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Fuji FinePix 6800 Zoom

A new SuperCCD sensor gives Fuji's latest ultra compact true 3.3 megapixel resolution and great color.

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Page 12:Test Results & Conclusion

Review First Posted: 4/8/2001

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 FinePix 6800 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 6800 Zoom performed, and how its images compare to other cameras you may be considering buying.

(NOTE: The following information is incomplete, as we haven't had a chance to complete our outdoor tests with the camera in the short time we've had it. We'll update this section and the "Pictures" page as soon as the weather cooperates and gives us a sunny day!)

Overall, the 6800 Zoom produced nice images throughout our somewhat limited testing. We observed good color and detail for the most part, though the camera's automatic white balance system had a tiny bit of trouble with a couple of our targets, and left a very strong color cast in our indoor shots, taken under incandescent lighting. Color accuracy was good throughout our testing, with the large color blocks on our Davebox target appearing well saturated and quite accurate (although the yellow block was a tad weak). We chose the automatic white balance setting for most of our test shots, as it produced the most accurate results. We did notice a tendency for the camera to produce a slight magenta cast in some areas, particularly in the bricks of the House poster and in the skin tones of the Musicians shot. Still, the 6800 Zoom does well in most instances, with good color accuracy overall.

The FinePix 6800 Zoom performed very well in our laboratory resolution target test, but was prone to producing some odd artifacts at spatial frequencies well down from its maximum resolving power. We did find that Fuji's interpolation scheme for the "SuperCCD" sensor produced measurably more detail in the 6 megapixel interpolated images than in the 3 megapixel uninterpolated ones. In the 6 megapixel files, artifacts begin at around 800 lines per picture height in both horizontal and vertical directions, but are much more subdued in the vertical direction. Detail is clearly visible as far out as 1200 lines per picture height in both directions, but strong moire patterns begin at around 1050 lines, leading us to "call" the resolution at that level. (In the slightly slanted (5 degree slant) lines, we'd call the resolution at 900 lines before strong moire sets in.)

In the uninterpolated images, more ordinary moire patterns become strongly apparent about 100-150 lines earlier than they do in the interpolated files, producing visual resolutions of roughly 900 lines vertically and horizontally, and leading us to call the resolution in the slanted target elements at roughly 800 lines.

Overall, the F6800 does very well in the resolution department, but its lens lets it down a little in the corners of the targets, particularly at the wide angle setting: The strongest effect is limited to the extreme corners, but the corner 5% or so of the image area is quite blurred. The effect is still visible in the telephoto shots, but is significantly reduced.

Optical distortion on the 6800 Zoom is quite high at the wide angle end of the lens' range, where we measured approximately 1.3 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end fared much better, though we noticed about three pixels of barrel distortion here as well (this is unusual, since we normally expect to find some pincushion distortion at the telephoto setting). Chromatic aberration is low, showing about three or four pixels of coloration on either side of the black target lines. The coloration is very faint, and the extra pixels may have been caused by the corner softness from the lens. (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.)

As you might expect (given the all-automatic exposure system and maximum shutter time of three seconds), the 6800 Zoom had a few limitations in the low-light category. In our testing, using the Night Scene photography mode, we were only able to obtain bright, usable images at light levels as low as one foot-candle (11 lux). The target is still visible as low as 1/16 of a foot-candle (0.67 lux), though images are very dim. A warm color cast appeared in images taken from the four foot-candle (44 lux) light level on down to 1/16 of a foot-candle (0.67 lux). Noise is moderately low in all of the images, though we noticed a fair number of red, blue, and green pixels from the CCD. (We direct readers to Mike Chaney's excellent Qimage Pro program, for a tool with an amazing ability to remove image noise without significantly affecting detail.) To put the 6800 Zoom's low-light performance into perspective, an average city night scene under modern street lighting corresponds to a light level of about one foot-candle, so the camera should handle most average, lit, night scenes. Anything darker will require use of the flash.

We found the 6800 Zoom's optical viewfinder to be quite tight, showing approximately 78.25 percent of the final image area at wide angle, and about 79.01 percent at telephoto (at the 2,048 x 1,536 pixel image size). The LCD monitor fared much better, showing approximately 95.96 percent accuracy at wide angle, and about 96.7 percent at telephoto (also at the 2,048 x 1,536 pixel image size). Since we generally like to see LCD monitors as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the 6800 Zoom performs well in this respect.

The 6800 Zoom performed quite well in the macro category, capturing a very small minimum area of just 2.45 x 1.84 inches (62.35 x 46.76 millimeters). Detail and resolution both look great, with reasonably sharp details throughout the image (though with a hint of softness). Details on the brooch and larger coin appear slightly soft, possibly from the limited depth of field when focusing this close. We again noticed some loss of corner sharpness from the lens, in all four corners. Color balance appears slightly warm, but overall color looks pretty good. A moderate amount of noise is visible in the gray background, but isn't too distracting from the image. The 6800 Zoom's built-in flash does a good job of throttling down for the macro area, cooling the color balance slightly.

Overall, the 6800 Zoom performed quite well in our testing, with excellent color accuracy and nice image quality in most shooting conditions. Though exposure control is somewhat limited, which in turn limits low-light shooting, the 6800 Zoom does a very nice job in normal to dim daylight. It didn't handle household incandescent lighting well, which we viewed as it's most critical limitation. (This is a perfect example though, of where our favorite image-adjusting program PhotoGenetics would come in handy: A little time spent creating a "genotype" for indoor lighting, and you'd have a 100% improvement in the camera's performance.)


Conclusion
With the FinePix 6800 Zoom, Fuji has taken their signature vertical-format compact digicam design to the next level. The new 3.3 megapixel SuperCCD offers better resolution, better color, and reduced noise levels relative to the chips used in earlier models. The newly-added audio and movie features further extend the camera's utility, as does the slick "cradle" design that facilitates connection to a host computer for file transfers and even webcam use. It lacks extensive exposure controls and is only average in its low light and incandescent-lighting performance, but the compact size, great color, and great resolution will find it many happy homes. Definitely "Recommended!"

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