The FinePix Z1000EXR sits atop Fujifilm’s ‘Fashion’ range of compacts, aiming to combine slim and eye-catching design with a range of advanced technology. It’s certainly eye-catching, but how does it perform when put to the WDC test? Read on to find out…
Fujifilm FinePix Z1000 EXR review – Features and Design
The Fujifilm FinePix Z1000 EXR is one of the latest models in the manufacturer’s ‘Fashion’ range, and boasts a design well suited to that moniker. Available in three colours, the camera features a sliding front cover which also serves as a power button, while it’s certainly slender enough to fit in to either jacket pocket or handbag with a minimum of fuss. It’s often the case that such ‘fashion’ models scrimp on imaging specification for one reason or another: keeping cost to a minimum is normally a concern considering the requirements of the purchaser. However, the Z1000EXR arrives with a host of technology normally found much further up the FinePix food chain, and as such promises good results.
The first of these imaging features worthy of note is the Z1000EXR’s sensor. The model houses a 16MP 1/2in CMOS variety, complete with Fuji’s EXR technology – the type found on more high-end FinePix models which allows the sensor to be adapted to suit the shooting conditions. ‘High Resolution’ mode is best suited for detail, ‘High ISO and Low Noise’ is suited for low light conditions, while ‘D-Range Priority’ adapts the sensor for shooting high contrast scenes, and all three modes involve physical adoption of the sensor as opposed to post-processing options found in other models. If you don’t want to choose the EXR mode yourself, there’s an EXR Auto mode which will suit your needs.
The Z1000EXR features a relatively modest optical zoom, although this is to be expected owing to its non-protruding nature. The lens is a 5x optical zoom covering a focal range of 28-140mm, while it’s also supported by CMOS shift image stabilisation and can be boosted to 10x if you’re prepared to use the Intelligent Digital Zoom functionality.
The rear of the Z1000EXR is well boasts another eye-catching feature in the shape of a large LCD screen. It measures in at some 3.5in with a resolution of 460k-dots, and in doing so takes up all of the rear of the model. As you’d expect for such an LCD configuration, that found on the rear of the Z1000EXR is of the touchscreen variety, with the vast majority of the screen’s functionality accessed through it.
The Z1000F joins a growing group of compacts that feature WiFi functionality. The variation found on the Z1000F isn’t as comprehensive as that found on other similar compacts, although it does allow for one-tap sending of images to either a Smartphone or Tablet through a Fujifilm app, where they can then be posted online.
Whilst an element of manual shooting control is offered through the camera’s ‘Program’ shooting mode, there’s no doubt that the Z1000EXR is targeted to those looking to let their camera take care of shooting settings. Fujifilm claims that the Z1000EXR offers 103 different ‘Shooting Patterns’, which are essentially combinations of the model’s on-board automated settings including scene modes and EXR settings.
The compact is also capable of full HD video capture at a resolution of 1080p and at a rate of 30fps, complete with stereo sound and the capacity to zoom during recording.
If ever you were in doubt as the Z1000EXR’s place in Fujifilm’s fashion range, the camera’s design will surely confirm its suitability. Available in White, Champagne Gold, Jade and Pink, the camera features a sliding front panel which both acts as the camera’s power button and reveals the model’s lens and flash, as well as a small circular mirror for helping with framing self portraits. The fact that the rear of the camera is wholly occupied by an LCD screen also offers the camera a sleek feel and finish, with the screen offering access to shooting controls and settings. Despite being sleek in design, and a ‘Fashion’ model by Fujifilm’s definition, the Z1000EXR certainly feels sturdy and weighty enough in the hand and that it would be able to stand up to a reasonable amount of wear and tear.
Performance, Image Quality and Verdict
Fujifilm FinePix Z1000EXR – Performance and Image Quality
Despite the large touchscreen appealing on an aesthetic level, unfortunately it’s hardly a success when it comes to performance. Unfortunately, and no doubt in some small part owing to the fact that touchscreen performance is now so good on smartphones, expectations have been raised and the Z1000EXR doesn’t meet these. The general function buttons lack responsiveness and often have to be pressed several times to be accessed. This lack of responsiveness isn’t aided by the fact that the menu system isn’t particularly well designed, with functionality buried below several options, and thus several presses of the unresponsive screen.
There are several other areas in which the Z1000EXR disappoints regarding performance – the camera’s focus system is generally fairly problematic, with both its accuracy and speed diminishing even further in difficult lighting conditions. The model does have a range of focus options that go a long way to improving performance, such as face detection and recognition modes, but it’s a shame that the focus system isn’t more generally reliable.
As mentioned previously, there are problems with the Z1000EXR’s LCD screen regarding how responsive it is to its touch functionality, and unfortunately that’s not the only issue. The LCD screen also struggles with colour depiction and accuracy, making images appear warmer than they actually are in some instances. The screen is also in the 16:9 aspect ratio – this is fine for shooting HD movies, although if you’re to utilise the full area of the screen for stills photographer you’ll have to compromise by losing some of the resolution of the sensor.
Although there are clearly a lot of issues with the Z1000EXR’s performance, there are areas in which it performs well. For example, the model’s scene select mode is generally accurate, while the EXR Auto mode also performs well and generally selects the scene correct setting to suit a scene.
The aforementioned issues with performance aren’t particularly helpful when it comes to image quality, although having said that when the Z1000EXR manages to lock focus correctly and the like, image quality is respectable, although not without flaws. The camera’s dynamic range is generally impressive when shooting in EXR mode, although this does mean that certain elements of fine detail are lost.
Sharpness is generally respectable throughout the frame at the wide end of the zoom, although at the tele end softening does become apparent towards the corners of the frame. Fringing is also noticeable in bright lighting conditions, although not to a massive extent.
Fujifilm FinePix Z1000 EXR – Verdict
There’s no denying that the Z1000EXR is an eye-catching compact, and for that reason is sure to gain admirers. The combination of sleek fashionable looks and a range of bright colours will have fans, while the promise of strong performance is also appealing.
However while it’s capable of occasional good results, on the whole there are too many issues for it to merit a firm recommendation. The touchscreen LCD both suffers with regards to performance of its touch functionality and rendition of colours, while it’s also sluggish in use.
So while it’s a respectable compact, there are many others in this market that are preferable.