There are lots of design elements in the 4900Z which make it immediately appealing and almost SLR like, however those observant will be able to tell it's a digital because the "L" instead of "T" shape of the body. Futuristic, sculpted lines certainly give the 4900Z a trendy look with ergonomic button placement to ensure it's not just for looks. The entire body is constructed of a lightweight metal alloy, the lens barrel seems to be a stronger single roll of metal, the only plastic on the case can be found on the flash housing, surrounding the left side button barrel and the buttons themselves.
The first thing that strikes you about the 4900Z is it's small size and light weight, believe it or not the 4900Z is about 40g lighter than the 990 (both cameras inc. batteries). With that deep hand grip the 4900Z is a great camera to carry, the whole hand grip fits comfortably into the palm of your hand and feel very secure just hanging from one hand. In use your left hand naturally cups the lens barrel and thumb falls on the lens barrel zoom control. The manual focus ring is beautifully weighted despite being focus-by-wire and the main mode dial is sprung with a smooth click into each position.. All in all Fujifilm have produced a light weight yet strong and ergonomically pleasing body...
This shot should help to give an impression of the 4900Z's small size, the original product shots from Fujifilm made it seem larger than it is, as you can see it's about the same height as a 990 and narrower than the G1, although when in use the lens barrel makes it a bulkier proposal.
As I said in the introduction to this section it's small yet comfortable in your hand, easy to carry and easy to use (thanks to the great hand grip).
Rear LCD Display
Two points to raise:
- The LCD screen provides only 89% frame coverage, this means that if you perfectly frame something using the edges of the LCD screen you're actually only framing 89% of the image, there'll be extra image data captured all around the frame you've made.
- I'd like to have seen the screen sunk into the body with an anti-reflective coating, this would have made it a much better proposal in all light.
Electronic Viewfinder (LCD Viewfinder)
Fujifilm have dubbed their viewfinder an "EVF" (excellent, another 3 letter acronym to add to the glossary). When using the 4900Z you can switch display between the EVF or LCD by pressing a small button beside the viewfinder, cunningly positioned just under your thumb.
In use the viewfinder LCD works really well although it does look as though you're looking down a tunnel at it, maybe higher magnification or variable magnification for the viewfinder lens would have been good. There's also no dioptre adjustment on the viewfinder which may make it difficult to use for those wearing glasses.
Note that the LCD viewfinder simply repeats what you'd normally see on the rear LCD, thus it can be used for shooting, reviewing, changing settings etc. And just like the LCD it only provides 89% frame cover.
In the base of the hand grip you'll find the battery compartment, the 4900Z uses the same Lithium-Ion battery seen in the MX2700 and MX2900, the NP-80. This small battery provides 1100mAh at 3.7V (4.1 Wh) and contributes greatly to the light weight of the 4900Z. The battery charges in-camera with the supplied AC adapter/charger.
The SmartMedia compartment door also acts as part of the hand grip, it has a molded semicircle of rubber which "tucks" itself into the palm of your hand nicely, flipping the door open you notice that it's spring loaded and clicks into the open position nicely, there's no need for a secondary catch as the spring holds the door firmly closed. Inside the SmartMedia slot is a push in, pull out type (not sprung) with the contacts facing forward.