Fujifilm FinePix F11 review

23 Jun 2006

The only compact to offer aperture and shutter priority, but overall quality is unspectacular

Price when reviewed: 
166(£195 inc VAT)
4

Fujifilm's FinePix F11 may share a similar specification to other cameras here - namely, a 3x optical zoom, a 6-megapixel resolution and a 2.5in TFT - but it also adds some unique features. It's the only one on test to offer aperture- and shutter-priority modes, which are important tickboxes for enthusiasts who want to be creative with their photography.

With shutter speeds from 1/2,000 of a second up to 15 seconds, most situations are covered, while the f/2.8-f/5.0 (wide-tele) maximum aperture makes it relatively fast. You can't switch to a full manual mode despite the alluring M that resides next to the A/S lettering. However, there's multi, spot and continuous focus, multipattern, centre and average metering, plus ISO 1,600 and manual white balance.

Omissions are notable, though. There are no saturation, sharpness and contrast controls, and no live histogram, and you can only zoom into images at 4.5x.

The F11 is also the biggest camera on test, measuring 32mm thick and weighing over 200g. Thankfully, there's good compensation via the hefty 1,950mAh battery inside, and this keeps going for several hundred shots: the most on test. However, given the size, we're confused as to why Fujifilm hasn't put USB, A/V and power connections on the side of the F11. Instead, they come on a breakout box.

In terms of image quality, the FinePix was more than acceptable. Outdoors, it produced clean images that suffered only from slight oversaturation. Noise is kept to a minimum, although chromatic aberrations are noticeable.

Apart from slightly inaccurate white balance and some noise, the F11 performs well indoors. It coped with our scene, metering it well and producing an image with a good level of detail. At night, the F11 overexposed images in its night mode: highlights were blown out and noise was evident. The only consolation was the nice and sharp image.

For macro shots, the F11 is surprisingly good. It was able to focus almost as close as the Sony and colour reproduction was more accurate. Focus was slightly soft, though. The movie mode has its own position on the dial. 30fps VGA clips are possible, and we found the frame rate lived up to this claim. Image quality was average, but audio was noticeably better than others.

At £166, the Fujifilm can't outperform Canon's Ixus 60, which offers better quality overall and is smaller. But if you need aperture and shutter priority options and can live with the slight drop in quality, it's worth considering.