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Design

Fuji, sticking to their proven design and layout of the x700 series continue with a vertically orientated camera. Build quality is good, the camera feels solid in the hand, weighty but not heavy with no rattles or creaks. It is a well put together camera and clever positioning of the front finger grip makes holding the camera fairly easy. I personally don't find vertically orientated cameras as stable as the more traditional horizontal design but it sure looks good.

New Design Elements

Metallic Lens Cover Pop-up Flash Circular LCD

Several design elements are new to the 4700. We'll start on the front of the camera with the very nice sliding metallic lens cover. Not only does this protect the lens, and look good, but also stops the majority of dust and dirt from getting to the lens mechanism. On top of the camera we find a pop-up flash which is new to the x700 range, in the older cameras the flash was fixed. A pop-up flash offers several advantages, a larger flash can be installed, it's easy to control whether you want to use the flash or not and the camera case can be made smaller (and neater). On the back of the camera you'll find one of the neatest design features the new 4-direction controller and circular LCD (backlit) for flexible control over camera features which change depending on the current mode.

Other features worth a mention are separation of switching between record and playback and the record mode (its easy to quickly switch to playback mode to review your images) and the ability to record audio when shooting mini-movies.

In Hand

For big hands like mine the rear feels a little cramped, you get that "where do I put my thumb" feeling when first using the camera. Best trick is to hold the grip as low down as possible (not as in the above picture - ahem) a single handed grip may be ok for the odd snap but for the best shots (or in low light) you need to support the camera on the left side which can be a little fiddley.


Rear LCD Display

The rear LCD is fairly standard by digicam standards, bright and fairly easy to see in daylight with a good range of brightness control (ten levels). One annoyance is that the LCD is not on by default in Auto record mode and only comes on in settings mode in Manual record mode, to display a live preview you must press the DISP button, this gets a little tedious after a while. It'd be nice to see that as an option in the SETUP menu.

Otherwise, refresh rates are good, there's no smear and the image is clear and sharp.


Rear control / information Circular LCD

This unique bit of lateral thinking makes controlling basic functions of the camera very easy, and it gives the designers the flexibility to "overload" buttons without needing to page through the manual to see what "this button does in this mode". Interestingly there are two different backlit colours, red for record mode and green for playback (neat), the backlight goes out after a few seconds but you can bring it back on by tapping SHIFT. A quick run-down of the button functions in each mode is shown below:

Playback Auto Record Manual Record

Manual Record
(SHIFT held down)

Movie Record Continuous Record
(optional bracketing)
Portrait Record Landscape Record
  
   
  Night Scene Record Setup mode
  
 

In most record modes holding the SHIFT button displays the alternative menu shown in the top right image allowing you to change resolution, JPEG quality level and toggling the self timer on or off.


Viewfinder

The viewfinder is kind of small but this is normal for a camera built this compact. There's no dioptric adjustment for users wearing glasses (boo) and gives about 85% frame coverage.
The view through the viewfinder has a circular center AF indicator and includes lines which indicate the frame area when shooting at less than 1.5m (4.8ft) - also known as parallax lines.

Rear light indicator shows the status of:

Green Ready to record
Green Flashing Recording / Reading CF card / No focus / Low light
Orange / Flashing Camera busy / Flash charging
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