Fujifilm FinePix Z90 £150

19th Apr 2011 | 15:07

Fujifilm FinePix Z90

Sharing made easier with the FinePix Z90

TechRadar rating:

4 stars

Fujifilm has made a well-built camera that produces good images considering its price. However, experienced photographers are likely to want something with a little more extensive specification, offering greater control.

Like:

Build Quality; Style; Ease of Use; Touch-screen; Value for money

Dislike:

You-Tube & Facebook recognition tags software for Windows only; Shutter-lag with Focus-Tracking; Image quality at high ISO; Included is software is dated and minimalistic; Only one focus point in normal shooting

Fujifilm FinePix Z90: Overview

Fujifilm FinePix Z90: Overview

Fujifilm has released the FinePix Z90 following on from the successful FinePix Z70.

With its built-in You Tube and Facebook features and modern styling, the FinePix Z90 brings social networking to the budget end of Fuji's compact camera market.

The 14.2 megapixel FinePix Z90 is equipped with a convenient Fujinon 5x optical zoom lens (28mm-140mm equivalent) incorporating Digital Image Stabilisation, and with a maximum ISO of 3200 (even at full resolution) there should be no problems with keeping images shake-free.

A new 3.0-inch LCD touch-screen with the new Dual Direction GUI allows uninterrupted shooting of stills or High Definition 720p movies at any angle by switching the orientation of the current image and on screen buttons automatically.

A total of eight shooting modes are available on the FinePix Z90, from simple Auto, through to Program AE that gives access to all settings such as exposure compensation (to +/- 3EV), ISO and white-balance, etc. Two functions use the screen for touch focusing; with 'Touch & Track' touching the screen selects and tracks a subject, but shutter lag is evident resulting in missed shots.

However, 'Touch & Shoot' shoots remarkably quickly for a camera in this price bracket. By tapping the subject on the screen the FinePix Z90 focuses and gives a near instantaneous shutter release.

Other settings include Scene Recognition Auto (SR Auto), which has seven pre-set scenes from which the camera can choose from (after automatically analysing composition) and adjust it's settings accordingly.

With Scene Position mode there is a choice of 12 pre-set scenes for the user to choose the one that suits the shooting situation best. In Natural Light & Flash mode the FinePix Z90 takes two shots, one with and one without flash, before combining them together. The effect was useless outdoors and the use of the normal flash for fill-in effects is more beneficial.

Most compact cameras come with a panoramic mode and the Z90's Motion Panorama function stitches three images together for a single panoramic, with very good results.

Clearly aimed at the fun side of the market, the FinePix Z90 keeps light metering and focusing simple. Just one meter averages a whole scene, and the user friendliness continues with normal focusing mode. With this option selected there's just a single, central AF point which is indicated by simple crosshair and bracket arrangement in the centre of the screen and the Z90 is quick to lock onto the majority of subjects.

For off-centre focusing, depressing the shutter button halfway locks the focus before recomposing and pushing the button fully down to take the shot.

Face recognition is standard on most compact cameras now, and Fujifilm has included a couple-timer and group timer whereby the camera detects a pre-determined number of faces and fires the shutter automatically on a timer, but these two timers did not work as well as expected and using the standard self-timer would be better.

Images can be marked for You-Tube or Facebook publishing in-camera. When the Z90 is connected to a Windows PC running the MyFinePix Studio software (included) pressing upload will transfer the marked images to the selected websites.

For image editing before uploading, the FinePix Z90's basic adjustment tools include face mosaic, cropping, rotating, brightness and collage, and movies can be trimmed or joined in camera too.

Fujifilm FinePix Z90: Build quality & handling

Fujifilm FinePix Z90: Build quality and handling

Despite a depth of 17.5mm, the pocketsize FinePix Z90 has a solid feel and allied with modern styling and chrome trim highlights, it inspires confidence in its durability.

Sliding the lens cover down turns the camera on and activates the responsive 3.0-inch LCD touch-screen. On the FinePix Z90 Fujifilm has thankfully abandoned the complex menus and sub-menu that have haunted other FinePix models. Navigation is simple and logical; even the shooting menu options are limited to two screens with large icons. Finally!

FinePix models have superb ergonomics and the Z90 is no exception; with raised surfaces, and a textured thumb pad for assured grip, the shooting and review buttons sit immediately below it. The shutter release button comes easily to hand on top of the body and alongside is a dedicated movie button for instantaneous switching from still images to movie and back again, a nice feature that avoids sub-menus.

