Review: Fuji FinePix 4700
Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally posted: Tuesday, June 13, 2000
Last Updated: Sunday, October 8, 2000
cameras have stirred up as much interest and controversy as the
FinePix 4700. Originally announced back in February (for $999),
it was billed as camera capable of producing 4.3 million pixel images.
On the interest side, people were amazed that Fuji was able to accomplish
this -- leapfrogging over Nikon and Olympus. But then there was
the controversy: how could a sensor with only 2.4 million pixels
produce images nearly twice as large?
the magic word is interpolation. To Fuji's credit, they aren't pushing
this camera that produces 4.3 Mpixel images anymore. Originally,
there was a "4.3M" above the SuperCCD sticker. On the
production units, it's nowhere to be seen (see above) on the camera,
or on the box. Oh, and they dropped the price to $799.
how it all works: up until now, digital cameras used a traditional
CCD sensor for gathering image data. Fuji felt that these CCDs were
reaching their limits, so they developed a new type of CCD, known
as the SuperCCD.
A SuperCCD has larger photodiodes (which pick up the light) than
a traditional CCD; These sensors are octagonal in shape (as opposed
to rectangular), thus they are closer together. This is how a SuperCCD
captures 1.6 times as much information as a traditional CCD, and
why it produces those high res photos. Like all cameras that use
interpolation, there is some noise when you blow up the photos,
as you'll see below -- but that doesn't stop the 4700 from being
a superb camera.
on to find out more...
in the Box?
FinePix 4700 gets two thumbs up for its bundle. When you crack open
the box, you'll find
2.4 Mpixel Fuji FinePix 4700 camera
rechargeable NiMH batteries
including Adobe PhotoDeluxe and drivers
for camera and software
I'm going to complain about one thing here, it's the SmartMedia
card. Fuji isn't the only one at fault here-- every camera manufacturer
skimps on these. The included 16Mb card can hold 9 photos in Fine
mode in the highest resolution (2400 x 1800), and 248 photos in
Basic mode in the lowest resolution (640 x 480).
thing I usually comment on is lens caps, and there's no need to
-- a mechanical lens cover is built into the body of the camera,
as you'll see in the next section. Hooray!
includes two 1600 mAh NiMH batteries in the box, as well as a charger
that plugs right into the wall socket. You're probably wondering
if this camera really does use just two batteries -- it sure does.
You'd also think that it would run out of juice really quick. Nope.
While I ever test the manufacturers claims, the manual says that
the camera can take 80 pictures with the LCD on, and 230 with it
off. From my own usage, it seems to last as long as any other camera
122 page manual thankfully includes just one language (English,
of course), and is well done. Fuji has been consistent with providing
good printed user manuals.
the other 700-series Fuji cameras I've had, the 4700 gets oohs and
ahhs everywhere it goes. I'm not sure if it's the stylish metal
body, small size, or cool user interface that draws people to it,
but it's certainly well liked. Then the Canon Digital ELPH showed
up, but that's another story...
4700 has an attractive metal body, with a brushed aluminum look
on the front. The thing really looks durable, and it's not even
that heavy. I think the 4700 weighs less than the smaller Canon
Digital ELPH! Although the shape of the camera is a bit untraditional,
it fits well in the hand.
at the front of the camera, you can see the nice metal lens cover,
optical viewfinder, self-timer lamp, flash control sensor, and microphone.
When the lens does pop out of it's hole (see top picture), you'll
see the very impressive 3X optical zoom (equivalent to 36 - 108mm),
which is the size of a dime.
back of the camera has something old, and something new. What's
old: the power switch is right in the middle of all the buttons,
with a toggle for record or play. The other buttons are for entering
menus (and choosing OK or cancel), as well as turning on or off
the LCD, or adjusting its brightness.
2" LCD screen is bright and fluid, and useable in all conditions
except direct sunlight. The optical viewfinder is too small, and
is hard to use if you have glasses. It also lacks diopter correction.
Your nose won't smudge the 2" LCD, but it will hit the LCD
info display if you use your left eye.
that LCD info display is what's new in this camera. This little
circular LCD can display all kinds of information, from options
in record or play mode to a USB icon when you're hooked into your
computer. When it's safe to disconnect the USB cable, this little
screen tells you.
you can see above, the LCD is backlit, and it varies the color depending
on which mode you're in! Green for play, orange for record. As you
can see, it can display a number of different pieces of information.
In the top left photo, it shows navigation and zoom commands in
play mode. In the top right, you see zoom controls, as well as macro
and flash settings. On the lower right are some settings for resolution
can choose from three resolutions on the 4700: 2400 x 1800, 1280
x 960, and 640 x 480. You can also choose between Fine, Normal,
and Basic quality. The higher quality, the less JPEG compression.
There is no uncompressed TIFF mode.
the top of the camera is the traditional mode wheel. Your choices
will discuss many of these in further detail in the next section.
