Are digital cameras now headed in the direction of “smartphones”? gotta wonder when you hear about a point-and-shoot camera games—what’s next, a camera that makes phone calls?
OK, we jest, but if you spent some time with Fujifilm’s FinePix V10, you wouldn’t blame us. As a camera, this is a very capable, very user-friendly, very stylish, compact point-and-shooter. It takes nice 5.1 megapixel photos at ISO speeds up to 1600, thanks to its aggressive, and effective, noisereduction capabilities (though, you’ll still be happiest with images shot at 400 ISO and below).
Its large 3-inch LCD is bright, sharp, and almost makes up for the absence of a traditional viewfinder. The LCD real estate is put to good use, offering a 30-thumbnail display and a useful Post Shot Assist mode that shows the last three snaps alongside the live viewfinder window.
The camera gains up nicely in low-light situations but can still be problematic in bright sunlight. The V10’s a relatively snappy performer, too, with shot-to-shot intervals of less than 2 seconds; plus it offers several burst-mode options, and its 10-step, 3.4x optical zoom lens is smooth, quick, and quiet. The only real glaring chink in the V10’s shiny armor is its lackluster battery life—ours needed a recharge before we hit 100 shots. This is no doubt due to the fancy-pants LCD, and the games, which, quite frankly, are a gimmick.
The camera sports four titles: Number Puzzle, Block Buster, Maze, and Shooting Game (yes, those are the real names.) All of them are more frustrating than fun to play using the camera’s controls, which thankfully are excellent for the V10’s true calling—picture-taking. Photogs can safely ignore the games and focus on the camera’s manual controls, which allow you to quickly and easily perform exposure compensation and white balance tweaks. And the V10 includes a healthy stable of scene presets, covering just about every imaginable shooting condition from nighttime to sports.
The games might be disposable, but the V10’s capabilities are very worthy of consideration—just make sure you also consider an extra battery, or two.
Month Reviewed: October 2006