The F700 has a long thin body design which appears at first to be similar to the Canon PowerShot S50. Putting the two side by side however you realize that the F700 is quite a bit thinner than the Canon PowerShot, it's also better designed with clean lines and an expensive feel. The camera body is made from magnesium alloy which has a brushed finish on the front, the simple finger grip is surprisingly functional especially when combined with the moulded thumb depression stamped into the rear of the camera.
Side by side
Below you can see the F700 beside Canon's five megapixel PowerShot S50 and an older FinePix, the F601 Zoom. As you can see from the front the dimensions of the F700 are similar to the S50 however as mentioned above it is quite a bit thinner. Ready to shoot the F700 weighs 190 g (6.7 oz) compared to the S50's rather hefty 315 g (11.1 oz).
In your hand
Despite its long thin design the F700 is surprisingly easy and comfortable to hold, some subtle design points, plenty of space for your hand and the slim but effective front finger grip are more than sufficient in providing a good hold. The other thing to remember is that the F700 isn't a heavy camera and so can be fairly easily held and shot with one hand (although we would always recommend two).
The F700's 1.8" 134,000 pixel LCD monitor proved to be sharp and fairly bright, my only gripe would be the lack of an anti-reflective coating. Fujifilm have chosen a fairly aggressive power saving regime with this camera in that the LCD monitor turns itself off after just 30 seconds of inactivity. The indicator light beside the viewfinder blinks to indicate that the camera is still on, just press any button to return to live view. The LCD monitor provides an impressive 100% frame coverage in live view.
One thing which surprised me was how poorly the LCD live view performed in low light. The F700 doesn't seem to 'auto gain' the live view in low light situations and so in anything less than medium light levels it's extremely difficult to see exactly what you're framing. The S5000 (with SuperCCD HR) did 'auto gain' in low light and produced a usable live view image even in low light.
The FinePix F700 has a normal 'optical tunnel' viewfinder, which is pretty much what we have come to expect from most compact digital cameras. The view provided includes a center spot indicator and parallax correction lines (the top left corner of the frame for short subject distances). There is no dioptre adjustment. The viewfinder provides a very poor 78% frame coverage (this is much worse than most).
The light beside the viewfinder indicate the following:
|Green Steady||Camera ready to shoot|
|Green Blinking||AF/AE in progress / Shake warning / Power Save|
|Green / Orange Blinking||Recording to xD-Picture Card (ready to shoot)|
|Orange Steady||Recording to xD-Picture Card (camera busy)|
|Orange Blinking||Flash charging|
|Red Blinking||xD-Picture Card error / Lens error|
Battery / Storage Compartment
At the bottom left side of the camera is the combined battery and storage compartment. The door itself is made from plastic with a metal spring loaded hinge. Inside are two slots, the top one is for the F700's tiny NP-40 battery (3.7V 710mAh), the bottom is for the xD-Picture Card.