Fujifilm FinePix Z1 review
I recently purchased both a Fuji Z1 and a Fuji F10 for comparison - since both have similar low light capabilities. The purpose of this camera is primarily for a small vacation take-along camera (to supplement my Canon 20D). I didn't go with Canon because I have been underwhelmed by the noise in the Canon SD series.
Anyway, While I was sold on the F10 from an image quality standpoint, my wife (and others who looked at both) were sold on the compactness and solid feel of the Z1. Both were equally easy to use - and I personally didn't find the menu system all that bad.
It looked like we were going to choose the Z1 until I noticed two problems (one cosmetic and one more serious).
The first problem was that the sliding cover appeard to be bowed somewhat in the center running along the horizontal axis. So, when the cover was either open or closed, the end that was flush against the metal casing appeard bowed in the middle and stuck up slightly. I als noticed, looking in the other end, that there appear o be some exposed electronics under the sliding cover. In other words, it's not a solid casing underneath the cover.
That would present a definite problem in the event that rain (or dirt) has easy entry into electronics of the camera. No I don't expect this to be anywhere near a weatherproof camera - but I don't want it to be overly easy to screw it up either. I didn't take the cover off to verify this, but there's no denying that there is some electronic component visible under there.
With that said, I went SamsClub (where I got this one) and checked 4 different cameras. The one on display did not have this problem, but all three new units they had in boxes had the exact same problem.
Second, and much more important, I noticed that the image (both visible on the LCD and in the resulting captured photo) is not square with the camera body. The camera needs to be held at a significant angle (at least 5 degrees, rotated to the left) to get the onscreen image square. This most likely means the CCD is installed crooked inside the camera. I have not heard of this reported before, but it's quite evident on this one. To check this, turn on your display grid, and look at a straight horizontal object. Physically align the upper edge of the camera to the edge of the object. If you take a picture, or look at your LCD, you'll see that the image is skewed.
Again, I'm just relaying the problem as I see it on this one camera. I'll be going back to Sam's Club yet again to see if any of their other ones have this problem.
Other than that, the Z1 looks like a very nice package (and the Sams Club kit comes with a 256MB xD card, and the $40 Fuji leather case all for $288). But with the problems I've encountered, I'll probably stick with the F10 for now.