Wednesday, April 7, 2010

F80EXR: First Impressions and Review … lemon?

The box:


From the front it compares to the F70EXR favorably … the red looks nice, but the trim leaves something to be desired. A little less refined looking than the original in my opinion. Looks a bit like a diver’s watch :-)


Note: That last one shot in horrid light. So I took blue down a lot … you’ll see better comparisons in the next few days.

My very first impression is very favorable. Startup is much faster than the previous cam. Takes about half the time to get ready. Go Fuji! This addresses one of the F70’s most obvious shortcomings.

But then I started my image comparison between them with a dozen shots in macro mode … and scrapped the comparison when neither cam gave me something useful. I’m talking terrible lighting, but still … I expected something at least. The F80 was much worse than the F70, and that was a harbinger of things to come.

The F80EXR is showing some strange auto focus behavior. It does not flag out of focus images every time … i.e. no red hand. This will lead to issues with people being too close for the zoom and such like. I also could not get anything that looked sharp in macro mode, unlike the F70. I worry …

And things get worse yet.

Here is a truncated ISO ladder, shot from tripod in manual mode at 100 ISO and P mode at 1600 ISO. Self timer release used for all 8 shots. Shot L3:2 and M3:2 just to see what they look like in terrible light.

Very interesting result. My fears appear to have been well-founded. Have a look, and please click through to the large version of the image.


Four pairs. My analysis from top to bottom:

Pair 1: L3:2 at 100ISO – F70EXR gets a sharp image and the F80EXR does not. Since both used self timer release, I am perplexed. Cannot say anything about detail differences yet, but I already know that the smoothing I was worried about is happening … I know this from other unpublished test shots. Stay tuned as I bring this to light soon enough.

Pair 2: M3:2 at 100ISO – WTF? Again with the failure. These shots are at 1.5 and 1.3 seconds for the F80 and F70 respectively … there are slight metering differences between them, but this is close enough that both images should have no trouble getting a clean shot from a tripod. So … again with nothing to say about detail retention.

Pair 3: M3:2 at 1600ISO – Finally clean shots for both. And since we are looking at the best mode for each, we should still see some details. And we do … on the F70 image. The extra resolution of the F80 image is completely wiped away by the extra noise … both luminance and chroma are sharply up. *sigh* … wasn’t that an obvious risk? The knurled edges at the bottom are clearly visible through the whole ring on the F70 image and essentially gone in the F80 image. The yellow blotches on the F80 image do not appear at all on the F70 image. Edges are still clean on the F70 while they are badly broken up on the F80 image. This is a massive victory for the F70 … more than I would have expected.

Pair 4: L3:2 at 1600 ISO – OMG. The F70 is putting up a valiant effort to retain its dignity, but the F80 has, to quote the latest lingo the kids are using these days, “shit the bed” … I mean that this is simply embarrassing.

Wow … I’m tempted to return it tomorrow. But I’ll try some more tests to see what is going on here. Can it really be this bad? Don’t answer that.


Fredrik said...

I'm about to buy one of theese cameras. Thanks for comparing them, it really helps me in my decision! Do you have any more pictures taken with both cameras at the same scene, for comparison?

archish said...

Nice quick analysis Kim. I am sure there will be more interesting test results at those lower 100 ISO ones, right now they dont justify the cam :)

I feel guilty to say I am happy that F80 is not I am still waiting though as these are early test results and you will surely surprise all with some goodies they have in store, apart from the cats n dogs :)

Kim Letkeman said...

Keep looking ... I'm posting more every day for a while.

Kim Letkeman said...

Archish: So far it looks pretty good during the day ... better than I expected. The weakness is definitely noise at 1600 ISO so far, which is so very unfortunate.

Ezra said...

Thanks for this post! I feel like it would be useful to see a high ISO comparison shot that included color and possibly more fine details to compare.

Kim Letkeman said...

Ezra: Look around the blog, I've made many such posts since getting the F80.