The 6900Z has and 'SLR like' appearance, a chunky hand grip, prominent lens barrel and large eye-level viewfinder give it the appearance of an SLR. The focus ring on the front of the lens barrel may look traditional but it is in fact fly-by-wire, the camera simply detects by how much it has been rotated and adjusts the focus position accordingly.

Switched off the narrower end of the lens barrel fully retracts and there's a supplied lens cap to protect it. Control layout is logical enough and everything is nicely finished off. Build quality is very good and you get to appreciate the attention to the little details such as the spring loaded SmartMedia compartment door and the smooth closing pop-up flash. The new black body does give the 6900Z an added air of sophistication, it does seem as though black is back this year...

Beside the Nikon Coolpix 995 and Canon PowerShot G1 you get to appreciate how small the 6900Z really is, its design is deceiving. The 6900Z is approximately the same weight as the G1 and 995. It's narrower than both, although about the same height, extra depth can be placed squarely at the door of that big lens barrel.

The 6900Z is a very comfortable camera to use, it's a light camera, yet solid feeling. Controls fall nicely under your fingers, the to main ones being the shutter release and command dial (which sits under your thumb). The hand grip is deep and coated in rubber, as the camera is balanced nicely it's easy to hold / carry in one hand. The rubber viewfinder surround makes using the electronic viewfinder much easier.

Rear LCD Display

The LCD on the rear of the 6900Z is a fairly standard 2.0" TFT behind a protective plastic cover, surprisingly the LCD works well in direct sunlight, it appears to have a reflective surface BEHIND the display. Although this neat feature is negated a little by the reflectivity of the plastic cover... The LCD provides a 95% view of the final image, this is a little unfortunate as it means that if you wish to align something in the scene to the right edge of the image you'll either end up with a gap or have to compensate by moving closer to the subject.

Electronic Viewfinder

Just like its older brother, the 4900Z, the 6900Z implements an electronic viewfinder. This is simply a tiny LCD (0.56") with a magnifying eyepiece. The camera simply reproduces the same live view it would for the rear LCD on the EVF. You can switch between the rear LCD and EVF by pressing the button to the right of the viewfinder.

There is no dioptre adjustment for the EVF.

The 6900Z's electronic viewfinder provides an even smaller view than the main LCD, we measured it at approximately 90% of the image. Again, you would have to bear this in mind when framing subjects.

Battery Compartment

In the base of the hand grip you'll find the battery compartment, the 6900Z uses the same NP-80 Lithium-Ion battery we've seen in other Fujifilm digital cameras. This small battery provides 1100mAh at 3.7V (4.1 Wh) and contributes greatly to the light weight of the 6900Z. The battery charges in-camera with the supplied AC adapter/charger. The charger, AC-5VH (supplied in the UK) supports input of 100 - 240 V AC.

Storage Compartment

The SmartMedia compartment door also acts as part of the hand grip, it has a moulded arc of rubber which "tucks" itself into the palm of your hand quite nicely. Flipping the door open you notice that it's spring loaded and clicks into the open position nicely, there's no need for a secondary catch as the spring holds the door firmly closed. Inside the SmartMedia slot is a push in, pull out type (not sprung) with the contacts facing forward. The 6900Z supports SmartMedia up to 128 MB.