The front face of the Fujifilm FinePix F470 is quite plain. The camera is constructed of brushed silver metal, a traditional look of compact digital cameras. The left side of the camera slopes upward into a slight handgrip and a textured FinePix logo sits vertically at the crest of the slope. To the top right of the handgrip is a red LED that works as the AF illuminator and the self-timer indicator. To the right of the LED is the built-in rectangular flash. Below the flash is the camera’s model number, "F470." To the right of the model number is the Fujinon 3x optical zoom lens, which is labeled as such. The lens’ specs are shown across the bottom: "f=5.8-17.4 mm, 1:2.8-4.9." The actual lens is covered by two tiny doors that snap shut when the camera is turned off. To the bottom left of the lens are three holes that act as a microphone and a "6.0 megapixels" logo. Above the lens is the Fujifilm logo.
The 2.5-inch LCD screen takes up the left two-thirds of the F470’s back. The monitor remains flush with the camera body and has a black frame around it; at the bottom is a white Fujifilm logo. To the right of the LCD is a traditional setup with the see-saw-like zoom toggle in the top right corner and the multi-selector below it. The zoom toggle is made from a single button, but it has a deep valley in between the ‘W’ and ‘T’ ends. The valley continues below the toggle, where there is a bowl that is perfectly shaped and placed for the thumb to rest in. At the bottom left of the bowl is an LED that flashes when the camera is reading and writing to the memory card.
Directly below the thumb divot are two oval-shaped buttons: the playback button on the left and the ‘F’ Photo mode button on the right. Below these buttons is the multi-selector, which consists of a Menu/OK button in the middle of a donut-shaped navigational control. Each direction of the control is flanked by icons. The right side has a flash icon and the left side has a flower icon to indicate the macro mode. The bottom activates the self-timer and the top has two icons: a trash can and a sun. This button is used to delete photos in playback mode and to increase the brightness of the LCD screen in the recording mode. To the bottom left of the multi-selector is the small, circular Disp/Back button.
The left side of the Fujifilm FinePix F470 is completely featureless.
The right side of the F470 is thicker than the other side so that it can be comfortable to hold. There is a very small eyelet for the wrist strap in the center of the right side. Above it is a plastic door that covers the USB / A/V port and the power adaptor socket.
The view from the top shows the slight curve toward the front where the right-hand grip is. The left side has only a "FinePix F470" logo on it. To the right, there is a small power button. To the right of that is the smooth, polished silver shutter release button, which is surrounded by a mode switch that toggles from an Auto position to a ‘SP’ or Scene Position to the Movie mode.
The bottom of the F470 has a plastic door that opens on the right side. Opening the door reveals the thin slot for the battery compartment and the even skinnier slot for the xD-Picture card. To the left of this is the tripod socket.
The F470’s elder sibling, the F450 of 2004, had an optical viewfinder with only 78 percent accuracy. While the Fujifilm F470 has improved upon that – it still doesn’t achieve 100 percent accuracy. This digital camera uses the 2.5-inch LCD screen as a viewfinder; the screen displays 97 percent of what is actually recorded to an image file. This slight inaccuracy, as well as the poor screen resolution of 115,000 pixels, impairs the viewfinder’s ability to perform. When users snap photos, the screen blacks out for about a quarter of a second. The viewfinder display can be switched from a pure view to a view with shooting info, or to a view with shooting information and grid lines. Overall, the viewfinder is good enough to look at and capture pictures and movies, though it’s not as competent as we’d like.
While the slightly raised 2.5-inch LCD screen on the Fujifilm FinePix F470 takes up quite a bit of room, the big screen is easy on the eyes. It does well in bright or dark lighting because of its manual gain-up function that is activated by pushing the top end of the multi-selector. If that’s not enough, there is an LCD Brightness option in the setup menu that lets users adjust the brightness in ten steps. The amorphous polysilicon TFT LCD would have a gorgeous view, except for the fact that its resolution is sub par. It has only 115,000 pixels. Another slight disappointment is the frame coverage; it is only 97 percent accurate. This won’t bother most users, but it will sure annoy the few who like to tightly crop their subjects. The LCD is good enough to view and play back photos, but not good enough to proudly show off the finished product.
