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This was the first camera I ever owned and I bought it 3 years ago. This takes fairly good pictures for the resolution, however, like many budget cameras, this is not great for taking pictures at a distance in a situation where the flash is needed, eg. in a school hall for a Christmas show. Other than that it is great where the lighting is better or for up close pictures. It is quite easy to use and intuitive (as cameras go). The desigh was very slick for the time and even looks good now. This is a good basic camera for learning how they work (it is not too complex but has a few basic features that would be good for a beginner to fiddle with without getting completely confused). It fits perfectly in small handbags, so that's always a bonus. I would recommend this for a first camera if you can get hold of one. I understand they are hard to come by these days.
My other half bought me this camera for my birthday, so I didn't actually choose i myself...he's a Canon SLR semi-pro, so I was quite surprised that he chose such a design-focused camera for me. Supposedly because he thought I'l like something compact and neat and shiny and pretty, cos I'm a girl with a small handbag - but I also trust his judgement on its functionality, and I think he made a really good call on this one. The slider lens cap function is fun and quite unique - my only concern is that it feels more liable to go wrong than a traditional lens cap/lens combo would. I also worry about grit and dirt accumulating under the slider bit...But so far, this camera has performed really well. The video function gives a really decent quality picture - shame you can't film in portrait though (or at least your computer won't rotate the video in standard media packages). The picture quality is great, but there is quite a significant shutter-lag. You do get used to it though, and it's not one of those cameras that requires a rock steady hand to get a decent shot! (although without flash, you do have to be fairly careful). It's fairly lightweight, and yes, it does fit neatly in your bag/pocket. It does scratch easily though, so not one for people who like to keep everything pristine. Battery life not great either. Shame it didn't come with a carrier case - I think that's an oversight on Fujifilm's part, tbh. Overall, though, a sound camera with good functionality that takes really decent pics and really good video, considering the size of the camera.
PLEASE NOTE: This review is about Fuji FinePix Z2 Zoom. I tried to have the correct product added by dooyoo but was told "No suggestions possible for this category." I checked the specs for both cameras and the only difference I can see between the Z1 and Z2 is a better ISO ratio, meaning it is even better for night photos. The rest appears identical, however, the Z1 can only be purchased second hand it seems.
Last year I was looking for a small digital camera for everyday use. I used to have one of the older Kodak EasyShare cameras but it was a few years old and while it was working perfectly fine it was heavy AND bulky, not something you could slip into your back pocket and forget about.
After looking around various websites and also in different stores I decided to buy the Fujifilm FinePix Z2 Zoom. For me it was important to have a decent camera that wouldn't cost the world. I wasn't trying to win prizes, it had to be good enough to produce decent holiday pictures. The Z2 fit the bill.
After I unpacked the box and checked all the content was there I decided to snap a few test photos to get a feel for the camera before taking it away on holiday. I'm glad I did as it was a bit of a learning curve. The Z2 is different from other cameras I had before.
But first things first:
This review will be too long and boring to enter into every item the camera can do so I will concentrate on the things I actually use. There's no reason to write about functions I don't use as I can't comment on them.
The box contains the usual things, camera, 16 MB xD-Picture Card, battery, USB cable, A/V cable, AC power adapter, camera docking cradle, instruction booklet and CD-Rom with picture software. You also receive a hand strap and draw string pouch to keep the camera in when not in use.
A quickstart guide (two pages) tells you where everything is on the camera, everything is neatly labelled on those pages and it also gives you tips what to do next, how put battery and picture card in and where to put what cable when it comes to connecting the camera to the mains to charge up the battery.
The battery is a rechargeable Li-ion NP-40 battery (about the size of your average mobile phone battery. It shares the same slot as the picture card so you might have to fiddle a little to get both in.
As the camera is so darn small - about the size of a packet of cigarettes for the smokers out there, not as thick though - everything has to fit into the smallest of places. The battery is held down by a little catch that you push back and the battery will fall out if you turn it over.
The picture card next to it is held by a spring. Its release mechanism pushes the card up ever so slightly when you open the flap on the underside of the camera so you can grab hold of it easily. There's no real need to remove the picture card from the camera as you can plug the cradle into the computer via the USB cable and all you need to do is put the camera on the cradle and you can access the photos on the camera.
If you are anything like me you don't always have all accessories at hand. I recently managed to tidy the cradle away and I was a bit at a loss. I had a few photos that needed transferring to the computer. My computer itself has memory card slots. The xD card is a lot newer and not one of the most used formats. Your camera's more likely to have an SD card and most computers cater for those. My xD card did not fit into the computer. Then I realised my Epson printer (bought shortly after I bought the camera) also had memory card slots - including xD. Now I just remove the card from the camera and slip it into the printer to access the content of the memory card. It's much quicker and I don't need to dig out the accessories and connect the camera.
However, I do still use the USB cable and cradle connection when I'm working on the computer and need to charge the battery. I have the USB cable permanently connected to the computer simply because it is the same connection that Motorola use for their latest models, at least on the PEBL and SLVR. All I need to find then is the cradle to connect the camera.
TIP: When on holiday make sure you take your charger/adapter and cradle with you as you won't be able to charge the camera otherwise. This camera doesn't use AA or AAA batteries where you simply go into a shop to buy replacements when you run out. But the good news is that the battery lasts at least one full day of constant opening and closing the camera and taking pictures. I took the camera to Las Vegas a couple of times and I charged every other day and never had problems.
