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Hards80 Jan 3, 2010 7:14 PM

F70EXR Impressions
 
As many of you know, my main kit is a Canon 50D kit. I have shot a Panasonic LX1 as my compact camera companion for many years now. Recently it has been "commissioned indefinitely" from my girlfriend. So I have been without a compact camera. Which has cost me a few missed opportunities.

So I have been looking at compact cameras for a while. My needs list was this:
1) Pocketable - no need for a bridge or superzoom, i might as well bring my 50d.
2) Wide angle - at least 28mm
3) Decent zoom range - as it will be my only compact i want it to be versatile.
4) Price - Under 250$, i am looking to get a new normal zoom for my 50D in the spring and don't want this purchase cutting into that.

With these criterion in mind I narrowed it down to the Panasonic ZS3 and ZR1, the Canon SD940IS, and the Fuji F70EXR.

I eliminated the ZS3 in favor of the ZR1 because; 8x zoom would be plenty, ZS3 did not handle the red channels well making them purple, ZR is lighter and thinner.

I then eliminated the 940IS because of the limited zoom and relatively high price point compared to the other 2.

Now it came down to the ZR1 and the F70EXR.

The ZR1 offered a resolution advantage, as well as a better IS system, HD video, and better picture quality at lower ISO's. I still say this is the safest bet for 90% of people deciding between these 2 cameras, and will produce the best images with the least input. And it is well built, looks good, handles well. I still kind of want one of these as well.

I ultimately chose the F70EXR because I like to play with my cameras. If you understand the EXR and how to set it up properly, it will give you more dynamic range and much better low light shooting performance than the ZR1. However, if you don't use it properly, the results will be poor. The disadvantage to the EXR technology is in essence i purchased a 5mp camera in 2010. I am aware of this limitation and it really doesn't bother me, as I still have my 50D when I need something gallery quality. My compact shots will be mostly presented on the web or in 8x10 or smaller prints. 5mp is more than adequate. I was also happy with the autofocus performance, it was noticeably faster than the Canon and Panasonic when I tested them instore.

If you are interested in the EXR technology, its setup, and how it impacts photos. I can give you more details later.

Anyways, thats my introduction and my decision-making process. Well the brief version anyways, if you have any other questions, feel free to ask.

The next spots will be saved for photo examples, as I get them.

Hards80 Jan 3, 2010 7:15 PM

Ok, here are literally 2 of my first 4 shots I have taken with the camera. I did not have time for any more today. I will be sure to add more from different settings, and different ISO's as I have time.
------------------------------------------------------------
ISO 100, Program Mode, M(5mp resolution), DR400%, Film Standard (Provia)

Resized only
http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/a...100resized.jpg

100% crop middle
http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/a.../iso100mid.jpg

100% crop lower left
http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/a...o100corner.jpg

resized with a touch of contrast n sharpening
http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/a...esizededit.jpg
------------------------------------------------------------

ISO 400, Program Mode, M(5mp resolution), DR400%, Film Standard (Provia)
(it's a little underexposed, so i think 400 can look even better)

resized
http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/a...o400resize.jpg

100% center
http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/a...iso400crop.jpg

minor edit
http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/a...resizeedit.jpg

i really need to reshoot the ISO 400 shot, its too underexposed, but at least you can get some rough idea til i can redo it.
------------------------------------------

That is all I had time for today. I want to get out and do some more thorough testing at all ISO's and with different dynamic range's. as well as get some examples of the pro lowlight (combines 4 images).

Hards80 Jan 3, 2010 7:15 PM

Still haven't had a chance to shoot much, but i grabbed a few over lunch, and one on the way home.

first up is our test at full wide-angle (5mm) P mode ISO 100 f6.4

resize
http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/a...l5mmresize.jpg
first thing we can see is that the photographer, sigh, shot slightly down, sorry for that, i was in a hurry and had not tripod or level. but nevertheless, we can see there is barrel distortion and some vignetting. pretty typical for a 10x zoom. not great, not bad imo.