A rectangular flash sits toward the left side of the camera, but it’s not so near the edge that fingers will wander in the way. The Fujifilm FinePix F470’s built-in flash is thick; not one of those skinny flashes that yields a bunch of red eyes.
The following flash modes can be scrolled through with the right side of the multi-selector: Auto, Red-eye Reduction, Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Slow Synchro, and Red-eye Reduction and Slow Synchro. The red-eye reduction modes fire one pre-flash before the bigger flash; this seems to work quite well. Surprisingly, the tiny flash provided even coverage of the frame despite its placement to the left of the lens. The flash reaches from 2.3-15.1 ft. at the lens’ widest focal length and from 2.3-8.5 ft. in telephoto. In the macro mode, the flash can reach from 1-2.6 ft., but it blows out subjects – especially if they are reflective. Still, this flash range is pretty decent for a compact digital camera. Most flashes on comparable ultra-slim models reach to ten feet at most.
The Fujinon 3x optical zoom lens has a focal length of 5.8-17.4mm, which is equivalent to 35-105mm in 35mm terms. The Fujinon lens extends in two segments and has polished silver rims to add some interest to the otherwise plain camera body. This zoom lens is slightly shorter than the F450’s 3.4x optical zoom lens. Still, the F470’s lens has a wide maximum aperture of f/2.8 at its widest focal length. The aperture closes significantly to f/4.9 in telephoto.
The lens isn’t super-high quality. The edges of the frame show that there is some barrel distortion. The zoom control is nice and wide, so even large thumbs can distinguish between the ‘W’ end and the ‘T’ end of the toggle. A bar appears onscreen when the zoom toggle is pushed; it shows approximately where the focal length is at but doesn’t show any numbers like "35 mm" or "1.5x." There are approximately five focal length stops in the zoom range, which is a little disappointing. Most compact models with 3x optical zoom ranges are a little more sensitive and offer 6 stops. The Fujifilm FinePix F470 also has 4.4x digital zoom, but it degrades the picture quality and should be avoided unless users want to blur faces à la Witness Protection Program.
Model Design / Appearance
Fujifilm’s F-series is quite slim, so the F470 fits right in. This model is marketed as being stylish, but doesn’t really stick out in the lineup. Its body is a plain lightly brushed silver with a slight slope for a right-hand grip. The lens is on the right side of the front, which is a very traditional look for digital cameras. The body is built from plastic but has a durable metal overlay, so users can only see the plastic when opening the battery and port doors. The body looks fairly durable and the lens even has two panels that snap shut over it for protection when powered off. Overall, the design is quite boring but beneath it is still a functional, slim digital camera.
Size / Portability
The Fujifilm F470’s slim size is one of its best features. Its 3.6 x 2.3 x 0.8-inch measurements show that this model is made for portability. It is mostly flat with only a slight right-hand grip. The grip won’t stop users from stuffing the F470 into a tight pants pocket though; this is one tiny camera. Still, it is a bit hefty for its size – certainly not enough to cause injury but enough to wonder whether the 5-ounce specification is correct. The camera weighs 5 ounces loaded and 4.3 ounces without its card and battery according to Fujifilm. This FinePix is portable via a pocket or a wrist with its tiny eyelet and wrist strap. The eyelet will require a magnifying glass and a lot of patience to string, but will be handy once set.
**The Fujifilm FinePix F470 is an ultra-slim camera that has fairly flat surfaces with the exception of its right-hand grip. The grip isn’t very pronounced, but is a little sloped so that fingers can comfortably wrap around the right side. The fingers sit on a textured FinePix logo and the thumb rests in a wide divot below the zoom toggle. The index finger sits atop the camera on the shutter release button, which is comfortably smooth. The F470’s features are smartly positioned so that fingers won’t wander in the way of the flash or lens. The camera is adequately sized and comfortable to hold, but still isn’t designed for lengthy photo shoots. The buttons are smartly positioned so they are all within reach of the thumb. Overall, the handling of the FinePix F470 is comfortable.
