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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 2:Executive Overview

Review First Posted: 4/8/2001

Executive Overview
With sleek lines and smooth contours, the Fuji FinePix 6800 Zoom is a stylish addition to the FinePix family. The F. A. Porsche design gives the 6800 Zoom a fashionable flair, while the camera's small size makes it a very portable option for consumers on the go. Small enough to fit into larger shirt pockets, the 6800 Zoom is also very light weight at just 10.6 ounces (300 grams). The 6800 Zoom uses Fuji's Super CCD technology, featuring a 3.3-megapixel CCD that interpolates into a six-megapixel CCD (producing as high as 2,832 x 2,128 pixels with interpolation). The honeycomb pattern of the CCD, combined with a primary color filter, is designed to deliver high quality images with great color.

An interesting design feature of the 6800 Zoom is the cradle or "dock" that accompanies it. With DC In and USB jacks on its back side, the cradle serves as both a battery charger and a card reader for downloading images. For PC users, the cradle keeps 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).

A 3x, 8.3-24.9mm lens (equivalent to a 36-108mm lens on a 35mm camera) is built into the 6800 Zoom, with automatically adjusted apertures ranging from f/2.8 to f/10.8 (depending on the zoom setting and lighting conditions). Focus offers manual and automatic control, with the autofocus system employing a contrast-detection focus mechanism. For composing images, the 6800 Zoom offers both a real-image optical viewfinder and a color LCD monitor. The two-inch LCD monitor features a detailed information display, which can be canceled for a full screen view. We were pleased to see that the LCD monitor also reports the aperture and shutter speed information, when the Shutter button is halfway pressed, a useful feature when you're trying for special exposure effects. The 6800 Zoom's LCD also offers an optional framing guideline feature, which divides the image into thirds horizontally and vertically, to help you line up shots.

Exposure is automatically controlled at all times on the 6800 Zoom, even in the so-called "Manual" exposure mode (which in this case refers to the ability to manually adjust other variables such as white balance, ISO, etc.). An Exposure Mode dial on top of the camera controls the exposure mode, with options of Continuous Shooting, Manual, Automatic, Scene Position, Movie, and Audio. The Automatic exposure mode takes full charge of the exposure, allowing the user to control the flash, self-timer, and macro mode only. Switching to Manual mode expands the Record menu's options to include white balance, ISO, exposure compensation, flash level, metering, and sharpness. In Scene Position, you have a choice of four preset scene shooting modes, including Portrait, Scene (Landscape), Night Scene, and Black & White.

By default, the 6800 Zoom employs Multi-Metering, which bases the exposure on multiple readings made throughout the image area. Through the Manual exposure Record menu, you can change the metering system to either Spot or Average. An Auto Bracketing feature takes three consecutive exposures (one at the metered reading, one overexposed, and one underexposed), with exposures varying by 1/2, 1/3, or 1 exposure equivalent (EV) increments. Or, you can manually adjust the exposure from -2 to +2 exposure equivalents (EV) in one-third step increments. White balance options include Automatic, Sunny, Shade, Daylight Fluorescent, Warm White Fluorescent, Cool White Fluorescent, and Incandescent settings, and ISO equivalents include 100, 200, and 400 adjustment settings. The 6800 Zoom also offers a sharpness adjustment and a 10-second self-timer. The built-in flash offers Automatic, Red-Eye Reduction, Forced, Suppressed, and Slow Synchro operating modes, as well as an intensity adjustment to control brightness.

Continuous Shooting mode takes as many as five 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 Multiple Exposure menu option (Manual mode only) takes multiple exposures, one over another, to produce unique "double exposed" images. The 6800 Zoom's Movie recording mode captures movies with sound, with a maximum recording time of 160 seconds per movie. Movies are saved at the 320 x 240 pixel resolution size. The Audio mode allows you to record audio files for as long as one hour at a time (depending on available memory space), useful for recording lectures and speeches. You can also record short sound clips to accompany captured images.

Images are saved to SmartMedia memory cards, and a 16MB card comes with the camera. The 6800 Zoom offers four still image resolution sizes, including 2,832 x 2,128 (interpolated), 2,048 x 1,536, 1,280 x 960, and 640 x 480 pixels, with Fine, Normal, and Basic JPEG compression levels.

An NTSC A/V cable accompanies the 6800 Zoom, allowing you to review and compose images on a television set. (European models come equipped for PAL timing.) For high-speed connection to a computer, the 6800 Zoom also comes with a USB cable, which can be plugged directly into the camera or into the accompanying cradle. A software CD holds Fuji's FinePix interface software, as well as USB drivers, ArcSoft Video Impression, Adobe PhotoDeluxe HE, and Adobe ActiveShare. Most software is compatible with both Windows and Macintosh operating systems, with the exception of Adobe ActiveShare, which is for Windows only. Likewise, the videoconferencing utility of the FinePix software is only compatible with Windows systems.

An NP-80 rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack accompanies the 6800 Zoom for power, and an AC adapter is included as well. The AC adapter doubles as an in-camera battery charger, either by connecting to the camera directly or connecting to the cradle.

Overall, the 6800 Zoom is a fun, compact, and well designed digicam. Its all metal body is sturdy, yet lightweight, and it's very pocket-friendly. Our testing showed that the 6800 Zoom handles a variety of exposure conditions well, with good color and image quality. (Although it has a little trouble with incandescent light sources.) The full automatic exposure control is perfect for consumers who simply want to take good pictures without fooling around with camera settings. While you do get the bonus of several exposure options when shooting in Manual mode, and the creativity of a Multiple Exposure mode, the camera clearly isn't aimed at people who want to experiment extensively with exposure parameters. With its videoconferencing capability, 3.3-megapixel CCD, tiny size, variety of features, and very good image quality, we think the 6800 Zoom will find a warm reception with many consumers.

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