Camera: Fuji FinePix 2800 Zoom
The first thing youíll notice about the Fuji FinePix 2800 Zoom is the digital cameraís unique shape.
Although initially awkward-looking, the camera proves itself to be one of the more pleasing shapes to hold, carry and shoot with. The trade-off, of course, is more bulk to deal with, but in larger hands that might not be as comfortable holding the tiny rectangular bodies of the more compact digital camera models, the FinePix seems more solid and offers a better grip and overall, better ergonmics. Still, the camera is small enough to fit in a large coat pocket.
Color definition in the images made by the CCD-equipped camera was overwhelmingly accurate, with detail sharp and contrasty, while maintaining detail in the shadows. The the 64-zone TTL metering worked surprisingly well, even in low- and mixed-light situations that would have thrown off center-weighted systems.
With a list price of $399, the 2.0 megapixel camera offers excellent picture quality from a Fujinon lens with 6x optical zoon and a 2.5x digital zoom, comparable to a 38mm (f/2.8) to 228mm (f/8.8) lens on a 35mm camera. It offers a macro mode for close-up photography, a camera-shake indicator and several flash modes, including red-eye reduction and rear-curtain sync, which allows for properly exposed images at night or in low-light conditions a feature previously unavailable on even some professional-quality SLR models.
A 16MB SmartMedia card is included, which stores up to 60 seconds of video at 10 frames per second, as well as 30 seconds of voice annotation on each photograph via the built-in microphone on the front of the unit. The mini-movies can be saved in AVI format, which will play with the included QuickTime software. A USB connection with the included cable allows Mac OS X and Windows XP to recognize the camera instantly, or you can use the software thatís included for both platforms, which Fotophile.com reviewers didnít even need to do.
A pared-down set of controls keeps the back of the FinePix 2800 uncluttered, doubling up the zoom controls as the up-down arrows. There are only six buttons, which makes maneuvering through the on-screen menus a bit cumbersome. The upside is that the menu is intuitive and quite easy to figure out, while providing a great deal of control over flash modes, exposure compensation, white balance, picture resolution and a power-saving feature that turns off the viewfinder or LCD after a period of inactivity.
Users can choose between composing images or playing them back on a 1.8-inch LCD or the eye-level electronic viewfinder, which is good for use in sunlight or other bright conditions that might overpower the small screen.
Pared with more advanced software such as Photoshop 7.0, the camera makes it easy to sort images and see information it embeds within each file regarding exposure, flash status, focal length, image size and compression.
Overall, the Fuji FinePix 2800 Zoom boasts a remarkable set of features, excellent picture quality and enough versatility to appeal to a wide variety of users. It comes a long way from the first generation of digital cameras, and seemingly, there is little that this camera cannot do. [2002.03] TOP