One Month, One Camera – February 2019 (II)

So this year I’m trying out a One Month, One Camera (OMOC) project, and for February my weapon of choice is the FujiFilm FinePix F810.

I wrote an introduction to the camera here, and now I’ve had a couple more photowalks, I have more thoughts, and of course photographs, to share.

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What I like about the FujiFilm FinePix F810 –

  • Solid, classy metal build.
  • Unusual long body offers good two handed control.
  • Camera remembers everything after power off (except focus mode).
  • Mode dial offers Program Shift (P) and Aperture Priority (A) amongst others, giving great user control.
  • Manual mode allows exposure range from f/2.8 to f/8 and from 1/2000s to 3s.
  • Very quick to power up and down.
  • Excellent feedback from screen – AF warning, low light / camera shake warning, aperture and shutter speed display, which helpfully turn red when light conditions are beyond the camera’s range.
  • Macro mode reasonably close (7.5cm), and has a dedicated, clearly labelled button.
  • Exposure compensation of +/- 2 stops with dedicated, clearly labelled button.
  • Film simulation modes – Standard colour, Chrome, and B&W are a good attempt.
  • Responsive shutter button – obvious half press and full press.
  • Impressive lens, and useful 32.5mm focal length – wide but not too wide.
  • Very pleasing images, all I could want from a compact.

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What I’ve found annoying or disappointing – 

  • Metal body is rather blocky and smooth. Adding grip tape has greatly improved handling.
  • Mode dial clicks out of position too easily, so often shifts mode unexpectedly when in hand/bag.
  • Exposure range limited on P and A modes – shutter only goes down to 1/4s.
  • Too many buttons and the menus and functions feel a bit of a mess when you first use it.
  • Viewfinder is next to useless and warning light tries to do too many things, so it’s distracting. I’ve put a piece of black tape over both.
  • Colour modes a bit garish for my tastes, and B&W too grey and low contrast, so needs post processing in Snapseed. Not unusual though for a digital compact!
  • No Image Stabilisation – not a big issue for me, but good to have the option of an extra couple of stops in low light like with Canon Digital IXUS 870 IS and others.

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Overall, the FujiFilm FinePix F810 a classy, very capable camera, with plenty of manual control, once you get used to where things are.

The images are as good as I could want, no complaints there.

But, at this stage, nearly half way into the month, I can’t really see my keeping it in my stable of keepers. There are just too many quirks I don’t really gel with, especially when I start to directly compare it with some of my favourites.

It doesn’t endear me to try other FujiFilm cameras either, whereas after spending all of January with the “Golden IXUS” I was very interested in exploring other Canon compacts.

We’ll see how the rest of the month evolves.

What are the deal breakers for you with a camera, those quirks or features (or lack of features) that stop you truly embracing and loving it?

Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

Thanks for looking. Please share this post with others you feel will enjoy it too. If you’re interested, this is what I’m into right now.

2 thoughts on “One Month, One Camera – February 2019 (II)”

  1. Ergonomics is the key ingredient for a nice camera that stays long enough with you to become like a friend, understanding when you are frustrated: gives you comfort by staying out of the way when shooting; and gets excited when you are in that mood, surprising you with beautiful images.

    Another key aspect for me is colour or rendering of black and white. Cameras nowadays are too safe and render everything bland, perhaps expecting us to do more later in post processing. I am guilty of this pleasure, however I am intrigued by your approach to minimise it and render in camera. I only hope that companies build future cameras allowing for more extreme control from user.

    I am finding myself talking too much. Will stop here 🙂

    1. Yeh I completely agree about ergonomics. Not just physical ergonomics, like does it feel good in your hand, is it grippy enough that you’re not constantly on the brink of dropping it etc. But design and interface ergonomics too, is it easy to change ISO or colour mode or aperture while composing, are the main features you use most often in a logical and useful place, and so on…

      This F810 isn’t great at the latter, at least initially.

      For example, it’s just not logical to me to have ISO in one menu under on button (just labelled “F”) and metering, white balance etc under another.

      Once I got used to it, it’s fine. The main things I change are switching macro focus on and off, the colour mode, and changing from A to M mode when the light is low as on A it won’t set a shutter speed below 1/4s.

      These features are not all in the same place, but at least now I’ve used the camera half a dozen times, I remember where they are without thinking.

      This is of course partly the point of this project. If we use any camera exclusively for a sustained period, using it becomes second nature.

      But still, I just like stuff to be more logically designed from the outset. I’ve handled a few Canon IXUS cameras and have figured out all the settings in about a minute.

      The FujiFilm I could have worked out eventually but I have resorted to the manual a few times. Ha ha shocking for a guy!

      What you said about the camera “staying out of the way” I think is spot on. I call this having an invisible camera, and have written about it a few times in the past.

      I really don’t know what’s with the b/w mode on cameras. Both the Canon IXUS from January and this FinePix F810 just deliver a sea of bland greys, even when there’s strong sunlight and contrast. I don’t mind a quick tweak in Snapseed, in fact I expect to do this for all of the cameras I use for this project.

      It is great to come across a camera that has a contrasty, inky b/w mode built in though! I love the Pentax Q, Lumix LX3 and Lumix GF1 for this (in fact I think most Lumix cameras after about 2008 have Dynamic Mono in some form). My Ricoh GRD III also has a similar mode but that’s just too much for me, it’s very Daido Moriyama, like charcoal sketches.

      Still, kudos to the IXUS 870 IS for delivering very pleasing colour images straight out camera, and having that Custom Colour mode so you can tweak the saturation and contrast a little (which I did).

      The F810 doesn’t have any such manual adjustment over colour, but I am experimenting with its “F” film presets – B&W (too grey, see above!), Chrome Colour and Standard Colour. The Standard is supposedly, well, standard colour settings, the Chrome is higher contrast and saturation. We’ll see.

      Don’t worry about talking too much! Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

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