recent ixus are, also many of the slightly older? ones like the IXUX800IS or IXUS850IS are not easy to find here

    but i do have a question for you :)
    how good does the image stabilization work on your IXUS? i mean at what shutter speed can you get useable images with and without IS?
    the IS on the F50fd does not work at all (yes ill post some sample images and statistics about that soon)

    Comment by Michael — October 6, 2007 @ 20:41

  3. I bought a gorillapod to aid image stabilisation in situations where I need to do a longer exposure (low-light) but I have a non-manual control compact camera these days (Nikon Coolpix L3) so you might not be so convinced.

    Normally what I do when I’m taking a night shot is set it up for a longer exposure (it has scene modes I can use), put it on the gorillapod and set it up somewhere useful, then set it to take a timed shot so I can let go of the camera, let it stabilise itself and be basically perfectly still when it actually takes the shot. Probably quite obvious. :)

    The gorillapod for compact cameras is small enough to fit in your pocket so I generally carry it around with me if I know I’ll be taking lots of photos and I want them to not be blurred.

    Comment by Robert Swain — October 7, 2007 @ 11:27

  4. Oh, I totally forgot about this.

    In low-light indoors with “shoot only” IS on it looks good at ISO 100-200 or more, but tends to get really noisy at 800; there’s barely any denoise filtering.
    I have really shaky hands, so I can’t even consider using it without IS on.

    They claim it’s good in the ixus800: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canonsd700is/page4.asp

    Comment by astrange — November 3, 2007 @ 18:48

  5. I have just purchased the Fuji F50SE. It’s a 12 mega pixel camera. Has lots of good functions but the photos it takes are awful. I find the noise levels completely unacceptable it makes the full resolution photo look out of focus on screen. Sure at ISO 100 it is not so bad (but not good either at this low setting) but above this forget it.

    I have owned and sold few point and shoot digitals in the past and now also own a Nikon D70. I bought the fuji as a point and shoot camera for use when travelling. I am very disapointed with the quality of photos it provides.

    Some sites try to explain the noise increase as a result of the 12 mega pixel resolution. All I know is what you see on the screen is dreadful. My advice would be to steer clear of this camera.

    Regards

    Comment by Alan — November 27, 2007 @ 18:10

  6. > I have owned and sold few point and shoot digitals in the past and now also own a Nikon D70. I
    > bought the fuji as a point and shoot camera for use when travelling. I am very disapointed
    > with the quality of photos it provides.

    you arent comparing a point and shoot against a DSLR are you?

    > Some sites try to explain the noise increase as a result of the 12 mega pixel resolution. All
    > I know is what you see on the screen is dreadful. My advice would be to steer clear of this
    > camera.

    The F50 is certainly not a terribly good camera, after all i returned mine quickly as well and got my money back but in terms of picture quality all point and shoots available nowadays are pretty crappy, the F31/F30/… are the only ones i know of which have a somewhat better high iso quality, but they arent produced anymore. For all others its use low iso with flash, a tripod or image stabilizer and hope that that works for the kind of images you take …
    or just carry a DSLR with you …

    Comment by Michael — November 28, 2007 @ 0:27

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