Conclusion - Pros

  • Good colours, sharp images, good resolution for a 2.4 megapixel CCD
  • Good metering, fairly good dynamic range
  • Big, high quality optical zoom (6x)
  • Deceivingly small size & weight
  • Manual focus ring (focus-by-wire)
  • Electronic Viewfinder works well
  • Good selection of image sizes & qualities
  • Focus Confirm zoom in record mode
  • Easy to quickly switch between record & play modes
  • Fairly fast startup for a camera with an extending lens
  • Very fast processing, short shutter lag, large internal buffer
  • Very fast continuous mode (5 frames per second!)
  • Flash hot-shoe
  • Internal flash performed well, good skintones with internal flash
  • Lots of manual features, range of scene modes
  • All major controls on outside of camera
  • Program AE has "program shift"
  • Can be used as a point-and-shoot and equally satisfying for shutterbugs
  • AC Adapter / Charger included

Conclusion - Cons

  • ISO 125 doesn't solve SuperCCD noise
  • Moire patterns on fine detail
  • Soft images at default 2400 x 1800 resolution, better at 1600 x 1200
  • Not enough control over colour / tone camera algorithms
  • Poorly positioned tripod mount
  • Priced into the 3 megapixel prosumer market, let down by imager
  • Inaccurate viewfinder / LCD frame coverage
  • Battery life wasn't as good as we'd hoped (that NP-80 is just too small)
  • Barrel distortion at wide angle, pincushion at tele

Overall conclusion

Here's my rating of the Fujifilm Finepix 4900Z: (compact prosumer)

Detail Rating (out of 10)
Construction 8
Features 8
Image quality 7
Lens / CCD combination 8
Ease of use 7
Value for money 7

Fujifilm's 4900Z is a vast improvement over last year's 2900Z, a more advanced design, higher resolution, more manual controls (the majority of which accessable from the outside of the camera). The 4900Z is also surprisingly compact and light (indeed it's light weight may be one of it's greatest assets). The 4900Z is also very fast, with preview mode switched off you can click-click-click the images without any discernible delay, and in continuous mode it produced some of the fastest shooting we've seen this side of a digital SLR (if only for 5 frames).

Viewing images at 1:1 the 4900Z is still let down by it's imager. If you're shooting primarily for the web or monitor resolution viewing where most images will be downsized then the 4900Z is certainly a worthy contender (just take a look at our samples gallery to confirm that). However in print or up close noise and moiré patterns are evident.

Fujifilm are great at producing a camera that feels good in your hand, that's ergonimically well designed with all the features you'd expected of a "prosumer" digital camera so why don't they just drop the SuperCCD and put a better imager in there?

Above Average

So which one should I buy? A question I get asked several times a day, and I wouldn't like to say. In a new addition to my reviews (after the amount of feedback I normally get) I've added a link to a specific forum in which you can discuss the review or ask me specific questions which I've not answered in these pages.

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