Review: Fuji FinePix 6800 Zoom
Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally posted: Wednesday, June 6, 2001
Thursday, June 28, 2001
FinePix 6800 Zoom is probably the only thing designed by Porsche
that most people will ever own. Thankfully it costs just $899, a
mere 1% of the cost of F.A. Porsche's most famous design, the Porsche
the 911, the FinePix 6800 has an impressive design, lots of features,
and excellent performance. It uses an updated version of Fuji's
exclusive SuperCCD, now at 3.3 Megapixels. It can produce images
with 6 million pixels (2832 x 2128)! Let's do a little "road
test" of the FinePix and see how it stacks up against the competition,
in the Box?
FinePix 6800 Zoom has an excellent bundle. Inside the box, you'll
3.3 Mpixel Fuji FinePix 6800 Zoom camera
rechargeable Li-ion battery
featuring FinePix view software and drivers
FinePix 6800 is fairly unique in that it includes a cradle, used
for transferring photos to your computer as well as charging the
battery. Not unlike the cradle's included with Palm PDAs, I found
the cradle to be a very nice addition to a digital camera.
the FinePix is in the cradle, it will keep the NP-80 battery charged
(it takes 5 hours for a full charge). If you hit the Power button,
the camera will connect to your computer (Mac or PC) and FinePix
Viewer will automatically load.
big problem with the battery is that it's proprietary, and you're
not going to pick up another one for $10 at Radio Shack. You probably
will want another one though, so don't forget to add that into the
you've got your rechargeable battery. There's a built-in lens cover,
so no lens cap is needed. The 16MB SmartMedia card is a bit skimpy
for a camera that takes images so large, but you can't have everything,
FinePix is one of those Swiss army knive cameras that does a little
bit of everything. In addition to taking pictures and movies, it
can also do video-conferencing and record audio. While there's PC
software for video conferencing, Mac users are left out in the cold.
Fuji tells me that they're working on a new version of the software
that will support it in the future.
Mac and PC users CAN use ArcSoft's VideoImpression, which is also
bundled. You can take still photos or videos while the camera is
in the dock. The frame rate of 10 frames/sec is quite choppy, so
you won't be making short films with it.
FinePix Viewer software is just average. It kind of reminds me of
Olympus' Camedia Master software (at least on the Mac). It does
the basics fine but it's no substitute for something like Photoshop.
a point-and-shoot camera, you won't find any optional lenses, filters,
or flashes for the FinePix.
manuals have always been better than those included with most digital
cameras. While things are a bit cluttered at times, this continues
to be true here.
who have used the x700-series of Fuji cameras will feel right at
home with the FinePix 6800. It's body is evolutionary, rather than
revolutionary, in my opinion. It's definitely a one handed camera
since it's small and light, and it's easy to hold.
thing I've noticed about all these metallic cameras is that they
scratch very easily.
dimensions of the 6800 are 1.4 x 3.1 x 3.8 (L x W x H) and it weighs
just 258 grams empty.
at the front of the camera, you can see that very handy built-in
lens cover. Behind that cover you'll find a F2.8 Super EBC Fujinon
lens, which has a focal range of 8.3 - 24.9mm, which is equivalent
to 36 - 108mm.
on the front you can see the microphone, self-timer/battery charging
lamp, as well as the flash control sensor.
flash (not seen in above shot) has a range of 7.2 inches to 6.6
ft (tele) or 11.5 ft (wide).
back is the "business end" of the FinePix 6800. I really
like the control placement on this model, especially the little
main LCD screen is 2", larger that most cameras this size.
It's also bright and fluid, and very usable, except outside when
it's bright (most cameras have that problem though). It is off by
default so you'll have to hit the Display button to turn it on.
Display button is just above the LCD, and so are buttons for menu
navigation, flash open, and power/mode. The speaker is just to the
right of the LCD.
many faces of the LCD info display
LCD info display is one of my favorite features on this camera.
It adapts to whatever mode you're in, not only with features, but
also with colors (reddish in record, green in play). The camera
is also very polite, as you can see above. It even has a screen
saved when the camera in power save mode.
record mode, the info display handles zoom, macro, and flash functions.
In playback mode, it moves between pictures as well as zooms into
optical viewfinder is bit small for my taste, and it lacks diopter
correction for those of us with glasses.
mode wheel on the back of the camera has the following choices:
audio recording mode, you can record up to 33 minutes of audio on
the included 16MB card. So you can use the camera is a personal
voice recorder, if you wish.
mode has four different choices that choose the appropriate settings
shooting mode will shoot up to 5 frames with intervals as low as
main difference between manual and auto record modes is the settings
you can change. You don't get to change aperture or shutter speed
in manual mode. I'll explain more about this in the next section.
much on the top of the camera except for the flash and the shutter
this side of the camera, you'll find the I/O ports, as well as the
SmartMedia slot. The I/O ports available are A/V, USB, and DC. There
is no serial support available for this camera. The SmartMedia slot
is spring-loaded and the card easy to remove. You can put cards
as large as 128MB in the slot.
doing on the other side of the FinePix 6800...
