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Compared to...

In all our reviews we choose to compare the camera under review to one of our benchmark cameras. In this review it would be logical to compare the 4900Z to any of the 3 megapixel "prosumer" digital cameras which have rated highly in our reviews.

Probably the closest fit would be Sony's DSC-F505V, it's fitted with a 5x zoom lens (near enough to Fuji's 6x) and did well in our resolution tests. For the scene comparison we didn't have one to hand, so the next logical comparison is the Nikon Coolpix 990 which carries the 3 megapixel benchmark crown and has many of the manual features found on the 4900Z. (You'll find colour and resolution comparisons to the Nikon 990, Sony F505V and Canon G1 below).

The scene below was shot by both cameras within minutes of each other, settings on the cameras were kept equal (as much as possible): Auto White Balance, Aperture Priority (F6.3 - 1/3s), Equal Zoom, Default Sharpening. Lights: 2 x 800W studio lights with dichroic daylight filters bounced off a white ceiling reflector (creates an almost perfect daylight).

Fujifilm FinePix 4900Z
 
Nikon Coolpix 990

(magnified 200%)

(magnified 200%)

For a 2.4 megapixel camera the 4900Z does well, it doesn't quite have the resolution on sharpness of the 990 but puts up a good fight. Unfortunately our test shot also emphasised the 4900Z's moiré problem (visible in the Tanqueray lettering and Martini label). Notice that the 4900Z didn't suffer from the pixelisation of the flower detail we often find on the current crop of 3 megapixel digital cameras (on primary colour boundaries).

Colour Chart Comparison

Shot in daylight, Auto White Balance, EV compensation +0.3 (all cameras), measured light ~10 EV.

Fujifilm FinePix 4900Z Nikon Coolpix 990
Sony DSC-F505V Canon PowerShot G1

As you can see it's really very close, the F505V producing probably the purist colours, but simply none have any serious colour problems. The 4900Z does seem to have given the red on this sample a slight pink/orange tint.

We're only measuring colour here. RGB values below were taken from a VGA reduced image (to average colours and eliminate JPEG artifacts) using the Eyedropper tool in Photoshop with a 5 by 5 Average Sample Size.

  Fujifilm
4900Z
Nikon
Coolpix 990
Sony
DSC-F505V
Canon
PowerShot G1
Patch White 172,186,190 201,201,201 178,182,182 214,208,208
       
Middle Gray 82,85,90 104,104,104 79,81,87 97,96,102
       
Patch Red 206,31,33 223,52,58 187,15,32 186,33,53
       
Patch Green 16,117,62 5,149,63 3,135,41 26,149,73
       
Patch Blue 33,30,95 60,50,112 40,25,123 55,49,117
       

Resolution Comparison

Shots here are of the PIMA/ISO 12233 standard resolution test chart (more available for comparison in our comparison database). Studio light, cameras set to auto, Exposure compensation +0.7 EV for all cameras. How to read the charts: All values are 1/100 th lines/picture height/width. So the "10" value equates to 1000.

Fujifilm FinePix 4900Z
Nikon Coolpix 990
Sony DSC-F505V
Canon PowerShot G1

Measurable findings (three measurements taken for each camera):

Camera Measurement Absolute Res. Extinction Res.
Fujifilm
FinePix 4900Z
Horiz LPH 950* 1250
Vert LPH 950* 1200
5o Diagonal LPH 700 n/a
Nikon
Coolpix 990
Horiz LPH 900 1300
Vert LPH 900 1400
5o Diagonal LPH 900 n/a
Sony DSC-F505V Horiz LPH 950 1300
Vert LPH 950 1250
5o Diagonal 900 n/a
Canon
PowerShot G1
Horiz LPH 950 1300
Vert LPH 950 1400
5o Diagonal LPH 900 n/a

* Moiré appears before final, absolute resolution

Definition of terms:

LPH Lines per Picture Height (to allow for different aspect ratios the measurement is the same for horizontal and vertical)
5o Diagonal Lines set at 5o diagonal
Absolute Resolution Still defined detail (below Nyquist frequency)
Extinction Resolution Detail beyond camera's definition (becomes a solid gray alias)
n/a Not Available (above the capability of the test chart)
n/v Not Visible (not visible on test results)

Nyquist frequency: Defined as the highest spatial frequency where the CCD can still faithfully
record image detail. Beyond the Nyquist frequency aliasing occurs.

This is interesting, when we reviewed the 4700Z we weren't including the ISO resolution chart in our test (although we have since then shot the chart with this camera) and thus couldn't accurately compare it's resolution to other cameras. The 4900Z shows slightly higher resolution than the 3 megapixel Coolpix 990, it's pretty much equal to the F505V. However, this resolution comes with a price, there are visible moiré patterns / aberrations in the resolution lines before this final resolution, also resolution "extinction" occurs earlier than the 3 megapixel digital cameras indicating that it's Fujifilm's image processing algorithms which are "carrying" the resolution.

Another noteworthy observation is the relatively low diagonal resolution of the 4900Z, the 5 degree resolution patches were either blurred or aliased together until we got down to 700 lines/picture height, well below the 900 lines/picture height of the 3 megapixel CCD cameras.

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