Fujifilm Finepix F440
Review Date: April 6th 2005
Ease of Use
Upon first sight the Fujifilm FinePix F440 looks like a cut-down version of the FinePix F610 Zoom, being more square in shape yet having the same kind of brushed aluminum finish to the body and very similar external controls. It is extremely similar to the older 3 megapixel Fujifilm FinePix F420, with a few changes made to the control layout.
As with the FinePix F610 and F420 cameras, you will either love or hate the square format of the Fujifilm FinePix F440 , which isn't the most natural to hold if you're used to more conventional cameras. I found the best method was to support the top-left hand corner of the camera with my forefinger/middle finger and the bottom of the camera with my left hand thumb, then operate the zoom and shutter release controls with my right hand. Despite being very small in size, I didn't find it too small to operate the Fujifilm FinePix F440, and I loved the fact that it easily fits into a trouser pocket.
The Fujifilm FinePix F440 is very well constructed, being built of a mixture of brushed aluminum and a few plastic parts. It certainly looks very stylish and will no doubt impress your friends, although the battered review sample that I had was showing a few signs of surface wear and tear. Unfortunately the various buttons on the rear of the camera are a little on the small side and may be fiddly to operate if you have large hands.
|Play / Movie / Camera Modes||Macro/Left Button / Zoom Button / Flash/Right Button|
One of the most immediate and striking things about the Fujifilm FinePix F440 is the large LCD screen that dominates the back of the camera. The screen is a bright 2 inch colour TFT LCD monitor with 154,000 pixels and 97% scene coverage, which makes composing pictures and movies very easy. The large LCD is a little difficult to use in bright sunlight, but you can always use the small but bright optical viewfinder instead.
The second impressive thing about the Fujifilm FinePix F440 is the way that you turn it on. Instead of having a boring power button like many cameras, you turn the Fujifilm FinePix F440 on by sliding a panel on the front of the camera (marked Finepix) from left to right. As you do so, a small blue LED next to the zoom lens lights up for a few seconds! It's certainly one of the the most innovative ways of turning a camera on that I've yet seen, although it's perhaps not as quick as just pressing a button.
Like virtually all digital cameras the Fujifilm FinePix F440 has a Menu button on the rear of the camera which, as you would expect, gives you access to the software menu system. This lets you set various parameters including focusing, sharpness and white balance. As with most other Fujifilm digital cameras, there is also a blue F button (the Photo Mode button) which is positioned to the right of the LCD screen. Pressing this button opens the Photo Mode menu, which allows you to set the file quality, ISO speed and colour settings (B&W, Chrome or Standard). I'm not really sure why these 3 settings alone should fall under the heading of Photo Mode, and things like white balance and sharpening are just part of the standard menu. And I'm undecided about whether it is a good idea or not. The F button does give quick access to certain features, but you do have to memorise what another button does.
|Photo Mode Button / Menu/OK Button / Display/Back Button||Strap Eyelet / Sliding Power Button|
The main menu system on the Fujifilm FinePix F440 is as well designed as previous Fujfilm digicams that I have reviewed. There is a horizontal row of icons along the bottom of the screen, which when selected reveal the options for that particular function, which you then access by scrolling up and down. Very easy to see and access, especially on the Fujifilm FinePix F440 as there aren't actually that many options to choose from. In addition to the Photo Mode button mentioned above, there are a couple of other features that you won't find in the main menu, which are accessed by pressing the left and right arrows on the arrow pad. These are the macro and flash functions.
The start-up time of the Fujifilm FinePix F440 , from turning the camera on to being ready to take a photo, is very quick at around 0.50 seconds. The 3.4x zoom lens takes less than 0.75 seconds to zoom from the widest focal length to the longest. The zooming mechanism is a little on the noisy side, but not so noticeable that you will attract unwanted attention. Focusing, confirmed by a green LED next to the optical viewfinder as well as on the LCD screen, is very quick in good light and not too bad at all indoors or in low-light situations. The LCD screen is bright and clear and the refresh rate is fine. Storing an image is snappy at around 0.50 seconds. The F440 doesn't have any continuous shooting or focusing modes, so this is a camera for slow moving subjects only. All in all the Fujifilm Finepix F440 is more than acceptable in terms of its general operational speed.
|Speaker / USB Connector / Tripod Mount||Battery Compartment|
Once you have captured a photo, the Fujifilm Finepix F440 has an above average range of options for playing, reviewing and managing your images. You can scroll through the images that you have taken, view thumbnails, play slideshows with various effects, and zoom in and out of the image. You can also add an audio clip to each image, delete an image, trim an image, lock images so that they cannot be deleted, and set various printing options. The most important missing feature is a histogram (both before taking a photo and after) which would be a great help in evaluating the exposure.
Overall the Fujifilm FinePix F440 is a very stylish and well-built digital camera that will definitely appeal to all you gadget-lovers out there, although the small external buttons and unusual square format may put some people off. The Fujifilm FinePix F440's tiny size and light weight makes it a camera that you can put in your pocket and forget about until you need it.
PhotographyBLOG is a member of the DIWA organisation. Our test results for the Fujifilm FinePix F440 have been submitted to DIWA for comparison with test results for different samples of the same camera model supplied by other DIWA member sites.