Fujifilm FinePix Z30 review

Review Date : Thu, 24 Sep 2009

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Fuji Z30 review

The Fujifilm FinePix Z30 is an unashamedly fun compact camera, and at just over £100 it's affordable too. The What Digital Camera Fuji Z30 review...

Pros: Ease of use, build quality, design
Cons: Performance, image quality

The Fujifilm FinePix Z30 is a 10.0-megapixel 3x zoom ultra-compact with a 2.7in 230k monitor, currently selling for just over £100. It's unashamedly a camera designed for fun, with a slim plastic body available in a range of bright colours, and very simplified controls. Its relatively low price makes it an ideal present for a fashion-conscious teenager.

The Z30 is very compact and lightweight, weighing 131g including battery and measuring just 90.5 x 59.0 x 25.7mm. Despite the toy-like appearance the build quality is good and the camera feels strong and well made, although it is a bit slippery and hard to grip securely.

The Z30 has only automatic operation, with a choice of basic or standard auto modes, plus 16 scene programs and automatic scene recognition. Menu options are limited but include image size/quality, ISO setting, white balance and exposure compensation.

The external controls consist of a double row of rubber-covered buttons to the right of the monitor. The controls are extremely fiddly, particularly the zoom control, which is very small and hard to press accurately.

The video mode is limited to VGA resolution at 30fps with mono audio and no optical zoom. The video quality is reasonably good, but the sound quality is pretty dreadful.

Fuji_Z30_rowing.jpg

Fujifilm Z30 review sample image

 There are a couple of unusual features, including a couple-timer and a group-timer. These use the face detection system to count the number of faces in the frame, and then start the timer countdown when everyone's in position. It's a simple idea but one that could come in useful for social snapshot photos.

The Z30 starts up quickly enough in approximately two seconds, and shuts down again almost instantly as soon as the cover is closed. In single-shot mode its shot-to-shot cycle time is a little over three seconds, which is a bit on the slow side, and it's no faster in continuous shooting mode.

The autofocus system is slow and not always entirely accurate, beeping to confirm focus on several shots which later turned out to be blurred. It copes fairly well in low light despite the lack of an AF assist lamp.

There are a few other image quality problems including very poor automatic white balance and very mediocre lens performance. Wideangle images don't show any barrel distortion or chromatic aberration, although this is due mainly to image processing rather than optical quality. The overall lens sharpness is very poor, especially in the corners.

Dynamic range is very limited, and in high-contrast situations the camera tends to expose for the highlights, resulting in very dark featureless shadows. Colour rendition in standard mode is over-saturated, especially red tones which come out far too bright, and the high-saturation ‘Chrome' mode looks positively psychedelic. Image noise is also a problem, with significant noise at ISO 200, getting progressively worse up to the maximum ISO 1600.

Verdict

The Fujifilm FinePix Z30 is designed to be more a fashion accessory than a serious camera. Build quality is good, but the fiddly controls and slippery shape make it hard to use, performance is mediocre and image quality is poor.


Compact Camera Reviews

Price as reviewed

£110.00

Scores

Scores
Design 16/20
Image Quality 12/20
Performance 15/20
Value 16/20
Features 12/20
Overall Score 71%