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Fujifilm FinePix 4800 Zoom

Fuji updates their SuperCCD pocket camera with improved color and a hot-sync cradle!

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Page 2:Executive Overview

Review First Posted: 08/16/2001

Executive Overview
Introduced in conjunction with the FinePix 6800 Zoom, Fujifilm's signature series FinePix 4800 Zoom features a Super CCD sensor for expanded image resolution, a 3x Super EBC Fujinon aspherical glass lens, and a stylish new design conceived by the legendary design firm, F.A.Porsche. The 4800 Zoom's 2.4-megapixel Super CCD features an interwoven pixel pattern (shaped like a honeycomb) and interpolates images to file sizes as large as 2,400 x 1,800 (4.3-million) pixels. Fujifilm's primary color filter and proprietary imaging technology are said to deliver high-definition color, increased dynamic range, and a better signal-to-noise ratio than cameras that are not similarly enhanced.

Like its companion model, the 3.3-megapixel 6800 Zoom, the FinePix 4800 comes with a Fujifilm PictureCradle, or docking station, that performs multiple functions. The DC In and USB jacks on its back side enable the cradle to serve as both a battery charger and a card reader for downloading images. For PC users, the cradle holds the camera in an upright position facing forward, allowing it to be used as a videoconferencing tool (along with the included Windows-only PictureHello software).

The built-in 3x, 8.3-24.9mm lens (equivalent to a 36-108mm lens on a 35mm camera) has automatically adjusted aperture settings ranging from f/2.8 to f/10.8 (depending on the zoom setting and lighting conditions). Focus operates in either Manual or Autofocus modes, the latter of which employs a contrast-detection focus system. For image composition, the 4800 Zoom offers a real-image optical viewfinder and a two-inch LCD color monitor. The monitor features a detailed information display, which can be shown with or without framing guidelines, or turned off completely. (The framing guidelines divide the image into thirds horizontally and vertically, to help you line up shots.) We were pleased to see that the LCD monitor also reports aperture and shutter speed information when the Shutter button is halfway depressed, although the photographers has no way of adjusting these settings.

Exposure is automatically controlled at all times, even in the "Manual" exposure mode (which in this case refers to the ability to adjust white balance, ISO, exposure values, and metering). A Mode dial on top of the camera sets the Exposure mode, with options for Continuous Shooting, Manual, Automatic, Scene Position, Movie, and Audio. The Auto exposure mode takes full charge of settings, allowing the user to control only the File Size / Quality, Flash, Self-Timer, and Macro modes. Switching to Manual mode expands the Photography menu's exposure options to include Auto Bracketing, White Balance, ISO, Manual Focus, Sharpness, Flash level, EV (Exposure Compensation), Multi-Exposure, and Photometry (metering mode). In Scene Position, you have a choice of four preset shooting modes, including Portrait, Scene (Landscape), Night Scene, and Black and White. When opened, the built-in flash offers Automatic, Red-Eye Reduction, Forced, and Slow Synchro operating modes, selected using the right Arrow key. Closing the flash compartment suppresses the flash from firing under any lighting conditions.

By default, the 4800 Zoom employs Multi Metering, which takes readings from 64 zones and assesses the entire scene to determine the best exposure for existing light conditions. Through the Manual Photography menu, you can change the Photometery mode to Spot metering, which bases the exposure on readings from the center of the frame, or Average metering, which averages readings from throughout the frame, without considering the subject or existing conditions. An Auto Bracketing feature takes three consecutive exposures (one at the metered reading, one overexposed, and one underexposed) to ensure optimum results. You can choose one of three exposures variations: +/- 1/3, +/- 2/3, and +/- 1. The Exposure Compensation function allows you to adjust the exposure from -2 to +2 exposure values (EV) in one-third-step increments. White balance options include Auto, Sunny, Shade, Daylight Fluorescent, Warm White Fluorescent, Cool White Fluorescent, and Incandescent settings. ISO sensitivity settings include 125, 200, and 400 equivalents. The 4800 Zoom also offers a Sharpness adjustment, a 10-second Self-Timer, and a Flash brightness adjustment (+/- 0.6 EV in one-third-step increments).

Continuous Shooting mode takes as many as three consecutive frames at approximately 0.2-second intervals, depending on the image size and quality settings and the amount of available memory card space. A Multi Exposure menu option (Manual mode only) takes multiple exposures, layering one over another, to produce unique "multi-exposed" images. The 4800 Zoom's Movie mode records 320 x 240-pixel movies with sound, with a maximum recording time of 80 seconds per movie. The Audio Recording mode allows you to record audio files in WAV format for as long as 30 minutes at a time (depending on available memory space). You can also record short sound clips to accompany captured images.

Recorded images and sound are saved to a SmartMedia memory card; a 16MB card is supplied with the camera. The 4800 Zoom offers four still image resolutions: (4M) 2,400 x 1,800 (interpolated), (2M) 1,600 x 1,200, (1M) 1,280 x 960, and (VGA) 640 x 480 pixels, with Fine, Normal, and Basic JPEG compression levels.

An NTSC A / V cable accompanies the camera, allowing you to review and compose images on a television. (European models come equipped for PAL timing.) The 4800 Zoom also comes with a USB cable, which can be plugged directly into the camera or into the accompanying docking cradle, for high-speed connection to a computer. The included software CD includes Fujifilm's FinePix interface software, as well as USB drivers, ArcSoft VideoImpression, Adobe PhotoDeluxe HE, and Adobe ActiveShare. Most of the software is compatible with both Windows and Macintosh operating systems, with the exception of Adobe ActiveShare, which is Windows only. Likewise, the FinePix videoconferencing utility is only compatible with Windows systems.

The 4800 Zoom is powered by an NP-80 rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack, or an AC adapter that doubles as a battery charger. The AC adapter can be connected directly to the camera or to the Fujifilm PictureCradle.

This slick-looking 2.4-megapixel digicam is solidly built, compact, and easy to use. Its fully automatic exposure mode is perfect for consumers who want to take good pictures without having to worry about complicated camera controls. While the Manual mode offers some basic exposure adjustments, as well as a few creative options, the 4800 Zoom clearly isn't designed for photographers who like to tweak and twiddle camera settings. By combining simple, point-and-shoot photography with movie and audio recording, videoconferencing capability, high-tech features, and excellent image quality,a all in a sleekly stylish all-metal body, the 4800 Zoom should prove to be very popular in the consumer market.

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