Fujifilm F40fd Digital Camera Review
Read a digital camera review of the Fuji film FinePix F40fd digital camera with face detection technology on DigitalCameraInfo.com.
Testing / Performance
We do a reality check on the camera’s colors by photographing a GretagMacbeth color chart in optimal studio lighting and uploading those images into Imatest software. The program analyzes the images and selects the one that displays the most accurate colors. Below is a chart modified by the software to show the original colors of the chart (vertical rectangles), the Fujifilm F40*fd*’s perceived colors (outer squares), and the luminance corrected ideal colors (inner squares).
The information is also laid out onto a graph. It shows the Fujifilm F40*fd*’s colors as circles and what the colors should be as squares. The line connecting them shows the degree of error. Ideally, the line wouldn’t be visible at all.
Surprisingly, some of the warmer colors are undersaturated and many of the colors are the wrong hue. The overall saturation was under at 96.12 percent. The mean color error came out to 9.71, which is a touch below average. The Fujifilm FinePix F40*fd* received a lackluster 6.18 score that is just under the F31*fd*’s 6.98 mark.
**Still Life Sequences
***Click on the thumbnails below to view the high-resolution images.*
The Fujifilm FinePix F40*fd* is outfitted with a 1/1.6-inch Super CCD that advertises 8.3 megapixels. This is the first F-series camera to have an 8.3-megapixel image sensor; all the others have 6.3 megapixels. Using the F40*fd*, we photographed an industry standard resolution chart at various focal lengths and apertures to ensure we snapped the absolute sharpest image possible. After uploading and analyzing the images in Imatest imaging software, the program determined the sharpest shot was taken with a 24mm focal length and an aperture of f/5.1.
The software output resolution data in units of line widths per picture height (lw/ph), which describes how many black and white lines of equal thickness could fit across the image without blurring into each other. Imatest determined that the FinePix F40*fd* resolved 2212 lw/ph horizontally with 10.1 percent undersharpening and 1909 lw/ph vertically with 15.9 percent undersharpening.
These are impressive results especially considering that the camera undersharpened significantly. By way of comparison, the 6.3-megapixel Fujifilm F31*fd* resolved 2115 lw/ph horizontally and 1905 lw/ph vertically but did so by oversharpening. The new F40*fd*’s resolution score of 10.6 is very impressive and one of the best we’ve seen from a compact digital camera.
The F40*fd*’s automatic white balance setting isn’t as all-purpose as it should be. It doesn’t perform as well as the preset modes perhaps because it has to judge the color temperature before adjusting itself. Its judgment appears to be impaired.
The Fujifilm F40*fd* has six white balance presets: Fine (daylight), Shade, Fluorescent 1 (daylight), Fluorescent 2 (warm white), Fluorescent 3 (cool white), and Incandescent. This FinePix is particularly weak when shooting with the incandescent preset, which is unfortunate as many of the pictures in the studio were shot in this lighting. The camera also didn’t perform well when the flash fired – probably because there isn’t a flash white balance preset. The Fujifilm F40*fd* is strong under fluorescent lights, but users will have to learn the difference between the three fluorescent settings.
Noise – Auto ISO*(1.89)*
In the bright lights of the studio, the Fujifilm FinePix F40*fd* automatically selected an ISO 400 setting that was much too high for the situation. This blunder resulted in a disappointing overall automatic ISO noise score of 1.89. This is worse than the F31*fd*’s 4.29, the F10’s 3.22, and the F30’s incredible 11.44 score.
Noise – Manual ISO*(9.18)*
Fuji’s F-series has typically performed very well in this area. To see if the FinePix F40*fd* could hold its own, we photographed the color chart in optimal lighting and analyzed the noise levels at each ISO setting. The F40*fd* has a robust 100-1600 manual ISO range that is depicted on the horizontal axis of the chart below. The percentage of the image that succumbs to noise is displayed on the vertical axis.
Most digital cameras show a steady climb upward, but the F40*fd shows an increase in noise from ISO 100 to 200 but then a decrease from 200 to 400. The noise level then increases at 800 and 1600. Overall, the noise levels are fairly low especially when compared to other point-and-shoots, but users should try to keep the ISO below 800 for the cleanest shots possible. The F40fd earned an overall score of 9.18, and that is similar to the F31fd*’s 9.69 score.
