The Fuji FinePix
F440 ($399) is a compact 4.1 Megapixel camera
that packs just a bit more zoom than other cameras
in its class: 3.4X. The F440 has a traditional CCD
sensor, rather than the SuperCCD that Fuji has been
putting in their cameras over the last few years.
The 3.4X zoom lens isn't the only larger-than-average
item on the camera: there's also the 2.0" LCD
The F440 has an "older brother" known
as the F450 which
has a 5 Megapixel CCD and costs $100 more.
Learn more about the F440 now in our
What's in the Box?
The FinePix F440 has an average bundle.
Inside the box, you'll find:
- The 4.1 effective Megapixel FinePix
- 16MB xD Picture Card
- NP-30 lithium-ion rechargeable
- AC adapter / battery charger
- Picture Cradle
- Wrist strap
- A/V cable
- USB cable
- CD-ROM featuring FinePix AX software
- 99 page camera manual (printed)
Fuji includes a 16MB xD card with
the camera, which holds a grand total of seven high
resolution pictures. So consider a larger card "a
must". xD cards are currently available as large
as 512MB, and I think 128MB is a good starter size
for most people. Be warned that xD cards tend to be
more expensive than CompactFlash and SD cards.
The F440 uses a compact lithium-ion
battery known as the NP-30 to power the camera. The
battery isn't exactly what I'd call powerful, with
just 2.1 Wh of energy. That translates to 150 photos
per charge, using the new CIPA battery life standard
(which I'll be using from now on, when possible).
While it would be nicer if the F440
used AA batteries, it's really not possible given its
size. Do note that an extra battery (highly recommended)
will set you back $50.
When it's time to charge the battery
you can do one of two things. The easiest option is
to plug the included AC adapter into the side of the
camera. The other option is to use the...
On the front of
the dock there's a USB/video out switch as well as
the power button
On the back are
DC-in and A/V+USB ports
... included camera dock (or Picture
Cradle in Fuji-speak). In either case it takes two
hours to charge the battery. So what can the dock do
for you? Nothing that you couldn't do without it. The
dock can charge your battery, or connect to your PC
or television, and you can do all this without it by
plugging the appropriate cable directly into the camera.
The F440 has a built-in lens cover
so there's no lens cap to worry about. As you can see,
this is a pretty small camera. (And the band-aid is
because I almost sliced off my thumb while cutting
There are just two accessories of
note for the F440: a soft carrying case ($30) and an
underwater case ($199). The underwater case lets you
take the camera up to 40 m underwater. The F440 doesn't
support conversion lenses or an external flash -- not
4.2 for Mac
Fuji includes their FinePixViewer
software with the F440. The version numbers are 4.2
for Windows and 3.3 Mac OS 9 and OS X. Even with the
differing version numbers, the software acts about
the same on each platform. FinePixViewer is for basic
image organizing and editing, and is no substitute
for something like Photoshop Elements. Fuji also includes
a RAW File Converter (not needed for this camera),
and ImageMixer VCD (for making video CDs, Windows only)
on the CD.
One other software note: Windows XP
users can also use the F440 as a webcam for videoconferencing.
The F440's manual is typical of those
included with most digital cameras. It's complete,
but finding what you're looking for may be difficult.
There's lots of small print as well.
Look and Feel
The F440 is an ultra-compact, all-metal
camera that can go just about anywhere. Construction
is quite good, especially compared to some of Fuji's
cheaper cameras. Controls are generally well-placed,
although the micro buttons on the four-way controller
are a bit too small for my taste. One thing to watch
out for on metal cameras like this: they tend to scratch
The official dimensions of the F440
are 74.5 x 62.3 x 21.3 mm / 2.9 x 2.5 x 0.8 inches
(W x H x D, excluding protrusions), and it weighs 150
grams / 5.2 ounces empty. Compare that with the Canon
PowerShot S410, whose numbers are 3.4 x 2.2 x 1.1 and
185 grams, respectively.
With that out of the way, we can begin
our tour of the F440!
I shot this at a different angle than
usual to get rid of the reflection of my camera on
that metal piece on the left!
