Cameras

Fujifilm FinePix V10 Digital Camera Review

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Testing / Performance

Color* (8.96)

*This Fujifilm digital camera uses a Real Photo image processor, just like the highly acclaimed FinePix F10. However, the F10 performed well in other areas instead of color, so we headed into the color testing with some apprehension. Because the camera doesn’t have a manual white balance mode, we tested it in both the auto and incandescent modes. The incandescent results were best, so those are the ones we have reported.

We tested the V10’s colors by snapping shots of the GretagMacbeth color chart, which is used by many imaging companies for standardization. The chart consists of 24 tiles, each a different color. We run the V10’s pictures of the chart through Imatest imaging software, which quantitatively compares the V10’s colors with those on the original chart. The chart below is modified by the software to show the original GretagMacbeth colors in the inner vertical rectangles, the V10’s colors in the outer square of each tile, and the ideal tones corrected for luminance, in the inner square.

For those readers who prefer a more linear illustration of the color variance, this next chart shows the ideal colors as squares and depicts the Fujifilm V10’s produced colors as circles. The line linking the two shapes represents the color error. The longer the line, the more inaccurate the camera’s production of that particular tone. Ideally, these shapes should be stacked on one another – but it’s extremely rare for a compact digital camera to reproduce every color exactly as it appears.

Indeed, the Fujifilm FinePix V10 doesn’t stack its circles atop the squares but comes quite close. With an 8.96 overall color score, the V10 clearly surpasses the F10’s 6.68 score. The Fujifilm FinePix V10 ended up with a mean color error of 5.2, which is also a huge improvement upon the F10’s 7.44 score. Colors in the V10 were over-saturated by 11.3 percent, which isn’t bad at all for a compact – just enough to make colors sparkle. All in all, the Fujifilm FinePix V10 pleasantly surprised us with lovely, natural colors.

**Still Life **

Below is a shot of our majestic still life scene, captured with the Fujifilm FinePix V10.



*Click on the image above to view the full resolution file. *

**Resolution / Sharpness ***(3.6)

*The new V10 is often compared to the older Fujifilm FinePix F10 because they incorporate some of the same technology. Both cameras have the same 5th generation sensor technology – although the sensors themselves are different in size. The old F10 had a larger 1/1.7-inch Super CCD with 6.1 megapixels, while the new V10 carries a 1/2.5-inch Super CCD with 5.1 megapixels. Last year’s F10 produced some incredible resolution results, especially for a compact model.

We tested the Fujifilm V10 by taking several exposures of the ISO 12233 resolution chart, which is another industry standard chart. We uploaded the images into Imatest, which output results in terms of line widths per picture height (lw/ph). This is a theoretical measurement of how many alternating black and white lines could fit in the frame horizontally and vertically without blurring together.



*Click on the resolution chart to view the full resolution image. *

The image above was the sharpest we captured with the FinePix V10. It was shot at a focal length of 17.6 mm, an aperture of f/4.9 and a shutter speed of 1/40th of a second at the ISO 64 setting. Horizontally, the V10 resolved 1644 lw/ph and over-sharpened by 13.9 percent. Vertically, it over-sharpened by 15.8 percent and read 1539 lw/ph. This is far more detail than many of its compact competitors with slightly less in-camera sharpening imposed. For example, the slim Kodak EasyShare V530 advertises 5.1 megapixels on a 1/2.5-inch sensor, but only garnered 1225 lw/ph horizontally and 763.7 lw/ph vertically. While the Fuji V10 has fantastic resolution compared to its thin competitors, it still can’t replace a higher-end digital camera. For example, the 5.1 megapixel Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H1 has the same sized sensor but read 1723 lw/ph horizontally and 1835 lw/ph vertically.

**Noise – Auto ISO ***(2.29)

*The Fuji V10’s performance in the automatic ISO setting is a concern. We tested the camera in optimal lighting, but unfortunately, its in-camera meter chose a much higher ISO than needed. With bulbs emitting about 3000 lux of light in our test, the V10 automatically selected ISO 640. This metering problem caused the noise levels to jump in the test, giving the camera an overall auto ISO noise score of 2.29.

Noise – Manual ISO* (11.09)

*True to its FinePix roots, the V10 performed much, much better when the ISO was manually selected. The compact digital camera offers manual settings from 64-1600, which is a nice wide range. This allows users to set the ISO 64 option in optimal lighting so the auto mode won’t pick out higher ISO settings and produce more noise in shots. We tested the noise levels at each of the manual ISO settings and created a graph that shows the noise on the vertical axis and the ISO ratings on the horizontal axis.

The noise remains quite low with little jumps from 200 to 400 and 800 to 1600. The highest ISO available, 1600, still produces usable pictures – which can’t be said of every compact digital camera. Many slim models produce more noise at the ISO 400 setting than the Fujifilm FinePix V10 does at ISO 1600.

To determine the V10’s overall score, we entered the individual ISO setting results into a regression analysis. The overall manual ISO noise score is 11.09, which is almost as good as the F10’s 11.42 result. With the difference in performance, it would be absurd to leave the ISO set to auto. When the ISO is manually set, noise can be easily managed to accommodate a range of lighting situations and print sizes.

**Low Light ***(6.0)

*With ISO sensitivities extending to 1600, the V10 is designed to handle available light shooting indoors and perform well in low light situations. It has a Natural Light mode that uses high ISOs and relatively quick shutter speeds while disabling the flash. It also has a Natural Light & With Flash mode, which extends that first mode into a pseudo-burst that takes two shots quickly – one with and the other without the flash.

We tested the V10’s ability to record in low light by capturing several exposures of the GretagMacbeth color chart in decreasing light levels. The first was taken at 60 lux, which is roughly the amount of light from two soft lamps in a living room. The next shot is at 30 lux, which is equivalent to a single 40-watt bulb. The third shot is captured at 15 lux, which is quite dark. At 5 lux, users probably won’t be able to see too much beyond the camera. Still, the latter two shots are taken to catch a glimpse of how the sensor and processor work in extremely low light.