100%crop from center
http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/a...l5mmcenter.jpg
good detail

100% crop from top right
http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/a...l5mmcorner.jpg
noticeably softer and some vignette, but not bad for 100% crop from a 10x zoom.


now 17mm, which is kind of a random inbetween point. P mode, ISO 100, f5.3

resize
http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/a...17mmresize.jpg
looks pretty good, no real issues here

center 100%
http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/a...17mmcenter.jpg
no surprises here. looks good.

top right corner 100%
http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/a...17mmcorner.jpg
some corner softness again, but not bad

now full zoom (50mm) P mode iso100 f5.6

resize
http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/a...50mmresize.jpg
looks good, not much pincushion.

center 100%
http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/a...50mmcenter.jpg
looks good

top right corner 100%
http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/a...ll50mmedge.jpg
again, some corner softness, but not bad for 100%.

Overall, nothing really surprised me here. good center sharpness, and I expected some corner sharpness and vignetting on a 10x superzoom. I also expected some barrel distortion at the widest angle, and there was some, but not bad at all really, seen worse from much more expensive cameras. the pincushion at tele was well controlled.

1 extra picture taken as I walked home using DR Mode 800% Iso 200 14mm f5.2

resize (unedited)
http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/a...o200resize.jpg

center crop
http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/a...o200center.jpg

thanks for looking. and keep in mind these are still first impressions and ARE NOT WELL CONTROLLED TESTS..... yet :)

Mark1616 Jan 3, 2010 7:31 PM

Congrats on the new camera and it looks like it is a capable beast in the right hands. I look forward to seeing how things progress as you play more.

mtclimber Jan 3, 2010 10:14 PM

Nicely done, Hards-

The Fuji F-70EXR is an impressive camera considering it price and features.

Sarah Joyce

Hards80 Jan 4, 2010 9:21 PM

thanks to you both.

(edited to add some brief tests today)

Hards80 Jan 6, 2010 5:11 PM

had to run over to the main campus today to pick up a letter. so took the opportunity to grab a few snapshots while I was there.

EXR DR Mode 800%

http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/a...s80/WashU1.jpg

http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/a...s80/WashU2.jpg

http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/a...s80/WashU3.jpg

thanks for viewing.

maryintexas39 Jan 6, 2010 6:46 PM

Gorgeous photos!

mtclimber Jan 6, 2010 7:01 PM

Thanks, Hards-

...for some really excellent photos. The B&W shots seem to fit the subjects perfectly.

Sarah Joyce

Hards80 Jan 6, 2010 7:04 PM

Thank you Mary and Thank you Sarah.

I am really enjoying this little camera as a day-to-day carry. I would not have had these images had I not had such a pocketable camera I could throw in my coat.

And it worked well in these harsh lighting conditions.

Mark1616 Jan 6, 2010 7:13 PM

Dustin, I'm really glad that you are enjoying your new camera and you are putting it to good use!

I would find it very interesting (assuming you have time) is to capture a shot in a normal non EXR mode at the same time as the more advanced settings so we can see the real world gains. I'm sure there are many and I find this whole series very interesting but you know me, I always want more.

:)

I really love the feel of the B&W ones, the clarity and range is great!!

Hards80 Jan 6, 2010 7:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mark1616 (Post 1036275)
Dustin, I'm really glad that you are enjoying your new camera and you are putting it to good use!

I would find it very interesting (assuming you have time) is to capture a shot in a normal non EXR mode at the same time as the more advanced settings so we can see the real world gains. I'm sure there are many and I find this whole series very interesting but you know me, I always want more.

:)

I really love the feel of the B&W ones, the clarity and range is great!!

thanks mark

I have a more thorough comparison planned. I just haven't had the time, nor has the weather cooperated. I will compare many of the modes, so our members can get an idea of what the EXR DR features give them, as well as how the 5mp compares to full resolution, etc.

:)

Mark1616 Jan 6, 2010 7:32 PM

Fantastic, I'm looking forward to that.... however I don't need another camera so please don't make it look too good ;)

gjtoth Jan 13, 2010 12:39 PM

I was impressed enough by these shots to do a little investigating and pricing since I wanted a pocket camera.

It should be here Friday.

Hards80 Jan 13, 2010 1:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gjtoth (Post 1039035)
I was impressed enough by these shots to do a little investigating and pricing since I wanted a pocket camera.

It should be here Friday.

congratulations Gary. Looking forward to your impressions.

