Fujifilm FinePix 2800 Review
The FinePix 2800 Zoom lacks a Video Out connection so these menu screens had to be captured in Macro mode instead of my usual high-res direct output method.
The FinePix 2800 Zoom is an excellent example of just how far the digital camera world has come. For $399 you can now have a highly compact, 2-megapixel digital camera with a powerful 6X optical zoom lens. The image quality is outstanding and will easily compete with any other 2-megapixel camera including the benchmark of this resolution class, the Nikon Coolpix 950.
This is a fast, repsonsive and fun to operate camera. I was instantly impressed by the color rendition and the sharpness of the images, they are excellent as you can see from our sample pictures page. The "fun factor" of this camera is the big 6X zoom lens which lets you get REAL close to the action without moving a step. It isn't stabilized so you do have to make sure to keep the camera steady when you have it zoomed all the way out in anything less than bright daylight. The equivalent of 228mm at full telephoto you do need faster shutter speeds to keep the image from being blurred and the large aperture F2.8 is especially well suited for this task. The extra large fingergrip on the camera also helps you hold the camera nice and steady. At extreme wideangle there is moderate barrel distortion (curving outward at the edges) apparent but the telephoto end is very clean with no pincushioning (curving inward at the edges.) The zoom mechanism is smooth and quiet and the autofocus is fast and accurate, even in lower light conditions.
The user controls are minimal and well labelled. The Mode Dial on the top switches between the Still Record, Movie and Playback modes. The camera is an automatic exposure type with Auto, Manual and Continuous still image modes. The Manual mode is not a true manual mode but it does let the user set an exposure compensation value (-1.5 to +1.5EV in 1/3EV steps) or select a specific white balance setting other than Automatic. The Continuous mode lets you capture up to four frames at 0.5 second intervals. In regular record mode the FinePix 2800 stores and processes 2-megapixel images in about 2-3 seconds. Playback of images is also just as robust. The only thing missing is a Video Out feature, something that should be easy to implement seeing as how it outputs the signal to both the 1.8-inch color LCD on the back or the 0.55-inch color electronic viewfinder already.
And speaking of the electronic viewfinder (EVF), most cameras in this price class all have marginal optical viewfinder. This is a double-edged sword as the EVF does allow you to review images and access the menu system even in the bright sunlight. It is a bit of a low resolution device so even when the camera has a razor-sharp focus lock on the subject it is somewhat grainy looking on the EVF. On the plus side is the fact that an EVF gives you same true, through the lens coverage as an expensive SLR type camera. "What you see is what you get" with an EVF which is especially important when shooting in Macro mode. Optical viewfinders suffer from what is known as parallax error when used on subjects closer than four or five feet from the camera. The optical viewfinder because it sits above the lens and usually off to one side, does not see exactly what the lens sees when shooting closeup subjects. There is no diopter adjustment and the eye relief is a little bit shallow so you need to keep your eye pressed quite close when out in the bright sunlight.
Still images can be captured at 1600 x 1200, 1280 x 960 or 640 x 480 resolution and stored as standard JPEG compressed format. Up to 60 seconds of 320 x 240 motion video with audio is captured in standard Windows AVI format. The optical zoom is disabled during movie recording but you can use the 2.5X digital zoom. The focus is locked at 2.6 ft to infinity and the white balance is set on the initial press of the shutter release. The camera has a speaker built in so you can playback movies and hear the sound. The microphone can also be used to attach audio notes to your images, up to 30 seconds can be recorded and it's stored as standard Windows WAV format.
I've said it before and it's always worth repeating ... the bottom line for any digicam is the image quality. The FinePix 2800 zoom consistently delivers sharp and colorful images in all of its recording modes. The $399 price is incredible for a camera with this resolution, zoom power, feature set and overall performance. It's a perfect choice for a beginner or an experienced user looking for a small camera with a big zoom. Dealers will undoubtedly sell a pile of these cameras this holiday season so get your order in today so you don't miss out!
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