The V10 was tested using both the Manual and Night modes. In the Manual mode, the camera’s shutter wouldn’t close slower than 1/4 of a second, so the image was unusable at 5 lux. This is true even with the highest ISO 1600 setting. The Night mode’s shutter speeds slowed down quite a bit. Once again, the metering system was a bit strange and automatically chose an ISO 200 setting in minimal illumination. The graph below shows more noise in the Manual mode that uses the higher ISO – as expected - than the longer exposures with the lower ISO. The noise levels show up on the vertical axis and the shutter speeds appear on the horizontal axis. The blue line shows the results from the Manual mode and the red line shows the Night scene mode.

While the V10 performed well in the Night scene mode, the white balance could not be selected in that mode. Thus, inaccurate colors will likely result.

Overall, the FinePix V10’s low light performance was fair. It unfortunately did not quite live up to Fujifilm’s marketing, but this had more to do with the camera’s lack of a customizable white balance setting than an inability to record in low light. The manufacturer claims that its digital cameras do so well at the higher ISO sensitivities that its cameras don’t need image stabilization systems, which are becoming increasingly common on point-and-shoot cameras this year. While users can bump the ISO up a stop or two or three and get faster shutter speeds and effectively minimize blur from camera shake, they will also have to accept the additional noise that comes with the amplified signal. This is the design concept behind the V10’s Natural Light mode.

While other digital cameras that include optical image stabilization systems claim about a 3-stop shutter speed advantage, the V10 can keep pace in that aspect. Unfortunately the optical image stabilization included on many competing models can keep pictures from blurring with less noise. However, the V10 would likely have an edge in low light situations if it only offered a manual white balance setting. As it stands, the V10 will provide well-exposed images in low light without the flash, but users will have to bring the image into a software application and do some major color corrections post-capture.

Dynamic Range* (7.0)

*The Fujifilm FinePix V10 has an ISO range of nearly 5 stops, which is unusual among small compact cameras. Dynamic range, the ability to capture detail and surface texture in both bright and dim subject matter in the same image, is typically limited in digital cameras. Small sensors like the one in the V10 often have particularly limited dynamic range, especially at higher ISOs.

We test cameras' dynamic range by photographing a Stouffer step chart, which is a calibrated target with a range of light and dark patches. We run the images through Imatest software, which measures how well the camera captures each patch. Imatest measures dynamic range at a number of quality levels. High quality measures the number of stops of range shown with less than 1/10 of a stop of noise. Low quality measures the number of stops of range with less than 1 stop of noise.

As the chart above shows, the V10 maintained about 6.5 stops of High quality range from ISO 64 to 200, dropping about a stop each at ISO 400 and 800, and less than a stop from 800 to 1600. At Low quality, the V10 dropped about half a stop with each step of ISO, with the exception of the step from 400 to 800, where it didn't drop, and from 800 to 1600, where it lost a full stop.

Fujifilm V10 Dynamic Range - ISO 64

Fujifilm V10 Dynamic Range - ISO 400

Fujifilm V10 Dynamic Range - ISO 1600*

The Imatest results are for comparison with other cameras only – it's unlikely that users will achieve these levels of dynamic range in normal shooting.

Though the V10 performs better at low ISOs than high ones, it does well at high ISOs compared to other cameras. Fujifilm's efforts to improve high-ISO performance have paid off as measured by dynamic range.

**Speed / Timing

***Start-up to First Shot (8.13)

*The V10 took 1.87 seconds to power on and take its first image in our timing tests. This result is pretty good for a compact camera with a telescoping lens. 1.87 seconds can be an awfully long time when one is trying to catch a fleeting moment, though, so we suggest turning the V10 on before a photo opportunity arises.

*Shot to Shot Time (9.13)

*The V10 has three burst modes: Top 3 takes the first three images in quick succession. In our test, it shot the three images in 0.87 seconds, for a rate of 3.4 frames per second. The Final 3 burst mode records images at the same rate, but only saves the last three images. 40 frames mode records images at the rate of 1.05 frames per second. We ran out of memory card space after 9 shots, but it is supposed to run for up to 40 shots.

*Shutter to Shot Time (8.03)

*Perhaps the most frustrating thing about compact digital cameras in general is the lag between pressing the shutter and actually capturing the shot. The limiting factor is usually the focusing mechanism. The V10 compares pretty well with its competition: it got off shots about 0.15 seconds after we pressed the shutter. That's not good enough for hockey or other high-speed action, but it should be suitable for candid pictures at parties.

Physical Tour

**Front ***(7.5)

*The Fujifilm FinePix V10 shows off its square profile from the front, where its surfaces are flat except for a folded corner at the top left. That corner has the self-timer lamp on it. The FinePix logo graces the left side of the camera, while the Fujifilm logo sits in the top right corner of the front. Rounding out the logos is the Super CCD label in the bottom right corner. Between the Fujifilm and Super CCD logos on the right side is the 3.4x zoom lens, which is labeled as such. Its stats are located around the rim – "1:2.8-5.5" – and beneath the actual glass window – "Fujinon lens, f=6.3-21.6mm." To the bottom left of the extending lens barrel are two holes that serve as the microphone. Above the left side of the lens is the built-in flash, which is thick and rectangular. The Fujifilm V10 has a gunmetal face plate on the front that is highlighted by the chrome outer frame and lens rim.

Back* (8.25)

*Perhaps borrowing the design from modern flat-screen televisions, the back of the V10 is all screen with hardly any room for control buttons. The buttons look nice and organized because they are all lined up horizontally and, for the most part, have the same shape and size. The button at the left edge enters the playback mode, while the one directly to its right brightens the LCD as a viewfinder and deletes pictures in the playback mode. The three central buttons make up this camera’s multi-selector. There is a rectangular central button that scrolls up and down and also activates the self-timer. This toggle button is surrounded by two buttons to scroll right and left. Next to the button on the left is a flower icon to represent the macro mode (entered when the button is pressed in a recording mode). There is a flash icon next to the right button, which switches flash modes. There are two buttons on the right side; these are oval-shaped like the two buttons on the left side. The Disp/Back button is on the right edge and the Menu/OK button is directly to its left. The buttons are the same silver color as the rest of the back’s frame; they are hardly noticeable near the enormous 3-inch LCD screen.

Left Side* (7.5)

*The left side of the Fujifilm FinePix V10 shows its trim and flat profile. At the bottom is a small, pinky fingernail-sized rubber cover that hides the DC in jack.

