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Old Feb 12, 2010, 3:21 AM   #1
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Default The goalposts have moved.... best replacement for Fuji F30?

OK, so I'm still waiting on all the PMA announcements before I decide what to get myself (see other post)..... but I've now discovered that my wife also wants to replace our ageing Fuji F30 compact!

This is good, because the "compact" decision could impact what I do about my "proper" camera. If you've read my other post(s), you'll know that I'm looking at a smaller outfit than my old Canon 40D, and am leaning towards micro-4/3rds so that I can still enjoy shallow depth of field, and will be checking out the GF1 and E-PL1 (and probably a baby-DSLR or two as well) shortly.

Anyway, back to the compact!! My wife absolutely loves the F30 because, as she puts it, of it's "low light" capability. I would never argue with her anyway, but she is right here - it feels snappy to use indoors, doesn't resort to flash in a hurry and has great higher-ISO output. The result? Very nice snaps of our 2 children playing indoors or out. It feels pretty nice too, quite chunky and sturdy too.... it has been dropped a couple of times, and is only now starting to complain a few years down the line.

We tried out an F200EXR last year, but returned it as my wife was disappointed in the results compared to the F30. Again, I couldn't argue - taking the 'same' shots side by side, the metering was totally different with the F200, and it wanted to use flash where the F30 wasn't. The EXR mode, despite all the hype, didn't float my boat, and with it dropping the resolution to 6mp wasn't really offering a gain on the F30, particularly when the images themselves didn't look any better (and many of the tests looked worse). The screen itself didn't look as good when framing or reviewing, with muted colours by comparison - and finally, the F200 didn't seem as 'snappy' as the F30. Whilst 'auto' was un-impressive, doing things manually didn't offer significant improvement, apart from the increased resolution.

So, my experiences leaves me wary of trying an F70EXR (or waiting for the F80), and I'm not sure what the best options are to look at.

The main search criteria here is excellent indoor performance - especially for pics of the kids. Ideally, similar 'compact' proportions to the F30 would be good, and it needs to feel snappy. Tall order?

My gut feeling is that either the Canon S90 or Lumix LX3 would be the 'best' choices considering their f/2 lenses, with perhaps the LX3 edging on image quality? However, whilst there's no definitive budget, I'd prefer to spend less than the cost of these two models. We could get more features - HD video, long zoom (8x or more) - with other Panasonic models like the ZX1 (ZR1), but these kind of cameras tend to start at f/3.3 which isn't very wide by comparison, and doesn't set things off well for the tricky indoor kids stuff.....

Help again folks please!! Please ignore the fact that I will probably opt for a more capable mini-DSLR/micro-4/3rds setup for myself - the compact needs to be a performer too.... Do you agree with the S90/LX3? What less expensive compact(s) would you suggest we look at.....?
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Old Mar 25, 2010, 3:28 PM   #2
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I'm bumping Mr. Mac as I have the exact same question!
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Old Mar 25, 2010, 3:59 PM   #3
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Mrmacmusic went with a m4/3 camera, a panasonic GH1
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Old Mar 25, 2010, 5:11 PM   #4
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If you were disappointed in the F200EXR's low-light ability, then you would be abysmally disappointed by the F70EXR.

I think the S90 and LX3 are both excellent choices. Personally, Panasonic's white balance issues keep me from buying one but a lot of people aren't bothered by it or don't even see it. If the S90 had a longer zoom, it would undoubtedly be my next pocket cam.

With the Fujis out, I don't really know what else would do well in low-light in the class below the S90/LX3. In my search for a pocket cam with 10x zoom I was considering these: Sony HX5V, Samsung HZ35, Canon SX200, Panasonic ZS3/ZS7 and the Ricoh CX3.

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Old Mar 25, 2010, 5:22 PM   #5
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My Fuji F30 was stolen several years ago and I have found no compact camera since that comes close to the ease of use and high ISO of the F30. I settled for the F50, but it is not near as good. Fuji, please reissue the F30!
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Old Mar 26, 2010, 7:22 AM   #6
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Default Still searching...

Quote:
Originally Posted by shoturtle View Post
Mrmacmusic went with a m4/3 camera, a panasonic GH1
I did indeed, but that was for me! The little F30 soldiers on as our second camera - my wife is the primary Fuji user - but it does still need replaced.

We tried an F70 (technically an F72, Jessops exclusive) and returned that also - its' indoors point-and-shoot performance wasn't anywhere near the F30. Yes, I know that tweaking and not relying on the camera to make all the decisions can improve the results, but that's not what we want in the compact.....

Unfortunately, it seems that there is no 2010 equivalent to the F30. That's the price of 'progress' I guess, and ever increasing features, pixel counts and other such market-led development.

Since the turn of the year, we had been relying on the F30 but since I've got the GH1 now, despite the F30 limping along, its' not so critical that it gets replaced right now. I am interested to see now whether or not we get a much smaller m4/3 camera (most likely from Olympus), or what the long-rumored Panasonic LX4 will bring to the table.

More interesting would be seeing what the big boys could come up with if they were to make a 'new' F30/F31 with a lower pixel count (8mp), larger sensor (m4/3?), decent intelligent flash and high-ISO capabilities..... it might just turn out to be another game-changer!
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Old Mar 26, 2010, 6:51 PM   #7
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Well olympus is working on an even more entry level m4/3 then the epl-1. So you should see that by the end of the year.
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Old Apr 6, 2010, 12:45 PM   #8
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My experience has been with the F20, graduated (is that the right word) to the Panasonic FZ28S (terrific camera and huge digital zoom without much pixelating), and now I have the new Fuji HS10 without digital zoom and am amazed what a difference. Low light is great, zoom shots are clear, even handheld, and the HD video is super. But, keep in mind that this is a bridge camera, not a DSLR which will take better pictures, and not an HD video camcorder which probably will take better video. But Post processing is a wonderful thing. Even some bad pics can be "fixed".
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Old Apr 23, 2010, 5:28 PM   #9
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I just bought a new f30 brand new in a box from an elecrical store! not sure weather to use it because I bought a panasonic lumix or to sell it because I don't have the underwater houseing. It is the best camera ever!
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Old Jul 4, 2010, 10:18 AM   #10
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It's very interesting to hear that other people are also searching for a F30 replacement. Mine is still going strong and I love it's low light performance. I have been using it alongside a Lumix TZ3, which is great in the sun but quite useless in lower light levels.

It would be nice to replace them both with an all-rounder but I'd agree that this doen't yet exist! I'm waiting for the next round of m4/3 cameras but in the mean time has anyone tried the Canon IS 210 or S90?
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