Steve's Digicams

MX-700 User Review

Fuji MX-700

The Fuji MX-700 is the 1.5-megapixel digital camera that started the "mini-megapixel" revolution for FujiFilm. The MX-700 is housed in a highly durable and cool looking aluminum body. It is roughly the same size as a pack of cigarettes and will easily fit in your shirt pocket.

The MX-700 sports a fixed focal length 7.6mm f/3.2 lens that equates to a 35mm medium wideangle lens on a 35mm camera. The lens in normal mode autofocuses from 19.7 inches to infinity. For closeup shots switch to macro mode for coverage from 3.5 to 19.7 inches.

Fuji MX-700

The 2-inch color LCD takes up a good portion of the back of the camera. It shows ~99% of the captured image unlike the optical viewfinder which only shows about 85%. The LCD screen is covered by a clear plastic shield that is easy to clean. There is no diopter control for the optical viewfinder.

The main user controls are simple and fairly intuitive. Spin the big dial to pick the operating mode: Setup, Self-timer, Manual record, Automatic record, Playback, Delete, Protect and Connect to PC

The inner, 4-way rocker switch is used to move through the menus and pick the desired option. The [MENU/EXE] button will initiate the menu system and also executes the current menu choice.

The [DISP]lay button controls the color LCD. It can turn it On or Off and is also used to determine how much info is displayed on the screen during recording and playback.

The [SELECT] button can quickly change the Quality, Color or Filesize depending on how it was configured in the SETUP menu.

Fuji MX-700

On the top next to the data LCD is the Flash Mode button shown with the common lightning bolt icon, the options are: Automatic, Red-eye, Flash always On or Off. The user has more control over the flash but must be in Manual Record to access the variable flash output power settings.

The button marked with the "flower" icon enables or disables the macro (closeup) focusing mode of the MX-700.

Fuji MX-700

The bottom of the MX-700 has a very rugged metal tripod socket, the lithium battery access door and a slightly recessed dial wheel to control the intensity of the color LCD display.

Fuji MX-700

The MX-700 is like all of Fuji's megapixel cameras, it ships with both a dedicated NP-100 lithium rechargeable battery pack and a combination AC adapter & battery charger. This saves the user from having to spend additional money for rechargeable or (gasp) alkaline one-use batteries.

Fuji MX-700

The I/O ports are on the side, the 5VDC input jack for the AC adapter/battery charger is on the top. NTSC video output is in the center and allows your pictures to be played back on a TV set or recorded on a VCR. The RS-232 serial port cable plugs in the "Digital" port on the bottom (sorry, no USB yet), the MX-700 comes with cables for both the PC and Macintosh computers.

Fuji MX-700

The SmartMedia memory card is easy to remove. You press it inwards and it then pops out about a third of the way. The MX-700 can use 2MB, 4MB or 8MB size 3.3v cards.

Fuji MX-700

When the Mode Dial is turned to the Setup position the user is presented with this menu screen. The options here are:

  • Quality: Fine, Normal, Basic
  • Filesize: 1280x1024, 640x480
  • Sharpness: Soft, Normal or Hard
  • Color: Color or B&W
  • Frame No.: Renew or Cont. If set to "renew" when an empty memory card is used it starts numbering at 01. If set to "cont" the camera keeps track of picture numbers and auto-increments it.
  • Beep: High, Low, Off. Controls the button beeper.
  • Quick Select: Quality, Color or Filesize (selects the option to be available on the "Select" button during recording modes.
  • Date/Time: Sets the internal date/time.
  • Reset: Press the Menu/Exe button to reset all options to default.

Recording Features

The MX-700 has two ways to record pictures, fully automatic for point and shoot simplicity or manual to give the more experienced user access to advanced features and controls.

Digital zooming is accomplished by electronically enlarging the exisiting picture and saving only a central portion of it. At 2x digital zoom the MX-700 saves a saves a 640x480 pixel image. It should be noted that a real optical zoom lens always yields better images than a digital zoom.

Fuji MX-700

In Manual record mode you will see this menu of options along the bottom of the screen. You activate them by pressing the MENU/EXE button and then move through them using the 4-way rocker switch.

You can set the White Balance for: Auto/Sunny, Cloudy, Flourescent (Cool and Warm) or Incandescent lighting conditions.

Shown above is the EV adjustment menu where you can choose to override the autoexposure system from -0.9 to +1.5EV in 0.3EV increments.

Next is the Flash Output menu that lets you adjust the strength of the flash from -0.6 to +0.6 in 0.3 increments.

The last option enables or disables the 16-picture mode, this lets you capture up to 16 pictures in rapid succession which are then saved as one picture.

Fuji MX-700

The manual record mode allows you to preview the shot just taken before saving it to the flash card. If you don't like it just press the "down arrow" button on the 4-way rocker switch and shoot another one. In automatic mode the picture is immediately stored after it is taken, the only way to delete it is to go back into Play mode.

Playback Features

Fuji MX-700

Common with most digicams the MX-700 has a thumbnail playback mode that displays 9 images and lets you easily move to the one you want to show fullscreen.

During playback you can use the 4-way rocker switch to zoom into the picture from 1.2x to 4x in 15 steps of magnification.

Fuji MX-700

During playback you can view pictures in a slideshow fashion, turn a color image into a sepia toned image, smooth an image, resize from 1280x1024 to 640x480 or copy an image.

Steve's Conclusion

This is an excellent camera for someone who wants a megapixel resolution camera in a pocket-sized form factor. For me (and my big hands and fingers) the MX-700 is too small but for others it may not be a problem. The fit and finish is excellent and I applaud FujiFilm for their use of aluminum for the body, it not only looks good but makes the camera incredibly durable.

The picture quality is very good and you can select from two different image sizes (1280x1024 or 640x480), three different levels of image sharpening and three different levels of JPG compression.

The lens is a fixed focal length (non-zoom), medium wideangle optic equivalent to a 35mm on a 35mm camera. It is ideal for use indoors where maximum subject coverage is highly desirable. Outdoors the wideangle lens is good for scenics but for other pictures you need to get very close to the subject to fill the frame. If you need a real 3x zoom lens then choose either the 1.5 megapixel MX-600 or the new MX-2900 (due August '99).

I especially like the lithium rechargeable battery pack and AC adapter charger that Fuji includes with all of their megapixel cameras. This eliminates the need for purchasing rechargeable batteries and lithium batteries have a much better charge retention when stored than NiMH.

The controls and user interface are what I call "user friendly" and even a first-time digicam user will not have to spend half his time reading a manual. The automatic mode makes the MX-700 a true point and shoot camera and the manual mode lets more experienced users expand their picture taking capabilities.

The optical viewfinder is large and bright but really needs a diopter adjustment. As with most optical viewfinders it crops out about 20% of the "real" picture. The color LCD shows nearly the entire captured image area, at most it crops out only 1-2% of it.

At the time of this writing (June 1999) the MX-700 is an excellent value and Fuji makes it an even better deal by throwing in a FREE $100 FD-A2 flashpath adapter for cameras sold through August 31, 1999. I would recommend that anyone who buys this camera invests in a good flash card reader as the megapixel images are about a megabyte each. Serial port downloading is extremely slow and the FlashPath adapter is not that much faster.

Steve's Fuji MX-700 Closeup Pics

Fuji MX-700 Discussion Forum / Sample Pics

Mike Lynch's Fuji MX-700 Pictures

PC Magazine: First Look Fuji MX-700

eMedia Weekly: Fuji MX-700

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