finally, the bottom of the camera. Down here you can see the metal
tripod mount, the battery compartment (with battery shown), as well
as the connector for the dock.
the Fuji FinePix 6800 Zoom
camera starts up very quickly and can start taking pictures in just
two seconds. It takes about half a second to lock focus when the
shutter release is depressed halfway, and it takes the photo almost
instantly when you press the button all the way down. Shot-to-shot
speed is also excellent, with roughly a 2 second wait before you
can take another picture (6M, Normal). The zoom control is quick
and responsive as well.
are quite a few choices in photo resolution and quality on this
photos on 16MB card (included)
photos on 64MB card (for reference)
(2832 x 2128)
(2048 x 1536)
(1280 x 960)
(640 x 480)
now, a word about SuperCCD. SuperCCD is a Fuji-developed technology
which arranges the elements on a CCD diagonally rather than in squares.
This allows you to gather more information using less pixels. It
also means there's some interpolation going on, which is why Fuji
doesn't call this a 6 Megapixel camera. You will notice the noise
from interpolation on screen, but the SuperCCD really shines in
the prints. A 6MP photo printed at 8 x 10 looks excellent.
a point-and-shoot camera, there aren't too many menu items on the
6800. The list below describes them all -- items in bold
are only available in Manual mode:
captioning - record a voice memo for up to 30 secs after a photo
is taken. Auto record mode only.
balance (Auto, sunlight, cloudy, fluorescent (3 choices),
sensitivity (100, 200, 400)
(hard, normal, soft)
strength (-0.6EV to +0.6EV in 0.3EV increments)
compensation (-1.5EV to +1.5EV in 0.3EV increments)
- takes a bunch of exposures and puts them into one photo
AKA metering (average, spot, multi)
- continuous shooting mode only
is no uncompressed TIFF mode on the FinePix, nor is there manual
control of white balance, aperture and shutter speed.
macro test subject came out sharp and clear. The only problem is
that it's washed out -- not saturated enough. The lighting conditions
in the "lab" are not great to start with, and the camera
totally messed up in Auto WB mode. The shot above was with incandescent
WB and is much closer to reality than my first attempt.
our nightshot test, the FinePix 6800 fared pretty well, which is
unusual for a point-and-shoot camera. It took in a good amount of
light, so the San Francisco skyline is recognizable. One downside
is the amount of noise in the sky. Those aren't red and blue stars
in the sky -- it's noise.
main LCD during recording
from that, I was pleased with the photo quality from this camera.
The colors were accurate and the detail was sharp. The noise is
the only downside, as I mentioned earlier. Take a look at the FinePix
6800 gallery to see for yourself.
FinePix 6800 Zoom can record video (encoded with Motion JPEG) at
320 x 240 at a rate of 10 frames/sec, with sound. You can record
up to 160 seconds of continuous video! Of course, the 16MB memory
card can only hold 94 secs, but if you have a 32MB card, you can
pull it off. It will take about 22 seconds to save a 160 second
video to the SmartMedia card.
gotta be a downside to all this right? Yep - the camera is locked
at full wide-angle and you can only use the digital zoom.
an uninteresting sample movie from the FinePix 6800:
to play movie (1.2MB, 9 sec, QuickTime format)
FinePix 6800's playback mode is very fast (much like record mode).
You have all the usual functions such as slideshows, image protection,
DPOF print marking, and zoom and scroll.
mode menu (in audio recording mode)
can zoom into your photos, and scroll around in them, albeit slowly.
When zoomed in, you can trim (crop) your photos, which saves them
at a lower resolution. This is good, since you'd lose quality otherwise.
You can't rotate photos in-camera, which would be a nice extra.
between photos is much faster -- it takes just one second to go
from one high res thumbnail to the next. There's also a 9 thumbnails-at-once
option as well.
Does it Compare?
really like the Fuji FinePix 6800 Zoom, but I'd like it a lot more
if it was less expensive. Its got a smorgasbord of features and
a slick design -- digital cameras aren't just for still photos anymore,
as Fuji has shown. The camera takes nice high res pictures, and
that dock sure is handy too. My main issue is that with all those
features, it's essentially a $900 point-and-shoot camera. I'd love
to have manual control over exposure on a camera that costs that
much - all the other $900 cameras do. This camera is very good --
I just wouldn't pay full price for it.
nice looking camera, great usability
good photo quality
a very nice addition
audio, video conferencing - the works!
I didn't care for:
optical zoom in movie mode
mode could use some more features
hard to compare the FinePix 6800 to other cameras, because it's
a 6 Megapixel camera trapped in a 3 Megapixel camera's body. Here
are a few cameras to consider, from the 3MP range: Canon PowerShot
(no movie mode), Casio
QV-3500, Nikon's Coolpix 880,
always, I recommend a trip to your local camera store to try out
the FinePix 6800 Zoom and its competitors before you buy!
how does the photo quality stand up? Check out the sample photos
in our photo gallery!
a second opinion? How about a third?
sure to read Steve's
Digicams review of the FinePix 6800. If that's not enough,
Resource has one too!
welcomes your comments or questions. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.