Control Button / Dial Positioning / Size
Consumers with petite hands will appreciate the F470, but larger-handed consumers will shun it. The buttons are crammed in closely so big fingers could easily end up pushing a few buttons at a time. This is especially true of the multi-selector, which is a bit undersized. The multi-selector is made up of a central Menu/OK button and a surrounding single ring with four arrows on it. This ring can be pressed in any direction, but only navigates when pushed directly on the arrows. When pushed halfway between two arrows, the menu doesn’t respond at all – which is just what we like to see. Some navigational controls will continue to scroll around in random directions. The multi-selector is also however a bit crowded with the icons around it.
The Fujifilm FinePix F470 has a mode switch that surrounds the shutter release button and accesses the Auto, SP (scene position), and Movie modes. This button is easy to operate and not too stiff. Overall, the buttons are squeezed onto the back and cramped just a touch, but there are no major issues with the controls.
The menu system on the F470 is very similar to the system on other Fujifilm models. The selected option’s text title appears at the top of the LCD and the list of other options appears below in icons. As users scroll and highlight different icons, corresponding titles appear at the top and its options appear in icons to the right. All of the text is typed in all caps in a tall-looking font. Behind all of the text and menus is a gray background and behind the background is the live view. Selected options are highlighted in blue. When users scroll through the exposure compensation, white balance or color mode options, the camera's live view changes to illustrate the highlighted option. For example, the view turns black and white when that color mode is highlighted.
There is a Menu/OK button in the center of the multi-selector that grants easy access to the menu system. The menu that appears depends upon the mode selected on the mode switch. When the Auto mode is selected, there are only two choices: Continuous and Setup. When the SP mode is selected, a longer list appears: Shooting Mode, Exposure Compensation, White Balance, Continuous, and Setup. The movie mode only lets users get to the setup menu.
The Setup menu is extremely lengthy and thankfully broken into three tabs, although the groupings don’t seem intuitive at all. The Setup menu consists of the following options: Image Display, Shutter Volume, Beep Volume, Playback Volume, Frame Number, LCD Brightness, Digital Zoom, Auto Power Off, LCD Power Save, Format, Date/Time, Time Difference, Language, USB Mode, Video System and Reset.
Fujifilm has a somewhat unique way of dividing its menus up so that some of the options are found when the ‘F’ Photo Mode button is pushed. This is where the Quality, ISO and FinePix Color options can always be found. The Playback menu has these choices: Erase, Image Rotate, Print Order (DPOF), Protect, Playback, Voice Memo, Trimming, Copy and Setup. Overall, the menu system is easy to navigate, the icons are intuitive and the font easy to read.
Ease of Use
This bare bones digital camera really isn’t difficult to figure out. Once new users figure out what the ‘F’ Photo Mode button is for, there shouldn’t be much of a learning curve. The auto mode is easily accessible for beginners and the scene modes aren’t too far off either. There are live previews in the menus to help users choose appropriate settings within white balance and exposure compensation. The FinePix F470 has a right-hand grip to aid in handling, making it a breeze. The only issue could be that the buttons are a bit crammed and the multiple icons crowding the space don’t help visually. Still, the Fujifilm F470 is easy to use.
The auto mode is easy to activate with the mode switch that surrounds the shutter release button. Once in auto mode, the camera is the simplest of point-and-shoots. Users can still access the ISO, image size and color mode options in the ‘F’ mode and the burst mode in the main menu, but the camera is otherwise completely automatic. The auto mode isn’t completely reliable though. The automatic white balance doesn’t work very well and neither does the auto focus mechanism.
**The movie mode is also very easy to find on the mode switch. Once activated, it is as easy as pointing and shooting. There aren’t many options. Users can only choose the image size: 640 x 480 or 320 x 240 pixels. Both resolutions operate at 30 frames per second. The optical and digital zoom cannot be used, so users must walk forward and backward to get the desired framing.
