My New Camera in Guanajuato

My mum came, my new camera got through customs, and I ditched my faithful Nikon 8700 for a week to put my new Fuji Finepix V10 through it’s paces! I love photography, more so than my talents would suggest I should, so I’ve had a lot of fun over the last few days trying out all the buttons! I’ve given my own personal review below…

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Incidentally….Guanajuato is an absolute gem of a town to visit. A former colonial city created to mine the silver from the mountains, it’s now a bohemian heaven and tourist hotspot. Granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status, the architecture is a blaze of colour and intricate design, and is relatively free of traffic. Underneath the town is a labyrinth of tunnels for the automobiles to drive through. When they do make their way to the surface they are faced with endless 90 degree corners and steep slopes. Check out my photo albums for more of a feel for the city.

First Impressions

First three things you notice out of the box – it has a well built, solid metal case, it’s small enough to fit in a shirt pocket, and has a massive LCD screen. All good impressions. It didn’t take me more than 10 minutes to familiarise myself with all the buttons and menus, so all good as far as ease of use is concerned.

It came with software, USB cable, rechargeable battery, charger, a long wrist strap and a small memory card. Along with the Fuji case (sadly not the specific one for the model as it is not yet on sale in the UK) and 1 gigabyte memory card, I was set to go. And go I did….very quickly. The camera starts up and is ready to shoot in a flash, so to speak.

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Specifications

This is a budget camera, costing just £115 in the UK, but these days budget cameras come with plenty of bells and whistles and should be pretty capable. The V10 has 5 megapixels, which should be fine for the vast majority of people. I have printed out decent images from a 3mp camera (my old Nikon Coolpix 880) onto an A4 page with decent results before now, so I would expect this to be able to so too. These days 5mp seems to be close to the minimum – I haven’t seen many 3mp cameras on sale lately, and only a few 4mp models. The lens has a 3.4 optical zoom which is pretty good. Most point and shoot’s get just 3x zoom, so surely no complaints! There is an additional digital zoom if you need it.

Taking Photos

You get a few modes to play with, but not many. Certainly not as many as you normally get these days on a budget digital camera. Auto mode is good enough, but there is Sport, Portrait, Landscape, Night and a very limited Manual mode. I have mostly used Auto mode, but my attempt with Night mode suggests you should need to make use of the tripod mount to get decent results.

There is one more mode that should be mentioned. Natural Light mode is for those low light situations, where you can’t use a flash, or where you just want to make the most of what natural light is available rather than use a flash and get the resulting glare in your photo. As an added bonus you can set it to Natural + Auto which will produce two photos, so that you can choose which you prefer. Below are two photos which show this feature in action!

However, whilst I have found that Natural Light can produce excellent results, it doesn’t produce the goods in every situation. There can also be subtle blurring from handshake that doesn’t show up on the 3″ LCD. The LCD really is marvellous, but it isn’t a computer screen, so bear that in mind.

Overall picture quality is good. Especially is good light. It can be noisy in low light, and I have had a fair few disappointing shots that just seem to be a little soft. However, I have been shooting almost entirely in Auto mode and I suspect that using Portrait or landscape at opportune moments would have reduced the number of not quite perfect snaps. Below is a successful (in my opinion!) effort showing that the camera can produce detail and colour perfectly in the right conditions.

My Opinion

So to recommend, or not recommend? I don’t think recommendations are worthwhile. It all depends what you are looking for in a camera. I have a nice 8mp, 8x zoom Nikon 8700 prosumer digital camera already, but I wanted a second camera that is small enough to fit in a pocket and take everywhere, cheap, and takes reasonably good shots. I could tick the boxes to the first two questions before I placed my order. And now I can tick the third box. It doesn’t shoot images as sharp as my Nikon, but then I didn’t expect it to. The former cost me £600, the latter little more than £100. I would actually be disappointed if it could! Having to bin my Nikon as an obsolete would be a sad thing to do…!

But it does start up quicker, and overall the majority of the photos I took were perfectly good. I don’t intend to print out any of the photos I take with it, but then I don’t print photos out from my Nikon before either anymore. I shoot for my blog and view on a PC screen.

I have countless photos from my trip this week to Guanajuato, so if you want to see more examples of what the camera can (and in a couple of cases, can’t) do, go click on ‘Photos’ and have a looky see.

I am perfectly happy with it though, and that’s the important thing!

Pro’s

Small body, big screen
Good quality photos
Natural Light mode, sometimes
A few simple games to pass time
Takes pretty good videos
Price

Con’s

Low light photos sometimes iffy
Games addictive – kills battery

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