To switch on the camera you simply slide the front cover to one side. It opens the lens and if necessary activates the flash. It's a bit tricky at first and I used my finger nails to claw open the camera. But I quickly noticed that a gentle push on the front panel will do and the lid will slide. I often use the FinePix engraving on the front to hold my finger in place and give it the right amount of pressure to slide it open.
When you're done taking picture just slide it back and the lens is covered and the camera switched off. The camera automatically switches to battery saving mode after a couple of minutes if you don't use it. The lens is still open and unprotected so make sure you don't pack it away without pushing it shut. To continue taking photos push any button and it springs back into action.
The camera has two options, either photos or video. The switch for the two options is on top of the camera, a little slider button but you need to watch out, it's very sensitive and can slide from photo to video option without you realising and you end up with a moment or two of video. I use the Z2 purely as a stills camera and therefore cannot comment on any quality issues regarding video.
Depending on the size of your memory card (I invested in a 1 GB size) you can take up to 750 pictures of highest quality (5.1 Megapixels) and tons more on lower settings. I keep it on the highest settings and even then I never manage to fill it all.
Unlike a lot of cameras - but getting more and more popular - the camera does not come with a viewfinder, only the LCD monitor on the back to point and shoot. The monitor itself if pretty large and takes up most of the back of the camera with about an inch on the right side for menu function buttons. I was used to a proper viewfinder and preferred to look through the little window and frame the shot. It's not possible with this camera and you have to get used to the monitor. I know a lot of people already use a screen even if the camera has a viewfinder. Doing it that way with my old Kodak meant that the batteries drained a lot quicker.
While I got good results indoors when testing the screen to frame my shots it was a different story outside, in particular when the sun was hitting the camera and I got total white-out. There were times when I had to guess and check the picture once it was taken. The same goes for low light pictures. While you can make the screen a little lighter, it's not by much and until the flash sets in you often see only very faint outlines. Despite all these problems, the actual photos are great quality, it's just a little hard to see on the screen. One reason I prefer a viewfinder. But once I got used to it I managed to work around bright light and dark rooms and I rarely have to take more than one picture of the same object, place or person to be on the safe side.
The camera comes with a 3 x optical zoom (plus 5 x digital) but unlike other cameras, there is nothing protruding. To access the zoom just press the W or T buttons on the back of the camera. It's an easy operation with your thumb and still leaves you room to press the shutter button on top of the camera. Depending on how long you set the 'view picture' option, it will show up for either not at all, or for 2 or 4 seconds. Even on the shortest setting you can see if the shot was okay or if you need to retake. But you can always look at all picture by simply pressing the menu button on the back.
Some of my favourite settings on the camera are 'night' (slow exposure without flash) for beautiful night pictures. This setting came in handy in Las Vegas where the lights at night cannot be captured with a flash camera. My other favourite setting is 'natural light'. It can happen that a flash will be too bright or harsh and washes out the photo and using the natural light setting switches off the flash. I use it when I take picture in twilight or candles, you could call them 'mood pictures'.
Transferring photos to computer:
There's no need to use the picture software provided by Fiji. Your computer should be able to have direct access to the memory card via either via the USB cable and the docking cradle or by using a memory card slot on either your computer or printer. The memory card will show up on the computer as a 'device with removable storage', depending on how many you have connected as 'Removable Disk (xyz:)' the last one on the list.
You can simply copy/move the pictures from the memory card onto your computer and store them where you want and use any photo software. I prefer PhotoShop when I have to work on photos. You can also decide whether or not you want to leave the pictures on the card or delete one, a few or all with a push of a button. Just make sure you don't delete them from the card before you transferred as you won't get them back.
So, what's the verdict?
After my initial problems with the LCD monitor, the size of the camera (you need the hand strap or it could slide out of your hands) and the way the buttons work I'm very happy with it. I'm glad I went for this camera. It's perfect for everyday use and takes a pretty marvellous pictures. The longer I have the camera the more I learn about it. Only the other day did I find a button that lets me adjust the camera for time difference on holiday destinations without having to change date and time.
I love the fact that you can take it with you virtually everywhere. I always have it in my handbag, it's small enough to slip into one of the compartments in my bag (normally the one reserved for mobile phones). It's always ready and the photos are of pretty good quality.
Of course, the camera's not all great. You have to make sure you always have the adapter and cradle with you to charge up the battery. You can't go out to a shop and buy batteries or use rechargeable AA ones. My Kodak camera had SD memory cards but the Z2 uses xD cards and I was forced to shell out quite a bit for the new card, buying the 1GB size was the most cost effective option (even if it set me back a further £50).
The camera is so small that it can be a problem when it comes to holding it steady but the automatic 'anti-shake' helps out a lot and not too many pictures are blurred.
Would I recommend the Z2? Yes I would. But you might not be able to find it anymore as it's been superseeded by the Z3.
I know there are digital cameras out there smaller than the Z2 - I saw a Practica the other day - but I consider them toys as they can't be comfortable to hold for adults but may be perfect for children's hands.
I paid a lot more for my camera but it's now available for under £150 from a number of good retailers.