Right Side* (7.5)

*The right side is much more exciting than the left. A chrome band folds around the top and just below the center of this side. At the top of the chrome band is the mode switch that moves from the movie mode position at the top to still image shooting at the bottom. Below this feature is the wrist strap eyelet. Below the chrome band is another small rubber cover for the USB / A/V jack.

**Top ***(7.5)

*The top of the FinePix V10 has a chrome band that starts on the left side and continues across the top until it folds over onto the right side. The FinePix V10 logo appears on the left side of the band. To its right, almost in the center of the camera, is Fuji’s ‘F’ Photo mode button. To its right is the oval-shaped power button, and the shutter release button sits on the right edge of the top. The polished shutter release is surrounded by a zoom switch.

Bottom* (7.0)

*The battery compartment door sits on the left side of the bottom. This door must be pushed in while sliding to the left to open it. The battery and xD-Picture card are stored in this slim space. To the right of this is the quarter-inch tripod mount, which is directly below the lens. Just right of the mount is the built-in speaker.

Components

Viewfinder*(0.0)

*Increasing numbers of compact digital cameras are including larger screens; 3 inches is where most max out. The Fujifilm FinePix V10 has one of these large 3-inch LCD screens and it’s beautiful. Fuji opts for this rather than an optical viewfinder, which is just fine. The big screen has 230,000 pixels so it has a smooth, crisp view. It also has a 100 percent accurate view, which can’t be said of many optical viewfinders. Also, users can see a real-time view of the exposure. For instance, when the central auto focus mode is selected and pointed at a dark subject, the rest of the image looks blown out. Then the lights look dim when a white subject is framed. The Disp/Back button cycles through a host of viewing options: grid lines and auto focus brackets with shooting information (image size, compression, ISO, battery power, pictures remaining and mode), a smaller view without information but with the three previous captured images on the left side, the auto focus brackets and shooting information without the grid lines and an unadulterated view free of distractions. The view can be seen outdoors, particularly when the gain up button is pressed (this is the button with the trash can and the sun on it). When the screen brightens, an indicator blinks onscreen to remind users that this function is in use. It should be used sparingly because it’s such a drain on the battery.

LCD Screen*(8.75)

*Liquid crystal displays are getting larger, and the V10’s 3-inch inch low-temperature polysilicon TFT monitor is one of the largest on the market. The screen literally takes up the entire back of the camera. There is no room for an optical viewfinder at all, so that feature was omitted. There is hardly any room for the buttons either, but Fuji managed to squeeze them all below the big screen. The V10’s LCD has an anti-glare coating and a gain-up button to the left of the multi-selector. This button brightens the LCD considerably and makes it easier to view in bright

V10-LCD-250.jpg
sunlight. If users have a little more time or want only a little adjustment, the Fuji V10 has a brightness adjustment in the setup menu that offers +/- 5 options. With a wide viewing angle, users can still see the onscreen image when the camera is rotated left to right. However, the screen solarizes almost instantly when angled vertically. If users try an over-the-head shot, it will have to be a shot in the dark – literally.

The 3-inch LCD has 230,000 pixels of resolution, so the view is fairly smooth. After a picture is taken, the screen blacks out for almost a half second. That doesn’t seem too long on paper, but seems like an eternity when shooting a moving subject. Because the Fuji V10’s battery isn’t very good, there is a screen-saving function to save power. The LCD Power Save mode can be turned on or off; this dims the screen after a few seconds of inactivity. All in all, the V10’s LCD monitor is big and beautiful and is functional as a viewfinder, playback screen, and gaming monitor.

Flash*(7.5)

*The Fujifilm FinePix V10 has a bright built-in flash that is quite powerful for its small stature. Many slim models have flashes that can only reach 8-9 feet at best. The V10’s can reach from 1-14.4 ft. in wide and 2-7.5 ft. in telephoto. The flash looks fairly even except for the left edge of the frame, which is a little darker than the rest. The flash mode can be selected with the right button of the multi-selector. It cycles through the following options: Off, Slow Synchro, Red-eye Reduction and Slow Synchro, Auto, Red-eye Reduction and On. Some cameras have the red-eye reduction modes hidden within menus, so it is nice that all of the modes are grouped together where they should be. The red-eye reduction modes send out one distinct flash and then a set of quick flashes before the picture is captured. This worked well in testing; most of the portraits I took were well exposed and faces weren’t blown out. Overall, the flash is impressive for this style of digital camera.

Zoom Lens*(7.25)

*The only protrusion on the Fuji V10 is the Fujinon 3.4x zoom lens. It measures 6.3-21.6mm, which is the equivalent to 38-130mm in the more traditional 35mm format. The lens moves within its three extended segments via the control toggle that surrounds the shutter release button. The toggle itself has a tiny nub on the front that can be pushed right and left, but it’s rather slippery and uncomfortable. When users can tackle the toggle enough to push it one way or another, a horizontal bar appears at the top of the LCD screen. A small square moves within the bar to show approximately where users are within the total range. The only problem with this is that there aren’t any other visual cues to indicate the amount of zoom used. Most digital cameras show the focal length being used or the amount of zoom (eg. 1.6x).

Still, to its credit, the V10’s toggle has more stops in it than most. Many point-and-shoot digital cameras have about 6 stops in a 3x zoom range, while the V10 has nine focal lengths within range. The zoom is sensitive to fine adjustments. There is a tiny bit of barrel distortion that can barely be seen in the wide end of the lens; there is some distortion at the telephoto end, but it is even less noticeable. The Fujinon lens has a tiny amount of motor noise, but isn’t nearly as audible as the F10’s lens. The Fujifilm V10 has a two-step aperture that is f/2.8 at the widest focal length, which is nice for low light shooting. Refrain from zooming in too much in low light, though, because the aperture shrinks to f/5.5 in telephoto. The Fuji V10 has a macro mode that can be activated with the left side of the multi-selector. The specs claim it is effective as close as 1 cm from the lens, but the camera had trouble focusing closer than about 4 inches in practice.

Design / Layout

Model Design / Appearance* (8.5)

*The FinePix V10 has a more distinctive look than most Fujifilm digital cameras. Most of this is because of the large 3-inch LCD screen that hogs the back of the camera and squishes the controls to the bottom. The V10’s shape is distinctive as well; instead of the traditional rectangular look of most digital cameras, it is much closer to a square. The body comes in two colors: orange and gun-metal. The Fuji V10 has a durable plastic frame with a front metal panel and a back metal panel encasing the LCD screen. Both models have chrome highlights that frame the front face plate and rear LCD monitor. The V10 is one of the most attractive digital cameras that Fujifilm offers.

