let's not lose sight of the fact that the F31fd blows away all its competitors
at anything over ISO 200, which is no mean featů.
have been changes over the F30; the new processor's noise reduction has been
tweaked slightly to preserve a little more detail, meaning that all ISO
settings are slightly noisier than the F30; ISO 1600 and 3200 visibly so. The
default contrast and sharpening also appear to have been turned down a notch
(more like half a notch really). Whether any of this is good news or not is
more a matter of taste than anything, but for the more serious user (especially
those who like to post-process) even the slightest toning down of in-camera
processing is welcome.
so, to sum up; the F31fd is everything the F30 was, with a couple of tweaks
here and there that - on balance - can be considered to offer a slight
improvement over what was already a uniquely capable camera. I suspect (though
I hope I'm wrong) that this is the last time we'll see this sensor in a compact
camera, as Fuji feels the pressure to keep up with the megapixel
race ever more strongly. This would be a real tragedy; the F31fd hits the image
quality 'sweet spot' by using a large sensor, relatively low pixel count and
some very clever processing, and I can't see them repeating this with a more
densely-packed sensor. It is the perfect illustration of the oft made point
that more pixels do not mean better quality; we've compared the F31fd to a
whole range of much more expensive compacts going right up to 10MP, and - aside
from a little extra resolution at base ISO - it puts most of them to shame.
Once you get to ISO 400 there simply isn't a compact on the market that can
hold a flame to it.
this moment in time - this unassuming little 6MP camera still sets the
benchmark for image quality in the entire compact sector. It's also a
surprisingly reliable 'point and shoot' model with excellent color and accurate
focus/metering in most circumstances.