When I went looking for a new concert cam last year, Fuji weren't making anything too interesting. They came out with the F200EXR and I wasn't very excited. Awful video, images that looked nice but weren't earth-shattering, really confusing feature interactions, that kind of thing.
But now they have announced a version with a smaller EXR sensor and a very long zoom, 27mm to 270mm! This one has me tempted ... very long reach, potentially decent 800 ISO and a very compact body.
Don't get me wrong ... the Canon G10 is an incredible camera. I love its video and I love its resolution. 15mp at 80 ISO will take your breath away ... literally. The problem is its size. Until Fuji announced this little cam, they had nothing with sufficient features to even tempt me.
So how does it perform? Well, as luck would have it, images have been posted on the net. In this post I will just give overall impressions. In the next one I will try to analyze image quality at all ISOs. Unfortunately, the series that has been posted so far shows only HR mode ... I want to see how SN mode works ... the high ISO binning mode at 5mp. Much more interesting in my opinion.
So I was able to find a nice image of a model shot in moderate light with deep shadow. This is an interesting test of how it reacts to post processing. So here is the original model image.
That's pretty decent, although on a calibrated monitor with a reasonable white point the shadows look a little dark. On my other monitor (cheap Samsung 1080p), they look fine. But the image looks a tad noisy.
Here are a couple of crops from the bright and dark areas showing how well the little cam holds details.
Pretty darned well I think ... especially in the lighter parts. Pretty decent 800ISO for a tiny sensor. Note, though, that this is a 5mp image, in other words it was shot in the sensor's best (binning) mode.
I processed the image with a slight beauty touch to get this:
I think that looks ok (click through to see the larger versions.) So my temptation remains ... it will obviously not compete with larger sensors, but it might just be good enough.
Another thing that excites me is what appears to be improvements in video. Same old (yuck) codec, but it appears to zoom and the image quality is decent. I wonder how the microphone will work at a concert. The G10 is amazing, but the F11 gets crushed by bass overload.
Here's a video that is apparently shot with this cam showing what I mean. It even appears that it might be stabilized somewhat (although not as good as the G10 for sure.)