Fuji Finepix Z3 Review

Ultra Compact

Picture
Fuji Finepix Z3 Ease of Use 9
Features 7
Movie Mode 8
Build Quality8
Colours 8
Photo Quality 8
Style 8
Lowlight 9
Macro 7
Value for Money 8
5 Megapixels
3x Zoom
2.5 inch LCD Screen
90 x 55 x 20mm
130g

Overview

The Fuji Finepix Z3 is a pocket sized digital camera. Looking at its design and features it is fairly typical of this type of camera. This makes it suitable for anyone looking for a standard, compact, point and shoot digital camera. It has five megapixels and a three times zoom lens. It comes with a cradle. The cradle is used when the battery is being recharged or the Finepix Z3 is being connected to a television, compatible printer or computer. The cradle is also used for attaching the camera to a tripod.

Main Features

Megapixels:
Zoom:
LCD Screen:
Dimensions:
Weight:

5
3x
2.5 inches
90 x 55 x 20mm
130g

Macro:
HD Movies:
Manual Controls:
Batteries:
Memory Cards:

8cm
No
No
Lithium-ion Rechargeable
xD-Picture Card

Image Quality

On the whole picture quality is good. There are one or two areas where I felt the camera could have performed better, but you will find the Finepix Z3 is capable of taking a decent snapshot in most situations.

Outdoors the camera is at its best. I liked the brightness of the scenic shots the camera produced and I would say that the scenes were a faithful reproduction of how they looked when the photos were taken. There is plenty of depth to the blue skies despite the fact the photos were taken on a chilly winter's day. On the whole focusing is good. In fact I would go as far to say surprisingly good and it out performs many of its rivals in this area. Focusing also stays sharp towards the edges and there was no really noticeable drop off in sharpness towards the edges.

One area where the camera could have managed a little better is with the glare from the sun. With the winter sun low in the sky it is a challenging time to be taking this type of photo and there is a loss of detail in some of the lighter areas of the first outdoor photo. Even so the camera manages to perform better than many cameras in this area.

The dedicated test for colours produces a strong result. This is something that backs up the results from the outdoor scenic shots. The colours are true and where I have noticed a tendency for other cameras to turn some blues into purple the Finepix Z3 manages to avoid this problem altogether.

Looking at the outdoor portrait this is one photo where I am left a bit disappointed. The photo is on the dull side. This certainly detracts from the photo. The photo was taken in the shade and although I used the shady white balance setting the camera has been unable to give the photo the lighting boost it needs.

Moving indoors into lowlight situations the Finepix Z3 handles these well. Both the indoor portrait and shot of beer bottles are well focused considering the conditions. Colours also remain in good order. There is a touch of red eye showing in the indoor portrait. This is to be expected with the flash unit positioned as close as is it to the lens. This increases the chances of the light from the flash being reflected back from the subject's eyes directly into the lens.

The macro shot is about standard. If your main interest is close up photography I wouldn't recommend this camera. If you are planning the occasional macro shot it should be perfectly adequate. This is a slight loss of detail in one or two areas and there is a suggestion of purple fringing in places as well.

Finally the tests for shooting with higher ISO settings show excellent results. With almost all other brands using higher ISO settings leads to considerable noise levels (loss of quality) creeping into the shots. Fuji appears to have overcome this to a large extent. Certainly at ISO 400 picture quality is very good and even at ISO 1600 picture quality is acceptable. This means that when shooting in lowlight without flash you still stand a good chance of producing a decent photo.

See sample images link arrow

Shutter Lag and Recycling Times

In my shutter lag tests the Finepix Z3 managed to take a single photo in 0.37 seconds and five shots in 9.45 seconds. These times were achieved when the flash was off. When the flash was turned on the times increased to 0.43 seconds for a single photo and 14.58 for five photos. Although these are average times they are significantly longer than the times Fuji claim the camera is capable of achieving.

You can compare this camera to other models by taking a look at the Shutter Lag Comparison Table.

Features

The 3x optical zoom lens has a focal length equivalent to 36 - 108mm on a 35mm camera. There is also a 5.7x digital zoom function. The aperture of the lens is controlled by the camera. It can set it to either F3.5, F5.0 or F8.0. Shutter speeds are also set automatically. These work in the range 4 seconds to 1 / 1000 seconds.

