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Old Sep 9, 2006, 6:26 AM   #1
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I'm buying my first digital camera in November and need a little bit of your help. For months I wrestled with the Panasonics and the Sonys figuring out which cute and small little camera I should buy that'd work great in parties, concerts and in nightlife in general. When I first heard the news that F30 was coming I was excited but then I found out that the size of that cam wasn't exactly that ultracompact. I kept trying to decide between Pana FX07/FX50 and Sony T10/T30 but then I made a decision: I'm going with Fuji because while the size of the F-series might not be really ultracompact and it might not have bells and whistles like OIS or 28mm lens F30 is the smallest camera that works well in my shooting environment.

Then I noticed this:
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/comp...0&show=all

My first thoght was: Oh great, Fuji went and made a cheap replica of F30. But then people started saying that F20 is really a great camera and that I should really consider it. At first I thought they ment that I should consider it because it's like a hundred bucks cheaper... Then I understood that many people like that cam because it is a tad smaller (a little wider but a little less thick) and because it has less manual control (a feature which would work for me since I really just want to point and shoot). Fuji lowered the max ISO to ISO2000 which again isn't bad since who really uses ISO3200 all the time.

However, it isn't all good. The battery life has taken a hit: now only 350 pics compared to F30's 500. The flash has taken a hit (although I'm not sure about that) although I think most people don't use flash with this cam. In my opinion, the most serious hit took the lcd: 153,000 pixels compared to F30's 230,000. This is really serious in my opinion because I value a good lcd and everybody seemed to love F30's lcd saying that it's really great and so visible in low light. Having 153,000 pixels inside doesn't make the lcd of F20 terrible but it certainly makes you ask yourself: why would I buy a stripper down version of F30?

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/comp...0&show=all

I really have my mind set on buying Fuji F30 but if F20 is really more for me and F30 is really for those who want to adjust settings and such then I might consider it. Luckily I don't have to stress about the Panas and Sonys anymore as both are expensive, noisy and no match in low light against the Fujis.

Share your thoughts! Please!
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Old Sep 9, 2006, 1:35 PM   #2
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Welcome back! First of all, I'd like to repeat something I said to you, back in April:

"At this point, I think you're in danger of getting stuck in endless decision mode. There will always be a potentially better camera in the pipeline. If you wait to check each one out, you could still be debating the merits of your favorite candidates three years from now."

I know you've taken a beating about some of your preference points in another forum on another site, and that's unfortunate. You certainly have every right to base your decision on whatever factors are important to you. And if some of those factors are a bit contradictory, there's nothing unusual about that; most of us are trying to find a balance between certain features and size, for instance.

In this case, the F20 will save you some money, and some of that saving could be to your advantage. I mean, to some extent the F20 is cheaper because it lacks features that you don't care about: aperture and shutter priority.

But it's also cheaper because it lacks one feature that you do care about: the larger LCD. This is not a trivial or superficial difference. The F20's LCD is 2/3 the resolution of the F30's.

In the past, I think you have stated that one of the one of the primary uses of your photos will be viewing them and showing them to your friends on the LCD. If this is still true, I would expect the higher-res LCD to be worth the difference in price to you.

Of course, it's ALL relative! If the size difference, slight though it is, is enough to make you more comfortable carrying the F20, then it would be a better camera for you. Every one of these decisions is a compromise between conflicting ideals. You are the only person who can decide what's right for you.

But the important thing is to go ahead! Flip a coin, if necessary! Just pick one or the other and get started. Taking pictures is a lot more ejoyable and rewarding than agonizing over which camera to buy!

Please do plan on the added expense of a soft case that will protect the camera from dust in your pocket. My F10 picked up some dust spots on the sensor in about six months, and this seems to be a common occurrence with some Fuji models.
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Old Sep 9, 2006, 3:20 PM   #3
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Wow, I guess I have asked a lot of the same questions when people here remember me. :-) Anyway, I know I have been stuck for a while thinking which model would be great for me. On the other, I clearly see that it has paid of since had I bought a camera in last spring or before that the low light performance would have probably been a dissappointment to me. But then came Fuji F30 and I believe it was worth the wait.