Fujifilm FinePix Z90: Performance

Fujifilm FinePix Z90: Performance

Fujifilm has given the FinePix Z90 a practical sensitivity range of ISO100-ISO3200. At the lower ISO setting images are clear and sharp; detail is held well, but pixel smearing and noise starts to appear from ISO 1600 and I would avoid going above this unless absolutely essential.

Fortunately, with care, hand-held shots can be taken at 1/8sec at full zoom thanks to the Digital Image Stabilisation, avoiding the need for the highest ISO settings on most occasions.

Image dynamic range is well controlled, but highlight clipping can occur as the standard evaluative meter leans toward rendering images on the bright side. This is easily remedied by locking the exposure with a half press of the shutter button before recomposing the shot.

Fujifilm has done an excellent job of controlling chromatic aberration in the FinePix Z90 and only areas of extreme contrast produce minor colour fringing, but it was not as prevalent as I would have expected for this class of camera.

Unfortunately, if chromatic aberration is taken care of well, lens distortion is not. Under some circumstances barrel distortion at the widest lens setting and pincushion at the longest can be a distraction and Fujifilm could have done more to improve this.

Ease of use is important for a camera in this class and unsurprisingly the auto-white balance system gives accurate results, consistently out performing the six pre-sets that are also available.
Standard, Chrome (Fujifilm colour slide film), black and white and Sepia are the four pre-set colour choices available. Black and white mode produces nice punchy images whilst Sepia gives a novelty feel. Of the two colour settings, the best overall colour results were produced in the Standard setting, and I'd suggest the camera is left at this for colour. Chrome increases blue and green saturation and contrast, but some shots have an unnatural looking greens and a cyan hue.

Overall the FinePix Z90 produces good images and these can be improved further with careful use of the available settings.

Fujifilm FinePix Z90: Sample Images

Fujifilm FinePix Z90: Sample Images

Wheel image

Colours are rendered cleanly and pleasant without over-saturation in Standard colour mode. Contrast gives a nice feel to the images despite overcast lighting

Sign image

The 28mm equivalent at the widest angle draws in enough information for story telling

Countryside

The compression effect that can be achieved by using the longest end of the 140mm equivalent allows for interesting compositions

Sepia

Sepia mode attempts to give an aged look but is more of a novelty

28mm

The Fujinon lens has a practical range for most shooting applications. The same scene taken at 28mm equivalent and 140mm equivalent respectively (Each end of the zoom range)

140mm

The Fujinon lens has a practical range for most shooting applications. The same scene taken at 28mm equivalent and 140mm equivalent respectively (Each end of the zoom range)

Fujifilm FinePix Z90: Verdict

Fujifilm FinePix Z90: Verdict

Fujifilm has made a well-built camera that produces good images considering its price. Experienced photographers are likely to want something with a little more extensive specification, offering greater control. The FinePix Z90 is designed for the teenage and early twenty-something year olds, to whom the cameras style, touch-screen technology and simplicity is likely to appeal. If your photographic aim is capturing your youth on a budget then you won't go far wrong with the FinePix Z90.

We liked


The build quality really is superb for this class. The 3.0-inch touch-screen is responsive to a gentle touch and works well. With its slim design and no-nonsense layout and good images the FinePix Z90 can go anywhere and be used by all.

We disliked


Fujifilm is appealing to the Facebook and You-Tube generation; so why does the relevant software not work on a Mac. The Mac is their generation! As always, some of the shooting options do not deliver as well they ought to and are gimmicky.

Fujifilm FinePix Z90: Specification

Sensor 1/ 2.3- inch 14.2 Megapixel CCD

Lens 5.0 – 25.0mm (28-140mm)
Memory Internal 38MB – SD/SDHC/SDXC cards
Viewfinder N/A- Live View

LCD Screen 3.0-inch Wide (16:9) TFT Colour LCD 230K dots

Video resolution 720p HD movie

ISO range ISO 100-3200

Focus modes Single auto focus,Face detection, Tracking Focus

Max burst rate 0.8 fps

Shutter speeds 4 sec – 1/2000

Weight 150g inc. battery and memory card

Dimensions 95.4mm x 56.9mm x 20.1mm

Power supply Li-Ion battery NP-45A

Fuji Fujifilm Finepix compacts cameras
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