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Fuji Fujifilm Q1 Digital 2MP Digital Camera Review

The Camera: "Ultra portable, digital compact camera with 2 megapixels, 4x digital zoom, 1.5" LCD screen, movie mode (without sound), and usb interface" Check Latest Price on Amazon.co.uk.

Available in Black or Silver.


Comes in a small box with a lifesize picture of the camera on the top.


It's small - and has a flash on the front, as well as a switch to choose between "macro" and normal photos.


On the back, there is the power button, the up/down/left/right/OK control, the mode button and the menu button, as well as a 1.5" TFT (with 62,000 pixels)


On the bottom is the lockable XD memory card slot / battery comparment. (there is no tripod stand)


This is opened using the grey twisty thing on the side, next to the strap hole


On the top is simply the one-stage shutter button.


On the other side is the usb port.

Specifications / Features:

  • 1.92 million effective pixels (exactly the right amount for a 1600x1200 image)
  • 1/2" CMOS sensor, total 1.98 million pixels
  • JPEG, AVI (MJPEG), File formats
  • 8mb Internal Memory (optional XD card for additional storage)
  • Fixed Focus 46mm equivalent
  • Macro mode (60-120cm), Normal 120cm to infinity
  • Automatic flash, red-eye reduction - range up to 2m
  • 1.5" colour TFT with 62,000 pixels
  • USB connection
  • Uses 2x AA batteries

Mode button: Press this to toggle through: Picture taking (photo) mode, video mode, and playback mode.

In picture taking mode you have:

Macro mode: I think this should really be called "close-up mode" because it's focusing range is 60cm - 120cm away from the subject - which is the distance you want to be when taking a portrait photo of one person - unfortunately in this mode, you are unable to use the flash! Meaning you'll have to take these photos either in very good light, or outdoors to really get the best from this mode.

Normal mode: It's a shame that 120cm - infinity is the normal mode, because you have to be careful to make sure you don't get too close to the subject. This is a fairly big problem as this type of camera is likely to be used by people who want to take quick snap shots of friends etc. They are not likely to want to have to try and change to "macro" mode - and then when they do, they will find they can't use flash. There is no optical viewfinder - which means when taking night shots, you have to hold the camera in front of you and basically hope you get the right people in the shot.

Quality and average file size: This is easily selected by pushing left on the directional control on the back of the camera.

2MP F (Fine) 1600x1200 - average 760kb - expect to fit 10 images on the built in memory,
2MP N (Normal) - average 300kb - expect to fit 20 images on the built in memory,
1.3MP 1280x960 - average 210kb - expect to fit 40 images on the built in memory,
640x480 - average 70kb - expect to fit 80 images on the built in memory.

Sample Photos: these and more can be viewed in the Fuji Q1 "Random Photos" gallery.
Update 12/04/04: some more photos can be found in a second Fuji Q1 "Formby Beach" gallery.

Indside:

With Flash - Hardly any red-eye at all - which is very good considering the general light levels in the bar. Without Flash - good colour.

Outside:

Tree - no digital zoom. (below the several stages of digital zoom) Nice colours - slightly fading towards the left and the right - vignetting which is usually a sign of a poor / cheap lens.

Digital zoom: This is basically shown to demonstrate the feature. The quality of the images is acceptable when shown as the size below, but if you view the medium or full size images in the gallery it is easy to spot the effects of the zoom - you would probably get better results enlarging the image yourself in your preferred photo program - although some may find it quicker and easier just to use the zoom on the camera..

2x 3x 4x

Movie Mode: 320x240/10fps without sound. Fairly standard for budget Fuji digital cameras - fairly choppy video, and no sound - for the very occasional use, this should be fine, but for someone interested in capturing special moments on video, they would probably be better with a camera with sound. The menu options in movie mode are simply 'set-up' and 'ev & white balance'.

320x240 / 10fps - expect to fit 46 seconds on the built in memory

Webcam Mode: Connecting the camera to the USB cable brings up the menu on the back of the camera which asks you whether you want to use it as a webcam, or whether you want to get the photos off the camera. There is no tripod socket, and the base of the camera is not flat - so be prepared to setup some impromtu balancing act if you want the webcam image to be straight! Your first hurdle may be trying to get it to actually work as a webcam though!

Playback Mode: This shows you the pictures you have taken - you can zoom into the pictures to have a closer look, but this simply doubles the size of the pixels, rather than let you look more closely at the detail! In Playback mode there is a slightly different menu with a few additional options such as: Playback which will show a slideshow of the images; Erase one or all; Copy to Card; DPOF.

Menu Button (in photo mode): brings up the fairly basic menu system with these options:

- Set-up

  • LCD Brightness
  • Date / Time
  • Language
  • Beep
  • Format Media
  • File No. Memory (on/off)
  • Auto Power Off (1/3/5/10 MIN or OFF)
  • Frequency (50/60Hz)
  • Reset

- Quick View (on/off) - when this is on, the camera shows you the photo you have just taken for about a second after you have taken it - with this off, the camera does not show you the picture you have just taken unless you go into playback mode.

- EV & White Balance

  • EV +/- in 0.5 steps up to +2.0 and down to -2.0
  • White balance options are: Auto, Tungsten light, Flourescant light, Overcast, or Sun

What I think / Conclusion

It's a nice looking camera, it's a nice shape and size, and is very easy to use. Unfortunately it has a limited focal range (120cm - infinitely) and a poor "macro" mode, especially as flash is unavailable. The movie mode is also fairly dissapointing, I would have much prefered it to have sound. It is currently £80 including VAT in UK shops or £64 on-line (see kelkoo.co.uk for latest prices) - which is a reasonable to good price. This camera offers decent value for money, although I feel it is let down by average image quality due to the 2MP CMOS sensor and poor focal range. I think a lot of people will buy this camera expecting fairly high quality images due to the Fujifilm name on it - but I think they will probably be fairly dissapointed. Only 8mb memory is fairly poor, as most people will probably need to buy additional memory - simply by including 16mb this could have been avoided for most people. There is no tv-out which seems odd considering there could be many people buying their first digital camera - and may prefer to have an easier way of viewing their photos other than having to look on their computer.

Overall I think it's a nice idea, but overly compromised - I suspect it will be popular due to it's price, size, and name, but think Fuji could definitely improve by adding an improved video mode with sound, and improved lens / sensor to produce much better images - roll on Q2? I would recommend spending a bit more on a well known brand, such as Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Fuji etc - but you may be hard pressed to find a camera from them at such a low price. Just a small selection of alternates you could consider: Olympus C-120, C-150, or perhaps if you're after something small, the Che-ez D'Sign at £69 may be better with 16mb ram. Check Latest Price on Amazon.co.uk

What I like:

  • Small size
  • Easy to use
  • Good price for a Fujifilm

What I don't like:

  • Very poor "macro" mode / and focal range.
  • Only 8mb included.
  • Poor movie mode
  • Playback mode lets you zoom in, but simply doubles the pixels
  • Average image quality
  • No Tripod socket - webcam mode will require careful balancing due to the shape of the camera!