The camera’s focus system doesn’t work very well in video mode either. The F470 cannot focus closely in the movie mode, so subjects must be at least five feet away. The auto focus system seems to favor faraway subjects; it would keep the wall in focus while the subject was blurry, and this would happen even when the subject wasn’t close to the camera. The movie mode also records monaural audio, but the quality isn’t very good. When words were clearly spoken, it was still difficult to decipher them when played back. The camera picked up a lot of handling noise. Overall, the resolution is fine on the Fujifilm F470’s movie mode but every other aspect is not very good.
Drive / Burst Mode
The Fujifilm FinePix F470 has a decent burst mode that takes almost 2 frames a second. The burst lasts for 5 shots in the highest resolution and increases as the picture quality decreases. The 1.9 fps burst mode is decent for an ultra-slim digital camera, but the resulting pictures aren’t that great. The camera does not readjust the focus and metering between shots, so some pictures may be out of focus. It doesn’t take long for the camera to write the 5 pictures to the memory however; it only takes about 2 seconds.
The self-timer can be activated by pushing the bottom of the multi-selector. There are two and ten-second options. Once activated, the LED on the front lights up red every half-second and the camera beeps to indicate when the picture will be taken.
**The playback mode can be entered via the designated button above the multi-selector. Pictures and video clips can be viewed individually with shooting information or they can be viewed in frames of nine images each by pushing the Disp/Back button. Freshly captured images can be automatically viewed for 1.5 or 3 seconds – or not viewed at all – as adjusted in the setup menu. There is also a handy sort by date feature.
Pictures and videos can also be viewed in slide shows (this may be hard to find as the ‘Playback’ option is within the playback menu) with transitions. There are normal, fade-in, multiple, and clock transition effects. The interval times cannot be changed, but the pictures move at a decent clip. The slide shows cannot be looped, so it only plays once and then users must restart it.
Users can copy individual pictures and transfer them to the internal memory from a memory card or vice versa. Voice memos can be added to pictures in the playback mode, too. The audio isn’t very good and users must remember that the microphone is on the front of the camera, but the option to record 30 seconds of sound with each picture is still there. The playback volume can be adjusted in ten steps within the setup mode or when videos are paused. Playing back movies is possible, but again the audio is extremely disappointing. The only options users have are to play and pause movies. Overall, the playback mode is decent and easy to use, but not elaborate or interesting.
Custom Image Presets
The Fujifilm FinePix F470 was created for consumers who don’t want to mess with the shutter speed or aperture to take pictures. For this, the F470 has a ‘SP’ scene position on its mode switch. When the menu button is pressed in this mode, 10 scene modes and the camera’s so-called Manual mode appear. Portrait, Sport, Landscape, Night, Beach and Snow, Sunset, Museum, Party, Flower Close-up and Text are the scene modes available. The menu represents the scene modes as icons. When users scroll over an icon, the text title appears at the top. We couldn’t test most of the scene modes in the convention center because there are no indoor sunsets or landscapes at the Fujifilm booth. (Something we found particularly ironic for a company sharing the same name as one of Japan’s greatest landscapes.) The Portrait mode worked well, The Text mode showed noticeable lens barrel distortion, but the white balance was more accurate than in the previous model, the F450.
**Manual Control Options
**In the same menu with the ten scene modes is a manual mode, although it is not nearly as ‘manual’ as most manual modes. Users cannot adjust the shutter speeds or apertures, but they can activate the burst mode, set the ISO, adjust the exposure compensation, and tweak the white balance.
*Users cannot adjust the auto focus mode on this digital camera, which is terribly unfortunate. The contrast detection auto focus system did have trouble in low contrast situations – and just about every other situation as well. The F470 tries to focus in the center of the frame, but sometimes "breathes" in and out; the camera will focus and then go out of focus again and lock in its blurry state. When it did this, a red ‘!AF’ would appear; this appeared again and again. The Fujifilm F470 can normally focus from 2.3 ft. to infinity (in theory). In the macro mode, the camera can focus from 3.9 inches to 2.6 ft. at the widest focal length and 1.3-2.6 ft. at its most telephoto. However, the focus here "breathes" too. All in all, the auto focus will drive users crazy and cause many missed photo opportunities. It’s a shame, too, because…
*The Fujifilm FinePix F470 is not equipped with manual focus.
