A few techy reservations, but would recommend
I was initially very concerned about the lack of physical aperture. In the 4000 the aperture is actually ND filters to control the light depending on shutter speed. But if you go into the physics of this, the small sensor (1/2.3", CCD) and small format mean that diffraction will start affecting the image quality, even at wide physical apertures. So the Fuji ND solution is actually very good, and I think should be adopted by other manufactuers of small format cameras (in fact I think it is). It ensures a permanently wide aperture and so negates the diffraction problem. This means there's a Depth of Field question: Being such a small format, DOF is pretty deep anyway, and ceases to become a problem at reasonable distances and especially wide focal lengths.
Otherwise, I've seen the camera criticised for ...
- Image quality - nothing that I've had trouble with with the following caviat: There is some issues with the "painted effect" of enlarged portions of the image. I think this is due the jpeg codec and compression processing to avoid the usual graininess you usually get with enlarged jpeg. It's different: whether its preferable to normal jpeg images when zoomed-in - that's up to you. I'm not totally sold, but at normal size, it's a very good sharp image.
- Time between shots - well at 14Mpix that's about 5MB of info to write to memory, probably other cameras do this quicker, but the 4000 isn't bad; However, there are some silly processing events which may prolong the writing to disk, eg face recognition and blink detection. If you turn these off I think the time between shots is reduced
- low light noise - could be a small sensor issue, but I've not seen this as a major issue yet.
Usability is basicaly good, once you set your mind to the aperture restrictions.
The zoom range and resulting image quality is actually excellent.
I like that it uses replaceable AA batteries and seems to be good on battery usage on my rechargeables. You have the option to select either the view finder or thee LCD screen.
It has gimmicks like "mark for upload" which I think is a bit of a waste of space, ditto the red-eye and face recognition stuff.
Currently I'm reasonably pleased. It's definitely not pocket sized, but it feels nice to hold. I really need a bit more time to assess the overall image quality, but first glances are good.
So - if you want to avoid the downfalls of theis camera, go for a bigger format and sensor size. otherwise it makes the best of the compromise.
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