DigitalCameraReview.com
Fujifilm FinePix J10 Review
by AKAJohnDoe -  5/27/2008

The Fujifilm FinePix J10 is an affordable digital camera that will fit easily into almost any pocket. It will not overwhelm a beginner, yet it still includes many key features and an intuitive menu system.

Fujifilm FinePix J10
(view large image)

With its combination of features, usability, and a low price, the slim J10 is somewhat unique in its field. All that's left to determine, then, is how it stacks up as a picture taking tool.


FEATURES OVERVIEW

The Fujifilm FinePix J10 is an 8.2 megapixel camera that uses a proprietary rechargeable li-ion battery and accepts SD, SDHC, or xD-Picture Card memory types. Additionally, it has approximately 8MB of internal memory. It comes in a black or silver finish.

The lens is a 3x optical zoom that is relatively fast, too, at f/2.8-5.6 at the wide-angle end. Digital zoom is also available via the menus for approximately 5.1x. Shutter speeds range from 1/2000 to 8 seconds, depending on exposure.

The Fuji FinePix J10 provides the versatile shooting modes we have all come to expect:

Additionally, the J10 features a number of scene/situation presets:

For a detailed listing of specifications and features, please refer to the specifications table found at the bottom of the review.


FORM, FIT, AND FEEL

Styling and Build Quality

The Fujifilm FinePix J10 comes in either silver or black. The case is plastic with a brushed metal appearance. It is approximately the size of a deck of cards.

Fujifilm FinePix J10
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When turned off the lens retracts flush with the face of the camera. The LCD is slightly raised from the back and is fixed; it does not rotate nor pivot. All in all, it appears to be a very functional, practical, and likely durable package. The case does not flex or twist, even when purposefully attempted.

Ergonomics and Interface

The control layout is simple and intuitive. There are not a lot of bells and whistles on this camera, so it is quite uncluttered.

Fujifilm FinePix J10
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The firmware menus are also designed with simplicity in mind. It does not appear to be possible to change multiple settings without re-entering the menu system. Likewise, when in playback mode (viewing your images), pressing the playback button again causes the camera to beep and display a message "PRESS THE SHUTTER BUTTON TO GO BACK TO SHOOTING MODE PRESS THE POWER BUTTON TO TURN OFF THE CAMERA." It would seem more intuitive to press the playback button again to toggle playback/record modes, especially since the firmware detects this event already. An opportunity for a firmware upgrade, perhaps?

Fujifilm FinePix J10
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The power button is relatively small and firm, which is a mixed blessing. While the camera does not get turned on or off inadvertently, it also must be turned on or off with intent and purpose. It takes some getting used to.

Display/Viewfinder

The LCD is 2.5 inches with 153,000 dots. While it is adequate, it is difficult to see in bright light, even with the brightness adjustment settings available.

Fujifilm FinePix J10
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There is no optical viewfinder, so composition is done via the LCD only, which, again, can be difficult in certain lighting conditions.

It is possible to zoom in and out on images and move about the images with the "joystick" when in playback mode.


PERFORMANCE

Timings and Shutter Lag

As would be expected there is some delay between the AF acquisition and the shutter release; however, it is not excessive. The delay is approximately .1 seconds with pre-focus and .7 seconds without pre-focus. There is a more significant delay after the picture is taken while the image is displayed on the LCD. This cannot be altered below 1.5 seconds. It would be nice to have the ability to turn off the post-capture display completely.

There is a continuous setting, for taking pictures of moving subjects, that is limited to three images taken sequentially at approximately one frame per second per the specifications.

Lens and Zoom

The 6.2-18.6mm lens (35mm equivalency: 35-133mm) is such a common focal length that virtually everyone should be able to feel comfortable somewhere in that range. Of course, we all want to go super-wide or super-telephoto now and again. Well, sorry: not with this camera. It does have a respectable 3x optical zoom range, nevertheless.

The lens traverses the range relatively quickly, although the image on the LCD seems to sort of physically bounce when stopping at any point when coming down from the telephoto end of the range to the wide-angle end of the range.

Auto Focus

AF seems to hunt a bit before it settles in on the subject, and if one listens carefully and turns off the other sounds, the AF makes a distinctive soft sound as it does this. Also, even if the same subject is repeatedly chosen, AF will reacquire every time, again going hunting. Once acquired AF is sharp. You should be aware that the AF point is centered on this camera. As with most cameras, AF (and exposure) can be locked by holding the shutter button part way down, then, without letting it up, recomposing and pressing the shutter release.

