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DS-7

MacWeek: Fuji rolls out digital cameras

Manufacturer: Fuji Photo Film USA
Product Model: DS-7
Official Website: http://www.fujifilm.com/home/sbu/electimg/ei_c_ds7.htm
Resolutions: 640x480
Zoom Capability: No
Auto Focus? No
Macro Capability? No
Flash? No
Storage Method: SmartMedia (2Mb card included)
Storage Capacity: 20-30
LCD Screen: Yes/1.8"
ISO Equivalent: 100
Video Out?: Yes
Software Included: PhotoDeluxe
Computers Supported: Mac/PC
Miscellaneous Notes: This camera is essentially the same as the Quicktake 200. Andy Baird maintains a great Quicktake 200/Fuji DS-7 web page.
MSRP: $299
Lowest Price*: Not Available

DCRP Reader Reviews

Steven Weymark (2/21/98):
I've had this camera for almost two months now and feel it's time to share my thoughts on it. This is my first digital camera(actually my first camera period)so all my impressions will be from the standpoint of the novice snapshot taker.

I did absolutely no research on any cameras before my purchase.I just knew I wanted one and bought the first one I could find.It was just 2 days before Christmas so selection was non existant.Now that I have done some research(my typical behaviour...research after purchase.Don't try this at home!)I am still quite pleased with my purchase.

From reading this forum I learned that this camera is a very close cousin to the Apple QuickTake 200 so any info regrding that camera is usually applicable to the DS7. I regularly check out the Apple page here and Andy Baird's QT200/DS7 Website.

My first thought was that the colours were quite vibrant and in my opinion,accurate.The features I consider important include:

The colour LCD great for aiming your shots and reviewing them afterwards.

Removeable SmartMedia...keep a couple cards in your camera case so you don't have to download so often.Especially while on vacation.

Power supply.So you don't have to mortgage your house just to buy batteries(At this point I'm still waiting for the camera store and Fuji to get their act together and get me the power supply,rechargeable batteries and charger that were unusually absent from my box).

Simple controls...all functions are controlled right on the camera with a small dial (it almost looks like the film rewinder dial on normal cameras) a plus\minus button and an execute button.The aperature has a 2 setting switch and the focus has a close\normal\distance slider.The only thing I really HAD to use the manual for was setting the time,but I probably would have figured it out eventually.

Video Out....Great for showing your pictures at the homes of computerless friends.I carry an RCA patch cord in my camera case.

The accesories included cables for both Mac and PC,a 2Mb card,a carrying strap and a CDROM with Adobe PhotoDeluxe 1.0 and the data transfer software. I like the fact that the camera uses JPEG rather than a proprietary format although the data transfer software could use a little polish.The software does however let you see the information stored with the picture(Shutter speed,aperature and the time the picture was taken).

What I don't like about this camera is:
It sucks batteries like crazy! Though this is common for all digital cameras.Invest in a set of rechargeable NiMh's.

The lack of an optical viewfinder means you_always_ have to use the battery sucking LCD. It would be nice to save batteries and turn it off even if you had to guess at the shot.

There is a delay of nine seconds as the camera writes the image to the memory so you won't be able to take quick successive shots.This means a little planing on your part when you take pictures.

The camera has the equivalent to a 38mm lens on a 35mm camera which seems a little wide at times.You have to get close to objects to get them to fill the frame.

At first I felt that lack of a flash would be a major problem but soon found that the low light sensitivity was quite good.There have been times ( in dark bars ) where it would still have been welcome.

I hear that the new DS9 has answered these problems with a zoom lens,a multi shot mode, a flash and a seperate viewfinder.

If you leave the batteries out of the camera for longer than about half hour you lose the time setting. A little note taped inside the battery compartment to remind me to set check the time,helped me out.

The settings for the three focus zones,while giving more flexability does require checking before each shot.The switch slides easily,especially if the camera is put in a pocket, and I tend not to notice the out of focus shot in the LCD.I'm learning to check this but I still take a lot of pictures of distant objects in macro mode.

In general the DS7 is a basic point and shoot camera( although an expensive one...I paid 750CDN after taxes, though prices vary and do drop quickly)and using the camera and the DCRP as learning tools I find myself learning more about photography.This has made me long for a little more control over the settings.Oh Well....Maybe on my next camera!

Lawrence Leong (2/6/98): I bought my Fuji DS-7 digital camera almost in February 1997. I was attracted by the vibrant colors of it's live LCD and it's ability to output pictures to a TV monitor. The quality of pictures taken by this camera that I saw on the internet swayed me to buy it.

At that time it was one of few 640 x 480 pixels digicams in the market that came with a 2 MB SmartMedia. The memory card stored 30 Standard 640 x 480, or 60 Economy 320 x 240 pixels pictures. This was a lot more than the digicams of the day.

The digicam is very user friendly. It handles like a camcorder that takes still digital pictures.

However, this is not an autofocus camera. There are 3 fixed focal zones to select when taking pictures. Remember this and you will take good pictures.

Taking scenery is easy: (1) set the focus to the mountain icon for 35 in. to infinity; (2) select the small (F8) or large (F2.2) aperture; (3) look into the LCD to frame the subject; (4) press the shutter button and you will then see a fixed picture you have taken. Don't like it? Just erase it and try again. There are warning signs to change aperture setting in case of over or under exposure.

Taking macro shots or portraits and near objects require setting the focus selector to the flower icon for 3.5 to 5.1 in. for macro shots, or head & shoulder icon for 17.7 to 35.4 in. for portraits and near objects.

You must have some way of ensuring that your camera is positioned within the fixed focal ranges for sharp pictures. I cannot focus by looking into the LCD. Too many blurred pictures have resulted from doing this. I have learned to use points on my left hand and left arm to position the digicam when taking macro and portrait shots.

Selecting the larger aperture (F2.2) will ensure higher shutter speed for sharper macro and portrait pictures. Smaller aperture (F8) for more depth of field requires some way of supporting and steadying your camera.

Transferring pictures from camera to the computer is fairly easy and fast. The camera comes with serial cable and software for both PC and Mac. The availability of floppy adapter for SmartMedia in the near future will make picture transferring a snap.

The software enables you to view the pictures as well as the date the picture was taken, aperture and shutter speed, and some simple manipulation. This is useful when you want to find out why some pictures look good and others looks awful. Adobe PhotoDeluxe (PC & Mac) comes free with the camera.

When I first had the camera I was buying alkaline AAs like nothing. 4 alkaline AAs gave me about 20 pictures and reviewing. Picture transfer were done with AC power adapter, which was optional extra. I went through reusable alkalines to rechargeable Nicads, and now I am using Varta NiMH AA batteries and getting double the number of pictures.

Overall I have been fairly happy with the Fuji DS-7. It is my first digicam. I am still using it.

What are my suggestions for a better future Fuji DS digicam? The most important point is that it can produce higher resolution and sharp pictures like those of the Olympus C-1400L (D-600L in USA). Next it should have a good and reliable autofocus, autoflash mechanism like that of the Agfa ePhoto 1280. With the existing ability to choose large F2.2 aperture for higher shutter speed, action shots will be a boon.

You can see some pictures I took with the camera in my homepage. The URL is:- http://home.pacific.net.sg/~lleong/fujifoto/fuji.html

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