Size / Portability* (7.0)

*The Fuji V10 is extremely compact and portable. The V10’s square shape makes it a tight fit in a shirt pocket, but a great fit for pants pockets. It is certainly thin enough to pocket for on a night out. This FinePix measures only 3.3 x 2.5 x 0.9 inches but weighs more than one would think. Its heft isn’t going to hurt anybody, but it is just enough to feel like a substantial piece of imaging equipment. It weighs 5.5 ounces and has a wrist strap that can be attached to the right side.

Handling Ability*(7.0)

*The Fujifilm FinePix V10 is completely flat when the power is off; only the lens protrudes when on. This design is optimized for portability – not for comfortable handling. There is no right-hand grip, but the FinePix logo on the front is textured and acts as a pseudo finger grip. There are no dents or rubber surfaces to grip fingers in other places; the right thumb actually rests on the right side of the LCD screen, leaving a spot of fingerprints. When the thumb isn’t greasing up the screen, it will be wandering along the bottom edge of the camera where the buttons are located. The buttons are difficult to manipulate unless two hands are used to steady the camera. The V10 itself is quite balanced otherwise; even the extending lens doesn’t throw it off. The Fuji V10 was made for a quick picture here and there – not for a lengthy photo shoot. Its handling reflects that idea.

Control Button / Dial Positioning / Size*(5.5)

*Almost all of the V10’s control buttons are placed on a narrow strip of real estate at the bottom of the back side. This departs from traditional digital camera design that normally places the buttons on the right side of the back. Having the buttons on the bottom looks more organized but requires two hands to control – somewhat like a handheld gaming device (perhaps that’s what Fuji is going for).

However, the layout has its disadvantages. The two-handed design means squashing two thumbs into a relatively small space. It also makes changing modes and settings a little more complicated. In the center of the bottom is the navigational control, which consists of a central toggle that moves up and down and two buttons on either side to scroll left and right. The central toggle has a little finger lip, but its movement is so stiff and small that it’s hard to control.

All of the buttons on the bottom are small and somewhat close together; this could be a problem for some but shouldn’t hinder the average user. The tiny switch on the right side of the camera that flips from the still image modes to the movie mode is so small that it requires a fingernail and some prying to move.

The Fujifilm FinePix V10’s power button is recessed into the camera body so it won’t be accidentally turned on in a bag or pocket, and the shutter release is domed and smooth, which is nice and comfortable. The zoom switch surrounding it has a tiny lump on the front for the finger to grab and turn, but the lump is so small that it’s hard. The switch doesn’t move very far in either direction either, so it is rather uncomfortable for the index finger.

In general, the buttons seem cramped into tiny places to make room for the huge screen. They’re also plastic and the zoom button feels like it could break off easily. This model would be better off with a touch screen that didn’t require any buttons at all.

**

Menu ***(7.0)

*The menus on the Fujifilm FinePix V10, accessed via a designated button that is well labeled, have their pros and cons. The menus are organized into numerical tabs on the left side of the screen. Some cameras have such a setup but label the tabs with helpful icons. It isn’t quite clear how the options are divided between the tabs on the V10. All of the menus have a gray background and the options are expressed in either icons or text – not both. The smattering of text is all in capital letters, which isn’t very readable. The selected option is highlighted with a different color that can be customized to be blue, purple, pink, orange, green or black. The recording menu changes when the mode is changed, so the following is the most complete available – the "Manual" menu.  

 

 There are live views of the exposure compensation and white balance, which is a plus. However, to change the shooting mode, users must push the Menu/OK button to enter the submenu, scroll to the desired mode then press the Menu/OK button again to select that particular mode. This action selects the mode just fine, but leaves users out of the menu system altogether. So if users want to switch from the auto mode to the manual mode to change the white balance, they will have to enter the menu once to switch modes and again to switch the white balance setting. This inconvenience occurs often in the menu system because there is no "back" function. There is a Disp/Back button, but it exits the system too! Other shooting options are located in the ‘F’ Photo mode that can be accessed from any mode with the button atop the camera.

V10-FMenu-FinalAnimation.gif
 

 There is a live view of the color modes, but not of the ISO sensitivities. The following is the setup menu, which is available from every mode on the V10.

 

 The setup menu above has three pages with numerical tabs at the left side. The playback mode menu below is considerably shorter with only two tabs.

 

 Surprisingly, the games are located at the bottom of the first page of the playback menu. This is quite buried for being the hallmark feature of the V10. With all the marketing hype that the games got ("Fujifilm FinePix V10: Changing the Game"), it was almost expected that they’d have their own position on the mode switch or at least be easier to find. The buried position of the games won’t bother many users though, as some people will play the games less often than they will attach a voice memo or use the DPOF print ordering system. The Fuji V10’s menus aren’t as easy and streamlined as they could be. The numerical system isn’t very intuitive and without a ‘back’ function, users are constantly entering and re-entering the menus to change settings.

Ease of Use* (7.0)

*The Fujifilm FinePix V10 is as easy or as involved as users want it to be. Well, maybe not as involved; its manual mode isn’t really manual. Still, if users want a simple shooting experience, they need only enter the auto mode. The Fuji V10 is easy to use in this mode, but if users want to switch modes and settings constantly, ease of use goes out the door. The menus are organized into non-intuitive numerical tabs and users may have to enter the menu system two or three times to change the desired settings. The ‘F’ Photo mode button does make things a little easier. It groups the most commonly changed settings – image size, color mode and ISO sensitivity – into a single-paged menu. This button also works as the DPOF Print button in the playback mode, which makes ordering photos a breeze.

Modes

Auto Mode* (6.5)

*The auto mode can be activated within the menu system. It isn’t difficult to find, but it sure isn’t as easy as flipping a switch on the camera to a big red icon. Once activated, some of the options disappear from the recording menu – like the exposure compensation and white balance. However, the high-speed and continuous shooting options are still available. Surprisingly, the ISO selection is still available too. Some digital cameras that offer ISO choices in auto at least default back to the automatic ISO setting when the Auto mode is initially chosen. This is not the case with the Fuji V10, though; the ISO setting remains the same as when it was previously set. So when using the auto mode, users must remember to set the ISO properly. Setting the ISO could be an annoyance for consumers who just want to point and shoot the camera. This is an odd inclusion since the lack of EV compensation makes the exposure entirely automatic.

