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Fujifilm Finepix 2800 Zoom Mini-Review

The 2800 Zoom is a powerful camera, which couples a 2.0 million pixel CCD with a huge 6X optical zoom lens for flexible shooting. The enthusiast photographer looking for high resolution stills, sharp lens and great value for money will love this camera. As well as high photo quality, the FinePix 2800 Zoom also offers multimedia features, including a video clip capability, voice captioning on images, webcam and video-conferencing. - Fuji 2800 Zoom Fuji site. - Check Latest Price on Amazon.co.uk

The camera:


Handgrip on the left, silver shutter button, Microphone on the right.


Red light on the front flashes when taking self-timer photos. On the right hand side is the speaker for playing back videos or photo voice memo, usb connection, DC in, plus the hatch for the memory card. For a closer look at the lens click here.


Green light on the back shows you the camera is on, and flashes between green and orange when communicating with the computer. The button next to that, in between the EVF (electronic viewfinder) and the 1.8" LCD screen, switches between the EVF and the LCD - The electronic viewfinder is used so that you can see exactly what you are taking a picture of - and is like a mini TFT screen - because of the surround, this will work well in sunlight, whereas the TFT may not be visible in bright light - my parents think you can hold the camera better when you have it up to your eye. Next to that you have the < left and > right buttons, in between this is the zoom button with you push up to zoom and down the go back to wide-angle. Under that in a row, you have the DISP (display) button, the Menu/OK button and the Back button.

Size comparison (compared to a standard 35mm automatic pentax):

Top - shutter, power on/off (green), dial to choose between Photo mode, Playback mode, and Video mode. To enable 'PC CAM' mode you need to go into the menu and go to set, setup, usb mode, and select PC CAM. When in Play mode - if you switch the camera on, the lens stays re-tracted. In Video or Camera mode, the lens extends, switching to play mode from video or camera mode leaves the lens where it is.


Small but effective flash, red light is used for the self-timer.

Main features:

  • 6x Optical, 38-228mm equivalent optical zoom lens
  • 2-megapixel CCD for 1,600 x 1,200 pixel images
  • Continuous Shooting mode for capturing fast action.
  • 1.8-inch LCD monitor.
  • Macro,
  • Video with sound,
  • Voice memo on photos,
  • built in flash,
  • self timer,
  • tripod thread.
  • Camera can also function as a webcam

Includes: (everything except the box)

  • Camera
  • Fujifilm shoulder strap
  • Lens Cap
  • 4 AA batteries
  • 16mb Smartmedia Card
  • USB cable
  • CD-ROM featuring FinePix Viewer Software and drivers
  • 95 page manual plus software manual (printed)

Sample Pictures: (full size versions can be viewed in the photo gallery)

Outside:

Car near sunset (wide angle) - Zoom on the right - good colour - focused on the flowers in the middle somewhere - this looks a little bit better when a slight sharpen is applied.


Wide angle shot, little or no problem with the trees - Impressive 6x Zoom!

Indoors:

Good colour - Skins tones are realistic, however due to flash there is red-eye. Does not seem to suffer from too much noise, which is good. Red-eye reduction is available by selecting the 'portrait' flash mode in the menu - this flashes twice, the first one a pre-flash designed to reduce red-eye. On the auto setting however, you're likely to get red-eye most of the time.


The flash is capable of taking group photos

Macro: - works from 10cm - 80cm

Sharp pictures,


However if you get too close, the long lens leaves a shadow on the bottom half of the picture when using flash.

Video: 320x240 / 10fps with 8khz mono sound up to 60 seconds

Right Click - 'Save Target As' - Download Outside video (644k) - Download Inside video (629k)
Outside is fine - and it is possible to digitally zoom whilst taking a video. Inside is fine assuming there is good lighting.

Memory, settings and compression: The camera fits an impressive number of photos on the 16mb memory card - set to 2mp, normal compression, most images are around 380kb- I managed to fit 38 photos and 1 2mb movie with sound onto the card. 2mp, fine compression pictures tend to take around 770kb - and fits around 20 photos on the 16mb smart media card. Photos taken on the Fine setting do tend to keep slightly more detail, and are slightly sharper, so it probably is worth using - when printed however, I doubt you would notice, unless you enlarged it to a4. Smart media cards are cheap, 64mb available for £13, 128mb available for £21 inc vat, 256mb does not seem to be available however. (prices from ebuyer.com correct at 29th Feb 04) The compression ratio is good because you can fit more on the memory card, but not so good because there could be more detail in the pictures that you are missing out on - applying a slight sharpen to the images tends to make them look slightly crisper in some cases.

eg: left normal compression, right fine compression (actual pixels)

What else?

Manual mode lets you set the white balance, and 'ev' from -1.5 to +1.5. Pictures size/quality can be changed between 2M (1600x1200) fine/normal/basic, 1M (1280x960) fine/normal, VGA (640x480) normal. LCD brightness can also be set. Continuous mode takes 4 pictures in quick sucsession 2 every second.

Conclusion / Summary / What I think:

Summary: This camera takes excellent pictures, is very easy to use with a very impressive zoom lens, has a great macro mode, and records videos with sound.

