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Fuji FinePix 4700

Fuji packs a 2.4 million pixel "SuperCCD" sensor and 2400 x 1800 images into an ultra- compact digicam!

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Page 2:Executive Overview

Review First Posted: 10/7/2000

Executive Overview
Following the compact design aesthetic of their previous "pocket camera" models, Fuji's new 4700z fits easily in a typical shirt pocket. (Well, maybe it'd be a little more comfortable in a jacket pocket or purse, but it's definitely very portable!) Its ultra-modern, silver body design is attractive and functional. One design element that keeps the camera's facade so smooth is the retractable lens. Protected by a mechanical cover that slides out of place when the lens extends outward (which it does when the camera is turned on), the fully retracting lens keeps the camera face free of any protrusions when it's stowed. Also adding to the camera's sleek appearance is the pop-up flash design, which neatly hides the flash when it's not needed. We liked the design of the four way arrow buttons on the back panel, which encircle a small, black and white LCD display that reports the current functions of the surrounding buttons, and the status of the settings they control. What's great about this display is that many of the camera's settings can be controlled here, meaning you don't have to rely too much on the LCD based menu (which is only available in Manual exposure and Playback modes), saving a significant amount of battery power in normal use. An interesting feature on the 4700z is that it allows you to program a startup image that appears on the LCD monitor every time the camera is turned on. This is a nice touch for businesses who want to put their logo in the startup or anyone who just has a favorite image they want to program in.
The 4700z features both a real-image optical viewfinder, with autofocus target and cropping marks, and a two inch, low-temperature, polysilicon TFT color LCD monitor for image composition. An information readout can be displayed or removed from the LCD monitor and reports a variety of information about the camera's settings, depending on the exposure mode you're in. When shooting in Manual mode, the settings menu remains at the bottom of the screen, while the battery status and image count is displayed at the top. When the shutter button is half-way pressed, the aperture and shutter speed settings are revealed at the bottom of the screen. An interesting feature of the LCD in Playback mode is that it allows you to create a 25-image index display from captured movies (not stills) so that you can grasp the content of the movie without playing it back. You can also zoom into captured images up to 15x (!) and scroll around to check details. You can do this during the preview display as well, which gives you a chance to examine images captured in Manual exposure mode before recording them to the SmartMedia card.
The Fujinon 3x, 8.3 to 24.9mm lens (equivalent to a 36 to 108mm lens on a 35mm camera) offers aperture settings of f/2.8 or f/7.0 in normal, wide-angle mode ranging to f/4.5 of f/10.8 in telephoto. With a normal focal distance from 31.5 inches (80cm) to infinity and 7.9 inches (20cm) to 31.5 inches (80cm) in macro, the 4700z offers both automatic and manual focus options in Night Scene, Manual and Continuous Shooting exposure modes. A 1.88x/3.75x digital telephoto extends the camera's telephoto range to effective focal lengths of 203 or 405mm, but only for the smaller image sizes.
Exposure control on the 4700z is very simple, as the camera controls most of the settings. A variety of exposure modes set the camera up for different shooting scenarios: Night Scene, Landscape, Portrait, Auto, Manual, Continuous Shooting and Movie. The majority of the exposure modes put the camera in charge of all the exposure choices (including white balance and exposure compensation). This is convenient for some people, who don't want to worry too much about the details. Manual exposure mode gives you control over everything except for the aperture and shutter speed. You have several white balance options (including three different types of fluorescent lighting), sharpness controls, metering modes, optional manual focus control, exposure compensation (EV), flash intensity, flash mode (Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, Forced, Suppressed and Slow-Synchro), ISO (200, 400 or 800) and more. We found the user interface a little tricky to decipher at first, as the Shift key provides shortcuts to several Setup menu options such as changing file size and quality. However, a quick read of the manual answered all of our questions. Once we were accustomed to it, we really liked the combination of LCD readout and jog control, making a number of camera settings very accessible without resorting to the LCD menu system.
The Continuous Shooting mode allows you to take up to three consecutive shots at approximately 0.2 second intervals (!), depending on the amount of SmartMedia space and image information to process. Because the flash is unavailable in this mode, the only feature you can control is manual focus. Movie mode allows you to capture up to 90 seconds of moving images with sound at approximately 10 frames per second. All movies are recorded at the 320 x 240 image size. As we mentioned earlier, you can create a 25 image index of each movie for quick review and there's even an option to play movies backwards, if you so desire.
One of the more controversial aspects of the FinePix 4700 is the way it creates 4.3 megapixel files from it's 2.4 megapixel SuperCCD sensor. We're reluctant to step into the ring to argue the pros or cons of image interpolation, but will make the following comment: The 4700's resolution as measured by our studio tests is clearly better than typical 2 megapixel cameras, but equally clearly doesn't rise to the level of the best 3.3 megapixel units currently on the market. (April, 2000)
Images are stored on a SmartMedia card (a 16MB card comes with the camera) with three quality settings and three image sizes available. A USB cable is included with the camera for quick image transfer to a PC or Mac and a software CD provides basic image viewing and editing capabilities with Exif Viewer and QuickTime 4. The camera ships with a complement of software for both Mac and Windows platforms, letting you download, view, and manipulate images on both platforms. An included NTSC video cable (US and Japanese models, PAL in Europe) means you can connect the camera to a television set for image playback or composition, using the television screen as a large LCD monitor.
The 4700z utilizes two AA Ni-MH or NiCd batteries for power, or an optional AC adapter. Most likely because it uses only two batteries, we found battery life to be rather short, even though you can opt to shoot without the LCD monitor: We strongly recommend keeping a couple sets of freshly charged batteries handy. We also recommend purchasing the AC adapter for tasks like downloading or reviewing images. Kudos to Fuji though, for including a set of high-capacity (1600 mAh) NiMH rechargeable batteries with the camera, and a compact charger for recharging them. (Since rechargeable NiMH batteries are really a necessity with digicams, we'd like to see more manufacturers include this essential equipment in the box with their cameras.)
Overall, this is a great camera for a consumer looking for hassle-free shooting, portability, and large file sizes for high-quality prints. Because the camera always has control over aperture and shutter speed, the most you have to worry about is an exposure-compensation adjustment, and whether or not you need flash. The camera's extremely compact design makes it a good candidate for consumers on the go who don't want to fuss with a camera bag. The high resolution means you'll be able to make true photo-quality 8x10 prints from your images. The 4700z is a fun camera that definitely won't be left behind.

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