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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Fujifilm FinePix E900

Fuji Digital Cameras

   


Fujifilm FinePix E900 Review

Review Date: Nov 3, 2005

Category: Serious Amateur

Fujifilm FinePix E900

USER'S EXPERIENCE

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; Owner's Manual
  • Software CD: FinePixViewer 5.1 (3.3 for Mac), ImageMixer VCD2 LE for FinePix, RAW File Converter LE 1.1;

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 the lot.

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 ISO 200.

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 power outlet.

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 sharp image.

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 optional adapters.

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 models.

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 Explorer.

FinePix Viewer

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, sharpness.

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.

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