The Fujifilm FinePix F470 has a 256-zone metering system, but there are no metering options other than the multi-zone average mode that is automatically used. This through-the-lens system works well for most situations, but doesn’t handle extreme situations like bright lights and night skylines very well. Users can opt for some of the scene modes like Beach & Snow or Night to remedy this problem.
No shutter speed or aperture adjustments can be made, but users can access an exposure compensation scale in the recording menu. It is a standard +/- 2 EV scale with 1/3 steps. There is a live view in the menu, so as users scroll to -2, the image grows darker and darker. This exposure compensation feature will come in handy for overly dark or overly bright lighting.
The Fujifilm FinePix F470 is equipped with an automatic White Balance mode and six presets. Sadly, there is no manual White Balance mode. Even sadder for the automatically oriented target audience is that the automatic mode isn’t very accurate. It cast a yellowish hue in fluorescent lights. The following presets are available: Fine (daylight), Shade, Fluorescent Daylight, Fluorescent Warm White, Fluorescent Cool White, and Incandescent Light. Luckily, the presets worked much better than the auto mode.
The ISO feature is found within the elusive ‘F’ Photo mode. There are no live views as users scroll through the Auto, 64, 100, 200, and 400 options. This range is standard for compact digital cameras and as the F470 is a bare bones model, it doesn’t go beyond the standard range.
The F470’s shutter speeds range from 2-1/1500th of a second. This is quite a short range, as many compact models slow down to at least 6 or 8 seconds or speed up to 1/2000. Users cannot manually adjust the shutter speed, but can indirectly choose it by selecting a scene mode geared towards the desired shutter speed. For example, if a fast shutter speed is desired, the Sport scene mode would be a good choice.
**The F470 has a Fujinon 3x optical zoom lens on its front that has a wide f/2.8 maximum aperture. This is great for an ultra-slim digital camera. When the lens is at its most telephoto focal length, the maximum aperture shrinks to f/4.9. This is pretty typical. The apertures cannot be manually selected on this FinePix.
Picture Quality / Size Options
When the ‘F’ button is pressed, the first option displayed on the resulting menu is the Quality. This indicates the image size. The top resolution of 2816 x 2112 pixels is offered in JPEG Fine and Normal compression sizes. The next smallest image size is 2816 x 1880 pixels and is 3:2-formatted for properly framed 4 x 6-inch prints. The rest of the image sizes - 2048 x 1536, 1600 x 1200, and 640 x 480 – are meant to save space on memory cards and to provide quick transfers for emailing. These sizes cover all the basics.
Picture Effects Mode
The other option in the ‘F’ menu is the FinePix Color. It can be adjusted from the default Standard color to the more vivid Chrome to the bland Black & White. The saturation is enhanced in the Chrome mode, so it can be used to emphasize your Great Aunt Martha’s already out-of-control pink lipstick. You can also apply it to landscapes to enrich the colors for a more interesting shot. These color modes can only be added in the recording mode – not in playback – and only in the still image mode. Sorry, no black and white movies can be made on the Fujifilm FinePix F470.
*As with many other Fujifilm digital cameras, the F470 comes with FinePix Viewer software and the ImageMixer VCD2 LE for FinePix program.
Jacks, Ports, Plugs
A door above the eyelet on the right side of the digital camera opens up to reveal two ports. The top socket is fitted for the 5-volt power adaptor cable. The bottom port can connect to either a USB 2.0 cable or an A/V out cable. The A/V out function can be selected to be NTSC or PAL compatible via the Video System option in the setup menu.
*Direct Print Options
*The PictBridge-compatible Fujifilm F470 has a DPOF system that organizes photos into print orders. When users are in playback mode, they can press the ‘F’ button to add a photo to the order. Users can also select the number of copies to print of each photo. There is a trimming function in the playback mode; if users want to crop photos before printing they must trim them before accessing the print order. Overall, printing directly from the camera is intuitive and easy.
In the camera’s package, Fujifilm provides a rechargeable NP-40N lithium-ion battery. This battery is light, but not very efficient. The battery only lasts about 200 shots before needing another recharge. A Fujifilm BC-65 battery charger is included with the camera.
