"Great camera, nice pictures, a few quirks but I can live with them. Can you?"4.5 starson by kryth
Pros: Great picture quality, wow on battery life, superb low light performance, handy double shot (flash/noflash)
Cons: Auto modes select too high an ISO IMO, flimsy USB/power door
Summary: I've had a Canon A70 for a few years now and felt it was time to upgrade. I loved the colors on my A70, and even though it was 3.2 megapixels pictures printed nicely.
My choices were either a Canon SD600, SD630 or the Fuji F30. This was a hard choice. I opted for the Fuji because of all the reviews of low light performace. A good portion of the pictures I take are in dim light IE: restaurants, dinner parties, wedding receptions.
After reading and looking at samples, I found the Canons had slightly nicer colors, but that's a question of opinion and the Fuji had MUCH better pictures in low light. So I choose the Fuji F30.
Now that I have it, here's what I've found.
Yes hands down, the Fuji F30 performs wonders in low light (ie: dim restaurant). In extreme low light and no flash), well don't expect miracles it's not infrared after all. Although it may be unfair to compare to my A70, looking at the two just for ISO performance, I did notice a huge difference. Using the sample comparison of the Canon SD700IS samples vs the Fuji samples at http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/fujifilmf30/page11.asp (since I don't have a SD700 IS) in ISO 80 and ISO 800, it's hard to beat the F30's low light performance.
The colors on the F30 are pretty good. In day light shots, I'd have to say there are some marginal differences between my old A70 Canon, the samples of a Canon SD630 and the F30, and mostly a question of preference. However unless you are really good at discerning color subtilities or have 2 pictures side by side, I doubt you could tell.
The Natural & Flash shooting mode on the Fuji is pretty nice. It shoots 2 pictures in a row, with out flash then with flash. This means you don't have to tell people to hold their smile while you turn off the flash for a 2nd shot.
The things I don't like:
The USB / power door & hinge feels fragile. You open the door by pulling it out and bending the rubber hinge to get to the ports. Honestly this could have been better, but I get the feeling it's like this to reduce the camera's size. It's a minor thing, so I can live with it.
The other thing I don't like so much is that the automatic point and shoot modes tend to bring up the ISO up in low light conditions. While this is not a bad idea to use higher ISO and less flash, in my opinion, I think it tends to select too high and ISO. For example I took an outdoor picture in an overcast sky, and it autoselected ISO 800. No reason to use 800, it would have been perfectly fine at 200 or even 400. This can be overcome using Manual mode which isn't really manual, but a mode that lets you change more settings (or leave them automatic/default). You can't manually focus for example. ISO settings can only be changed in Manual mode.
The LCD display is really nice. As per the spec, its higher resolution than the Canon SD630 and the Canon SD700, although the SD630 is 3".
I wish Fuji would use SD cards, they are less expensive and more universal, but alas the cost difference of 1 xD card won't break the bank.
Other than the small quirks, I think this was a great purchase and would highly recommend it for the quality features and picures that you will get.Updated
So you ask yourself Type H or Type M, will it make a difference in the Fuji F30.
I got a 1 GB type M xD from Sandisk (Fujifilm branded) and a 1 GB type H from Olympus.
My little non-professional speed test:
Copy of files from the camera via usb ant timed with a stop watch.
I get aproximately these values:
Type M: 1.76 megabytes per sec
Type H: 2.45 megabytes per sec
So the Type H is roughly 40% faster here.
Testing on the camera in continuous mode (Long periode) + high speed shooting, over 10 seconds with no flash:
Type M: 5 pictures
Type H: 6 pictures
Marginal difference but still, Type H is about 20% faster here.
So if you need to shoot lots of pics fast, I guess you can go with type H. Otherwise, for general use, I'd say there is no real difference, so buy which ever is cheapest.