The Z-series of compact digital cameras from Fujifilm are for style conscious who love to go for looks without losing much on functionalities. The Fuji FinePix Z700EXR is the latest in this line-up and it comes with many better features than its predecessors and it is the first touchscreen based Fujifilm camera that hit our labs. Its gorgeous chic design would grab anyone’s attention first but its performance as a camera is something that we are here to find out.
The FinePix Z700EXR has a design that is fashionable and a size that is compact enough to skip even in a tight jeans pocket. The body has a solid feel and clean design with a glossy finish that on the negative side though is a big fingerprints magnet. We received the black colour version, and there are three other colour options too (red, silver and pink).
Fuji equipped the FinePix Z700EXR with its renowned Super CCD EXR sensor which were only found on its F-series earlier.
It is a 12Mp sensor, with ½-inch size sensor which is bigger than sensors normally found on compact cameras (1/2.33-inch ).
Fuji uses its own optically stabilised Fujinon 5x optical zoom lens (36-180mm equivalent). The camera can detect up to 10 faces, register up to 8 faces and it can also search registered faces from the photos captured in playback mode. It does not only detect human faces but also has that separate scene mode for cats and dogs face detection which worked surprisingly well.
The camera’s screen also automatically rotates the display depending on how you hold the camera, and it also has dual image display which is quite handy while comparing photos. Other interesting features include Touch- and- Shoot function, multi-frame playback, playbacking captured images by scene types or data type which make the FinePix Z700 a feature-rich touchscreen camera in this price range.
The FinePix Z700EXR has a front slide lens cover like the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX7 and this also functions acts as a power on/off switch. The front is clean and has a slight curved design diagonally. At the back is a humungous 3.5-inch resistive touchscreen that takes care of almost all the controls of the camera, part of the main reason the FinePix Z700EXR could do with minimal buttons. There are only three hardware buttons on the camera; for shutter release, zoom rocker and playback/shoot mode. The top and sides have a chromed bezel and on the right is the sealed proprietary port for data transfer.
Fujifilm FinePix Z700EXR: Usability
The camera feels good on hands and the placement of controls is easy to get used to. There were no awkward control placements and the whole experience depends more on the touchscreen responsiveness and its interface design. Firstly, it is not as responsive as Sony’s T-series touch screens as there were a lot times when just one tap would not activate the function.
Besides, on a bright sunny day, we had a hard time figuring what’s on the screen at its default setting , however, increasing the screen brightness fix the problem, but the cost of losing out on battery life. The screen, though is vibrant and images look sharp. The touchscreen interface has big icons which are clearly visible and are easy to understand. Fuji should have made accessing commonly used features easier though. For example, changing shooting modes require a few more taps than we’ve seen on other touchscreen cameras and for settings like ISO, it would be much easier if Fuji located them on the Home screen instead hiding it inside the menu. These are a few design glitches we came across.
Fujifilm FinePix Z700EXR: Performance
Tested in the PCWorld.in Labs
Enough said on the design and features part, here is how the FinePix Z700EXR impressed us with its imaging capability. It took a long 3.7 second from the time we slid down the front cover till it became ready for the first shot. The shutterlag is measured around .58 seconds which is average. In continuous shooting mode, it could take 2 frames per second which is also average and the number of images captured in continuous is limited to only 5 images.
The focusing speed is quick in good light conditions and at its maximum wide angle, but, it always struggled to get the subject in focus at its tele end and in low light which is disappointing. The Dual image stabilisation did help in getting sharper pictures while shooting handheld though.
The image quality of the Fujifilm Finepix Z700EXR is just average. Colours have good dynamic range and were quite warm. But, when viewing viewing in actual resolution, they look grainy and the amount of details it captured were not in par with cameras in this price range. Slight purple fringes were also noticed but it was not much of an issue, so was the lens distortion which were barely noticeable. The lens overall showed good sharpness around the centre with a slight hint of softness around the corners.
Images look their best at ISO 100 and ISO 200 under good lights with almost no hints of noise. On a closer look though, the Finepix Z700 just could not cope up with the amount of details that we captured with even the older Canon models like IXUS 100/110IS or the Sony TX7 we reviewed a few months back. Noise presence was not an issue even at ISO 400 but the loss in details was enormous beyond this point and presence of digital artifacts were more visible.Images may look okay on the small print but while viewing in their actual resolution, the FinePix Z700's captured images lack punchy Colours and are devoid of sharp details.
Even on a bright outdoors, the images despite their warm tone still have problem in delivering sharp and detailed images without any digital artifacts. Be it the HR EXR mode for shooting details or shooting in its manual program mode, the camera just could not cope with many compact rivals in its price range for capturing sharp and clean images. This made images unsuitable for cropping or for large prints. Night shot or low light scene also came out average at best.
Videos recorded are in 720p resolution at 30fps. Sadly, optical zoom is not available during video recording and clips recorded are saved in MJPG format with avi extension which eat up enormous amount of space . Videos recorded lacked fine details and purple fringes were noticed in high contrast areas,. Moving subjects in the frames look choppy and there were digital noise on darker areas which spoiled the overall quality.
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