Singapore and a Point and Shoot

Like many professionals I know, when we travel for recreation and leisure we most often don’t travel with a bunch of heavy photo gear.  Most of us have different size “kits” with different capabilities prepared, and depending on how interesting the photo opportunities promise to be, we select one.  On this trip back in 2006 I had just picked up my brand new Fuji F30 compact.  I wanted to run these pictures because today I just picked up the first compact which has interested me since, the Fuji F200EXR.

Fuji F30 Point and Shoot Camera

I hope by this time next week I will have completed a brief but meaningful review and comparison of the new Fuji F200EXR, Fuji F30, Fuji F31, Canon G9, and the Canon DSLR Rebel XT350.  These are my small cameras I use when not shooting professionally.  I want to see how much progress (if any) has been made in the three years since I bought my first F30, and then compare the low light capability and dynamic range of all of these travel kits.

The Fuji F30 was very unique in the world of compact point and shoots.  It could capture fairly high quality high ISO images in the 1600-3200 range that were leaps and bounds better than ANY of the competition in its class.  It even rivaled the small APC-S sensor DSLRs.  Shortly after testing one I predicted that professionals the world over would make the Fuji F30/31 their personal compact and this indeed happened.  At least 35 individuals emailed me after reading the review in the Readers Submissions section to let me know they also purchased one.  If you can find a F30/31 now on the used market (long discontinued) they’ll often bring 2-3 times their original price.  Will the new F200EXR be as good?

I’m just going to show you some samples from the Fuji F30 from 2006 and discuss why I included them and what I’m hoping to see from the F200EXR.

Hotel corridor, with ISO 1600 and no flash

I turned the flash off on this compact.  I’m not a big fan of small flashes on compact cameras and I really don’t care for the look of the resulting images, or the looks from people who know I’m taking their picture.  I wanted a compact camera I could should in normal nighttime conditions and achieve decent image quality from.  This shot in the hallway of my hotel was taken at ISO 1600, no flash.

Hotel lobby with ISO 1600, no flash

ISO 1600, no flash.  Lobby of the Orchard Hotel in Singapore.

The side of a moving bus

The side of a moving bus (about 20-30kph) at ISO 1600, no flash.

Singapore and Point-and-Shoot

We had dinner at the Black Angus in Singapore.  ISO 1600, no flash.  The noise is very good, but I wished for more dynamic range to bring out the dark shadow areas.

Singapore and Point-and-Shoot

ISO 400, flash.  I wanted to test the camera with skin tones and my son was losing his patience with me.  I think the flash cover was even, and the resulting skin tones very natural.  Btw - NONE of these images have been touched up.  Other than resizing and the white border, no adjustments or processing has been done.

Singapore and Point-and-Shoot

ISO 1600, no flash.  The lighted sign is exposed perfectly.  The lady you can barely see walking towards me is severely underexposed.  I’m hoping with the new F200EXR the expanded dynamic range will make a real difference.

Singapore and Point-and-Shoot

ISO 1600, no flash.  The side of a building.

Singapore and Point-and-Shoot

ISO 1600, no flash.  This is a place I intend to check out further some day.  Expanded dynamic range would benefit this shot as well.

Singapore and Point-and-Shoot

Singapore and Point-and-Shoot

Singapore is a good place to renew your visa or take care of other business.  ISO 1600, no flash.

Singapore and Point-and-Shoot

ISO 1600, no flash.  A very good balanced exposure.

Singapore and Point-and-Shoot

ISO 3200, no flash.  Taken in darkness with the EV pumped up a stop.

Singapore and Point-and-Shoot

ISO 3200, no flash.  Taken in darkness with the EV pumped up three stops.

Singapore and Point-and-Shoot

ISO 3200, no flash.  Captured on the Nighttime Safari.  It was pitch black when I took this shot.  Sure, there’s some noise, but not even close to how much you’d see from a normal compact under the same conditions.  This image is actually usable.

Singapore and Point-and-Shoot

ISO 1600, no flash.  Gift shop at the Nighttime Safari.

Singapore and Point-and-Shoot

ISO 1600, no flash.  Small figurines at the gift shop.  The lens focuses close up nicely.

Singapore and Point-and-Shoot

ISO 3200, no flash.  Back at the airport on the way out.  The small level of noise in this ISO 3200 shot in remarkable.

Singapore and Point-and-Shoot

ISO 1600, no flash.  I’m hoping the auto white balance will be more accurate than what you see here.

Can you believe all these images except for the one of the boy, were all taken at ISO 1600-3200 and from a compact?  I’ve used my Fuji F30 for three years now while out and about with friends during the evening hours, never used the flash, and I have thousands of good quality snapshots.  The Fuji F30 was well ahead of its time and is still a very desirable camera today!