Fuji aims for convergence with the FinePix M603 By
Michael R. Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, September 24, 2002 - 18:14 EDT)Over the years, we've often heard "convergence" touted as the Holy Grail of digital photography - one product that can perform well at both still and movie photography.
Few products have come close to achieving this objective, probably because of the inherent contradictions in the idea. Video cameras rely on much lower resolutions than still cameras, but require much, much faster read-out from the sensor. Video camera buyers expect long, long zoom lenses that needn't necessarily be of very high optical quality (thanks to the low resolution); still cameras generally feature a lens in the range of 2x to 4x, but optical quality must be very good to give even acceptable performance with the tiny, high-resolution imagers that our cameras use.
A few products have come close to satisfying the hunger for a camera that gives good video and still quality, but as evidenced by the fact that most of us still buy separate devices for our still and video photography, they've yet to catch on. Fujifilm is hoping to break that mold with an announcement at Photokina 2002 that should be a strong rival for Sanyo's DSC-MZ3, amongst others.
The Fujifilm FinePix M603 uses a third-generation 1/1.7" SuperCCD imager with 3.1 million effective pixels that offers both interpolated 6.03 megapixel still images, or VGA (640 x 480 pixel) video at 30 frames per second. ISO sensitivities are from 100 to 1600 (dependent on resolution), and a Super EBC Fujinon 2x optical zoom lens helps frame images as you like. A burst mode captures 4 frames per second for up to 5 frames, and there's also an audio clip function.
The video performance is what is most impressive though; 15 minutes of VGA 30fps video (or 30 minutes, at 15fps) can be recorded on a 1GB Microdrive. The vertical form-factor, reminiscent of Fuji's past compact digicams, features a huge 2.5 inch LCD display through which you can frame and review your images and movies, and the Type-II CompactFlash storage is accompanied by an xD-Picture Card slot as well.