For composing photos, accessing the menu system and reviewing photos and movies you have already taken is a 2.5" LCD screen. There is no viewfinder.

The camera has a small number of preset scene modes. Whenever you select a scene mode the camera will use what it considers to be the best settings for the type of photo you have selected. The scene modes available are: Natural Light, Natural Light with Flash, Portrait, Landscape, Sport, Night, Fireworks, Sunset, Snow, Beach, Museum, Party, Flower Close-Up and Text.

There are three burst or continuous shooting modes. The first one allows you to fire off up to three photos at a maximum speed of 2.2 frames per second. The next allows you to fire off any number of shots, but only stores the last three you took. These are also recorded at a rate of 2.2 frames per second. Finally there is a slower continuous shooting mode. This lets you to keep taking photos until the memory card is full. The rate of capture is slower with a top speed of 0.7 frames per second.

One of the main selling points of most Fuji digital cameras is how they perform in lowlight. With the Finepix Z3, Fuji have incorporated a useful feature that allows you to fire off two simultaneous photos, one with flash and one without. You can then select the one you like the best. The other features for use in low light are ISO levels and flash. You can set the ISO rating to 64, 100, 200, 400, 800 or 1600. The flash works up to a range of 3m when the zoom lens is not in use. This falls to 2.3m when the zoom is being operated. Flash modes are Auto, Red-eye Reduction, Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Slow Synchro and Red-eye Reduction + Slow Synchro.

Other useful features include a self timer. The delay can be set to either two or ten seconds. For close up shots the camera can focus from 8cm in macro mode. With the Finepix Z3 options to use different colours are limited to shooting in standard colour, black and white and chrome. You can also add short voice memos to photos you have already taken.

As you get to know your camera you may also try adjusting levels of exposure compensation and white balance (Fine, Shade, Fluorescent light (Daylight), Fluorescent light (Warm White), Fluorescent light (Cool White) and Incandescent light. You can also set the focusing area to be either multi point or centre weighted.

You can record movies up to the capacity of the memory card. By using the maximum resolution of 640 x 480 these are large enough to fill a TV screen (not widescreen). The fastest recording speed is 30 frames per second. You can zoom in and out before recording starts, but not while recording is in progress. Sound is captured with the movie.

Ease of Use

All in all this is a straightforward camera. The menus are easy to look through and find the feature you are looking for. The Finepix Z3 is not overburdened with features and this also helps when it comes to ease of use.

Cost

This camera is available for around &pound140. Other similar models you could consider include the Canon IXUS 60 (&pound145), Nikon Coolpix S5 (&pound135) and Casio Exilim EX-Z700 (&pound135).

Style

The Finepix Z3 looks like a fairly standard compact, point and shoot camera. It has an aluminium body. You can choose between silver, pink and blue versions. The camera weighs 130g and has measurements of 90 x 55 x 20mm.

Battery Power

A rechargeable lithium ion battery (NP40) is used to provide power to the camera. One is supplied as standard. For recharging the battery the camera needs to be placed in the cradle and attached to a wall socket by an adapter cable. The cable and cradle are also supplied in the box.

Memory Cards and Storage

Fuji have built 10 megabytes of storage into the Finepix Z3. This means that a memory card does not come with the camera. I was able to take seven shots before the internal memory was full. This is not a lot and makes it difficult to really run a full test on the camera. The camera is compatible with xD Picture cards.

Click here to save money on SD cards..

Points I like:

Simple design
Picture quality at higher ISO settings
Colours
Focusing

Where it is not so hot:

Outdoor portrait was dull

Summary

Overall I am impressed with the Fuji Finepix Z3. Compared to other pocket sized digital cameras it is relatively cheap and I think it does a good job. Maybe not quite top drawer, but worth a close look if you do not want to over spend and would like a pocket digital camera.

Fuji Finepix Z3 Front View Front View

Fuji Finepix Z3 Back View Back View

Fuji Finepix Z3 Top View Top View

Sample Menus

menu functions

shooting mode setup menu

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Related Pages

Fuji Finepix Z3 Review Fuji Finepix Z3 Specification Fuji Finepix Z3 Sample Images Fuji Digital Cameras

Review Date

February 2007

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