The F440 has an F2.8-5.5, 3.4X optical
zoom lens. The focal length of the lens is 6.3 - 21.6
mm, which is equivalent to 38 - 130 mm. The lens is
To the upper-left of the lens is the
built-in flash. This flash has a relatively short working
range of 0.6 - 3.6 m at wide-angle, and 0.6 - 2.0 m
at telephoto. The camera does not support an external
To the lower-right of the flash (next
to "4.1 Megapixels") is the self-timer lamp.
The metal thing on the far left is the camera's power
switch. Slide it away from the lens to turn the camera
on, and vice versa.
There's no AF-assist lamp on the F440.
The F440 has an unusually large LCD
display for being such a small camera -- and that's
a good thing. Even better, Fuji did not sacrifice the
optical viewfinder (which I'll cover in a moment).
Anyhow, the screen here is 2.0" in size and it
has a nice resolution of 154,000 pixels. The screen
is very sharp and bright. If the default brightness
doesn't do it for you, you can adjust it in the menu.
The LCD shows 97% of the frame. In low light, the screen
doesn't "gain up", making it nearly impossible
to see your subject.
Above the LCD is the aforementioned
optical viewfinder, which is fairly small (better than
not having one at all!). The viewfinder shows 78% of
the frame. There is no diopter correction feature which
is used to focus what you're looking at.
To the lower-right of the optical
viewfinder is the mode switch, which moves the camera
between playback, movie, and still recording mode.
Continuing to the right we find the four-way controller,
which i used for operating the zoom, navigating menus,
and adjusting the following:
- Left - Macro (on/off)
- Right - Flash (Auto, auto w/redeye
reduction, forced flash, flash off, slow synchro,
redeye reduction + slow synchro)
As I touched on before, I'm not a
big fan of this four-way switch. The up/down buttons
don't have a lot of play and the left/right buttons
are just too small. Since the up/down buttons operate
the zoom, I should mention that the controller moves
the lens from wide-angle to telephoto in just 1.4 seconds.
I counted ten steps in the zoom range.
Photo mode menu
The three buttons to the right of
the LCD are for:
- Photo mode button - pressing
this brings up the following menu:
- Quality (see chart later
- ISO (Auto, 80, 100, 200,
- FinePix Color (Standard,
chrome, black & white)
- Display/back - used for menus and
also toggles what's shown on LCD on/off
In case you're wondering, "chrome" means
high contrast and saturation.
The only thing worth mentioning on
the top of the F440 is the shutter release button.
On this side of the camera you'll
find the DC-in port. This is where you'll plug in the
included AC adapter.
Nothing to see on this side!
On the bottom of the F440 you'll find
the speaker, dock connector, xD card slot, and battery
compartment. Those last two are protected by a fairly
sturdy plastic door. The tripod mount is plastic, and
due to its location, don't expect to swap batteries
or xD cards while the camera is on a tripod. The dock
connector is also where you can plug in the USB and
video out cables if you don't want to use the dock.
The included battery and xD card are
shown at right.
Using the Fuji FinePix F440
It takes a little just two seconds
for the F440 to extend its lens and "warm up" before
you can start taking pictures.
to be found here
Autofocus speeds on the F440 were
average. Halfway-pressing the shutter release button
resulted in focus lock in 0.6 - 0.8 seconds in most
cases. Focusing in low light wasn't great -- here's
where an AF-assist lamp would've helped. In addition,
the LCD becomes virtually useless in dim light.
Shutter lag wasn't an issue at fast
shutter speeds but it was quite noticeable at slower
ones (e.g. 1/2 second). Then again, you shouldn't be
handholding the camera at that shutter speed anyhow.
Shot-to-shot speed was good, with
a 1.7 second delay between photos, assuming you've
turned the post-shot review feature off.
The F440 lacks the ability to let
you delete a photo immediately after it is taken (you
must enter playback mode).