Flash

The flash on the J10 seems a bit finicky to me. It works as expected in the programmed modes that use it; however, in manual mode with forced flash on it is inconsistent, both over- and under-exposing. In light of this, the J10 would benefit from one additional bell and whistle: flash exposure compensation.

The flash recycle time does not appear to add to the time between shots noticeably especially when compared to other small cameras. The average is usually between six and seven seconds, and the J10 takes about 4.9 seconds after a maximum power discharge. The usual time when auto ISO is selected is under two seconds.

Image Stabilization

The Fuji FinePix J10 anti-blur mode, also referred to as Picture Stabilization, appears to only programmatically select a higher ISO and a higher shutter speed. While this is a tried and true method of reducing the effects of shake and blur, there is no indication that there is any true optical/mechanical image stabilization in this camera.

Battery Life

I am of the opinion that spare batteries simply make good sense. From that, I suppose that it should follow that generic batteries (e.g. AA) should also make more sense. However, my non-scientific experiences have been that lithium-ion batteries, which are usually proprietary, seem to hold up longer per charge and recharge over a longer life.

Fujifilm FinePix J10
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The J10 uses a li-ion battery, which is not only smaller and lighter and more appropriately shaped for this camera than AA batteries, but also seems to function quite efficiently. I did have to charge it several times, but less frequently than I had expected. The specifications show approximately 150 frames per charge; I got better than that during my time testing this camera.


IMAGE QUALITY

I was pleased with the overall quality of the images produced by the J10.

Fujifilm FinePix J10
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The colors were accurate and detailed, the images sharp, and the exposure usually correct.

Exposure, Processing, and Color

I took the camera around to some familiar places to get images I could compare with the results from other cameras and also to some new places to see what it could do.

Spring brought forth blooms like I've not seen in over 15 years, so I took to my yard for shots of rhododendrons and close-ups.

Note that these images were all taken hand-held. It seemed unlikely that this camera would be often tripod-mounted in real world use so I did not use one. Three of these images were taken at ISO 100 and two at ISO 400.

Fujifilm FinePix J10
ISO 100 (view large image)
Fujifilm FinePix J10
ISO 100 (view large image)
Fujifilm FinePix J10
ISO 100 (view large image)
Fujifilm FinePix J10
ISO 400 (view large image)
Fujifilm FinePix J10
ISO 400 (view large image)

The close-up setting functions well, as can be seen in these shots (two of which were taken at ISO 400, one at ISO 100, and one at ISO 64).

Fujifilm FinePix J10
ISO 400 (view large image)
Fujifilm FinePix J10
ISO 64 (view large image)
Fujifilm FinePix J10
ISO 100 (view large image)
Fujifilm FinePix J10
ISO 400 (view large image)

White Balance

White balance is user-selectable in manual mode. The possible selections are Auto, Sunlight, Shade, Fluorescent 1 (Daylight), Fluorescent 2 (Warm), Fluorescent 3 (Cool), and Incandescent.

As with most cameras, auto white balance is an exercise in compromise. And, of course, there is no means to set a custom white balance on this camera. If you use auto white balance, be prepared to do some post-processing on your computer. This is particularly true if you are using it with other than natural sunlight or flash, where it is usually fairly close to accurate.

I found the Sunlight and Shade settings to be the most accurate on this camera. Flash is considered Sunlight.

I took some pictures of some trillium both with and without flash that show this. All of these were taken at the ISO 400 setting.

Fujifilm FinePix J10
Without flash (view large image)
Fujifilm FinePix J10
With flash (view large image)
Fujifilm FinePix J10
Without flash (view large image)
Fujifilm FinePix J10
With flash (view large image)

Lens Faults

At the wide angle extremes there is significant barrel distortion. Also, some vignetting is apparent in the corners. If you look back at the rhododendron images you will see it there, too; however, it is much less obvious on less geometrically structured subjects. This was taken at ISO 400.

Fujifilm FinePix J10
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Sensitivity and Noise

It is a given that noise increases with a corresponding increase in ISO speed. Commonly, there are also color shifts apparent when comparing similar pictures taken at different ISO settings. It is for these reasons that a set of pictures is taken at each ISO setting with each camera tested.

The Fuji FinePix J10 permits ISO settings of: 64, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, and, of course, Auto.

