May 30, 2006 – Fujifilm today announced a new model in its ultra-slim series of digital cameras. The Fujifilm FinePix Z3 has many similarities to the Z1, including the amount of resolution on its image sensor and the Fujinon 3x optical zoom lens. The bodies are almost the same size, with the new 5.1-megapixel Z3 measuring just 0.1 inch thicker. The Fujifilm Z3 upgrades the image sensor to a 5th generation Super CCD and uses a new 2nd generation Real Photo Processor. The new flagship model will be available in July for $279.95.
The original Z-series camera retailed for $449 when it came out last June. The new FinePix Z3 not only costs much less, but comes with lots of upgraded features. While both cameras have plenty of automated settings, the Z3 offers 14 scene modes while the Z1 had only 5. Many of Fujifilm’s models from 2006 include a dual shooting mode, called Natural Light & With Flash, that takes two pictures in succession. One uses the flash, while the other disables it. This lets users quickly experiment with the flash to see if it’s helpful in the particular shooting situation.
The Z1 was plagued with a weak flash, but the Z3’s is much improved. Also included on many of this year’s FinePix cameras is the i-Flash, or Intelligent Flash, system. This measures all types of lighting in the frame, both ambient and obvious, and adjusts the intensity of the flash accordingly. The new Fujifilm FinePix Z3 is very conscious of users who want to shoot in low light; it includes a wide ISO range from 64-1600 and several scene modes that cater to the dark.
One of those modes is the Picture Stabilization mode, which cannot be confused with optical image stabilization. It does not have a sensor to detect movement and correct it, but uses the higher end of the ISO range and quicker shutter speeds to minimize blur. Fujifilm included a designated button on the camera for this mode. This mode is definitely new to the Z-series, as is the wider ISO range. The Z1’s top ISO setting was 800.
The new Fujifilm FinePix Z3 has a scratch-resistant 2.5-inch LCD screen that is the same size as the one on the Z1, but it has twice the resolution on it. The screen has 230,000 pixels and is coated with an anti-glare film for better viewing in bright light. Both cameras have the same 3x optical zoom lens that remains in the body at all times. The lens has a maximum aperture of f/3.5, which is smaller than most of its competition.
The new Z3 and the Z1 look like twin siblings with their rectangular frames. The Z3 measures 3.5 x 2.2 x 0.8 inches, while the Z1’s width measurement was 0.7 inches. The original Z1 came in black and silver colors, but the Z3 will come in silver and metallic blue housings. The Fujifilm Z3 adds 10 MB of internal memory and a burst mode that shoots 2.2 frames per second; the Z1 did not have internal memory or a burst mode.
"The FinePix Z3 has combined Fujifilm’s rich photographic legacy with the style and sophistication that made the FinePix Z1 such a popular digital camera," said David Troy, senior product manager of the consumer digital camera group at Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc., in today’s press release.