Be sure to set your camera up properly, it makes a huge difference. I use the settings proposed in Kim Letkeman's blog as a starting point. You can make changes to the ISO and dynamic range as your photography demands.
http://kimletkeman.blogspot.com/2009...t-it-mkii.html

Hards80 Jan 14, 2010 4:23 PM

i posted these in the Photo Critiques, but reposting here in case people want some more examples of what this camera can do and don't really check that forum. more real world examples with post-processing than test images. i still want to fully test this camera, but my schedule and the weather have not cooperated.

without further adieu

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4051/...bee78241_o.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2734/...22bb768b_o.jpg

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4024/...9ac11588_o.jpg

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4053/...d651dfae_o.jpg

gjtoth Jan 14, 2010 4:38 PM

These are REALLY nice!

Mine gets here tomorrow and I'm all antsy. :D

Dezden Jan 26, 2010 9:24 PM

Just joined to say thank you!! I have been having major troubles with my F70EXR that I got for Christmas... wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too much noise. I'm used to my old Kodak EasyShare Z612 in auto mode and pictures being great. (Well, I don't know if great is the word, but they almost always looked good... not grainy, good color for the most part. I'm not really a pro with cameras, but I guess I consider myself to be a little bit better than the average bear.) I think it's because I've just been trying the auto mode (with some tiny adjustments). I've messed with some settings after reading your post(s), and I can't wait to test them out soon. Thanks for so much!

Hards80 Jan 26, 2010 9:40 PM

i hope the new settings work out for you. i know that i am very happy with the results i get with it set up as described.

if you have any other issues/questions about either the f70 specifically or anything photography related, there are many people here willing to help.

Netman Feb 2, 2010 10:00 AM

Wow great post. I am going to try out these settings. I got my wife a F70 for her birthday in October. She used it a few times has been sitting in the box since. She felt her Fuji F31 worked better. Now since it was broken over the weekend i will try this out. I really want to like this camera. I love the size and build quality. Also have been a big fan of fuji for years as we have owned several.

Hards80 Feb 2, 2010 1:10 PM

Netman,

I continue to enjoy this little Fuji. It is a camera that requires proper setup. If she was shooting in auto mode or autoexr mode then i am not surprised its sitting in the box, this camera's auto mode does not take advantage of its' strengths. once you get your P and EXR modes properly setup, it produces excellent images with great dynamic range.

mono Feb 5, 2010 7:28 AM

I received this camera as a Christmas gift and replacement for my F20 (which my hubby is now using as his walkaround camera). Initially, I was a bit confused by the multitude of modes that are available, but a four day trip to Dubai last month gave me the opportunity to get to know it better.

Burj Khalifa,(formerly known as the Burj Dubai (This shot was taken from a moving tour bus.)
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...DSCF0457_2.jpg

The Address Hotel at the Dubai Mall
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...smDSCF0537.jpg

Looking across Dubai Creek
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...smDSCF0309.jpg

Burj Al Arab (the world's only 7 star hotel)
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...smDSCF0371.jpg

mtclimber Feb 5, 2010 9:11 AM

Mono-

Very nice photos. Very you are very correct, the Fuji F-70EXR does require a "getting used to it" learning curve.

Sarah Joyce

Hards80 Feb 5, 2010 9:59 AM

nice photos mono, these look great

mono Feb 5, 2010 10:26 AM

Thanks for the nice comments, guys. I was so relieved when I started to get results that I was happy with.

Eetu Mar 10, 2010 3:35 AM

Congrats here, too, on your camera... I for one am very interested in the Fugifilm EXR... I would buy one, too... for a compact camera. Your photos are all very good... amazing what the camera can do... thanks for highlighting it. The last photo of the corridor is really nice.

Eetu Mar 10, 2010 3:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mono (Post 1048461)
I received this camera as a Christmas gift and replacement for my F20 (which my hubby is now using as his walkaround camera). Initially, I was a bit confused by the multitude of modes that are available, but a four day trip to Dubai last month gave me the opportunity to get to know it better.

Burj Khalifa,(formerly known as the Burj Dubai (This shot was taken from a moving tour bus.)


The Address Hotel at the Dubai Mall


Looking across Dubai Creek


Burj Al Arab (the world's only 7 star hotel)

Wow, absolutely beautiful buildings and pictures.

Hards80 Mar 13, 2010 4:06 PM

A Few More
 
Recently had an impromptu visit to the zoo over my lunch break with friends. And since this trip was unexpected, I did not have my DSLR kit, so it was a perfect time to shoot a few with the F70EXR.

