DCRP Review: Fuji FinePix 1300
by Jeff Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally posted: Sunday, October 8, 2000
Last Updated: Thursday, October 12, 2000

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The FinePix 1300 I tested is a pre-production model. Please keep in mind that the final, shipping product may differ slightly from the one reviewed here.

I must admit that I get spoiled reviewing cameras. I usually get the best cameras from the manufacturers, and I get used to all the bells and whistles. So I was in for a shock when the $250 Fuji FinePix 1300 shows up. It may not have all the toys that the big guns have, but it is a very capable point and shoot camera for the masses.

The 1300 replaces the Fuji MX-1200, which was a big hit for Fuji. Read on to find out more about this camera...

What's in the Box?

The FinePix 1300 contains just about everything you'd expect from a low-cost camera:

  • The 1.3 Mpixel Fuji FinePix 1300 camera
  • 8Mb SmartMedia card
  • Four alkaline AA batteries
  • Hand strap
  • USB cable
  • Software including Adobe PhotoDeluxe and drivers
  • Manuals for camera and software

About the only thing missing here are a set of rechargeable batteries. You'll want to pick up a set right away, since alkaline batteries don't last very long.

Two other missing features of note are support for serial connections, as well as video out so you can view your photos on a TV.

The lens is uncovered on this camera, so you'll want to keep your fingers away from it.

The included 8MB SmartMedia card holds 12-89 photos, depending on the quality settings. The camera supports cards as large at 64MB.

In the past, Fuji's manuals have been quite good, and I expect the same for this camera.

Look and Feel

The FinePix 1300 is an average sized camera with a plastic body. It fits exceptionally well in your hand, and the few buttons are within easy reach. The camera's dimensions are 4.3 x 3.0 x 1.5", and it weights 7.1 ounces empty.

The camera's lens is fixed focus, and is equivalent to 36mm on a 35mm camera. There is no optical zoom on the 1300, but there is a digital zoom available in at the 640 x 480 resolution.

On the back of the camera you can see just how simple things are on the 1300.

The 1.6" LCD seemed a bit too dark on my model, and there was no way to adjust the brightness. Let's hope Fuji brightens things up on the final, shipping model. The LCD was very smooth as you moved around the scene.

The optical viewfinder is well placed for those who use their right eye, as you won't smudge the LCD. Left eye dominant folks won't be so lucky. The optical viewfinder covers 80% of the frame, and it lacks diopter correction for those of us without perfect vision.

The button at the very top is the power button -- I like the placement of this button here.

The buttons below that are for turning the LCD on and off, and menu navigation. The mode wheel at right has only three choices: play, record, and setup.

Usually I have a lot to talk about in this section, but the only thing on the top of the camera is the shutter release button. The button does give good tactile feedback and is well-placed. Most of the information that you'd usually find on an LCD info display is on the regular LCD on the 1300.

On this side of the camera, you'll find ports for USB out as well as a port for the optional AC adapter. There is no serial support on this camera. At the top you can see a switch between landscape and macro mode.

On the other side you'll find the SmartMedia slot. The plastic door that covers this slot seems pretty flimsy, but it is kept closed with a latch.

Finally, the bottom of the camera. The tripod mount is plastic. You can see the battery compartment on the right, where the 4 AA batteries sit securely. The bottom is completely flat so the camera doesn't rock when it's put down.

Using the Fuji FinePix 1300

I'm going to discuss the Record and Playback modes in this section.

Record Mode

The FinePix 1300 starts up in about two seconds -- which isn't surprising considering there's no lens to extend. The LCD viewfinder is off by default, so you'll want to push the DISP button to turn it on. Taking pictures is also exceptionally fast. The camera is fixed focus, so there's no waiting for the autofocus. And the shutter "opens" quickly (you can hear it too). In 1280 x 960 "Normal" mode, you'll have to wait about three seconds before you can take another picture.

All the info normally found on the LCD info display is shown on the 1.6" LCD instead

A digital zoom function is available, but only at the 640 x 480 resolution. At that resolution, the digital zoom is either on or off - you can't "step" your way up to the 2X maximum.

The menu system in record mode

The 1300 has both automatic and manual modes. I was kind of puzzled by the fact that some manual sounding features were only available in auto mode. Here's what's available in each:

Auto mode:

  • Flash (Auto/Redeye Reduction/Fill/Off/Slow Sync)
  • Continuous shooting (2 frames/sec, 640 x 480, no flash, up to 9 shots)
  • Self-timer (10 secs)

Manual Mode:

  • Flash (same as above)
  • Exposure compensation (-0.9EV to +1.5EV)
  • White balance (Auto, sunlight, cloudy, fluorescent [3 choices], incandescent)

The FinePix 1300's macro mode isn't going to win any awards, but it's adequate for most purposes. The effective range for macro mode is 8-15cm.

Photo quality is generally good in brightly lit conditions. When there's less light, though, the photos start to show some "noise". If you compare various photos in the gallery, you'll see what I mean.

I did not get a chance to do the usual night shots due to poor weather conditions. Judging by other low light shots, I wouldn't expect an amazing night shots with the FinePix 1300.

Playback mode

The FinePix 1300's playback mode has every feature you'll need. This includes thumbnail mode, protect mode, DPOF print marking, zoom & scroll, and photo deleting. A few notes on some of these:

Scrolling between photos takes about 4 seconds. The 1300 doesn't show a low res version first, so you'll wait longer to get the high res thumbnail.

Aside from the basic information (time/date, photo number), no extra info on a photo is available such as exposure settings.

The zoom and scroll feature is well done. You use the 4 way switch to move into a photo up to 4X. You can then hit the DISP button to scroll around the photo.

Like most cameras (unfortunately), the 1300 only lets you delete one photo at a time, or all of them. I really like cameras (e.g. Nikon's Coolpix line) where you can select the photos you want to delete instead of going one at a time. You can sort of do this on the 1300, by protecting the images you want to keep, and then erasing the other photos.

How Does it Compare?

The Fuji FinePix 1300 is a good, entry-level camera for those wanting to try out digital photography. You won't get all the bells and whistles that you'll find on higher end cameras, but for everyday point-and-shoot action, the 1300 will do just fine.

What I liked:

  • Well designed, easy to hold body
  • Easy to use menus
  • USB support
  • Fast startup time

What I didn't care for:

  • Digital zoom and continuous shooting only in 640 x 480 mode
  • LCD brightness issues (hopefully will be fixed in production model)
  • Noise in low light situations

The FinePix 1300 sits in the crowded low-end camera market. Some other cameras you'll want to look at before you buy include the Kodak DC3200, Olympus D-360L, and Toshiba PDR-M4.

As always, I recommend a trip out to your local reseller to try out the FinePix 1300 and its competitors before you buy! After all your views may differ from mine!

Photo Gallery

So how does the photo quality stand up? Check out the sample photos in our photo gallery!

Want a second opinion?

Can you believe it? Nobody's reviewed the 1300 yet!

Jeff welcomes your comments or questions. Send them to jakeller@pair.com.

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