The Fuji Finepix Z1 is a five megapixel digital camera with a three times optical zoom lens. It is an ultra compact model that will slip easily into a pocket or small bag. This is a very straightforward camera. There is very little you need to learn before you can start taking photos. It is just a case of charging the battery, loading the memory card and off you go. The Finepix Z1 is therefore likely to appeal to anyone who is looking for a digital camera that can go anywhere with you and is also easy to use.
90.0 x 55 x 18.6mm
The Finepix Z1 produced a pleasing set of test pictures. There was only one photo that it failed with and that is the test carried out in complete darkness. The result was an over exposed shot that was out of focus. This is a test that Fuji digital cameras routinely struggle with. It means that the camera is likely to get into difficulties when the light is really poor.
The indoor portrait shot comes out well though. This indicates that as long as the light indoors is fair you will still be able to take photos. The portrait shot is much better than the one achieved by many other digital cameras. The lighting is good and the picture is sharp.
Outdoors there were no problems to report at all. The scenic, landscape type shots all came out very well. Colours were good throughout, the images were bright and clear and the level of detail captured was pleasing as well. The only areas where the detail could have been clearer were in the darkest areas under trees.
The test for colour produced a very strong result. The blues in particular came out with plenty of depth. This means that photos taken with this camera are likely to be well balanced in terms of colour.
The outdoor portrait was another success. There is a pleasant natural feel to the photo.
The macro shot was also bright, clear and sharp.
Shutter Lag and Recycling Times
Shutter lag is the time it takes to take each picture. A constant criticism of digital cameras is the delay in between clicking the shutter button, the picture being taken and also the camera being ready to take the next picture. From a pure shutter lag view the Finepix Z1 took a picture and recorded it in 0.48 seconds. This is a bit slower then average.
In terms of recycling times I was able to take five pictures in the space of 7.75 seconds. That works out at a rate of 1.55 seconds per picture. I am not claiming that this is the most scientific tests, but it should give you an indication of the recycling speed of the camera. This is a fairly fast time. My test is carried out indoors under standard conditions and it is possible that you would see better results outside.
I must admit I have become used to seeing cameras clock faster times than this one managed. It is quite fast if you are taking a number of shots in quick succession, but I would have liked to have seen a faster time for a single shot.
The 3x optical zoom lens has a focal length that is the equivalent of 36-108mm in 35mm format. The zoom capabilities of the camera are boosted by a 5.7x digital zoom feature. For close up photography there is a dedicated macro mode that allows the camera to focus from 8cms away from the subject.
There is a large 2.5" LCD screen on the back of the camera. This is used for composing photos, accessing the menu system and reviewing images. There is a button that increases the brightness of the monitor should you need to do so. There is no room for a viewfinder.
There are a small number of pre programmed scene modes available. These help the camera to take the best possible shot for different photo opportunities. All you need to do is select the most appropriate scene before taking the picture. The scenes available are for Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Night Scene and Natural Light.
The built in flash unit has an effective range of 3m. This falls to 2.3m when the zoom lens is in use. You can set the flash to automatic, always on, always off and slow synchro. Slow synchro is often used for night photography when you would like the background as well as the subject lit. Red eye reduction is also available.
If you are looking for a different effect when you take a picture you can take a shot in black and white or chrome. When you would like to appear in the picture yourself there is a self timer. The delay can be set to either two or ten seconds. You can also add 30 second voice memos to photos to help preserve the memory.
You can capture movie footage with the Finepix Z1. Movies are of TV quality and can be shot at a resolution of 640x480. The top speed is 30 frames per second. Movies are only limited in duration by the capacity of the memory card.
There are a small number of more advanced settings. These include exposure compensation, shutter speeds between 4 - 1/1000th seconds, sensitivity equivalent to ISO 64 / 100 / 200 / 400 / 640 / 800 and white balance Fine, Shade, Fluorescent Light (Daylight), Fluorescent Light (Warm White) Fluorescent Light (Cool White), Incandescent Light). Although you have access to control white balance and exposure compensation all other functions are controlled by the camera. There are no manual exposure controls.
Fuji supplies all the necessary software and cables to connect the Finepix Z1 to a television set, computer and PictBridge compatible printer.
Ease of Use
I feel that Fuji have taken a step backwards with their menu design. I used to find their menu system very easy to get around, but they have changed the design and I don't think it is for the better. Don't let that put you off the camera though as it is a minor irritation rather than anything worse.
In terms of buttons and dials the Finepix Z1 is well laid out and has a simple design. On the back of the camera you will find all the buttons you need to control key features such as flash and zoom with out having to hunt them down through a mass of buttons.
You can pick up a Fuji Finepix Z1 for around £225. This compares to around £220 for a Canon IXUS 50, £205 for a Pentax Optio S5z and £215 for a Nikon Coolpix S1. As you can see this camera is slightly more expensive than rival cameras. I think it is more or less fairly priced.
The Finepix Z1 is a slim, ultra compact digital camera. Personally I think it looks quite classy. Although it is a fairly typical rectangular shape the edges on the back are rounded. I also like the sliding front cover that opens to reveal the lens. In fact I would go as far as to say I think it is the most attractive ultra compact model I have seen. It is available in black and silver.
It weighs in at 130g and has dimensions of 90.0 (W) x 55 (H) x 18.6 (D) mm.
Batteries and Memory Cards
Power is supplied by a lithium ion rechargeable battery. Both a battery and charger are supplied with the camera. Buying a spare lithium ion battery certainly adds to the over all cost and you may prefer to simply ensure the battery is fully charged before you set off to take any important pictures.
Fuji supplies a 16mb xD card with the Finepix Z1. I was able to take 12 photos before the card was full. Therefore it is advisable to budget for a high capacity card to go with the camera. Click here to save money on xD cards.
Points I like:
Design and build quality
Where it is not so hot:
The Fuji Finepix Z1 is certainly up there amongst the best ultra compact digital cameras that I have tested. The picture quality is very pleasing and I am a big fan of the design. It is slightly more expensive than its rivals, but I would be prepared to pay the extra few pounds. One area I would like to see improved is the menu system.
Fuji Finepix Z1 Front View
Fuji Finepix Z1 Back View
Fuji Finepix Z1 Top View
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