FinePix 4700 has all the I/O ports on one side. The button at the
very top pops up the flash, and below that is the speaker (more
on this later). Just below and to the right of that is the SmartMedia
slot, with the 16Mb card already inserted. This is one of those
spring loaded card slots.
to the left of that are ports for USB, A/V out, and DC in for the
optional AC adapter. There is no serial support on this camera.
finally, the bottom of the camera. On the left is the slot for the
two AA batteries, and just to the right of that is the metal tripod
mount. Oh, and see how those Coolpix lens caps come in handy?
the Fuji FinePix 4700
head-to-head review of the Coolpix 990 and C-3030Z raised the bar
for DCRP reviews, so I'm going to try to make this section a bit
more detailed in our "regular" reviews as well. I'm going
to cover five areas in this section: Auto record, manual record,
playback, movie mode, and night scene.
you first turn on the camera, you are really amazed at how quickly
the 4700 "boots up" (it takes about two seconds). It only
gets better -- the 4700 is an absolute speed demon -- the fastest
camera I've tested, by far.
It's also the most polite -- it says "Hello" and "Bye"
when you turn it on and off.
zoom controls are smooth and fast as well. But where the 4700 really
shines is time between shots - it's less than a second. In fact,
it's really hard to tell that it took a picture. You can turn on
a "preview" mode, where you can decide whether to save
the photo, but it doesn't default to saving like other cameras do.
So you might miss some action while fumbling with the controls to
save the previous photo.
auto mode, you can control flash settings, macro mode, self-timer,
and quality/resolution settings.
you want to mess with some more settings, move the mode dial into
Manual Record mode. Do note that this camera doesn't have what I
refer to as manual controls -- you cannot set shutter or aperture
settings manually. This is a point and shoot camera first and foremost.
But there still is a great deal you can change in this mode, including:
shot after it's taken
-, 0, +
(aka metering): average, spot, multi
Compensation:n -1.5EV to +1.5EV in 0.3EV increments
strength: -0.6EV to +0.6EV in 0.3EV increments
balance (no manual override)
ISO 200, 400, 800 (wow)
Toshiba, Fuji likes to use the overlay style menus. Here you can
see me changing the exposure compensation.
let's take a look at the traditional macro test shot:
thing I noticed is that the white balance didn't do a very good
job on this one. The lighting is incandescent, and that's what I
set the white balance to. Alas, it came out pretty yellow, and it's
a bit noisy too (there's that interpolation thing again). In macro
mode, you can get as close as 8 inches (20 cm).
strong point of this camera is the accuracy of the color, probably
due to Fuji's RGB filter. I found the colors to be better than the
Toshiba PDR-M70 I recently reviewed (compare the GG Bridge pictures
to see what I mean).
going to briefly mention the continuous shooting mode here (it has
it's own spot on the mode wheel). In this mode, you can shoot three
photos in a row, 0.2 seconds apart. You can also turn on auto bracketing,
which will shoot each picture with a different exposure compensation
mode is super-fast, just like record mode. You can scroll between
photos with a delay in maybe a half a second. Want to zoom in and
scroll around? You can do that, although these moved too slow for
few other nice features in play mode include a nice slideshow mode
with a choice of transitions and the ability to downsize an image
(e.g 2400 x 1800 to 1280 x 960). There's also DPOF support for getting
prints of your photos made.
letdowns in play mode are the aforementioned slow zoom and scroll,
no info about your photos (what settings were used), and you can't
delete more than one photo at a time.
FinePix 4700 has a pretty nice movie mode available on the mode
dial. You can record up to 90 seconds of AVI video with sound on
the included 16Mb card. You can keep taking video until you fill
up the card, which means you can stuff 364 seconds onto a 64Mb Smartmedia
card! The video is recording at 10 frames/sec, at a resolution of
320 x 240.
downer in the video department is that you can only use the digital
zoom in movie mode. If this sounds familiar, it's because the Olympus
C-3030Z was the same way. I'm not sure why some cameras can use
the optical zoom, and others cannot.
said, take a look at the video of one of the speakers at my sister's
college graduation, along with the back of some people's heads.
If I can find some more compelling video, I'll replace this one.
play movie (AVI format, 1.9Mb)
mode will open up the shutter for as long as 3 seconds, to help
you get a nice night shot.
this test, I didn't go to the traditional spot on Twin Peaks. This
time, I sought out a famous photo spot, and came back empty handed.
I did manage to get one shot, using my car as the tripod:
shot was cropped and downsized 50% -- it was a 3 second exposure.
I may try the Twin Peaks thing with this camera as well, and will
add it to this page.
Does it Compare?
FinePix 4700 is a good looking, small, and fun-to-use camera, as
long as you're doing casual shooting. People who want to tweak aperture
and shutter settings will have to look elsewhere. But most consumers
don't care about those things, and the 4700 fits the bill very well.
far as the interpolation issue goes, noise is noticeable when you
blow up the pictures, but when you print them on a nice photo printer
(such as my Epson 1270), you'll never know it.
design, sturdy body
color, good photos
interface very good - including LCD info display
"in the box" stuff, and nicely written manual
I didn't like as much:
white balance sometimes
uncompressed TIFF mode
slow in playback mode.
FinePix 4700 is kind of in a class by itself. It's not really a
2 Mpixel camera, nor is it a 3 or 4 MPixel camera. It's kind of
in the middle. The closest competitor is probably the Canon
PowerShot S20 (3 Mpixel), which also lacks shutter/aperture
controls, but is missing movie mode.
are many other cameras that you should consider before buying --
too many to list here -- be sure to try them out yourself before
you make any decisions! For the person who wants a small, fun camera
that takes high res photos (which print really well, too), I recommend
the FinePix 4700!
how does the photo quality stand up? Check out the sample photos
in our photo gallery!
a second opinion? How about a third?
Digicams review of the FinePix 4700. Or, try the Imaging Resource
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