Movie Mode*(7.0)

*Searching the recording menu for the movie mode will prove fruitless. There is a movie mode, though. It can be accessed on the V10’s right side, where the tiniest of switches moves up to activate it (the bottom position accesses all still image shooting modes). The switch is so small that it can easily be forgotten. Once movie mode is selected, the recording menu shrinks to include only the portal to the setup menu. The ‘F’ button accesses the size options only: 640 x 480 and 320 x 240 – both at 30 frames per second.

The movie mode worked quite well. The focus worked well except when subjects were closer than about three feet. Some digital cameras will focus in and out constantly in adverse lighting, but the V10 stayed strong and kept its focus. We suspect that the metering in the movie mode defaults to an average of the entire frame, because backlit subjects turned into dark shadows. In good conditions, though, the Fuji V10 did just fine. There is no optical or digital zoom available, which is a little disappointing as many new models are including it. The V10 can’t be used to shoot a Sundance film, but would be great for shooting your Baby’s first steps or clips of their first ballet recital. The recorded audio is monaural, but still clear and of a decent quality.

Drive / Burst Mode* (6.5)

*

V10-BurstMode-FinalAnimation.gif
Somewhat surprisingly, the burst mode is accessible in every shooting mode – even the auto and night modes that sometimes block access to it in other models. There are two options for the burst mode. The high-speed shooting mode offers on and off options. This function simply changes the time required to focus. The true burst mode is called the Continuous shooting mode and offers four options: Top 3, Final 3, 40 Frames and Off. The first two modes snap shots at a 2 frame-per-second pace. They only do this for a measly three frames though, which may be enough to snap a shot of the foot kicking the ball but not enough to get a shot of the ball going into the goal. For longer bursts, users must resort to the 40 Frames mode. This mode starts out at about 1.3 frames a second for a brief 2-3 shots, then slows to its normal pace of about 0.9 fps. This is considerably slower than its other burst modes, but keeps going for much, much longer.

**Playback Mode ***(8.25)

*Users will find themselves in the playback mode often, as it’s fun to view freshly taken photos on the high-resolution 3-inch LCD screen. The Fujifilm FinePix V10’s playback mode organizes photos into a calendar, displays 30 photos on a single screen, and lets users view individual pictures as well. The different ways of viewing the pictures can be cycled through with the Disp/Back button. The calendar mode displays just a few pictures at a time to the right of a list of dates. This is great for organizing a lot of pictures on a big memory card, but is just about useless with the included 16MB card. If users want to see lots of photos at once, a thumbnail view shows 30 images simultaneously. This mode isn’t very functional, however. For instance, users cannot pick and choose photos from this view to be deleted or printed. Users can only scroll through the tiny thumbnails and must enlarge them and view them individually before deleting or adding to the DPOF print order. This setup makes it difficult to delete and print a lot of pictures; it’s either all or nothing.

Pictures viewed individually can be printed, deleted, trimmed and rotated. Basic shooting information appears with each image, but disappears after a few seconds and doesn’t reappear until the picture is freshly scrolled through again. With each photo, users can attach up to 30 seconds of a voice memo. The audio is good and the memo is easy to record with the onscreen instructions. With the big screen, users will want to play slide shows of their images. The slide shows can be played with short and long fades and transitions that are selectable within the Auto Playback menu. With a 3-inch LCD screen, the Fujifilm FinePix V10 is set up to display slide shows with groups of admirers surrounding it.

The video game modes are located at the bottom of the first page of menus in the playback mode; this seems a bit odd for being such a hyped feature. Some people like it buried though, as they won’t be using it often. Four games that somehow incorporate photos are available: Maze, Picture Puzzle, Block Buster and Shooting Game. These are discussed in more detail in the Other Features section of the V10 review.

The playback mode button has a tiny LED next to it to indicate when the camera is in playback mode. The button is a little strange though; it enters the mode but pushing it again does not exit the playback mode. To do so, users must push the shutter release button halfway down.

Custom Image Presets* (7.0)

*The Fuji V10 has six scene modes that are packed in with the other two still image recording modes – manual and auto – in the shooting menu. The options are as follows: Natural Light, Natural Light & With Flash, Portrait, Landscape, Sport and Night. The Natural Light mode uses the higher 800 and 1600 ISO sensitivities and disables the flash for lighting that is more realistic and softer. The Natural Light & With Flash mode uses that same idea, but expands it with a two-shot sequence. The first shot is just like the Natural Light mode and the second shot adds the flash; this is for those indecisive photographers who are always flipping the flash on just in case. When the pictures are being saved, both shots are shown side-by-side on the LCD. There is no auto focus assist beam, so oftentimes these Natural Light shots are slightly fuzzy if taken in dim lighting. The pictures are nicely illuminated, but the fuzziness makes them unsuitable for printing.

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The Portrait mode softens skin tones, the Landscape mode keeps everything in the frame in focus, the Sport mode utilizes the quicker end of the shutter speed range, and the Night scene does just the opposite. Surprisingly, the burst mode is available in all of the scene modes – even the Night scene mode. This availability will be great for users who want naturally lit shots of their kids’ basketball game.

Control Options

**Manual Control Options **

Manual control is just not the Fujifilm FinePix V10’s forte. There aren’t that many manual controls despite the presence of a so-called Manual mode in the shooting mode menu. The image size, color mode and ISO sensitivity can be changed with the ‘F’ Photo mode button. The ISO options are quite extensive for being on a mostly automatic camera: the maximum ISO of 1600 is still a rare find on compact digital cameras. In the "manual" menu, users can change the auto focus and white balance modes, but neither option has plentiful choices. This point-and-shoot digital camera does not allow the shutter speed or apertures to be adjusted manually.

