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Old Mar 13, 2006, 7:49 AM   #1
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Okey, so I previously considered which model to get in this thread:
http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=87

After extensive consideration (including Sony T9 and Fujifilm V10 as competitors) my final choice is going to be between Fuji F30 and Panasonic FX01.

Here's the specs comparison:
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/comp...1&show=all

And here's one of the first reviews of Panasonic FX01:
http://www.megapixel.net/reviews/pan...1/fx01-gen.php

What kind of camera I need? Well the two key criteria are
1) Good low-light performance
2) Ultracompact size
The two not-so-important criteria are:
1) OIS
2) The camera comes in black

I would use the cam as point 'n' shooter in bars, nightclubs, parties and such. I'd shoot photos in low light conditions about 85% of the time. I would NOT print the photos but would show them to my friends in the Net or from my computer screen. I would take the camera with me every time I'd go out with my friends and I'd keep it either inside my inner breast pocket of my jacket or in my jacket pocket. Because I would dance in clubs with the camera I wouldn't put it inside my jeans pocket.

So what about these two models? Fujifilm has a rep of producing cams that perform outstandingly in low light situations and their F-series (F10/F11/F30) has gained the respect of even the most pro photographers because of the low noise levels in the pics in high ISO levels. Actually, these F-serie-cams seem to be just about perfect. BUT... they lack three features I'd prefer. They do not come in black although I can live with the silver style. They do not have OIS but is that so important since they perform great anyway. And they are not exactly ultracompacts... Now this is the one BUT that is tough for me to accept. They are not huge compacts like Canon's Powershot A -series but they are not exactly ultracompact either. This is a concer for me since I'd take the cam to parties and such and I'd have stylish and comfortable clothes on and a bulky cam would feel ankward in my pocket. Also I'd be dancing with the cam inside my inner breast pocket or whatever and if I have a big cam inside my pocket swining when I move it'd feel not so great. On the other hand, F30 is not that big...

Panasonic FX01 is an ultracompact... easily. It has OIS and it does come in black. It also has a wide-angle screen which could be cool since I own a widescreen laptop and TV so pics or movies taken with FX01 in widescreen could be cool to look at throuch my equipment. I even like the style of FX01. BUT... unfortunately Panasonic has a rep of being a "noise-king" and based on the review of FX01 (link) FX01 hasn't improved much on FX9. Yes, noise doesn't matter to me that much since I wouldn't print the pics and since for example in the Net the pics have to be packed in 100kt size (although the ones I'd keep inside my computer I'd keep in their original size). But still I want a camera that has quality and so I don't want a camera that is stylish and is great in paper but that is noisy and produces not so great pics. Also, FX9-owners told me that FX9 is not that good in low light situations, and I don't think this has changed in FX01. On the other hand, FX9 was a multiple test-winner and the noise-factor was just about the only problem with that cam.

So what would you do if you were me? I have to make a choice between a camera that has truly excellent low light performance but which is a tad too big for me (or perhaps I just think it is too big for me actually it's not) or a camera that has truly the ultracompact size, is stylish, has OIS, comes in black, has a wide-angle lens... but which is only mediocre to okey in low light situations.

Help me! Please! And remember that I do not have an opportunity to demo these cams, I have to order one of them blindly via the Net.

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Old Mar 13, 2006, 7:52 PM   #2
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I purchased the FX01 a couple of days ago from Best Buy without demo'ing based upon the spec's recognizing I have a 14-day return policy (with a 15% haircut if returned).* Having now put the camera through a lot of different uses, my conclusion is: (1) phenomenal video capability for a digital camera, esp an ultra-compact.* the widescreen movies are fantastic, smooth, a very little noise/artifacts for a digital camera, (2) daytime bright light shots are very nice, with very little noise and only slight distortion on the 28mm equiv. setting.* not a sharp and crisp as my Canon S500 though when making direct photo comparisons., (3) and this is the kicker for you, I'm not impressed at all with practical low-light situations.* A TON of noise with shots where subjects are not close when using flash, and not great exposure balance from subject to background.* The "high sensitivity" mode is not usable unless you're going to reduce the output for small web photos or very small prints as the resolution collapses. I did get the occasional nice shot w/out flash, but had to have no movement with the subject of the photos.* So..... can't say I'd recommend it given your stated usage.* I'm probably going to end up returning it given that my existing camera outperforms it in some key areas, but boy would I ever miss that AMAZING widescreen movie mode!!If you look at my posts (or search FX01), you can see some movies and photos I posted for additional examples.The other camera I'm excited about is the F30 Fuji as well, and I'm receiving the V10 tomorrow from Amazon and will give it a try (if it does low light well, could be a great solution for you as it's even smaller than the F30)
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Old Mar 14, 2006, 5:52 AM   #3
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Thank you so much for this post, silverlight. I really appreciate this and you certainly gave me something to think about. I too would dig the widescreen movies and FX01 is stylish and very small, but at the end of the day I have make my decisions based on shooting conditions and, if you indeed think that FX01 is not such a good low-light performer, it may not be a good camera for shooting in nightclubs or parties 85-90% of the time.