Low Light*(4.78) *
We turned the studio lights down to test the camera’s low light capabilities. We tested the camera in 60, 30, 15, and 5 lux to determine its limitations. Indeed, we found them. The camera seems to underexpose images in less than 15 lux of light.
The underexposure was due to the limited shutter speeds available. The Night and Fireworks modes slow the shutter down to 4 seconds, but the ISO is fixed at 200 or 800. In other modes, the exposure time wouldn’t slow past a quarter-second at ISO 400. The noise levels remained fairly low probably because the high ISO sensitivities and longer shutter speeds – both factors that contribute to noise - weren’t accessible at the same time.
Overall, the camera did not perform well in low light. Its 4.78 score is just average. If users opt to shoot subjects in low light, they should try to get enough light, so they could potentially read without squinting. This would be enough to snap decently illuminated pictures.
Dynamic Range*(4.74) *
We tested the Finepix F40*fd* to see how well it could capture bright highlights and dark shadows simultaneously. We did this by photographing a backlit Stouffer test film. The test film is a row of rectangles that range from transparent and bright to opaque and dark. We photographed it using different ISO settings because this usually affects the dynamic range; the higher the ISO, the less detail and dynamic range in images. The chart below shows the ISO on the horizontal axis and the number of recorded exposure values on the vertical axis.
The F40*fd* starts out well at ISO 100 and then drops significantly at ISO 200. There is a slight incline up to 400 and then a decline to 1600. The large drop shows in the FinePix F40*fd*’s score of 4.74, a mark that is lower than most point-and-shoots. Users should try to keep the ISO at its lowest 100 setting to reduce noise and preserve details.
Startup to First Shot*(7.9)*
This point-and-shoot digital camera can be stashed in a diaper bag or pocket and taken out quickly for a passing shot. The older F31*fd* took 1.75 seconds to start up and snap its first shot, so the new F40*fd* takes a little step back with its time of 2.1 seconds.
The F40*fd *has three burst modes: Long Period, Final 2, and Top 2. The Long Period mode took a shot every 2.4 seconds and shot indefinitely. This can hardly be considered a burst mode though. Final 2 took 40 "shots" but only stored the final two frames, which were 0.8 seconds apart. The Top 2 burst mode took two shots 0.6 seconds apart. These numbers are not impressive. The continuous modes are both slow and short.
The compact Fujifilm FinePix F40*fd* is quick to the shot. When the camera is already focused and the exposure is locked, the shutter lag was hardly measurable. Only 0.2 seconds elapsed from the moment the finger pushed the button to the moment the shot was taken.
It took 5.4 seconds to process two shots in Final 2 and Top 2, so processing one shot takes approximately 2.7 sec.
Video Performance ***(2.87)*
*Bright Light - 3000 lux(4.73) *
The Fujifilm F40*fd*’s movie mode isn’t anything to get excited about. The colors in our video suffered even in the perfect lighting of our studio. They were slightly more inaccurate than when shooting still images with this camera, which isn’t a good thing seeing as the colors weren’t accurate to begin with. In the video, the mean color error was 9.83 and colors were oversaturated by 16.6 percent – a big change from the undersaturated dull look of the still pictures’ colors. On average, the noise level remained fairly low with about half of one percent of the image muddled into noise (0.55 percent).
Low Light - 30 lux*(4.08) *
We dimmed the studio lights to a drab 30 lux, which is the level of light when people with good eyesight start squinting to read. The low light really threw the F40*fd* off. The mean color error leapt to 15.6 so don’t expect realistic colors in low light. The saturation returned to the same dull state as found in still images. Video was 96.47 percent saturated. The amount of noise dramatically increased though. An average of 2.32 percent of the video’s image was affected by noise.
We recorded the resolution chart under optimal lighting in our testing studio. The F40*fd*’s 640 x 480-pixel resolution performed OK. Imatest analyzed the video, which experienced severe clipping because the camera wasn’t exposing properly. Nevertheless, the FinePix F40*fd* resolved 260 lw/ph horizontally with 22.1 percent undersharpening and 297 lw/ph vertically with 20 percent undersharpening.
We took the Fujifilm FinePix F40*fd* out for a spin and recorded the hustle and bustle of the streets outside our office. There were cars driving by and people strolling past at various speeds. The F40*fd’*s video was jerky, and the exposure shifted drastically during single clips. This model will definitely not be a good hybrid camera-camcorder; its movie mode should be used sparingly.
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