The FinePix F470 has a tiny amount of internal memory that is only enough to save 5 pictures at full resolution. The camera has 16 MB of internal memory and a slot for an xD-Picture card. Users can switch images from the internal memory to the memory card and vice-versa with the Copy option in the playback menu.
**The Fujifilm FinePix F470 will retail for $279 when it comes out in March. This is comparable to 6 megapixel models and a bit cheaper than most ultra-slim models. Still, the F470 is designed for point-and-shooters. If users want an easy to use digital camera with basic functionality, this has all the basics but at a bit more than a basic price. All in all, the Fujifilm F470 is a low-end slim digital camera that is priced to sell, but not to amaze—and the poor autofocus will push many consumers to look elsewhere.
Comparison to the Fujifilm FinePix F450
The Fujifilm FinePix F450 was released at the end of 2004 with 5.2 effective megapixels on a 1/2.5-inch CCD. That point-and-shoot digital camera is thin at 0.8 inches, much like the new F470. The old metal F450 is square-shaped and doesn’t look nearly as traditional as the new model. The F450 has a 3.4x optical zoom lens on its front and a 2-inch LCD screen on its back. An optical viewfinder is included on this model, but it is only 78 percent accurate.
The F450 and the F470 are both automatically oriented and have similar modes – although the F470 adds to the scanty four scene modes offered by the F450. The ISO range is slightly different with its lowest setting at ISO 80. The FinePix F450 has a 64-zone metering system; this is paltry compared with the F470’s 256-zone metering system. The movie mode on the F470 is much improved from the slow one on the F450. It recorded 320 x 240 and 160 x 120 pixels at a choppy 10 frames per second. The old Fujifilm FinePix F450 can be found for about $300 online now.
Who It’s For
Point-and-Shooters – The Fujifilm FinePix F470 was designed specifically for this group. It has a simple mode switch that toggles from the auto mode to the scene position that houses ten scene modes and the movie mode. The camera is easy to use and compact enough to throw in a pocket.
Budget Consumers – The F470 retails for $279. This 6 megapixel digital camera has fairly basic features – 3x optical zoom lens, automatic modes, VGA movies – with a few highlights. It does have a 2.5-inch LCD screen and is ultra-slim. It isn’t an amazing bargain but is priced to compete with comparable models.
Gadget Freaks – These consumers will be completely bored by the look of the camera and even more so by its plain features.
Manual Control Freaks – The FinePix F470 has a manual mode, but it’s not really a manual mode. Users cannot control the shutter speed and aperture, but can tweak the exposure compensation, ISO and white balance. Freaks will not be impressed with this short list of manual controls.
Pros / Serious Hobbyists – These individuals may pick up the camera and give it a look, but once they see the awful auto focus, they will throw it aside.
**The 6 megapixel Fujifilm FinePix F470 aims to hit the easy to use low end of the ultra-slim market. The F470’s 3.6 x 2.3 x 0.8-inch measurements are very compact and flat except for a slight curve for a right-hand grip. Besides its tiny frame, there isn’t much else distinctive about its looks. The F470 has a lightly brushed silver body constructed of plastic with a metal shell. The camera is pretty durable, but doesn’t wander much from tradition. The body has a 2.5-inch LCD screen but it only has 115,000 pixels. The movie mode has full resolution and a fast frame rate, but terrible audio and lacks zoom during recording.
The F470 has its pros and cons. The camera provides a 3x optical zoom lens with a wide f/2.8 aperture. The camera is mostly automatic with its 10 scene modes, an auto mode, and a manual mode that acts more like a Program mode. It has a decent burst mode and starts up in less than two seconds. It is extremely portable and includes 16 MB of internal memory. However, despite the presence of the auto mode, the auto focus system is difficult to maneuver and will potentially drive consumers crazy. Sometimes it focuses, sometimes it doesn’t – and because there’s no telling what it will do, this could be a deal breaker for many consumers. Well have a more in-depth analysis of the F470's capabilities when we publish our full review. The F470 is slated to ship in March for $279.
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