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Design

Fujifilm have kept to the overall look of the previous x700 series compact digital cameras but handed the body design to F.A. Porsche, grandson of Prof. Ferdinand Porsche who's design studios have brought us stylish watches, pens, kettles, toasters and hair dryers. And they've done an equally good job on the 6800Z, probably one of the best looking digital cameras on the market (along with Canon's Digital IXUS 300 / S300). Probably one of the most distinguishing single design elements is the new "burred" metallic mode dial which sits proudly at the top rear of the camera and has an excellent quality feel.

Build quality is overall very good, the camera feels solid with no noticeable creaks or rattles, buttons have a good feel, my only niggle would be the fact that the pop-up flash doesn't fit flush into the body and appears to be made from a slightly different material (though is still cool to the touch, suggesting metal).

As you can see the 6800Z isn't that much bigger than Canon's Digital IXUS 300 and yet Fujifilm have managed to squeeze a larger (2.0") LCD display and status display LCD on the rear of the camera.

As with the 4700Z I have problems gripping the 6800Z firmly, when you first grab it your thumb naturally wants to rest right over the glass display panel, it takes a little adjustment to slide the whole camera upwards in your grip so that your thumb sits in the indentation on the back, this also helps your forefinger grip the front "bulge". All in all it's sufficient for holding the camera but certainly doesn't provide a stable grip for slow shutter / low light shots.


Main LCD Display

For such a small camera the 6800Z has a surprisingly large LCD, at 2.0" diagonally it dominates the rear of the camera and provides a fairly bright, sharp display. Unfortunately it's not graced by an anti-reflective coating so may well produce quite a lot of glare in bright sunshine (not something we've had a lot of around here lately).

By default the LCD is not enabled at power-on, you have to press the DISP button which does get a bit tiresome..


Display Panel LCD

Fujifilm's unique flexible "display panel" which we first saw on the 4700Z has remained on the 6800Z, providing up to four different functions depending on current camera mode. This is the view in Manual Record (auto exposure) mode with the top and bottom buttons providing zoom functionality, the left button toggles macro mode and the right button changes flash mode.

We'll cover the wide array of displays shown on this panel later in the review.


Viewfinder

As with almost all compact digital cameras the 6800Z's viewfinder is a disappointment, a very small, narrow view, you get a cropped and distorted view of the scene. The small center circle indicates the center of frame / focus spot, the viewfinder does have parallax correction lines which indicate the top corner of the frame for close range shots (less than 1.5 m / 4.8 ft).

The light beside the viewfinder indicate:

Green Steady Camera ready to shoot
Green Blinking Auto Focus / Auto Exposure in progress / Shake warning
Green / Orange Blinking Recording to SmartMedia
Orange Steady Smartmedia activity / image writing
Orange Blinking Flash charging / USB communication
Red Steady SmartMedia error / Lens error


Battery & Compartment

The 6800Z uses the NP-80 Lithium-Ion battery which we saw on the 2700Z / 2900Z / 4900Z and have seen (with a different label) on other digital cameras (Kodak DC4800). The battery compartment is accessed by sliding a small door in the base of the camera. The battery provides 1100 mAh into 3.7 V and is charged in-camera by simply placing the camera into the supplied cradle (described below).

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