This camera takes excellent pictures, with rich vibrant saturated colours - albeit ever so slightly warm*. The optical zoom is very impressive, especially for the fairly compact size of the camera. The camera is fast in use, and fast to focus, the only time it struggles is in low light when using the zoom. Macro mode is very good. Videos are good, especially as they have sound, although the 10fps is a little low. Compression seems a little bit high, even on the Fine setting, although this seems to be the case with all Fuji Finepix cameras** - a very slight sharpen improves the look of the pictures in my opinion. ISO rating is set at 100, which keeps noise levels low, but does not allow much in the way of night shots. (more modern cameras tend to have a range of ISO settings)

If you can still get it, (this review was written March 2004), new it is around £170/£199 (jessops may still have it) or £195 from the digital camera company - or second hand on ebay, you can expect to pay around £125. This represents quite good value new, but second hand this is excellent value for money. It's replacement the S304 (3800 in america) which is a 3MP version can be bought for £229 - (See kelkoo.co.uk or dealtime.co.uk) - and the S304's replacement, the S3000 (3mp) can be bought for £199 (see dealtime or kelkoo.co.uk), this version adds a tv-out seemingly at the expense of recording sound with videos! (the tv-out is exactly where the speaker was).

Even new - this is the cheapest digital camera with 6x optical zoom - the closest competition is in the form of Fuji's own replacement cameras (The S304 and S3000). Other cameras with a long zoom around this price point are the Kodak DX-6340 (4x Opt/3MP) £169, the Kodak DX-6440 (4x Opt/4MP) £199, the Minolta S414 (4x Opt/4MP) £179, the HP Photosmart 850 (8x Opt/4MP) £244, the Pentax Optio 450 (5x Opt/4MP) £280, the Minolta Dimage Z1 (10x Opt, 3MP) £226, the Olympus C740 (10x Opt, 3MP) £218, Fujifilm S5000 (10x, 3MP) £269. Etc. Prices correct on 1st March 2004. Check Latest Price on Amazon.co.uk

What I like:

  • Excellent zoom lens - takes great pictures.
  • Really good saturated colours
  • Good macro - great that it's not fixed at a specific point.
  • Looks good, and is easy to hold, if a little bit heavy - compact for a camera with 6x optical zoom.
  • Easy to use menu
  • Battery life seems good (although rechargable batteries would be better)
  • Little to no noticable delay between pressing the button and it taking the photo. (like this alot!)
  • Good size TFT (1.8")
  • Sound with videos

What I don't like: (these are all fairly minor things really)

  • Starts from 1 everytime you format or erase the pictures, so every time you copy the pictures over from to the computer, you need to create a new folder or rename them.
  • No Macro mode button - this is instead accessed by the menu system (perhaps overlysimplified? - switching between flash modes is also in menu)
  • Too close in macro mode and you get a shadow when using the flash - fairly common with long zoom digital cameras.
  • No optical viewfinder - at night the EVF, and LCD normally display black
  • Lens cap - means extra hassle
  • Power button position*** - sometimes press the power button instead of the shutter button. (this has been fixed in the S304 and S3000)
  • Defaults to EVF when you switch the camera on, which means I have to switch to the LCD everytime as I prefer using the LCD.
  • Fujifilm.co.uk don't put sample pictures on their website ;)

Update 02/03/04:
* Fuji finepix warmth - this seems to be the case with the majority of Fuji cameras - and is likely to be flattering to the subject (it can easily be changed in photoshop if it isn't to your taste) - although the photo of the red leaves in the gallery is overly red - something that definitely needed fixing in photoshop. This is not necessarily a negative point, as a lot of Fuji owners seem to like this.

** High compression / slight softness seems to be the case with other Fuji's also. (see photographyblog review of the M603 etc, or the S5000 review on dpreview - a 3MP image on average uses 850k - compare that to the average size of 1.5mb on the superfine setting on the 3MP Canon a300). The 2800 seems to keep all photos below 780kb regardless of the amount of detail in the picture, which is a shame as photos with high detail, such as the photo of flowers above, or one of a tree with lots of leaves seem to suffer from the amount of compression applied.

*** More recent Fuji cameras, such as the S5000, A202 etc have the shutter release button in the centre of the control dial - so you can understand why I occassionally end up pressing the on/off button by mistake which is in the centre of the control dial.

Other Reviews:

"Big 6X lens is sharp, relatively small, great value for long-lens lovers"
http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1558,15463,00.asp

"The image quality is outstanding and will easily compete with any other 2-megapixel camera" "The FinePix 2800 zoom consistently delivers sharp and colorful images in all of its recording modes" "It's a perfect choice for a beginner or an experienced user looking for a small camera with a big zoom."
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2001_reviews/fuji2800.html

"For those looking for a lot of zoom for a little money, the FinePix 2800 Zoom is an excellent choice. It offers a 6X optical zoom, very good photo quality, and point-and-shoot ease of use."
http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/fuji/finepix2800-review/

"Overall, a nice feature set, a long lens, and very good picture quality at a real bargain price!"
http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/F2800/F28A.HTM