On top of the camera is the power switch and mode dial. If you flip the switch to record without opening the lens protector it beeps and displays "! LENS COVER" on the LCD. The lens extends out about half an inch from the camera during record operations. You can use the Play mode without opening the lens cover. The shutter button has good tactile feedback and is pressed halfway to focus on your subject and then pressed fully to take the picture.
On the back are the navigation and zoom control buttons.
The outside buttons are used exclusively to navigate the menus on the LCD.
The inner button is pushed upward to zoom in telephoto and pushed down to zoom
out to wideangle. This button is also used to go up or down in menus.
Access to the SmartMedia memory card slot is via a door on the side.
The tiny cards are removed by gripping with your thumb and forefinger, there is no ejector mechanism.
The FinePix 1400 accomodates any capacity 3.3v SmartMedia card and
comes with a rather small 4MB card.
The I/O ports:
High-speed USB port.
5VDC input jack for the AC power supply or an external battery pack.
Conspicuously absent is a Video Out port.
The FinePix 1400 is powered by four AA size batteries. Fuji includes a set of
alkalines but you'd be better served with some high-capacity NiMH batteries.
Steve's ConclusionThe Fuji FinePix 1400 Zoom is an excellent choice for those interested in capturing pictures for the web or on-screen use. The 1280 x 960 maximum image size limits its printed capabilities to 5 x 7 inches or smaller. The camera looks like and operates like a conventional film camera so those new to digital will be up and snapping with very little "read the manual" time.
The bottom line with any digital camera is image quality and the FinePix 1400 zoom delivers some of the best pictures we've seen yet from a one megapixel camera. Sharpness, detail, color balance and saturation are excellent under a variety of normal lighting conditions. The camera was rarely set for anything other than automatic white balance and performed well except in the extremes of mixed flourescent, daylight and flash. Under these conditions even the most advanced cameras have problems so I can't blame the FinePix 1400 for getting a little confused.
Shot to shot recycle time in 1280 x 960 high-quality mode was about 1.5 to 2.0 seconds. Shutter lag was on par with most cameras and averaged around one second for the camera to autofocus, set the white balance and exposure and be ready to capture the image. Battery life is quite good for a digital camera, especially if you use the automatic (point-n-shoot) mode which by default does not turn on the LCD. After shooting and reviewing quite a few pictures, I took it for granted that it was working fine and just skipped the in-camera reviewing altogther.
The 3x optical zoom lens is exceptionally sharp in both normal and macro modes. The zoom mechanism is smooth and very quiet. The zoom control lever is placed so that even left-eyed people can get to it easily when the camera is pressed up against your face. The camera's USB port is truly speedy, I transfered images at the rate of one picture per second. This eliminates the need for a card reader unless of course your computer doesn't have USB. If that's the case then you will need a card reader as the FinePix 1400 does not have a serial data port.
It's not all roses though. The LCD display is small and difficult to see in high ambient light conditions. If you use the manual record modes you must be able to see the LCD to access the menus and make the necessary changes. Shooting closeup pictures in macro mode absolutely requires the use of the LCD for proper framing and this is difficult to impossible outdoors in the bright sunlight. Even indoors the text and icons on that small LCD are going to be difficult for some people to see. Luckily this camera works so well in automatic mode that most user will probably rarely ever use it in manual mode anyway.
Besides the somewhat poor LCD display the other thing that is lacking on the FinePix 1400 is a Video Out capability. I can't even remember when I have used a digital camera that didn't offer video output for displaying pictures on a TV set or other video device. It doesn't take much to do this as most all of the necessary circuitry is already in there to run the LCD display so I hope that Fuji adds it to a future upgrade of this otherwise excellent camera.
The bottom line - it's a great camera for the money and it takes excellent pictures. It looks and feels like a regular camera, has a high quality zoom lens and good to great battery life. It's an excellent choice for beginners to the advanced users that just want a reliable camera they can stick in their pocket and take with them wherever they go. I give the FinePix 1400 Zoom a solid Two Thumbs Up! - this is a great little camera.
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