Review: Fuji FinePix F402
Jeff Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally posted: Tuesday, December 3, 2002
Tuesday, December 3, 2002
it's higher number, the Fuji
FinePix F402 ($349) is a lower cost version of the FinePix F401
(see our review).
The F402 lacks the zoom lens of the F401 and uses xD memory cards
instead of SmartMedia, but otherwise it's very similar.
F402 is a very small metal camera designed for point-and-shoot users.
It uses a 2.1 Megapixel SuperCCD sensor rather than a regular CCD
used by other cameras. The "deal" with the SuperCCD is
that the individual light sensors on the SuperCCD are arranged in
a different pattern that on traditional CCDs, allowing for a higher
density. That's how a 2.1 Megapixel SuperCCD produces images with
4 million pixels. Of course, there is some interpolation ("guessing")
going on by the camera in order to pull that off.
more about the F402 in our review!
the F402 is so similar to the F401, I will be reusing a lot of text.
in the Box?
FinePix F402 has a very good bundle. Inside the box, you'll find:
2.1 (effective) Mpixel Fuji FinePix F402 camera
xD Picture card
Li-ion rechargeable battery
adapter / battery charger
featuring FinePixViewer software and drivers
F402 uses a different batteries than the F401 did -- it's much less
powerful. The F401 used the NP-60, which had 3.8 Wh of power. Here,
the NP-40 battery has 2.6 Wh of power -- about 1/3 less.
estimates that you should be able to take approximately 140 photos
with the LCD on, or 400 with the LCD off, on a single charge. The
F401's numbers were 200 and 450, respectively. To charge the battery,
you just plug the included AC adapter into the side of the F402.
Charging takes about two hours.
never been a huge fan of proprietary (read: non AA) batteries on
digital cameras, but they are unavoidable on these ultra-small cameras.
of the major differences between the F402 and the F401 is memory
card usage. While the "old" F401 uses SmartMedia, the
F401 uses the new xD Picture Card format. xD cards are very small
-- perhaps too much so. They are faster than other memory cards
out there (on paper at least), but I still wish we didn't have another
memory card format to deal with. The included 16MB card is enough
to get started, but you'll probably want a larger one soon after
buying the camera.
F402 is a very small camera
the camera has a built-in (and stylish) lens cover, there are no
lens cap worries.
are a few accessories available for the F402, including an external
fast battery charger, USB docking cradle, and carrying case. There
are also card readers and PC card adapters for the xD memory card
F402 works fine with Mac OS X and iPhoto. While I can't confirm
it, it should work fine with Windows XP as well.
am pleased to say that FinePixViewer is now Mac OS X compatible,
and is greatly improved over its Mac OS 9 predecessor. It's snappy
and much more useable than ever before. The software is only really
useful for viewing and rotating images -- you can't correct redeye
or anything like that.
you've got a Windows PC, you can also use the F402 as a PC Camera
manuals have always been better than average, and that continues
to be the case here.
FinePix F402 is a very small, metal camera. It falls somewhere between
the Canon PowerShot Digital ELPH and Casio Exilim cameras in terms
of size. It's about the same size as the Minolta DiMAGE X/Xi.
body is made almost entirely of metal, and it feels very solid.
One downside of these metal cameras is that they scratch easily,
so a case is a good investment. The F402 fits into any pocket with
ease, and can be operated with one hand. I do wish that the buttons
were a bit larger though.
dimensions of the F402 are 3.0 x 2.7 x 0.9 inches (WxHxD), and it
weighs just 125 grams empty. By comparison, the F401's stats are
3.3 x 2.7 x 1.1 inches and 185 grams.
begin our tour of the camera now, starting with the front.
F402 shares the same unique power switch as the F401. If you compare
the shot above with the "in hand" one in the previous
section, you'll notice a difference. To turn the camera on, you
pull the left part of the circle away from the lens. With a flash
of blue light, the camera then powers up. To shut it off, just reverse
F402 has an F3.2, fixed focal length lens. The focus distance is
6 mm, which is equivalent to 39 mm. The lens is not threaded.
from the lens is the built-in flash. The flash has a working range
of 0.3 - 3.0 m. No external flash options are available, nor would
one be expected from a small camera like this.
blue light (not illuminated in above photo) lights up when the camera
is turned on, or when the self-timer is counting down. Above it
as the microphone.
all Fuji digicams, there's no AF assist lamp on the F402. That means
focusing in lower light levels can be difficult.
is the back of the F402.
1.5" LCD is typical size for a smaller camera. It's bright,
fluid, and useable in most conditions, except outside when it's
bright. LCD brightness is adjustable via the setup menu.
the top-left of the picture is the optical viewfinder. IT's really
quite small -- too much so in my opinion. It shows about 83% of
the frame. There is no diopter correction for those with poor vision.
the right of the optical viewfinder is the mode switch. You can
move between movie, playback, and record mode using this. Further
over is the four-way switch (well, kind of). I found this to be
too small for my average-sized fingers. You use this for menus,
digital zoom, macro mode, and flash setting. The available flash
settings, by the way, are auto, auto w/redeye reduction, forced,
off, and slow synchro.
buttons just above the LCD are display, back, and menu/ok. The display
button toggles the LCD on and off, among other things.
stop, the top of the camera!
much to see here, other than the shutter release button.
a bit more to see on this side of the camera. The USB port (top)
does double duty -- it's for hooking into a computer, of course.
But it also is the connector for the optional ($80) camera dock.
that is the port for the included AC adapter.
only thing over here is the connector for the neck strap.
the bottom of the camera, all opened up. Notice the lack of a tripod
the compartment you see above, you insert the battery and xD card,
both of which are pictured above.
the Fuji FinePix F402
there's no big zoom lens to extend, the F402 starts up very quickly,
in under two seconds.
you press the shutter release button halfway, the camera locks focus
very quickly -- well under a second. In low light, focusing can
be troublesome, due in part to the lack of an AF illuminator lamp.
