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Compared to...

The only other prosumer digital camera with a greater than 4x optical zoom and more than 4 megapixels output is the Minolta DiMAGE 7. As Minolta (still) haven't managed to get me a production unit (at the time of writing this review) we can't use it for comparison. To be fair it's also considerably more expensive than the 6900Z.

So, we'll be comparing the 6900Z to a 3 megapixel image shot by a Nikon Coolpix 995 (produciton unit). Our first comparison will be at 3 megapixels, that is the 6900Z set to its 3 megapixel mode. The second comparison will be at 6 megapixels, the 6900Z set to its 6 megapixel mode and the 995 image bicubic interpolated in Photoshop to 6 megapixels.

Test notes

Lighting - 2 x 800W studio lights with dichroic daylight filters bounced off a white ceiling reflector. Both camera set to aperture priority and auto white balance. All other settings factory default. Both cameras aperture was stopped down to get the optimum sharpness from the lens.

Image portions below are of a 120 x 90 crop which has been magnified 200% using nearest neighbour re-sizing, apart from the last which is a 240 x 180 crop.

Compared to Nikon Coolpix 995 @ 3 megapixels

Fujifilm FinePix 6900Z (3mp in camera)
ISO 100, 1/5 sec, F4.5
Nikon Coolpix 995 (3mp in camera)
ISO 100, 1/5 sec, F5.1
Fujifilm FinePix 6900Z (3mp in camera) Nikon Coolpix 995 (3mp in camera)

Is the image quality of the FinePix 6900Z at 3 megapixels better than the Coolpix 995? Based on this comparison I'd say marginally, but there's very little in it. Both show good metering and good colour balance, with the 6900Z showing slightly stronger / purer colours. Resolution wise the 6900Z looks sharper primarily because its lens is performing better than the 995. It's also clear that the 6900Z is performing more in-camera sharpening, though some edges are a bit jagged compared to the 995.

Compared to Nikon Coolpix 995 @ 6 megapixels

Obviously the Coolpix 995 doesn't have a six megapixel mode, so we've artificially created one by simply enlarging the 3 megapixel image (from above) in Photoshop which uses Bicubic interpolation. The FinePix 6900Z shot was taken in 6mp FINE mode.

Fujifilm FinePix 6900Z (6mp in camera)
ISO 100, 1/5 sec, F4.5
Nikon Coolpix 995 (6mp in Photoshop)
ISO 100, 1/5 sec, F5.1
Fujifilm FinePix 6900Z (6mp in camera) Nikon Coolpix 995 (6mp in Photoshop)

Next question - does the 6900Z show more resolution in its native six megapixel mode than a typical 3 megapixel image interpolated in Photoshop? Not really, bear in mind that we've already seen that the 6900Z's lens is sharper than the 995 so some detail will 'stand out' a little more. That said the 6900Z isn't really able to render any finer detail than a good 3 megapixel digital camera. Its in-camera 'processing' is definetly very sophisticated and can generate very pleasing six megapixel images, however they still really only have 3 megapixels of detail.

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