These 2 shots were taken at ISO 1600 in very very dark conditions, inside a penguin cave thing. they are cropped and given a light unsharp mask, but no noise reduction given at all.



http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/a...0/Penguin1.jpg

http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/a...0/Penguin2.jpg


1 more at nearly full tele. ISO 400.

http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/a...ds80/Bear1.jpg

Eetu Mar 13, 2010 4:11 PM

1600?? Well, you have NOTHING to worry about with neat camera. Beautiful shots! Hope to see more from this camera. Well done and congrats again. Ned

gjtoth Mar 13, 2010 4:11 PM

For sure, it's an impressive little camera, Dustin, as shown by your images here. But, for some reason, I just can't bring myself to LIKE it. I don't know why. It performs well, it's small, relatively quick, compact, has good zoom but, I just can't bring myself to like it. Weird, eh?

Hards80 Mar 13, 2010 4:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Eetu (Post 1064906)
1600?? Well, you have NOTHING to worry about with neat camera. Beautiful shots! Hope to see more from this camera. Well done and congrats again. Ned

Thanks Ned, when set-up properly, it is a great performer. particularly in low light or in high contrast scenes. thats when the exr pays off.


Quote:

Originally Posted by gjtoth (Post 1064907)
For sure, it's an impressive little camera, Dustin, as shown by your images here. But, for some reason, I just can't bring myself to LIKE it. I don't know why. It performs well, it's small, relatively quick, compact, has good zoom but, I just can't bring myself to like it. Weird, eh?

hey Gary, not weird, we all have our own likes and dislikes. nothing wrong with that.

arena Mar 14, 2010 6:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hards80 (Post 1064910)
Thanks Ned, when set-up properly, it is a great performer. particularly in low light or in high contrast scenes. thats when the exr pays off.




hey Gary, not weird, we all have our own likes and dislikes. nothing wrong with that.

Hi Every Body, Dustin

I am going to buy a F70 for a friend and I know he likes a point and shoot camera. as I understood basically F70 isn't a suitable camera for beginner. any way please let me know how picture quality is in P mode and 200 iso compare to ZS3 and SX200IS.

in pro focus mode the picture is so noisy isn't there any way to reduce iso setting to avoid of this problem? reference
http://www.steves-digicams.com/camera-reviews/fujifilm/finepix-f70exr/sample-photos-21.html

I read some where:
"I wanted to see how the images looked when using the high sensitivity / low noise EXR mode. I was also interested in seeing if you could get the same result by just downsizing the high resolution image in Photoshop. By downsizing the photos in Photoshop from 10 to 5 Megapixel, you actually get better results than shooting in the high sensitivity / low noise mode. Basically, the EXR mode just saves you the need to downsize the images manually, with just a slight decrease in image quality."

Are u agree that?

Does DR mode work well? I couldn't see any different in DR of samples here!
http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/fuji/finepix_f70exr-assets/DSCF9159.JPG

http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/fuji/finepix_f70exr-assets/DSCF9162.JPG

Bottom line do suggest this camera with some adjustments (I read your recommendations in former posts) to the beginners?

Thanks.

Arena

Hards80 Mar 14, 2010 12:15 PM

Arena,

Let me first address your question regarding Photoshop downsizing versus the EXR DR mode. The EXR method is actually quite superior to simply resizing a photo in photoshop. when using photoshop you still only have the original sensor data from the single exposure. The EXR method can be thought of more as a pixel-fusion rather than a simple pixel-binning. This is because it is for lack of better words taking 2 exposures at the same time with different pixel sets and combing them. That is a very simplistic explanation, the true mechanics behind it are quite complicated. But the EXR DR mode does increase dynamic range and is superior than anything photoshop downsizing algorithms can do.

Ok, now let me address Pro-Focus mode. I don't use it, ever. If you want shallow dof, there is really no substitute for a large sensor dslr. But if you want to fake it with a point and shoot, blurring the background later in photoshop works better than this mode.

The trick to this camera is to never shoot in full 10mp resolution, as that negates the EXR mode. If you shooting in 10mp resolution, then it actually loses sharpness and resolving power because of heavy noise reduction at all ISO's.

The problem I have with recommending the F70EXR to beginners is that a beginner wants to put their camera in 1 mode and forget it. There is no single mode for the F70EXR that works in all conditions. Furthermore, a beginner will not know to set the F70EXR to M or 5mp mode, and in 10mp mode the F70 is not a good camera.

Therefore, for a beginner, something like the ZS3,Sx200, or some of the other superzoom compacts are usually a better choice.

