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Fuji FinePix 2600 Zoom

2 megapixels, a 3x zoom lens, great pictures, and a bargain price: A great "value leader" from Fuji!

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Page 12:Test Results & Conclusion

Review First Posted: 11/08/2001

Test Results
In keeping with our standard policy, our comments here are rather condensed, summarizing our key findings. For a full commentary on each of the test images, see the 2600 Zoom's "pictures" page.

As with all Imaging Resource camera tests, we encourage you to let your own eyes be the judge of how well the devices performed. Explore the images on the pictures page, to see how well the 2600 Zoom performed, and how its images compare to other cameras you may be considering buying.

Throughout our testing, the 2600 Zoom produced accurate color with good saturation. The camera's White Balance system handled most of our test lighting well, though we often noticed a warm cast in our studio shots. We typically chose the Auto setting as the most accurate, but noticed a slight warm cast in many images. The tough incandescent lighting of our Indoor Portrait (without flash) did give the 2600 a hard time though, as both the Auto and Incandescent white balance settings resulted in warm, yellowish images. The 2600 Zoom had no problem distinguishing the tough tonal variations of our Davebox target, and reproduced the large color blocks with good saturation. Skin tones looked very good, and even the tough blue flowers in our "outdoor portrait" shot came out nice and blue, with only hits of the purple coloration that's a common problem among digicams.

The 2600 Zoom performed well on our "laboratory" resolution test chart for its two-megapixel class. We found "strong detail" out to at least 800 lines, although there were very strong artifacts in the vertical direction starting at 600-700.

Optical distortion on the F2600 Zoom was a bit lower than average at the wide-angle end, where we measured an approximate 0.5 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end fared somewhat worse, as we measured a 0.58 percent pincushion distortion, quite a bit higher than average. Chromatic aberration was very low, showing only about two faint pixels of coloration on either side of the target lines. (This distortion is visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.) The most prominent optical problem we saw was rather pronounced softness in the extreme corners, but this didn't extend very far at all into the image area.

The 2600 Zoom features full automatic exposure control and a maximum shutter speed of 1/2-second, which significantly limits the camera's low-light shooting capabilities without flash. During our testing, the camera captured bright, clear images at light levels only as low as four foot-candles (44 lux), which is about two EV stops brighter than average city street lighting at night. (This camera wouldn't be your first choice if you planned to do a lot of available-light night photography.) However, the 2600 Zoom produced good color in its low-light shots and very low noise.

The F2600 Zoom's optical viewfinder is very tight, showing approximately 77 percent frame accuracy at wide angle, and about 74 percent at telephoto. Images framed with the optical viewfinder also show significant extra space at the top and left sides of the target. The LCD monitor fares much better, showing approximately 96 percent of the image area at the wide angle setting, and approximately 94 percent at telephoto. Given that we generally prefer LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the F2600 Zoom's LCD monitor does pretty well here. Flash distribution at wide angle is fairly even, with slight falloff at the corners and edges of the frame. At telephoto, flash distribution is even throughout the frame.

In the Macro category, the 2600 Zoom turned in about an average performance, capturing a minimum area of 3.94 x 2.96 inches (100.17 x 75.13 millimeters). Resolution was high, with a lot of fine detail visible throughout the frame. Color was also good, though the Auto white balance produced a warm cast. We noticed some corner softness in all four corners of the frame, as well as some barrel distortion. The 2600 Zoom's flash throttled down for the macro area nicely, though it produced some shadows in the corners of the frame.

Given the 2600 Zoom's full automatic exposure control, the camera performed well throughout our testing. We'd like to see more a more accurate white balance system (for indoor shots under incandescent lighting) and extended low-light shooting capabilities. That aside, the 2600 Zoom produced good color and image quality, with high resolution in most cases. Overall, we think the 2600 Zoom will do well in typical "consumer" shooting situations. Considering its low price, the 2600 Zoom's performance was really excellent.


Conclusion
Nice image quality, a compact body design, and true, 3x optical zoom make the 2600 Zoom a welcome addition to Fuji's digicam line. Fuji's previous models in this series (the 2400 Zoom and 1400 Zoom before it) both delivered good pictures at excellent prices. The FinePix 2600 Zoom expands on that heritage, with pictures that are sharper and more colorful than ever, at a great price that even includes (a drum roll, please) rechargeable batteries and a charger right in the box. Overall, this is an excellent camera for entry-level users, really one of the strongest entries in that part of the market. Highly recommended!


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