Steve's Digicams

MX-2900 Zoom User Review


3X Optical Zoom Lens

Fuji MX-2900 0.8x wideangle lens

The MX-2900 has a Fujinon optical 3x (35-105mm) zoom lens that has a unique collar that comes off to allow the addition of auxillary lenses such as a 0.8x wideangle converter. There is a little flap that covers the optical viewfinder when this lens is attached which forces you to use the LCD to frame your shots.

Fuji MX-2900 0.8x wideangle lens

The 3x optical zoom lens extends from the body during use and automatically retracts when the camera is powered down. And Fuji has even included a tethered lens cap too.

Setup Menu

Fuji MX-2900 setup menu

This is the Setup screen, options are:

  • Quality:  Hi (uncompressed), Fine, Normal, Basic
  • Filesize:  1800x1200 or 640x480
  • Sharpness:  Soft, Medium, Normal, Hard
  • Auto Power-Off:  On, Off
  • Sequential Frame Numbering:  On, Off
  • Beep:  High, Low, Off
  • Date/Time:  mm/dd/yyyy hh:mm
  • Reset:  (press EXE button to reset all)

Shift Menu

Fuji MX-2900 playback screen

Using the Shift button on the left side of the LCD brings up another menu of user settings as shown above. These settings are changed by holding the Shift button down and pressing the desired button.

Manual Record mode

Manual record mode allows the user access to all of the MX-2900's advanced camera controls. There is a sub menu of options shown along the bottom of the LCD screen that is activated by pressing the Menu/EXE button. A description of the settings follows:

Fuji MX-2900 manual mode

  • White balance (auto, sunny, shade, daylight, flourescent warm and cool and incandescent)

  • Exposure override (-0.3 -0.6 -0.9 or +0.3 +0.6 +0.9)

  • Manual exposure (lock aperture at F4 or F8 or Auto)

    Fuji MX-2900 playback screen

  • Shutter speed (1/1000 to 3 seconds or Auto)

  • Flash output (-0.6, -0.3, 0, +0.3, +0.6)
    and Internal or External (hot shoe) sync

    Fuji MX-2900 playback screen

  • Metering mode (Average, Multi, or Spot)

  • Continuous picture mode (On, Off). Continuous mode puts the camera in 640x480 mode, it is not useable in 1800x1200 mode.

Playback Options

When switched into the Playback mode the last image captured is retrieved from the memory card and displayed. You can navigate forward or backward through the images by using the right and left buttons on the 4-way switch. You can zoom into the picture up to 4x in 0.2x increments. Once zoomed in you can move around the image segments by holding the "shift" button down and using the 4-way directional switch.

When in Playback mode pressing the "Disp" button will bring up a 9-picture thumbnail screen so you can quickly locate and display any picture stored on the flash card.

Automatic Playback is the slideshow mode where you can output your pictures one after another automatically. This is great when you have the camera hooked up to the TV set or are recording your pictures to a video tape.

When in Playback mode you can delete single frames by displaying them on the LCD and then pressing the "Menu/EXE" button. An onscreen menu will popup allowing you to Delete a single frame, Delete All or Format the memory card.

To prevent accidental erasure you can Protect images. Single frames or ALL images can be selected and then protected.

Fuji MX-2900 playback screen

You can also apply post-processing filters to the stored images which will do the following:

  • B&W - Convert image to black and white

  • Sepia - Convert image to sepia tones

  • Silver Cross - Adds "star streaks" to shiny objects

  • Rainbow Cross - Adds rainbow highlights to the image

The 1800x1200 pixel images can be resized down to 640x480 while the memory card is in the camera. This can be handy if you suddenly realize that you are out of memory space and still need to capture more pictures.

The MX-2900 supports the new DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) system. This allows you to specify printing options for any or all of your images on the memory card. This can be used by printing services and is also supported by some of the new personal photo printers that directly accept flash memory cards.

Steve's Conclusion

The Good News

The MX-2900 has a 2.3 megapixel CCD imager. It generates sharp and well saturated 1800 x 1200 pixel images. It has three different levels of JPG compression, four levels of sharpening and an uncompressed TIF mode.

It sports a 3X optical zoom lens and has lots of Manual mode controls including shutter speed priority, aperture priority, adjustable flash output power, exposure override, multiple white balance options, three exposure metering modes and a true external flash hot shoe.

The MX-2900 comes complete with a rechargeable lithium battery and a combination AC power supply and charger. This saves the user from the additional expense of buying NiMH batteries but it also means that the Fuji battery pack is the *only* source of portable power for the camera, you cannot use AA batteries in a pinch.

Camera Timing

  • Start up time ~5 seconds
  • Image save 1800 x 1200 Fine mode ~5 seconds
  • Playback 1800 x 1200 Fine mode image ~5 seconds
  • Image save 1800 x 1200 uncompressed mode ~7.5 seconds
  • Playback 1800 x 1200 uncompressed mode image ~5 seconds
  • Image save 640 x 480 Fine mode ~3 seconds
  • Playback 640 x 480 Fine mode image ~3 seconds
  • Shutter lag time, prefocused, no flash ~0.3 seconds
  • Shutter lag time, prefocused, w/flash ~0.4 seconds

Ergonomically the MX-2900 is very comfortable in the hand with a large oversized fingergrip. All of the camera controls are easy to get to and the only function that requires two buttons to be pushed at the same time are the Shift options.

The Bad News

The Continuous Picture mode only works in the lower VGA resolution and there's no internal RAM buffer to allow you to shoot a picture before the previous one has been processed and stored. The Aperture Priority mode only allows for a selection of F4 or F8. The uncompressed TIF format used is not supported by PhotoShop 4 or ThumbsPlus 3.x but it can be read using the supplied Fuji EZ Touch software and converted into BMP or JPG format.

The shutter button needs to have better tactile feedback, it's difficult to tell when you're at the halfway (prefocus) point. The main command dial needs heavier detents to insure it isn't accidentally switched into another mode.

The Bottom Line

The image quality can be judged for yourself by looking at my sample pictures page. I was quite satisfied with the available light pictures but felt that the flash pictures all needed to be brightened up about one f/stop. This can easily be done by using an exposure override value of +0.3 or +0.6.

The white balance was almost always on the money when left in the automatic mode. Colors were well saturated with no blown out highlights except in extremely harsh lighting conditions. I did notice some artifacts in shadow areas, they appear as little "speckles" and this has been observed in every 2.3 megapixel camera we've tested so far.

Even though it's not as speedy as some of the other 2.3Mpixel cameras we've tested, it's still a winner. I especially liked the flash hot shoe feature which lets you add a more powerful bounce flash on the camera. The builtin flash is OK but it isn't very powerful and it's prone to redeye problems because it is mounted so close to the lens. At least with the hot shoe you now have the alternative of adding any flash unit you want.

Steve's Fuji MX-2900 Sample Pics

Imaging-Resource's MX-2900 Review

DC Resource's MX-2900 Review

PC Watch: FinePix 2900 & 1500 Sample Pics

DreamArts Fuji 1500/2700/2900 Sample Pics

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