However, for those that are willing to work a little bit and have at least a rudimentary understanding of the camera, the F70EXR outperforms these cameras when the light gets low, or when their is high dynamic range present in the scene.

I will be posting an updated settings for the F70EXR in a separate post.

-Dustin

arena Mar 15, 2010 9:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hards80 (Post 1065233)
Arena,

Let me first address your question regarding Photoshop downsizing versus the EXR DR mode. The EXR method is actually quite superior to simply resizing a photo in photoshop. when using photoshop you still only have the original sensor data from the single exposure. The EXR method can be thought of more as a pixel-fusion rather than a simple pixel-binning. This is because it is for lack of better words taking 2 exposures at the same time with different pixel sets and combing them. That is a very simplistic explanation, the true mechanics behind it are quite complicated. But the EXR DR mode does increase dynamic range and is superior than anything photoshop downsizing algorithms can do.

Ok, now let me address Pro-Focus mode. I don't use it, ever. If you want shallow dof, there is really no substitute for a large sensor dslr. But if you want to fake it with a point and shoot, blurring the background later in photoshop works better than this mode.

The trick to this camera is to never shoot in full 10mp resolution, as that negates the EXR mode. If you shooting in 10mp resolution, then it actually loses sharpness and resolving power because of heavy noise reduction at all ISO's.

The problem I have with recommending the F70EXR to beginners is that a beginner wants to put their camera in 1 mode and forget it. There is no single mode for the F70EXR that works in all conditions. Furthermore, a beginner will not know to set the F70EXR to M or 5mp mode, and in 10mp mode the F70 is not a good camera.

Therefore, for a beginner, something like the ZS3,Sx200, or some of the other superzoom compacts are usually a better choice.

However, for those that are willing to work a little bit and have at least a rudimentary understanding of the camera, the F70EXR outperforms these cameras when the light gets low, or when their is high dynamic range present in the scene.

I will be posting an updated settings for the F70EXR in a separate post.

-Dustin

Thank you very much Dustin

Eetu Mar 15, 2010 10:18 AM

arena and Dustin, sure hope you guys keep posting pictures with this camera... I could use a camera like this some day in the future, still need to get the dslr first... but I would like to see more of this neat camera in action. Many thanks. Ned

archish Mar 22, 2010 10:15 AM

any night shots. I am looking forward to getting this cam or the newer F80EXR. The camera looks tempting but havent found any good reviews anywhere till now :(
Thinking whether to go for this or a Canon A3XXX series cam. I am a Fuji s5100 owner for the past 7 years and the night shots arent worth taking on that cam :P

Hards80 Mar 22, 2010 11:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by archish (Post 1068748)
any night shots. I am looking forward to getting this cam or the newer F80EXR. The camera looks tempting but havent found any good reviews anywhere till now :(
Thinking whether to go for this or a Canon A3XXX series cam. I am a Fuji s5100 owner for the past 7 years and the night shots arent worth taking on that cam :P

night shots aren't worth taking with any p&s camera.

some do a more reasonable approximation of good than others. if you use the medium mode of these EXR camera's they can do pretty ok. canon's s90 does better. most others do ALOT worse.

archish Mar 22, 2010 11:30 AM

i was under the impression that in M mode the camera was best in night and DR lighting. So I assume its good or comparable to Canon P&S in low lighting/night mode and a little better in DR lighting?

Hards80 Mar 22, 2010 11:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by archish (Post 1068781)
i was under the impression that in M mode the camera was best in night and DR lighting. So I assume its good or comparable to Canon P&S in low lighting/night mode and a little better in DR lighting?

the 5mp or medium file size is better in every condition. the camera will not use the EXR sensor mode in full 10mp size.

and yes, it will do better than most canon p&s models in low light. except for the Canon S90, which is currently the best p&s in low light.

mono Mar 31, 2010 10:56 AM

Here are pictures taken earlier this month with my F72 EXR during a gig at the o2 Academy in Glasgow using the SN (high iso, low noise) mode. As I was at the rear of a large pit most shots were taken at full zoom.

1.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...SCF0897WTK.jpg

2.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...F0918WTK_1.jpg

3.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...SCF0928YM6.jpg

4.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...SCF0978YM6.jpg

5. (Cropped)
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...SCF0981YM6.jpg

6.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...SCF0991YM6.jpg

7. (Cropped)
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...SCF0993YM6.jpg

8.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...SCF1008YM6.jpg


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