Two things are definate: I am buying a cam in the beginning of November come rain or shine, and I am buying a Fuji. The reason why I hesitate a little now is that people make it seem as F20 is better for a pure P&S like myself and F30 is more for those who want to adjust their camera all the time. However, I think F30 is better looking, the battery life is better and while the F30 is slightly thicker than F20 F20 is still too big to be worn inside jeans' pocket. And I do think that the lcd-issue is really important.

Here's why I got the bad response in another forum: I made the mistake of saying that because F20 is marketed as "affordable" it must mean that it isn't necessarily the best camera. And while there are lots of exceptions I'm sorry but if a product is priced at the bottom of the price range then in most cases that product may not be that great. However, F20 may just be an exception because people have loved the image quality. But in things like the low-res lcd the "affordable" aspect shows.

Anyway, I've decided on buying Fuji F30. I realized that within 4-6 months I have to buy a cell phone and nowadays they can have 3MP cams. So I will have a really pocketable cam in my cell phone and a really good almost really pocketable camera in F30. I still have that fear that maybe F20 might be more for me due to it being a bit more automatic but on the other hand the low-res lcd is a BIG negative.

I do want to thank you for helping me and also for your patience. Cheers! =)
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Old Sep 9, 2006, 5:12 PM   #4
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If budget isn't that great of a concern, then it's probably worth it to go for the F30. Even if you don't plan to use those manual controls and other additional features, it might be nice at some point to have them available. For example, if you ever wanted to experiment with long exposures, you would have the ability to go to 15 seconds with the F30.

There also seems to be no real size difference, as the F20 is listed as 1mm thinner and 1mm longer; in inches they're listed with the same dimensions (rounded to the nearest tenth of an inch). I carry the F30 in my jeans pocket all the time; while there are smaller, I do consider it small enought to call an ultracompact. It works fine in auto mode (and I'm not experiencing anything like the problems outdoors suggested by the dpreview review, either). And if this is going to be your only camera, you will probably also appreciate the long battery life and better LCD.

So while the F20 is promising for those for whom budget is a major factor, especially if they only want a point and shoot, there's no reason you shouldn't get the F30 if you want the larger screen and 500+ shot battery.


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Old Sep 9, 2006, 5:16 PM   #5
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I think the F30 will be fine for you. It certainly won't force you to use the less than fully automatic modes.

Since you've made your choice, the following is irrelevant for your purposes, but I think it's worth adding for the benefit of others reading this thread:

I don't think there is any reason to avoid a bottom-of-the-line camera, if it does what you want. The price point of these cameras is determined by their manufacturing costs, which largely boils down to the "features" built into each one. There is no reason to think that the build quality improves as the price tag increases, at least as long as you stay within a single range of products.

We aren't talking about the difference between a professional SLR and a consumer model, there. In that case, the difference in price is substantial, and it should translate into tighter tolerances and better quality control.

The difference between the F20 and the F30 is a very different matter, and I would not expect one to be more durable than the other.
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Old Sep 9, 2006, 6:17 PM   #6
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Thank you both, Robb and kenbalbari, for insightful replies. I feel more and more confident in buying the F30 each moment.

Robb, I do want to comment a little on that last bit you wrote. I agree with your thoughts. However, I've always been of the opinion that cheap cameras (and I'd say in the ultracompact range cameras below 225 dollars are cheap) can be considered great but that depends on the photographer. Take my friend: he bought a cheap Casio ultracompact that he uses mostly in night life. And he couldn't be happier with it. Why? Because he doesn't care that much if the pics have noise or if they are blurry or whatever. He just wants a small camera that he can use to capture the events of the night and in the next weekend he opens up a beer, sits in front of his computer and watches the pics, and the only thing that is important is that there aren't any major defects (that he can tell who is in the picture).

Then there are people like me for example who have taken their time to research things because they want a bit more out of the camera. They want a camera that suits their more specific needs like in my case, low light shooting. And it is then that the price goes up and you kinda have to pick a camera that costs around 250-550 dollars. Some people like wide pics and Pana has the 28mm lens, Fuji's great in low light, Sony has that T-series for people who want OIS and other stuff in a small designer-package and so on. So my point is that if you exaggerate a bit then the cheaper models are for good to great for those who just want a camera and don't really care about the finer points of photography. And the higher the price goes the more specific needs the camera is for (as I said, I exaggerate a bit here).

Although I must say that right now Fuji F20 may just be the best bang for buck camera there is.
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