The Fuji Finepix F31fd is a stylish digital camera with a metal body. It has six megapixels and a three times optical zoom lens. The fd part of its name comes from the fact it has some built in faced detection software. This helps the camera to focus for single and group portraits. As well as all the standard features you will find in a typical point and shoot digital camera the Finepix F31fd also offers aperture priority and shutter priority modes. This gives you a little extra control when you need it. There is also extra lowlight photography technology built in.
92.7 x 56.7 x 27.8mm
Looking through all the test shots I have to say I am pretty impressed with the Finepix F31fd. All the key factors I look for in a camera are covered. These include natural colours, sharpness, contrast and lowlight photographs.
Starting off with the first outdoor shot I can see natural colours, good levels of sharpness, and the camera being able to handle both lighter and darker areas of the photograph proficiently. There is no noticeable fall off in sharpness towards the edges and the glare of the sun falling onto the boats is no problem to the Finepix F31fd either.
Many digital cameras find the second test shot causes problem with focusing. In this shot the lens is at its widest angle and the zoom is not used at all. The Finepix F31fd is actually one of the better cameras in this test. This bodes well for landscape type shots in general. One point to note is a small amount of purple fringing in the shot. This is where a thin purple line is added to lighter coloured objects where the sun catches the edge.
For the third test shot the lens is zoomed in to its full capacity. Whereas other cameras have struggled to retain sharpness the Finepix F31fd is a long way ahead and has produced a shot someway above the average when it comes to focusing. Again the colours have a natural feel to them.
My observations on colour are backed up by the special colour test. This shows strong, but not overpowering colours. No single colour dominates.
The outdoor portrait was taken in the shade. Therefore I used the shady white balance settings. This helps to avoid dull, washed out portraits. Looking at the result perhaps this is slightly overdone and the photo has a slight orange caste to it. This does add more than a degree of warmth to the shot and many people may like the feel this gives to the photo.
The indoor portrait is one of the brightest and sharpest I have taken. So full marks to Fuji. They are ahead of the competition in my opinion when it comes to producing good quality lowlight shots. This is also underlined by the quality of the shots I took with higher ISO settings. Higher ISO settings are used to increase lighting levels in a shot perhaps when flash cannot be used or the flash is losing its power as you more the camera away from the subject. There is far less noise or loss of picture quality in my test at ISO 400 than I normally see.
Again my indoor test for extreme lowlight produces a positive result. The beer bottles in the shot are in sharp focus when the conditions are taken into account.
My final test shot is for close up photography. The Finepix F31fd produces a sharp and bright photo. The only complaint I have is that small amounts of purple fringing can be seen creeping into the shot again. This should not be a factor if you are taking photos of insects and flowers etc., but could cause a problem when photographing jewellery.
Shutter Lag and Recycling Times
In my shutter lag test the Finepix F31fd recorded 0.26 seconds for a single photo and 9.51 for five seconds. These times were recorded without the flash unit on. When flash was turned on the times rose to 0.35 seconds for a single shot and 11.92 for five shots. So there is an increase, but not an excessive one. These are all average or slightly faster than average times.
You can compare this camera to other models by taking a look at the Shutter Lag Comparison Table.
The 3x optical zoom lens has a focal length equivalent to 36 - 108mm in 35mm format. The lens aperture works in the range F2.8 - F8 (wide) and F5.0 - F8 (Tele). Extra zoom is available through 6.2x digital zoom.
For the focusing method you can select between single and continuous focusing. The focusing area can be set to centre or multi pattern. Manual focusing is not available. For close up work the Finepix F31fd can focus from 5cm away from the subject.
For composing photos there is a 2.5 inch LCD screen. This is made up of around 230,000 pixels.
To help you take the best possible photos there are a series of preset scene modes. These are: Natural Light, Natural Light & with Flash, Position: Portrait, Landscape, Sport, Night, Fireworks, Sunset, Snow, Beach, Underwater, Museum, Party, Flower Close-Up and Text. When you select a scene mode the camera uses what it considers to be the optimum settings for the type of shot.
The built in flash unit has a maximum range of 6.5m. This falls to around 3.5m when the zoom is in use. Flash modes are: Auto, Red-eye Reduction, Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Slow Synchro, Red-eye Reduction + Slow Synchro. There is also a feature that allows you to take two photos more or less simultaneously. One with flash and one without. You can then select the one you feel looks the best.
Other useful features include a 3:2 aspect ratio. If you select this ratio you can make 6 x 4" prints without the need for the photos to be trimmed at all to fit on the paper. After a photo has been taken you can add 30 seconds of voice memo to it. There is also a self timer where the delay time can be set to either two or ten seconds.
There are three continuous shooting or burst modes. The first allows you to take up to three images at high speed. The next allows you to reel off a number of photos, but only save the last three, also at high speed. The next allows you to keep shooting at a lower speed of around 0.7 frames per second until the memory card is full.
Among the more advanced features are: white balance (Fine, Shade, Fluorescent light (Daylight), Fluorescent light (Warm White), Fluorescent light (Cool White), Incandescent light), Custom), metering (Multi / Spot / Average), ISO (100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200) and exposure compensation. Shutter speeds work in the range 15 seconds to 1/2000 seconds.
If you are planning to attach the Finepix F31fd to a computer, compatible printer or a television you will find all the cables and software you need in the box.
TV quality movies can be recorded at a maximum resolution of 640 x 480 pixels. The top speed available is 30 frames per second. Sound can be captured, but zoom can only be used before you start recording.
Ease of Use
On the whole I found the camera easy to use. There were one or two areas where it took me a bit longer to work out, such as how to change the shutter speed. The menu is a bit cramped for room, but it is easy enough to find the feature you are looking for.
It's not easy to find similar cameras to compare this one against. Anyway here are some rough comparisons: Fuji Finepix F31fd (£ 160), Panasonic FX07 (£175), Olympus MJU 600 (£130) and Pentax Optio A20 (£140).
The Finepix F31fd has a standard design for a digital camera. It is a typical shiny silver, rectangle. There is a small grip on the front to help you hold the camera steady when taking a photo.
The camera weighs 155g and has dimensions of 92.7 x 56.7 x 27.8mm.
A rechargeable lithium ion battery (NP-95) is used to power the camera. Fuji estimate you should be able to take a massive 580 shots before the battery needs to be recharged. Although I cannot confirm this amount you should be able to take a high number of photos in between charges.
Memory Cards and Storage
Fuji have included 26mb in the camera itself. Therefore a memory card is not supplied with the Finepix F31fd as standard. I was able to take 17 shots before the memory became full. This is enough to check the camera over, but not for any serious shooting. When you are ready to pick up a memory card for the camera it is compatible with xD picture cards.
Click here to save money on SD cards..
Points I like:
Where it is not so hot:
I'm a big fan of the Fuji Finepix F31fd. If you are looking for a digital camera with a bit of style that takes a good photo then this one is worth a close look. It has one or two extra features that come in handy, especially in lowlight. Therefore an area that can be a weakness with other digital cameras is a strength with this one.
Fuji Finepix F31fd Front View
Fuji Finepix F31fd Back View
Fuji Finepix F31fd Top View
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