**Focus

***Auto Focus (6.5)

*The V10’s auto focus modes aren’t worth getting excited about. There are only Multi AF and Center AF options. There is no continuous focus option, so this system only operates when the shutter release button is pushed halfway. The Center AF mode shows yellow brackets in the center, while the Multi AF mode’s brackets move around the frame – although not always where they’re wanted. Users cannot manually choose where the camera should focus. The Fujifilm FinePix V10 normally focuses from 2 ft. to infinity, but gets as close as 3.5 inches in macro mode. In the widest focal length in macro, the V10 can focus from 3.5 inches to 2.6 ft. At the telephoto end, the camera can focus from 1.3 - 2.6 ft. The auto focus system does a great job in optimal conditions, but doesn’t work well in low light or in low contrast situations. This is probably because there is no auto focus assist lamp to help out.

*Manual Focus (0.0)

*True to its automatic nature, the Fujifilm V10 does not have a manual focus mode.

Metering* (7.0)

*The V10’s metering mode is connected to its auto focus system, so while there are no designated metering modes, there are Center and Multi AF modes that somewhat do the trick. This FinePix has a 256-zone metering system that averages all of its zones in the Multi AF mode. This works well for evenly lit images, but turns backlit subjects into silhouettes. The Multi AF mode isn’t entirely predictable in terms of where it will focus, so it meters the entire frame. Backlit subjects are better off when the Center AF mode is selected, as the camera meters only from the point within the yellow brackets. Subjects were properly exposed with this mode. In the movie mode, the multi-metering is employed and there is no way change it. Beware of high contrast and backlighting while shooting video.

Exposure* (7.0)

*There is no mode dial to show off the exposure modes; users must have the right side switch moved to the camera icon and press the Menu/OK button to see the selection. The shooting modes include manual, auto and six scene modes. The manual mode still doesn’t give complete control over the shutter speed and aperture, but does let users access the exposure compensation range. It has +/- 2 EV settings in 1/3 steps that offer a live view. There are no histograms on the V10, so users must rely on the live view and their own good judgment to check the exposure.

White Balance*(6.25)

**

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*White balance options are only available from the Manual shooting menu. The following options come complete with live views: Auto, Fine (daylight), Shade, Fluorescent Daylight, Fluorescent Warm White, Fluorescent Cool White and Incandescent. The three fluorescent modes are labeled numerically only, with no explanation to differentiate between the three modes. Users must check the included owner’s manual to see the difference between Fluorescent 1, 2 and 3. It would have been nice to have white balance modes available in the Natural Light scene modes, but users don’t have that choice. Still, the auto mode seems to work pretty well most of the time. It does get a little off-color in low light though. The camera also lacks a manual white balance mode, which would have been a nice touch with those Natural Light modes. As it stands, the high sensitivity options help capture a visible image in low light, but coloration is often off.

ISO*(8.25)

*Despite the lack of an auto focus assist lamp for low light or custom white balance setting, Fujifilm still markets this model as being a good camera for low light shooting – mainly because of its high ISO sensitivities. Sure, this tiny digital camera has more options than most in its category. It has Auto, 64, 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1600 ISO sensitivities. These options are located in the frequently used ‘F’ Photo mode menu, accessed via a dedicated button. No live view is provided. Higher ISO sensitivities bring higher noise output in the picture, but the V10 has the same Super CCD-HR technology that was included in the Fujifilm FinePix F10. The F10 produced extremely low noise and had crystal clear pictures, but it also had a larger CCD. So while the two may have the same image processor, different pairings garner different results. Check the Noise sections in the testing page for more info on how the V10 rates.

Shutter Speed* (0.0)

*The Fujifilm FinePix V10’s shutter speeds cannot be manually adjusted, but they appear on the LCD screen when the shutter release button is pushed halfway down just before the shot. The shutter speeds range from 4 seconds to 1/2000th of a second. The faster speeds are reserved for the Sport mode and the slower speeds for the Landscape and Portrait modes. For being a slim digital camera, the V10 did quite well in automatically selecting proper shutter speeds in the auto mode. It froze most action, but sometimes a swinging hand would be out of focus. Still, it performed well for the most part.

Aperture* (0.0)

*The Fujinon 3.4x zoom lens on the V10 has a two-step aperture system. At the widest focal point, the lens has an f/2.8 aperture and at the most telephoto it has an f/5.5 aperture. The aperture cannot be controlled manually, but the chosen setting does appear on the LCD next to the shutter speed when the shutter release button is pushed. This two-step system is disappointing when most other digital cameras offer more automatic aperture adjustments in closer steps or enable users to adjust it manually.

Image Parameters

Picture Quality / Size Options* (6.0)

*The first Fujifilm V10 we received displayed some odd quality defects on some images. There was some white noise artifacts around the edges of subjects. Their abundance wasn’t dependent on the ISO selected or even the compression setting chosen. However, the second V10 model we looked at did not show the artifacts. We suspect the artifacts were the result of a glitch in the particular model we had and should not be an issue to users.

The V10 has a host of resolutions to choose from – 5MP Fine, 5MP Normal, 3:2, 3MP, 2MP and .03MP. The image sizes can be chosen from the ‘F’ Photo mode button. They are expressed in megapixels, but the options are as follows: 2592 x 1944, 2736 x 1824, 2048 x 1536, 1600 x 1200 and 640 x 480.

Picture Effects Mode*(6.5)

*While some compact cameras offer dozens of digital filters now, the Fujifilm V10 keeps things simple with only three color modes: Standard, Chrome and Black & White. The standard mode is the default of course. The Chrome mode is what is called Vivid on many other digital cameras; colors are saturated. Lips look redder and the grass looks greener. This mode even made my hardwood floors look shiny and clean. There is also a Black & White mode that has great contrast. These options can be found in the FinePix in the color section of the ‘F’ button, and there is a live view when these options are scrolled through. These effects are only available in the recording menu and cannot be added during playback.

Connectivity / Extras

**Connectivity

***Software (7.0)

*The Fujifilm FinePix V10 comes with FinePix Viewer version 5.1 software. It lets users view pictures in three ways: in thumbnails, in a preview mode with an enlarged picture on the top and thumbnails running across the bottom, and a details mode that shows tiny thumbnails on the left with the image size and other info in rows on the right. When an individual picture is selected, options appear on the left side of the screen under the "Image Utilization" heading. Slide shows can be played and e-mails can be sent from here. Photos can be rotated, resized and adjusted. Four sliding bars offer control over contrast, saturation, hue and brightness. Text can be inserted into pictures and the red-eye can be removed. Users can add comments and edit the date. When users are adjusting image parameters, an operation guide appears at the left side of the screen with thorough instructions. In the FinePix Viewer software, there is also a Home Print setting. This remembers the DPOF order from the camera and lets users edit it. This setup makes selecting pictures a lot easier here than doing it within the camera itself. The FinePix Viewer isn’t very elaborate, but offers the bare bones of an editing software program. Also on the included CD-ROM is ImageMixer VCD DVD2 for FinePix, which is a program that makes burning backup CDs easy.  