Now, let's take a look at the resolution
and quality choices available on this camera.
||Approx. file size
||# images on 16MB card
(2304 x 1728)
(1600 x 1200)
(1280 x 960)
(640 x 480)
It's nice to see Fuji finally offering
a fine quality (low compression) option for the highest
resolution setting. There's no TIFF or RAW mode on
The camera names files as DSCF####.JPG,
where # = 0001 - 9999. The camera maintains the numbering
even if you erase the memory card.
The FinePix F440 has a nice looking,
very basic menu. The camera has an auto mode, where
many of the menu options are locked up. If you want
full access to the menu, you need to switch into "manual" mode.
Here's a look at the menu now, with the manual mode-only
options in bold:
- Self-timer (on/off)
- Shooting mode (Auto, manual, portrait,
landscape, sports, night) - manual mode unlocks the
two bold options below
- Exposure compensation (-2.1EV
to +1.5EV, 1/3EV increments)
- White balance (Auto,
sunlight, shade, daylight fluorescent, warm white
fluorescent, cool white fluorescent, incandescent)
- no custom option available
- Option (Set-up menu, LCD brightness)
Not much worth mentioning here. As
you can see, the F440 is 100% point-and-shoot. There's
not even a continuous shooting mode. The way to do
long exposures is to use the Night shooting mode --
it allows for shutter speeds as slow as 2 seconds.
As you can see, it's a simple, brief
menu! In addition to that one, there's also a setup
menu, with the following options:
- Image display (on/off) - post-shot
- Power save (Off, 2, 5 min)
- Format card
- LCD (on/off) - whether LCD is on
- Beep (Off, 1-3) - camera operation
- Shutter (Off, 1-3) - fake shutter
- Date/time (set)
- Time difference (set) - for setting
a different time when you're on the road
- Frame number (Continuous, renew)
- USB mode (DSC, web, PictBridge)
- the second option lets you use the F440 as a webcam
for videoconferencing (Windows only)
- Start image (on/off) - startup
- Language (Japanese, English, French,
German, Spanish, Chinese)
- Video system (NTSC, PAL)
- Reset - settings to defaults
Well enough about menus, let's do
photo tests now.
The F440 did a decent job with the
macro test, and it would've been better if the camera
had a custom white balance option (at least in this
situation). That's because the incandescent WB setting
didn't do a perfect job with my 600W quartz studio
lamps, hence the brownish cast in the image. A quick
trip through the "auto color" function in
Photoshop CS fixed
things up pretty well. The lack of custom white
balance only matters if you're shooting in unusual
lighting, like I did here.
As for the subject itself, Mickey
looks sharp and detailed.
Don't expect to get too close to your
subject on the F440. At wide-angle the minimum distance
to the subject is 9 cm, while it's 39 cm at telephoto.
The night shot could have been better,
mainly because of the not-long-enough 2 second shutter
speed. The only way to get it to 2 seconds is to use
the Night shooting mode -- otherwise the limit is 1/2
second. The camera needed to take in another second
or two of light to make this scene look better. The
detail on the buildings is pretty good, though.
Not surprisingly, there's a fair amount
of redeye in our flash test shot. Compact cameras almost
always have a bad case of redeye, and the F440 is no
exception. You can remove it pretty well in software.
The distortion test shows mild barrel
distortion at the wide end of the lens. I see no evidence
of vignetting (dark corners) in this test, though I
saw a bit of it in my real world photos.
Overall the image quality on the F440
was very good, based on the photos that I took. Color
and exposure were generally good, and purple fringing
levels were low. Images did seem a bit soft at times,
but nothing horrible. Noise levels were low, a big
change from what I'm used to seeing from Fuji cameras
(in my opinion, leaving the SuperCCD on cameras like
this was a good thing). The F440's 4 Megapixel resolution
will let you print very nice 8 x 10 inch prints (and
larger too, if you don't mind giving up some cropping
The best way to judge photo quality
is with your own eyes, so have a look at the photo
gallery and see if the quality meets your expectations!
The F440's movie mode is a bit dated.
You can record up to 60 seconds of 320 x 240 video,
with sound, at a sluggish 10 frames/second. If you
want to take a longer movie, you'll have to use the
160 x 120 resolution which lets you record for 3 minutes
(the frame rate is the same).
