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Fujifilm FinePix E900 Review
Date: Nov 3, 2005
Wednesday, Oct 19, 2005 - Here's what I receive
in the box:
- FinePix E900
- 16MB xD-Picture Card
- 2x AA type rechargeable Ni-MH Batteries
- Battery Charger (power outlet plug-in type)
- Hand Strap
- USB and A/V Cables
- Documentation (English only): QuickStart;
- Software CD: FinePixViewer 5.1 (3.3 for Mac),
ImageMixer VCD2 LE for FinePix, RAW File Converter
The Fujifilm FinePix E900 is targeted
to serious amateur photographers, providing full
exposure flexibility and the availability of optional
accessories. It is a major improvement over the
E550. Though it keeps the basic body shape and
fast operations of the E550, the use of Real Photo
Technology and the 5th Generation SuperCCD HR
image sensor means that its image quality is now
excellent and it can compete with the best of
It has 9MP resolution and incorporates Fujifilm's
new 5th Generation Super CCD HR image sensor,
Real Photo Technology Processor and quality Fujinon
lens to provide low-light capability to this camera.
However, cramming about 3 million more pixels
onto a similar size image sensor meant that the
Fujifilm E900 does not quite approach the exceptional
low noise capability of the Fujifilm F10. Even
then, those who print photos mostly at 4x6 in.
and display them mostly for the Web will be able
to take full advantage of high ISOs 400 and 800
without noticing any noise issue. If you intend
to print 8x10 in., I suggest you do not go pass
The Fujifilm E900 is a fast camera! I clocked
startup, including the full lens extension, at
less than 1 sec. There is no practical shutter
lag, with shot to shot about 1 sec. if there's
enough light, and can take up to 2 sec. to lock
focus in low-light (normal room lighting).
One great thing about this versatile digital
camera is that it uses only two (2) AA Ni-MH batteries
that allow approx. 270 images before needing to
be recharged (according to CIPA). It takes approx.
5 hrs to recharge 2 fully depleted batteries.
Included in the box are 2 AA rechargeable Ni-MH
batteries and a battery charger. The battery charger
is the type you conveniently plug into the wall
For those who prefer it, there is the standard
(small and tunnel-like) real-zoom optical viewfinder,
with parallax markings. The viewfinder zooms as
you zoom the lens, but when taking a picture at
a distance of 0.6 m to 1.5 m (2.0 to 4.9 ft),
only the portion of the image framed by the parallax
markings will be captured. The LCD monitor is
a large 2 in. with a standard 115,000 pixels resolution.
A fast refresh rate makes viewing images smooth.
A point worth noting -- and still to be verified
by other reviewers -- is that the Fujifilm's web
site says the LCD gains up in low light. Well,
on my review model, it briefly does so only when
you half-press the shutter release button, but
then everything goes back to dark on the screen.
[Nov 6, 2005: I've compared the LCD on the E900
to that on the F10, S5200 and S9000. In normal
low-light situations, all 4 LCDs do seem to brighten
the image to make viewing more comfortable. However,
only the last 3 LCDs, and not that on my review
model E900, gain up in extreme low-light.]
Press the DISP button repeatedly and a Framing
Guide of horizontal and vertical lines overlays
on the screen. This is very helpful if you take
lots of pictures of buildings or pictures with
lots of horizontals and/or verticals.
There is no AF-assist light, but in normal low-light
conditions (room lighted by 2 bulbs from the ceiling),
the AF is quite fast and precise. One thing to
remember is that the normal minimum focusing distance
is 60cm (2ft), so if you intend to move in closer
than this, you need to turn Macro ON to get a
The Fujifilm E900 has 4x optical zoom (32-128mm,
35mm equivalent). You can add a 0.76x wide conversion
lens to bring the focal length to a wide 24mm,
a 1.94x tele conversion lens for a 248mm tele
reach, and filters -- all with the appropriate
I was also pretty glad to see among the optional
accessories all the card adapters available for
the xD-Picture Card (CompactFlash adapter, USB
Reader Drive, PC card adapter), which means that
you can use the xD-Picture Card pretty much with
any device, such as photo storage viewers (which
usually accepts CF or SD media cards).
In the field, the Fujifilm E900 performed extremely
well. There was no fumbling with the controls,
no frustration trying to set the functions you
want, and the camera was point-and-shoot simplicity.
I really liked the fact that the Natural Light
scene mode is included right onto the Mode Dial
together with PASM. Whenever, I was in a low-light
situation, I simply rotated the Mode Dial to "N"
and snapped away. No fumbling into the MENU/SETUP
to find the option.
During an actual shooting session, there is
not much risk that the Mode Dial is inadvertently
switched to another shooting mode. However, when
you put the camera away into a bag or coat pocket,
it is advisable to verify that the desired shooting
mode is still the current one when you take the
camera out for shooting.
As currently implemented, you have to go into
the MENU and select AF Area mode everytime you
wish to move the AF target point to a new position
on the screen. That's 6 button presses everytime.
Once set, the AF Frame remains at that new location
until you move it elsewhere. To return to center
position, go back into the MENU - AF mode - Center
(there's a mistake in the Owner's Manual). Note
that the exposure does not follow the AF
Frame but always measures the center of the screen.
I use a 1GB xD-Picture Card and it accepts approx.
228 3488x2616 9M-F images, or 456 3488x2616 9M-N
images. A 128MB card can save approx. 28 9M-F
images and 56 9M-N images. So, you see the need
to use a large capacity media card. It is interesting
to note that Fujifilm ships the camera from the
factory with Image Quality set to 9M-N and ISO
set to 200.
Though RAW is available, this option is buried
quite deep into the MENU: it takes 18 button presses
to select RAW.
The Fujifilm E900 is too big to slip into a jeans
pants pocket comfortably, though you could slip
it into a large pants pocket, and I have carried
it around in my dress pants pocket all day. A
coat pocket, a bag clipped to the belt or a medium-sized
ladies handbag would be an ideal way to carry
this camera. Those with large hands will find
they like this size better than the ultra-compact
The Terminal Cover is a long rubber flap that
opens up wide and remains open effortlessly. Whereas
on the Fujifilm E550, the terminal flap came off
completely and could be easily misplaced, the
one on the E990 has a hinge. Transferring images
to your PC is simply a matter of connecting the
USB cable and either using the FinePix Viewer
to index the images or simply drag-n-drop in Windows
The FinePixViewer software is still one of my
favourite because all the information is contained
in one screen. Each image's filename is clearly
visible and you do not need to launch another
window to view the EXIF info. You can do basic
image editing, re: brightness, saturation, hue,
The Fujifilm E900 Owner's Manual is well illustrated
and written, though the print font is very small.
Surprisingly (for Canada), there is no French
version included (the Quick Start Guide has a
Spanish version), so be sure to request French
documentation if this is what you desire.
The Fujifilm FinePix E900 is very well
designed, fast in operations and improves on the
E550 with very good to excellent image quality
and subtle changes that make the E900 so much
better. It is a solid contender for anyone leaving
behind the point-and-shoot world and who is ready
to move on to learning and growing in photography.
They will find the Fujifilm E900 a pleasure to
use, consistent in giving quality images, and
offering full exposure flexibility.