I certainly would like to hear your opinions more and would appreciate you giving your take on Fuji V10 as well. BTW, I believe dcresource.com is reviewing V10 quite soon, so that can give me and you something to think about.

Oh, and I have asked this sama question on other forums and most people have said that I should take FX01 saying that "at the end of the day the noise level isn't that big and the ones that say it is are just too picky" and "while F30 is the hands-down winner in performance the only real choice for me is FX01 since I was looking for a pocketable camera". Well, I do agree that size should be a deciding criterium but I don't want to make the mistake of assuming that F30 is just way too big for me and taking FX01 in which I'd be dissappointed because of the noise level and because of the mediocre low light performance.

I guess I win some and I lose some with either of the cams. With FX01 I get the black style, the ultracompact size, the widescreen mode (since my laptop and my TV are 16:9) and OIS but I also get noise and poor low light performance. With F30 I get a kinda stylish camera (no black though) with awesome performance and a good lcd screen (Fuji has more pixels in its lcd than Panasonic) but I also get what may be a not so pocketable size. V10 might be a good compromise but again: it's a compromise which doesn't mean that it has best of both worlds (or best of FX01 and F30).

Anyway, thanks again silverlight and I'd really appreciate it if you shared your thoughts with me if you come up something of interest to me. Cheers!


silverlight wrote:
Quote:
I purchased the FX01 a couple of days ago from Best Buy without demo'ing based upon the spec's recognizing I have a 14-day return policy (with a 15% haircut if returned). Having now put the camera through a lot of different uses, my conclusion is: (1) phenomenal video capability for a digital camera, esp an ultra-compact. the widescreen movies are fantastic, smooth, a very little noise/artifacts for a digital camera, (2) daytime bright light shots are very nice, with very little noise and only slight distortion on the 28mm equiv. setting. not a sharp and crisp as my Canon S500 though when making direct photo comparisons., (3) and this is the kicker for you, I'm not impressed at all with practical low-light situations. A TON of noise with shots where subjects are not close when using flash, and not great exposure balance from subject to background. The "high sensitivity" mode is not usable unless you're going to reduce the output for small web photos or very small prints as the resolution collapses. I did get the occasional nice shot w/out flash, but had to have no movement with the subject of the photos. So..... can't say I'd recommend it given your stated usage. I'm probably going to end up returning it given that my existing camera outperforms it in some key areas, but boy would I ever miss that AMAZING widescreen movie mode!!If you look at my posts (or search FX01), you can see some movies and photos I posted for additional examples.The other camera I'm excited about is the F30 Fuji as well, and I'm receiving the V10 tomorrow from Amazon and will give it a try (if it does low light well, could be a great solution for you as it's even smaller than the F30)
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Old Mar 14, 2006, 5:43 PM   #4
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Okay, here's my less-than-expert (caveat) point of view on the new Fuji V10, which I received today. got a chance to take photos while the sun was still out and did a few indoor low-light shots (although would need to have waited a few more hours to get "night club" dark in our apt). Bottom line, the photos are meaningfully more grainy/noisy than the FX01 and I definitely prefer the images generated by the FX01, esp daytime, bright light, medium lighting situations (as well as of course the 28mm capability). The movie mode with the Fuji, while very comparable to other 640x480 movie modes I've viewed on this website's review samples, doesn't even touch the quality of the FX01 in my view. The audio recording is better, but the video is full of noise/grain and doesn't pass my "bar" of required quality to use as an everyday source for video, not to mention my fascination with the widescreen movie capability of the FX01. The V10 is a very sexy/stylish, and small. The LCD on the back at 3" is HUGE, however, it is quite strange that all of the viewing on it looks very grainy, unlike the razor sharp viewing on the FX01's LCD. It's as though they took the same output for a 1.5 to 2" LCD and just magnified it for display on the 3" (with all the artifacts and noise, and jerkiness you'd expect as a result). I've already packaged up the V10 for return tomorrow, and am not planning to spend more time with it. I suspect the F30 will be much better, but was a little surprised (on the downside) on this one...
All in all, far more bullish on the FX01 after seeing the Fuji in action on a comparative basis. Perhaps with a little practice I could get better evening photo performance on the FX01...
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Old Mar 14, 2006, 7:54 PM   #5
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For low level lighting, the Fuji-30, although somewhat and ever so slightly larger than the Panasonic FX01 is the best choice.