*Jacks, Ports, Plugs (4.5)

*There are tiny rubber covers on each side of the camera that hide one port each. On the right side is the A/V / USB multi-port. The left side has a DC in jack. Both covers are flimsy and held on by a single fragile rubber tether. There are no finger divots in the rubber, so users must wedge a fingernail between the cover and the metal camera body to access the ports. The A/V out function is NTSC and PAL selectable, so users can view their images on the big screen whether they’re in Europe or North America. The USB mode must be set to DSC or PictBridge within the setup menu; this is an annoyance as some cameras automatically make the selection. The DC in jack will be handy, as the Fuji V10’s battery is charged within the camera body via the power adaptor.

*Direct Print Options (6.5)

*When in playback mode, the ‘F’ button acts as the DPOF print order button. When a picture is selected, the button brings up a menu that lets users choose how many prints to make. Because this menu only works for individual pictures, there isn’t a good way to choose lots of pictures – without selecting them all – for printing. Users must scroll through them one by one.

The Fujifilm FinePix V10 is PictBridge compatible. To connect to a printer, users must select the PictBridge option from the USB Mode setting in the setup menu. Then the USB cable must be connected and the ‘F’ button pressed.

*Battery (5.25)

*The Fujifilm FinePix V10 uses a NP-40 lithium-ion battery that can be charged within the camera body. The V10 comes with a power adaptor to charge it with, but does not come with a wall-mount charger. The camera will have to be tethered to the wall frequently, as it only gets 170 shots per charge. This is a big step down from the older F10, which got 500 shots per charge with its NP-120 battery. The new V10 does have a much larger LCD screen; it darkens after a few seconds to preserve some battery power. In the setup menu, the V10 has another feature to preserve what

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little power it has: the Auto Power Off function turns the camera off after 2 or 5 minutes of inactivity. That function can also be turned off completely so the camera never powers down.

*Memory (3.0)

*Most compact digital cameras are coming with 32 MB of internal memory now, but the V10 doesn’t include any at all. Instead, a skimpy 16MB xD-Picture card is included in the box. This is enough for a measly 6 full-resolution images. So if you’re planning on taking more than 6 pictures or 13 seconds of VGA video, you’d better invest in a larger card.

Other Features* (8.0)

Video Games –* If ever a feature was destined for the "other features" section, this is it. Including video games on a digital camera is an odd move that some will love and others will hate. Purists won’t ever use the video games and find them quite gimmicky. Those trying to endure a long car trip with the kids will appreciate the video games far more. The games are located in the recording menu, but are so incongruously far down on the list that they are hardly there. There are four available: Picture Puzzle, Maze, Block Buster and Shooting Game.

The Picture Puzzle scrambles the picture that was on the screen when the user entered the game mode. Each piece of the puzzle is numbered and users must shift the tiles around to arrive at the original image. This is harder than a Rubik’s cube. I couldn’t even get through this one. The Maze was a little more fun. The first maze was small and had a photo randomly placed in it. The user navigates a chick trying to get back to its mother hen. The chick must get through the maze while avoiding an evil ghost that floats around; the photo is the only safe place where the chick can rest without the ghost crashing into it and ending the game. Once the chick gets to the hen, the mode enters another "phase" and a larger maze appears. The mazes get larger, the ghosts get faster, and more enemies appear.

The Block Buster game consists of a ball that bounces around in the frame, a bunch of blocks that cover a photo, and a smiley face (the user) that must rebound the ball before it goes off the bottom of the frame. The ball must bounce off the face up to the blocks and uncover the entire photo. This game has easy, normal and hard levels; the ball gets faster and faster in this game, so users must have their thumbs on the ready on the right and left scrolling buttons. The Shooting Game has easy, normal and hard levels too. Shooting Game has its pros and cons. The pros are that the user’s space ship is small and lithe and has unlimited ammo via the Menu/OK button. The cons are that it’s hard to shoot all that ammo while weaving in and out of enemy fire with the navigational controls. The other con is that once users are past all the smaller battleships, the mothership comes out at the end and destroys what’s left of you. There’s no way past that one as far as I can see; it sends out ammo and missiles in every direction.

Perhaps the biggest con is that the games aren’t saved. There are no high scores to gloat about and show off. When the game is over, it’s over. That is true not only for Shooting Game, but for all of the games on the V10. This FinePix digital camera certainly isn’t going to put a dent in the video gaming industry, and most users will probably never use these. But as stated, this little feature is invaluable on a long car trip with young kids or an endless wait in the doctor’s office. They’ll spend hours trying to get past that mothership instead of annoying their mother.

*Voice Memo – *If users want to save audio with an image, it is possible to do so from the playback menu. Buried in the second tab of the menu, the voice memo option lets users save up to 30 seconds with each picture.

Overall Impressions

Value*(6.75)

*Value is always determined by the users’ specific needs. If consumers want a digital camera with video games on it, then this is the only one out there. If consumers just want 5.1 megapixels on an easy-to-use camera, there are cheaper options. If the search is for a slim pocket camera, then $349 seems to be the popular price tag for that genre. Many recent models of this size and caliber are retailing at $349, so the Fujifilm FinePix V10 is fairly priced right with the rest of them. While some of the competition offers optical image stabilization at the same price point, the V10 will grant users a nice 3-inch LCD screen and high ISO options.

