One of the slimmest 16MP compact cameras around finds room for a triple use EXR sensor
Of flattened appearance and boasting a huge 3.5-inch, widescreen aspect ratio touch screen LCD allowing users to swipe through pictures iPhone-style, the 18.2mm slim Z900 (just 15.2mm at its minimum depth) is the apex of minimalism but usefully finds room for an internally stacked 5x, 28mm wide angle zoom.
The back-illuminated 16-megapixel EXR CMOS sensor from which this model takes its name works in one of three selectable ways. You can choose full resolution 16MP snaps, expanded dynamic range (takes two pictures to maintain both shadow and highlight detail and combines them) or extra lowlight capability. Full HD 1080p video similarly uses pixel-doubling technology for improved light gathering, with mini HDMI output provided, stereo sound and full use of the optical zoom being further benefits.
The camera weighs 135g without battery or SD card, making it very pocket friendly. We slipped it into a jacket pocket and almost forgot it was there.
Fujifilm FinePix Z900 EXR: Controls
The only physical controls here are to be found on the top plate. These are the obvious shutter release button, ergonomically encircled by a lever for operating the optical zoom, plus alongside this a second button marked with a movie camera icon. Rather than, as expected, just switching the camera to video mode, a press of this actually starts the recording process. With means of instantly taking a photo or video falling immediately under the forefinger therefore, as long as you’ve first selected your desired settings via the touch screen, the Fuji is expectedly very easy to use.
Fujifilm FinePix Z900 EXR: Screen
With the camera powering up by merely sliding down the upper half of its faceplate to reveal the lens and integral flash, as mentioned at the outset the highlight of the Z900EXR is arguably its grand 3.5-inch touch screen, presented in 16:9 aspect ratio. The larger, noticeably bright and reasonably clear 460k dot resolution screen means that thankfully the on-screen operational icons don’t feel too small or fiddly, so you can select one without inadvertently glancing on its neighbour. While we don’t necessarily gain anything from a touch screen here over conventional physical buttons and dials, the options here are logically presented.
Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR: Speed
The Z900EXR offers up to three frames per second burst shooting that, whilst not the best in class, is at least what’s expected at this level, with the option of 12fps if dropping down in resolution. Plus up to 320fps is offered in video mode for anyone wanting slow motion effects. Although the slide open and shoot faceplate operation makes for a fluid pocket-to-picture process it could perhaps be a little quicker, with a wait of three seconds from cold. But again, for a price of £199 – and given this camera is as much about fashion as functionality – we can live with that.
Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR: Battery
The Z900EXR’s NP-45A rechargeable lithium ion battery is good for 220 shots from a full charge – neither great nor terrible – with the total reliance on the screen undoubtedly sucking up juice. That said, there is sufficient power to last a weekend’s picture taking, and it’s certainly sufficient for those nights out where the smaller form factor comes in handy.
Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR: Pictures and video
With reliable auto performance when it comes to focus and exposure, picture quality is rich with occasional blown highlights and pixel fringing on close scrutiny between areas of high contrast our only issues. Like previous Fujis the difference the EXR sensor makes is subtle at best, but perhaps that’s the point. Given that this is basically a point and shoot camera, we were more than pleased.
Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR: Verdict
The Z900EXR is sleek, slick and funky, and the only issues we have with it are that start up could be a little swifter, plus familiar imaging bugbears such as pixel fringing between areas of high contrast rear their head among the Fuji’s images upon close inspection. The touchscreen operation is either love-it-or-hate-it, but the user interface is one of the cleanest implementations we’ve come across and for under £200 it certainly feels like you’re getting your money’s worth.
Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR launch date: Out now
Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR price: £185 online
FujiFilm FinePix Z900EXR specs:
- Sensor: 16 megapixel 1/2-inch EXR CMOS
- Lens: f/3.9-4.9, 28-140mm (35mm equivalent)
- Video: 1920x1080p, 30fps;
- Storage 63Mb int,SD, SDHC, SDXC
- Battery Rechargeable lithium ion (220 photos per charge)
- Connections: USB 2.0, mini HDMI, AV out
- Dimensions/Weight: 100.8mmx59x18.2mm, 135g