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Fuji FinePix 6900 Zoom

Fuji updates their uniquely-styled "electronic SLR" with a 3.3 megapixel SuperCCD chip and improved color!

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Page 3:Design

Review First Posted: 7/19/2001

The Fujifilm FinePix 6900 Zoom combines the brand's trademark compact size with a larger lens, achieving a mini-version of a traditional 35mm camera. In fact, the camera appears to mainly be all lens, with the exception of the rather compact hand grip on the side. Measuring 4.3 x 3.1 x 3.7 inches (110 x 78.5 x 93.5mm), and weighing 14.5 ounces (410 grams) without the battery, the 6900 Zoom is a bit of a breakaway from previous FinePix digicam designs (that is, apart from its predecessor, the 4900). While the camera itself is larger than previous versions, it still maintains a pretty compact appearance, especially considering the size of many current digicam models. Fujifilm has used nearly every inch of space on the camera body, with dozens of controls covering the camera's surface. This bounty of controls appears somewhat complicated at first glance, but quickly becomes second nature after a brief read through the manual.

The camera front features mainly the lens barrel and the hand grip. The 6x optical zoom lens is encased in a sturdy metal barrel, and features a ridged focus ring at the very end of the lens for manual focusing. When the camera is turned on, the lens telescopes outward into its operating position, and likewise returns to the lens barrel when the camera is shut off. A plastic lens cap protects the front of the lens, and attaches to the camera with a small strap. The hand grip features a soft, rubber coating on the front that secures your fingers to the camera body, and is echoed on the back panel with a rubber thumb grip.

On the hand grip side of the camera is the SmartMedia slot, with side access. The slot is covered by a hinged, plastic door that snaps securely into place. Another soft, rubber grip area covers the outside of the compartment door, with a small lip that comfortably holds your thumb to the back panel. Also on this side of the camera is an eyelet for attaching the neck strap.

The opposite side of the camera, which is mainly taken up by the side of the lens barrel, features several controls, the connector compartment, and the other eyelet for attaching the neck strap. A Flash pop-up button on the edge of the flash compartment opens and activates the flash. Along the lens barrel is Manual / Auto Focus switch, large Zoom control, Exposure Compensation button, One-Touch Auto Focus / Custom White Balance setting, and Info button, which brings up the current photography settings. Just beyond the control buttons is the connector compartment, covered by another hinged plastic door that opens downward. The USB, A/V out, and DC In connection jacks can all be found in this compartment.

The camera's top panel features the pop-up flash, external flash hot shoe, Shutter button, Mode dial, and Power switch, surrounded by the Photography / Playback switch. Additional controls include the Self-Timer, Continuous Shooting, Macro, and Flash buttons.

A number of control buttons are found on the camera's back panel, including a four-way Arrow Pad button that aids in navigating through settings menus. Above it is a Menu / OK button that brings up the on-screen menu system and verifies selections. Below the Arrow Pad is a Back button, which disengages the on-screen menu. A Display button on the right edge of the LCD monitor adjusts the amount of information shown on the Viewfinder and LCD screens. Next to the viewfinder eyepiece, an EVF / LCD button switches between the electronic viewfinder and LCD screen. At the top right of the back panel are the Focus Lock and Auto Exposure (AE / L) buttons used to set focus and exposure. The LCD display is set in the center of a circular pattern that equates as the back of the lens barrel. The optical viewfinder rests just above, surrounded by a soft, rubber eyepiece. A Shift button, located on the left side of the LCD monitor, allows you to adjust the monitor brightness in both Photography and Playback modes (by holding the Shift button and pressing the Display button simultaneously). In all Photography modes (except Movie), holding this button and pressing the Flash button simultaneously takes you to a screen for adjusting image size and quality settings. (This last is a very handy shortcut, as it prevents having to rotate the Mode dial to the Setup position to make the Size / Quality changes.)

Finally, the camera features a reasonably flat bottom, holding the metal tripod mount and the battery compartment door that slides forward and then opens to reveal the battery. Unfortunately, the two are much too close together to allow quick battery changes while working with a tripod. This is just a minor complaint, but something we always pay attention to with the amount of studio work we do.

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