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Fujifilm FinePix F7 review: Fujifilm FinePix F7

The photo quality at the camera's full 10-megapixel resolution is good, but typical of a compact megazoom: slightly soft with a noticeable dip in quality at ISO 400. Things get grainier above that, but detail is still OK at ISO 800 for small prints. Fortunately, the 5-megapixel EXR mode shots are better.

Using the lower-resolution EXR modes not only allows for improved dynamic range, but some of the best handheld low-light shooting you'll find from a compact megazoom. Yes, there is plenty of visible noise and Fujifilm's noise suppression looks painterly, but there are few--if any--sub-$200 cameras that can take a very low-light handheld picture and have it be usable. You probably wouldn't want to print them at full size, but at 4x6 inches they're good and certainly suitable for Web sharing. Unfortunately, if you use the Auto ISO setting, it loves to go high even when it doesn't need to, possibly resulting in unnecessarily grainy/noisy photos. If you know you're going to need to take advantage of the High ISO & Low Noise EXR option, select it and limit the Auto to ISO 800, which can't be done in the Auto EXR mode.

The F70EXR has some barrel distortion on the left side at the widest lens position. Zoom all the way out and you get a nearly unnoticeable amount of pincushion distortion. If there's one thing that really ruins the F70EXR for me, it's the amount of purple fringing created by the lens.

Though not technically accurate, the colors produced by the F70EXR are quite nice and natural. If you like your colors a little more vivid, like most compact cameras, an option is available to punch things up. The auto white balance seemed a little warm indoors and a little cool outside, so you'll want to take advantage of the manual setting for better results. The dynamic range is pretty much the best you'll find on a camera this size, except for maybe the F200EXR.

While it has some very good photo results compared to other compact megazoom cameras, the Fujifilm FinePix F70EXR is still a bit of a letdown against its linemate, the F200EXR. It's still one of the better cameras in its class with a lot of shooting flexibility and reasonably reliable auto features; though it's best if you take a little control away from the camera. You'll also have to overlook that the resolution of two of the three EXR modes are 5 megapixels. But, considering how low the price is, I'm sure there are plenty of people who can deal with its few limitations.

Shooting speed (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Time to first shot  
Typical shot-to-shot time  
Shutter lag (dim)  
Shutter lag (typical)  
Kodak EasyShare Z915
Fujifilm FinePix F70EXR
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H20
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS1
Canon PowerShot SX120 IS

Typical continuous-shooting speed (in frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

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