y Steves Digicams - Fuji MX-1200 User Review

Steve's Digicams

MX-1200 User Review

Review posted 10/9/1999


Fuji MX-1200

Fuji Photo Film U.S.A. unveils its latest entry in the sub-$300 category, the MX-1200.  Designed for the beginner, this easy-to-use digicam sports a 1.3 million-pixel CCD, recording detailed images at 1280 x 960 or 640 x 480 pixels. With a comparable 125 ISO speed, the MX-1200 boasts a 38mm (35mm equivalent) Fujinon lens with 2x digital zoom and macro capability down to 3.9-inches.

Users can take continuous sequence shots; manually adjust the flash (normal, red-eye reduction, forced flash, suppressed flash, and slow sync for night scenes); change the white balance settings to accommodate the lighting situation; and select the exposure compensation to control brightness.

Fuji MX-1200

The MX-1200 has a number of advantages over prior sub-$300 models, including a new, more accurate auto white balance and faster circuitry for quicker booting and less processing time between shots. To frame pictures, the camera is equipped with both a high-precision 1.6-inch color LCD monitor and an optical viewfinder.

Fuji MX-1200

The MX-1200 is slightly smaller than the Coolpix 800 and considerably lighter in weight.

Fuji MX-1200

It is very slim and stylish. User controls have been kept to a minimum and as you can see, the only thing on the top is the shutter button.

Fuji MX-1200

Unlike the other Fuji digicams I have reviewed, the MX-1200 uses AA batteries as its power source rather than a rechargable lithium battery. Besides cutting down the manufacturer's cost it also makes it a little more conventional as most consumer digicams do use AA batteries.

The battery compartment is easy to open and the old batteries can be removed and replaced quickly, it is a nice, clean design. Fuji claims that the MX-1200 can take up to 250 shots with the LCD off and 100 shots with it on using a single set of batteries.

Fuji MX-1200

The SmartMedia access is on the side behind a small door. There is no card eject mechanism though, you simply grab the edge and yank it out. I much prefer the push in and pop out design used in most other cameras using SmartMedia. It comes with a 4MB card.

Fuji MX-1200

Near the top is a switch to set the MX-1200's lens for distance or for closeup focusing. The camera does a very good job of close focusing when in the macro position and I had no problems shooting things only 4 or so inches from the lens.

The I/O ports are limited to a serial port and a 5v DC power port. There is no video out so there won't be any fancy screen shots as is the norm for my camera reviews.

Fuji MX-1200

Here's a closeup of the user controls which are the same as those used on most all of the Fuji cameras. The camera is powered on or off by a sliding switch near the top. The large dial changes the mode of operation between a simple one-page setup screen, selftimer, manual record (options to change flash modes, white balance and AE compensation), automatic record, playback, delete, protect and connect to PC.

The 4-way switch in record mode lets you activate the 2x digital zoom by using the up and down arrows. In manual record the options menu is activated by the right and left arrows. The Menu/EXE button activates the menu and executes a selection and is also used to tell the camera to store the previewed image when in manual record mode. The DISP button turns the LCD on and off and changes the overlayed information during playback.

Fuji MX-1200

This is the first digicam that I have seen that comes packaged in a see-through blisterpack. I guess it lets consumers see what it looks like without having to be taken out of the box first. Supposedly this same packaging scheme is responsible for millions of Sony Walkman sales.

Steve's Conclusion

I like the MX-1200 and that comes from someone who has little interest in purely point-n-shoot type digicams. Basically -- it's small, it's very easy to use and most importantly, it works very well.

I didn't think we (the digicam industry) would be at the $300 price point for a megapixel resolution digicam for at least another six months but Fuji has proven that idea to be wrong. It's here and it's here now, just in time for the 1999 holiday season.

The MX-1200 can easily be carried in your pocket or purse, ready to take that "special" picture at a moments notice. It may be inexpensive but it's a relatively fast camera that only takes about two seconds to save a large, fine mode image. The color LCD is large enough to let you review your shots when away from the computer. As with most digicams the LCD is not very useable outdoors in the bright sunlight.

This is the first Fuji camera I've used that runs on 4 AA-size batteries and I'm happy to report that the battery life is very good. I still wouldn't recommend using alkalines unless you're caught in a situation where your NiMH batteries weren't charged. You can shoot all day on one set of batteries if you keep your LCD usage down to a minimum. The optical viewfinder is quite good but does lack a diopter adjustment.

The image quality is very good for a 1280x960 camera and the overall color balance and saturation is very good to excellent. I saw little to no highlight blowouts and the color rendition was extremely accurate. The uncropped images will make dandy prints on today's photo inkjets and the ones I printed at 4x6" will give any film camera a run for its money.

The lens is the usual wideangle variety found on most non-zoom cameras and provides excellent coverage for indoor shots but a little too much for most outdoor "scenic" type shots. In a pinch you can use the digital zoom but as with all digital zooms it simply does in-camera what you can do better later in software.

I think this camera will sell well at $300 (or less) and I see it showing up under quite a few Christmas trees this year.   It will make a great gift for anyone who feels the need to divorce themselves from the money mill known as the film and developing industry.

The MX-1200 is more than rugged enough to survive being used by the kids and it's also stylish enough to give to your wife or girlfriend.

Steve's MX-1200 Sample Pictures

Imaging-Resource's MX-1200 Review

MX-1200 Specifications

CCD sensor 1/2.7-inch CCD with 1.31 million square pixels
Resolution 1,280 x 960 / 640 x 480 pixels
File format JPEG (Exif 2.1) with 3 compression levels (1/4, 1/8, 1/16)
Storage media 3.3 V SmartMedia™ Cards (2-64 MB)
Number of images Mode 2MB MG-4S MG-8S MG-16S MG-32S MG-64S
Fine (1/4) 2 6 12 25 50 101
Normal (1/8)  6 12 24 49 99 198
Basic (1/16)  11 23  46   89 180 361
Lens Fujinon lens, F4.5/F11
Lens focal length Equivalent to 38 mm on a 35 mm camera
Focus distance Normal: 70 cm/2.3 ft. to infinity
Macro: 10 cm/4.0 in.
Viewfinder Real-image optical
Exposure control 64-zone TTL metering, Programmed AE with exposure compensation
Sensitivity Equivalent to ISO 160
Shutter speed Auto (1/2 to 1/750 sec.)
White balance Auto, Manual (6 modes)
Flash Auto flash with flash control sensor
Flash modes: Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, Forced Flash, Suppressed 
Flash effective range: 2.5 m/8.2 ft. (max.)
LCD monitor 1.6-inch color LCD monitor with 55,000 pixels
Digital interface   Serial
Power source   4 AA batteries, AC power adapter
Dimensions   110 (W) x 77 (H) x 33 (D) mm/4.3 (W) x 3.0 (H) x 1.3 (D) in.
Weight   200 g/7.1 oz. (excluding batteries) 
Other Functions
Digital 2x Telephoto
Slow Synchro 
Exposure Compensation
Playback modes: Single Frame (with 4x Playback Zoom), 9 Multi-Frame, Auto Playback
Resize: 1,280 x 960 pixels >>> 640 x 480 pixels 
Protect, DPOF
Included accessories
SmartMedia™ Card 
Hand strap
4 AA batteries
Serial cable for Windows® PC (D-sub 9 pins)
> Data transfer software 
> TWAIN driver for downloads
> Adobe® PhotoDeluxe Home Edition 3.0 from Adobe Systems, Inc.
Specifications are subject to change without notice.

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