The Fuji FinePix F31fd is a compact digital camera, that one paper is very big on features. Offering a 6.3 million pixel resolution, face detection technology, up to ISO 3200 and an impressive 2.5-inch LCD screen. With all this boasting of uber-features, and some already great feedback from reviewers and end users, I was very keen to see what all the fuss was and still is about.
Out of the box, you get a hand strap, USB and AV cables, for transferring your photos to a computer and the latter for viewing on a larger screen. You also get a CD containing the FinePix Viewer software and ImageMixer VCD2, an owners manual, AC Power Adapter and a lithium-ion battery to power this little baby.
What first struck me, was how solid the F31fd felt. Many digital cameras around this price bracket feel cheap and very light, but the F31fd is very well made and gives the impression that it would take the odd knock. Certainly, the in and out of the pocket, case or handbag (depending on your use) will be no problem.
The 2.5-inch screen on the back of the unit is nice and bright, with nicely saturated colours, and a nice update speed. The screen needs to be good, as there is no optical viewfinder. With this is mind, I would recommend fitting some sort of screen protector to the F31fd, to keep the screen in top condition.
The controls are very well laid out, and switching between scene modes, zooming in and out, in fact all of the navigation is absolutely superb. The zoom is very responsive and the focus on near and distant objects is pretty quick. On some distant objects the F31fd does search a little for focus, but once locked on you are ready to go. It is worth mentioning that no memory card is supplied. You do get 26MB of internal memory, but you really should factor in buying an xD memory card in your budget.
In use we took some macro shots, in which we were able to focus from a very short distance. Fuji quote 5cm which is pretty accurate, though we did manage a little closer than this. We also made use of the high ISO setting in low light situations, but at 3200 there was a lot of noise. ISO 1600 was aceptable, and at 800 things started looking pretty darn good. The face detection technology is pretty neat too. It picks up the iris' of any faces in the picture you are composing, and once it has detected them (maximum of 10), it ensures that each face is correctly focused and exposed. I was impressed with how this works and just how quick it does the job. Face Detection is also present in the S6500fd and Z5fd, so if you take a lot of family snaps, then this could be worth checking out.
In summary, if you are in the market for a nice compact digital camera, that has lots of nice features, that are actually useful in day-to-day use. Add to this the importance of build quality and of course the mega-important image quality, then you cannot go far wrong by adding the Fujifilm F31fd to your shopping basket. I was most impressed by the Face Detection, followed closely by the image and screen quality. The F31fd is certainly going to be missed when it goes back this week, so much so that I may well have to get my credit card out.
Two images taken with the F31fd. Very nice depth of field control in the rose image, followed by nicely saturated and very accurate colours on the bike.
Product: FinePix F31fd
Supplied by: Fujifilm UK
Contact: +44 (0)870 084 1310