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Old Mar 14, 2006, 10:32 PM   #6
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have you looked at the fuji z1/z2? the z2 is the upgrade to the z1 and is not generally sold in the u.s. comes in red, black and silver, i think.* the z2 goes up to iso 1600, but is generally pretty noisy at that level. on the other hand, iso 800 pics can look quite nice. there are sample pics from both cams available at pbase.just as an aside, if you're talking about photographing people dancing and moving around with a cam like this, and not using flash, not sure even the f30 will get you the top quality you may want: hopefully some of the reviews will help answer that question.
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Old Mar 15, 2006, 8:04 AM   #7
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Thank you silverlight for your take on Fuji V10. I had my doubts and now that you tested it and did not like it, I have no doubts that V10 is not the camera for me. Moreover, I even like the style of F30 more than the style of V10.

About Fuji Z1/Z2, both are available where I live but I think both are just a little too "weak" cameras for me. Okey, they produce tolerable images at high ISO levels when compared to other ultra-ultraportables, but I bet just about anyone here would pick Sonyt T9 over Fuji Z2. Furthermore, I've read that the picture quality of Z2 is not very good at all. So while Z2 has that great size and does come in black, it just doesn't deliver enough in the performance area. And also, if silverlight didn't like V10 which is a newer and (perhaps) better camera than Z2, then why on earth should I consider Z2.

Okey, so my choice is still between FX01 and F30. First of all, I would ONLY shoot people who aren't moving or are moving just a little bit (having a conversation or whatever). Let's just say that 10 pics out of a thousand would be pics in which people are dancing or moving rapidly. Secondly, I understand that my texts make me seem like the type of guy who is looking for a pro camera with pro photo quality. Don't get me wrong, I do want good photo quality but not at the expense of the physical size of the camera. Right now, I assume that F30 is the biggest camera I can live with and at the same time it offers the best performace. The real question here is that which would be more annoying: feeling a bit of ankwardness due to F30's size or feeling a bit unhappy because of the mediocre low light performance of FX01.

Also, there's also the fact that while FX01 can already be pre-ordered where I live and should appear in stores within a month or two, F30 may not appear in stores until summer.

Right now, I gotta say that I feel more strongly about F30 than about FX01. Maybe it's because F30's design is kinda cool, maybe it's because I still don't think of Panasonic as a REAL camare-manufacturer and maybe it's because I fear I might be making the wrong assumption that F30 is too big for me. Well I will have to try and locate F10 or F11 in my area and test their feel inside my pocket. I think that's the deal-breaker. If F10/F11 feels comfortable inside my pocket then I will choose F30 but if not (if the cam feels heavy or like there's a brick inside my pocket) I will choose and pre-order FX01 in black.
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Old Mar 15, 2006, 9:47 AM   #8
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It's funny, but since I've preferred the quality and sharpness of my Canon, I can't help but wonder about giving the new Canon SD700 IS a try, which is coming out in a month with all the other new models.* May not fit your needs, but I think I may hold out to give it a try along with the F30.* In the meantime, I've decided to go ahead and get a miniDV to for movies rather than try to do it all with a camera, so that allows me to focus on the most important elements for the camera...good luck with the search!*
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Old Mar 15, 2006, 12:23 PM   #9
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silverlight,

How about posting some of those noisy/grainy V10 pics, so the rest of us can take a look at them?

Thanks.

the Hun
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Old Mar 15, 2006, 3:08 PM   #10
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unfortunately I already cleared the memory card and packed it away with the camera, so my apologies for not having some of them to post for you guys.* I was getting "fatigue" from trying out 3 different cameras and not finding what I was ideally looking for (with what I thought were reasonable expectations), and because this one had the least appealing images to me I dismissed it pretty quickly.* I'll make sure to post pictures of the next one I try if it doesn't have review samples up.* take care
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