You cannot use the zoom lens during
Movies are saved in AVI format, using
the M-JPEG codec.
Here's an exciting sample movie for
to play movie (1.7MB, AVI format)
Can't view it? Download QuickTime.
Playback mode on the F440 is typical
of those on other cameras. Basic features are here,
including slide shows, DPOF print marking, image protection,
thumbnail mode, voice annotations (30 seconds worth),
and zoom and scroll. The camera is PictBridge-enabled
for direct printing to a compatible photo printer.
The zoom and scroll feature lets you
enlarge your image by up to 14.4X, depending on the
resolution of the photo, and then move around in the
zoomed-in area. This feature is a little on the slow
side. Once you're zoomed in, you can use the trim feature
to crop your images right on the camera.
If you want to see more information
about your photos, you're out of luck with this camera.
What you see above is all that the camera tells you.
It takes the F440 a little over a
second to move from one image to the next in playback
How Does it Compare?
The Fuji FinePix F440 is a fun and
compact point-and-shoot camera that has some features
that set it apart from the pack -- in both good and
bad ways. First, the good ways. Despite its compact
size, the F440 has a 3.4X optical zoom -- a nice change
from the usual 3X. That's not a lot of extra zoom,
but more zoom is always appreciated by most folks.
The second nice feature is the larger-than-normal 2
inch LCD display, which also happens to be bright,
sharp, and fluid. The camera starts up quickly, but
once there, it's pretty average in terms of performance.
Picture quality is very good, and I for one am glad
that Fuji is using traditional CCDs again on these
There are a few things not to like
about the F440, though. Due to its lack of an AF-assist
lamp, an LCD that's nearly useless in low light, and
a fairly weak flash, I don't think this is a great
camera if you're doing a lot of indoor shots at dinner
parties and the like. I wish the camera had some manual
controls -- at least white balance or focus, please.
And while I'm at it, let's allow for slower shutter
speeds than 2 seconds. The F440's movie mode also leaves
much to be desired -- 60 second video clips were cool
two years ago, but not in 2004. Lastly, as with all
compact cameras, you can expect some serious redeye
in your flash photos on the F440.
Despite these flaws I do like the
F440 for its stylish design, large LCD, ease-of-use,
and 3.4X optical zoom lens. I think it's best suited
for outdoor shooting, though. I think you'll be disappointed
with your F440 photo-taking experience if you spend
a lot of time in dim light conditions. But for a no-nonsense
camera for trips to the beach or the mountains, I do
think that the F440 is worth a look.
If you need more resolution, check
out the FinePix F450, which is the same camera, but
with a 5 Megapixel CCD.
What I liked:
- Stylish, compact metal body
- Very good photo quality
- 3.4X optical zoom a nice bonus
- Larger-than-average 2" LCD
- Very easy to use
- Can be used as a webcam (Windows
- Camera dock included for battery
charging, photo transfer, and photo viewing on TV
What I didn't care for:
- LCD becomes useless in dim light
- Poor low light focusing / no AF-assist
- No manual controls of any kind
(white balance, please?)
- Slowest shutter speed is 2 seconds
and it's only available in Night shooting mode
- Outdated movie mode
- Battery doesn't have a lot of juice
Some other compact 4 and 5 Megapixel
cameras worth considering include the Canon
PowerShot S410, Casio
Exilim EX-Z40, HP
Photosmart R707, Kodak
EasyShare LS743, Konica
Minolta DiMAGE X50, Nikon Coolpix 4100 and 4200, Olympus
Stylus 410, Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC70 and DMC-FX7, Pentax
Optio S4i, and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T1 and DSC-W1.
As always, I recommend a trip down
to your local reseller to try out the FinePix F440
and it's competitors before you buy!
Want to see some pictures? Check out
the photo gallery!
Feedback & Discussion
If you have a question about this
review, please send them to Jeff.
Due to my limited resources, please do not e-mail me
asking for a personal recommendation.
To discuss this review with other
DCRP readers, please visit our forums.