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Survey: 10 stabilised digital cameras
by Vincent Alzieu
Published on May 18, 2006

Fujifilm Finepix F11
The F11 is at the end of its lifespan, but we felt that it would be unfair not to include it as it really represents an important turn for Fuji. The manufacturer worked on the increased noise level due to sensitivity. They did such a good job that this camera has better results than those with optical image stabilization. Also, we can appreciate the very soft image rendering as opposed to Canon’s extreme colors. The downside is its look and the F30, doesn’t look any better. Of course, this is all a matter of taste. It seems more in line with pre Canon 800-IS or close in the price range to the Panasonic DMC-FX01.

Image Stabilization …
…is at the software level. In fact, the camera automatically and logically switches to very high sensitivity as soon as the flash is off and it senses a lack of light. You might fear for the worst when looking at the characteristics as it can go up to 1600 ISO when taking into account the noise at 400 ISO for its competitors. But in fact, Fujifilm has considerably diminished the level of noise in photos at very high sensitivities. They succeed by partly adding a small blurred effect. Photos are cleaner, but also have lower noise levels. With our test portrait (see below), it results in homogeneous hairs volumes whereas with Canon you clearly sees locks.

It is good up until 400 ISO. At 800 ISO, sharpness is slightly reduced. The quality at 1600 ISO is too low, however, for nice pictures. FYI, the next F30 goes up to 3200 ISO! Will it be really useable when we see the F11’s 1600 ISO?

So we recommend not leaving the F11 in automatic mode. It’s best to set sensitivity at 800 ISO indoors. Our test pictures were taken at a shutter speed of 1/20s. If you hold your breath and shoot in burst mode, you will get a few satisfactory pictures. There will be some poor pictures, more than with a camera with real stabilization.

In addition to the exceptional noise level management, we appreciated the very soft color rendering and great reaction time. The only characteristic we disliked was its design and for the same amount of money the competition has very attractive cameras. The Panasonic has optic image stabilization and a wide angle, the Pentax and Olympus are waterproof. The F11 maybe isn’t as fun as the others.

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