Comparisons

Fujifilm FinePix F10 –Many people are comparing the V10 to the F10, perhaps for the numerical similarity. However, these FinePix models are quite different. The V10 has 5 megapixels on a 1/2.5-inch CCD and the F10 has 6 megapixels on a much larger 1/1.7-inch CCD. These image sensors are the same type – Super CCD – but not the same size. The older Fujifilm F10 produced incredibly clean images with low noise, great resolution, and hardly any shutter lag. The F10’s body isn’t as attractive as its specs, though. It is quite plain looking with its 1.1-inch thick body constructed of a single sheet of wrapped metal to be more durable. It has a 3x zoom lens that extends from the body and a 2.5-inch LCD screen as well. The screen resolution isn’t nearly as good as the new V10’s. The F10 had only 115,000 pixels, while the V10 doubles that on its 3-inch LCD. The two digital cameras both have wide ISO ranges with a top sensitivity of 1600. The old F10 gets 500 shots per charge with its battery, but the V10 can’t even eke out 200. The Fujifilm FinePix F10 retailed for $399 last year, but can now be found for a hundred dollars less.

[

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Kodak EasyShare V530 –](https://www.reviewed.com/cameras/content/Kodak-EasyShare-V530-Digital-Camera-Review-.htm) When the 5 megapixel V530 was released in July 2005, it retailed for the same price as the V10. Then in November, Kodak lowered the price from $349 to $299. The V530 is much more horizontal than its Fujifilm counterpart. It is still thin and stylish, though; Kodak offers the V530 in black, silver, red and pink. The flat camera has a 2-inch LCD screen, which is much smaller than the V10’s, but it still has the same 230,000 pixel resolution. With a 3x zoom lens, the Kodak digital camera has 20 scene modes, an auto mode and a movie mode. The movie mode has a digital image stabilization system that works along with the optical zoom while recording VGA or QVGA video. Unfortunately, there is also a green light that shines continuously in the movie mode. The Kodak V530 has some other unfortunate drawbacks: it produced poor color and resolution scores and cast an awful orange light in dimly lit photos. Still, the Kodak EasyShare V530 has a designated Share button for easy printing and a camera dock included in the package to enhance its intuitive design and excel in ease of use.

Nikon Coolpix S5 – Competing in the slim digital camera market is the Nikon S5, which retails for the same $349 and has similar features. The S5 has an additional megapixel on the same size 1/2.5-inch CCD. A 3x zoom lens stays within the 3.7 x 2.3 x 0.8-inch body at all times; the lens has an electronic vibration reduction system. The camera has a 2.5-inch LCD screen with a wide viewing angle and 230,000 pixels. This makes for great viewing before and after the picture is taken. Nikon included a Pictmotion mode to spice up playback; the new mode combines soundtracks with slide shows. The Nikon Coolpix S5 has 13 scene modes, an automatic mode and a movie mode. It also has a one-touch portrait button that activates Nikon’s suite of unique imaging technology: red-eye fix, backlighting compensation and face-priority auto focus. The S5 is slim but has a wave-design on the front meant to make handling more comfortable. There is also an interesting rotary selection button that makes scrolling through hundreds of photos a breeze. Introduced in February 2006, the Nikon S5 is a formidable opponent.

**

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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T5 –This digital camera is slightly thinner with 3.7 x 0.8 x 2.4-inch measurements. It aims for the stylish trendsetters with its housing offered in red, silver, black and gold. The tiny T5 has a 3x zoom lens that doesn’t extend from the body and a metal cover that slides up to protect it. Like the Fuji V10, the Sony T5 has 5.1 megapixels on a 1/2.5-inch CCD. Its LCD is smaller than the V10’s at only 2.5 inches, but the 230,000 pixel resolution is the same. The two trendy cameras don’t have true manual modes, but offer a few options like exposure compensation and white balance to adventurous point-and-shooters. The T5 doesn’t have the ISO options that the V10 has; the Sony model only has a 64-400 range. The Sony T5 has 11 still shooting modes and a movie mode. Its pictures have good color and minimal amounts of noise, but the camera doesn’t fare well in low light or with fast-moving subjects. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T5 was introduced in August 2005 for the same $349 retail price, but can now be found for about fifty bucks less.

**Who It’s For

***Point-and-Shooters –* Consumers looking to just snap a picture and view them on a large display will be happy with the V10. The Fuji V10 is easy to use and automatically oriented, but users will have to set ISO manually if they want optimal results. This may be a deterant to some point-and-shoot purists.

*Budget Consumers – *For $349, the Fujifilm FinePix V10 can be yours in March 2006. For consumers who want a decent point-and-shoot camera with built-in video games, the V10 is it. If you’re looking to replace your Game Boy and old school camera all at once, the V10 merges the two and could save you some cash.

Gadget Freaks – This digital camera does have video games and a big screen, which may be enough to attract some lukewarm gadget freaks. Still, the V10 doesn’t have WiFi or a touch screen to woo the hardcore gadgeteers.

Manual Control Freaks – The Fujifilm FinePix V10 does have a so-called "manual" mode, but it isn’t really manual. It only allows access to a few options like exposure compensation and white balance. This certainly won’t be enough to satisfy the manual control freaks.

*Pros / Serious Hobbyists – *The lack of manual aperture and shutter speed control is enough to scare this segment of the market away. While the V10 may intice some consumers with its high sensitivity settings, many competing models are now including high ISOs with optical image stabilization.

Conclusion

**Conclusion

**The Fujifilm FinePix V10 is poised to "change the game" with its unique combination of video games and superior imaging technology. It made its debut on the show floor at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2006 and hit store shelves in March. The marketing sure hypes up the games on the V10, but of even more interest than a Picture Puzzle or Shooting Game is the incredibly low noise and accurate colors that the camera produces. The Fujifilm FinePix V10 performed very well during testing, proving that it is worthy of walking in the footsteps of last year’s F10. The older F10 had a larger sensor, more megapixels, and an equally positive set of testing scores – but came in a boring frame. The Fuji V10, however, comes in a metal body that boasts a humongous 3-inch LCD screen on the back and is still slim enough to slip in a pocket. The big screen makes viewing and snapping shots a joyous occasion, but also makes menu-surfing tedious because of the resultant tiny controls. The FinePix V10 has its other positive points: It takes great portraits and makes red-eye a rarity. The Natural Light & With Flash mode keeps indecisive users from wearing out the Menu/OK button. Unfortunately though, users will have to continue the search for an entirely perfect digital camera. This one has a short battery life of 170 shots, which won’t be enough to play games on the way to Grandma’s and then snap shots of her with the kids. Still, the Fujifilm FinePix V10 proved that it had solid imaging technology and could back up its claim to "change the game."

Specs / Ratings

**Specs Table

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