Press the button fully to take the photo after a shutter lag which
is definitely noticeable.
speed is 2.5 seconds, which is about average.
let's take a look at the resolution and quality choices available
on this camera.
(2304 x 1728)
(1600 x 1200)
(1280 x 960)
(640 x 480)
is no TIFF or RAW support on the FinePix F402. Files are named DSCFxxxx.JPG,
where x = 0001-9999. One annoying Fuji tradition is the lack of
any file numbering memory. Erase the card, the numbers reset. This
can be frustrating.
FinePix F402 has a simple, and quite nice looking menu system. Your
options are very limited though.
thing I really like is how the menu tells you have many photos you
can take in each quality mode (see above).
see what is actually in these menus. Items in bold are only
available in manual mode.
(Auto, sunlight, shade, daylight fluorescent, warm white fluorescent,
cool white fluorescent, incandescent)
compensation (-2.1EV to +1.5EV in 1/3EV increments)
sensitivity (200, 400, 800, 1600) - more below
(on/off) - 10 seconds
shooting (on/off) - see below
(Setup, LCD brightness, manual/auto mode)
want to comment on some of these menu items.
SuperCCD allows the F402 to have impressive ISO flexibility for
a consumer-level camera, with a range of 200 - 1600. The catch?
If you want ISO 800 or 1600, you'll be forced to use the 1MP resolution.
F402 doesn't have the same continuous shooting mode as the F401,
and that's a shame. The burst mode here only takes 2 shots in a
row, at a rate of 2 frames/sec.
do our usual photo tests now, with one exception.
from a little extra noise in the reds, I'm happy with the F402's
macro test performance. I took the shot at the native 2MP resolution.
The subject is sharp and colors look good! The focal range in macro
mode is 6 - 65 cm.
I did not perform
the usual night shot test, since the F402 doesn't have a tripod
out, it's demon eye! I wasn't totally surprised to see the redeye
in this shot, as the flash is really close the lens, which is usually
an indication of how the camera will fare in the test. And sure
enough, it's bad. You can remove redeye (most of it, at least) in
software. Note that I enlarged this a bit so you can see the details.
FinePix F402 has very good photo quality, for the most part. Fuji
always does a really nice job with the color accuracy on their digicams.
Also, chromatic aberration (purple fringing) is not a problem. The
big issue with these SuperCCD cameras is "artifacting".
you look at the images on the screen -- especially those taken at
the (interpolated) 4MP setting -- you may see noise, artifacts,
and "jaggies". They are not comparable to photos from
a true 4 Megapixel camera. Downsizing the image gets rid of them,
as does printing -- the 4MP images are excellent when printed on
a capable photo printer. The 2MP images will not have these problems,
since there is no interpolation going on.
check out the photo gallery and decide
about the F402's photo quality for yourself! I apologize that it's
a bit on the small side.
F402 has an inferior movie mode compared to the F401 (anyone else
think they should switch model numbers?). You can record movies
for up to 60 seconds at 320 x 240, or 240 seconds at 160 x 120.
Sound is recorded with the movie.
are saved in AVI format, using the M-JPEG codec, at 10 frames/second.
can use the digital zoom during filming.
a sample movie for you. I have no idea why there is moaning in the
Click to play movie (AVI format, 1.3MB)
Can't view it? Download QuickTime.
FinePix F402 Zoom has an average playback mode. While it does feature
thumbnail mode, DPOF print marking, and zoom and scroll, it lacks
the common slide show feature.
zoom and scroll feature (my term) lets you zoom in as much as 14.4X
into your photo, and then scroll around it. Another nice feature
is the ability to crop ("trim") photos when you're zoomed
in. At a certain point, the F402 won't let you crop the photos anymore,
as they'll be too small for printing.
is no way to get any exposure information about your photos, unfortunately.
The F402 moves through your photos at an average clip -- about two
seconds go by before the next one is shown. To rapidly move through
photos, you can hold down the left/right button, and you move through
small thumbnails at a much faster rate.
Does it Compare?
Fuji FinePix F402 is a small, stylish camera that is very easy to
use. It takes good quality pictures, at four million pixel resolutions
(through interpolation). It's also expensive (at $349) for what
is essentially a 2 Megapixel camera. Add to that noticeable shutter
lag, bad redeye problems, no optical zoom, and very limited features,
and you've got a camera that's not a great value for the money.
Though both are more expensive, I found Fuji's F401 ($449) and 3800
($399) to be nicer cameras, in terms of both features and performance.
With that in mind, I think your money could be better spent on another
stylish metal body
quality pictures in most cases (esp. when downsized or printed)
I didn't care for:
mode just OK
manual controls to speak of
small, 2 Megapixel (or greater) cameras include the Canon PowerShot
Digital ELPHs, Fuji FinePix A203
(these do not use the SuperCCD), Kodak EasyShare DX4330
KD-400Z, Kyocera Finecam S3x
DiMAGE X, Nikon Coolpix 2500
and 3500, Olympus D-520Z
Pentax Optio 330RS
and the Sony DSC-P2,
An exhaustive list, for sure -- this is a crowded field. I did not
list any non-optical zoom cameras because I won't buy a camera without
always, I recommend a trip to your local camera reseller to check
out the FinePix F402 and its competitors, before you buy!
to see how the photos turned out? Check out our photo
a second opinion?
welcomes your comments or questions. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Due to my limited resources, please do not e-mail me asking
for a personal recommendation.