Fujifilm FinePix J10
ISO 64
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Fujifilm FinePix J10
ISO 64, 100% crop

Fujifilm FinePix J10
ISO 100
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Fujifilm FinePix J10
ISO 100, 100% crop

Fujifilm FinePix J10
ISO 200
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Fujifilm FinePix J10
ISO 200, 100% crop

Fujifilm FinePix J10
ISO 400
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Fujifilm FinePix J10
ISO 400, 100% crop

Fujifilm FinePix J10
ISO 800
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Fujifilm FinePix J10
ISO 800, 100% crop

Fujifilm FinePix J10
ISO 1600
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Fujifilm FinePix J10
ISO 1600, 100% crop

I found the results quite satisfactory at each of the settings given the purpose of each setting. There is a slightly noticeable shift in color and noise at ISO 400, which expectedly progresses as ISO is increased to 800 and again to 1600.

Below ISO 400 a discriminating eye will see differences, particularly if comparing directly to other ISO settings; however, for the typical user of this camera, who will not likely be printing 8x10 or larger images, the ISO range of 64-400 can be used interchangeably for the purpose of adjusting for available light. And the ISO 800 and ISO 1600 settings should not be dismissed either, as they are useful tools in the right situation, although ISO 1600 is noisy and may likely be noticeable without a discriminating eye or even another image to which it may be compared!

Additional Sample Images

The digital zoom, although useful when needed, tended to dramatically increase the noise level as can be seen in these two images of a purple-haired troll. One image was taken with digital zoom turned off; the other with digital zoom turned on and set to the maximum zoom. Both of these were taken at ISO 400.

Fujifilm FinePix J10
Digital zoom disabled (view large image)
Fujifilm FinePix J10
Digital zoom enabled (view large image)

A few more shots show the dynamic range the sensor is capable of and the use of exposure compensation.

Fujifilm FinePix J10
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In this image, I exposed for the turtle in the water, which slightly overexposed the turtles on the logs. Still, the range recorded captured detail in both. I feel that this was especially well done as this image was exposed at ISO 800.

Fujifilm FinePix J10
(view large image)

For this shot, I set exposure compensation to boost the highlights to compensate for the filtered light in the forest. This did have the effect of washing out the colors a bit, too. This image was also exposed at ISO 400.


CONCLUSIONS

I kind of like the Fujifilm FinePix J10. It is not going to compete with a DSLR with interchangeable lenses, nor with a high-end compact like the Canon G9, but it isn't trying to, either. It breaks new ground, with a combination of features, size, weight, cost, and usability that is somewhat unique.

For the target market it is apparently aimed at, I think it hit the mark. This is an inexpensive camera that includes most of the needed features, without a lot of extra bells and whistles. I would not ponder whether to carry it or not: I would just pocket it. Also, as a beginner camera you would be hard pressed to beat it. Got kids who want a camera? Using film with an Olympus Stylus Zoom and thinking of going digital? Don't want to have to get out a manual to be able use your camera? Tired of low resolution cell phone snapshots? The Fuji FinePix J10 could be for you.

Pros:

Cons:

Fujifilm FinePix J10 Specifications:

Sensor 8.2 megapixel, 1/2.5" CCD
Zoom 3x (38-113mm) Fujinon zoom, f/2.8-5.2
LCD/Viewfinder 2.5", 153K-dot TFT LCD
Sensitivity ISO 64-1600
Shutter Speed 8-1/2000 seconds
Shooting Modes Auto, Picture Stabilization, Red-Eye Reduction, Digital Zoom, Scene, Movie
Scene Presets Landscape, Sport, Night, Natural Light, Beach, Snow, Fireworks, Sunset, Baby, Flower, Party, Museum, Text, Manual
White Balance Settings Auto, Fine, Shade, Fluorescent 1, Fluorescent 2, Fluorescent 3, Incandescent
Metering Modes Multi
Focus Modes Center AF, Macro
Drive Modes Normal, Top 3 Continuous
Flash Modes Auto, Forced On, Slow Synchro, Forced Off, Red-Eye Reduction
Self Timer Settings
10 seconds, 2 seconds, Off
Memory Formats xD-Picture Card, SD, SDHC
Internal Memory
8 MB
File Formats JPEG, AVI
Max. Image Size 3264x2448
Max. Video Size
640x480, 30 fps
Zoom During Video No
Battery Rechargeable lithium-ion
Connections USB 2.0, AV output, DC input
Additional Features Picture Stabilization