Fujifilm FinePix Z90 Review
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Not only do Fujifilm design cameras that are high specification and bursting with innovative features, they also design sexy little cameras that burst with innovative features. The FinePix Z90 is one such camera with its elegant design, 3 inch touch-screen, motion panorama mode and film/photo editing in camera. Housing a 14 megapixel CCD, 5x optical zoom and useful shooting modes such as digital image stabilisation and scene recognition, the slim Fujifilm FinePix Z90 will appeal to users who enjoy point and shoot simplicity in a camera that can be placed in a pocket even if it's switched on. The Fujifilm FinePix Z90 costs £139.99 / $169.95 and is available in pink, black, silver, red, blue or purple.
Ease of Use
The large metal lens cover has a double benefit for the Fujifilm FinePix Z90 because it not only protects the lens but it also removes the need for a power button on the top of the camera. Sliding it down reveals the lens in the top left corner of the body with the slim-line flash located in the centre.
There is a downfall to all this, though. A dedicated video button has been placed on top of the camera for easy video shooting and this is a great idea but the problem we found was that as we finished shooting, we instinctively pressed the button on the top of the camera because it's in the same location as 99% of power buttons on other cameras. We were left with countless bits of video on the memory card of our hands, pockets and on one occasion, nostrils.
Another infuriating problem with the Z90 is if you accidentally leave the camera on, it goes into hibernate. Not a bad thing in itself but there's no way of waking it unless you switch the camera off and back on. It would be great to just be able to half press the shutter or press the camera shooting button.
To add to the reduction of buttons, the Fujifilm FinePix Z90 has a 3 inch touch-screen for all your main operations. In fact the only buttons on the back are the shooting and playback buttons which you press to toggle between taking pictures and looking at the ones you've already taken. The zoom is wrapped around the shutter which means there's a vast amount of space on the back which is simply not doing anything. It's used as a thumbrest when not pressing buttons and we feel that this is a more ideal place for the video button to be placed.
Program mode is the most versatile mode for general picture taking and to get into this mode or any other, press the top left symbol on the screen. It opens up 8 different options and is a sort of virtual command dial. There's the usual settings of program, scene modes, SR auto, auto and panorama but there's also other features that are exclusive to a touch-screen such as touch & shoot and touch & track. Touch & shoot is a simple operation whereby you touch the screen, the camera focuses on that point and automatically takes a picture. Touch & track will also lock onto the area you touch on screen but it will only lock focus regardless of where you move the camera or if the subject moves.
Along with flash and self-timer options, the button for the main menu also lines the left side of the screen. This is where you change other shooting features such as ISO, white-balance and resolution. Finepix colours are also in the main menu because the finepix button has been removed on the Z90. Even though the finepix button has been removed from the Z90, the menu is clear and extremely easy to use. The icons are thankfully large so even the fattest fingers won't press the wrong key.
The Fujifilm FinePix Z90 is a good build quality with a metal exterior and large, robust plate covering the lens when it's not in use. The battery door is plastic but has no bending or play in it. It feels weighty but not too heavy which we really like because it gives the impression of sturdiness. The only area that lets it down is the plastic tripod bush. However, with the digital image stabiliser there should be little use for a tripod unless setting the flash to slow synchro.
Inside the battery compartment the lithium ion battery sits next to the memory card. The Fujifilm FinePix Z90 takes SDXC cards which have ultra high capacities up to a theoretical size of 2Tb. For some reason Fuji have designed a battery and battery bay that allows insertion either way. Unfortunately the battery only works when inserted one way which makes it frustrating when loading it in and getting it the wrong way round. The touch-screen is very responsive, much better than some others that we've tried.
The Fujifilm FinePix Z90 features a 5x optical zoom which stretches from 28 - 140mm in 35mm terms. It's a standard focal range on a regular camera but the good thing about the Z90 is that it's all internal. In these cases, the lens will have an angled mirror behind it - like a periscope has - and the sensor will be placed either at the bottom of the camera facing up or the side of the camera facing across. The zoom function then moves across or up the camera body. Even though 28mm is generally classed as a standard wide setting these days, we found that at that setting, the camera suffers badly from barrel distortion.
In playback, there's lots to do. In fact, Fujifilm have added what seems like more features to the playback menu than the shooting menu. It's here that you'll find new image search and photobook assist modes. They're located down the side of the screen. The image search is denoted by a pair of binoculars and the photobook assist by a book. Pictures can be flicked through using the arrows on the right of the camera screen or by swiping your finger across the screen in the same it you'd preview images on a smart or android phone.
|Memory Card Slot||Battery Compartment|
The Fujifilm FinePix Z90 is a nattily designed camera with modern, clean lines and an interesting layout. The touch-screen, while eliminating the need for loads of buttons, offers lots of options and access to different modes and some people could worry that it looks a bit cluttered. We also found that to get a clear view of the entire screen to see all the buttons, our fingers crept over the edge of the camera and hung over the lens.
We like the build of the Fujifilm FinePix Z90 the most, it's a solid, weighty unit with some good advanced offerings such as the SDXC compatibility. We feel that this is a camera suited to young families or simple point and shooters with its ease of use and features more geared up for recording special moments such as holidays or birthdays. However, we think the younger generation will also appreciate the modern design and will enjoy impressing friends when it gets pulled out for a snap on a night out in town.
In the box is a lithium ion battery and charger, driver software and quick start guide to get you shooting straight away. The full manual is on the disc that comes with the camera. There's also a wrist strap to prevent you from dropping the Z90.