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Testing / Performance
**We tested the Fujifilm FinePix E900 with our standard color reproduction routine. We photographed the GretagMacbeth color target with the E900, and ran the images through Imatest Imaging Software. Imatest analyzes the imported images for color accuracy. Our first image shows the GretagMacbeth target, modified to show how the FinePix E900 performed. Each large exterior square shows the color that the E900 captured. The small rectangle inside each square shows the ideal reproduction of each color. The medium-size squares show the ideal colors with luminance adjusted to match the ideal reproduction.
The second chart illustrates the color test as well. There is a square on the chart for each color on the GretagMacbeth target, and a line running from each square to a circle, which shows the color as the E900 reproduced it. The longer the line is, the less accurate the color is. If the line runs toward the center of the chart, the color saturation or luminance is off. If the line runs tangent, the hue is off.
The FinePix E900 earned a score of 6.9, which is fine, but not outstanding. The E900 image saturated colors at 98.35 percent. The ideal is 100 percent, so the E900's performance in this measure is excellent, and unusual. Most compact cameras boost saturation significantly, which can cause problems in printing and editing images. The E900's mean color error of 7 is less impressive than its saturation score. Color error brought down the camera's overall color rating.
Last year's Fujifilm FinePix E550 scored better than the E900, earning an overall score of 7.4 rather than a 6.9, and comparing the two cameras' charts shows the E900's problem – it shifted color more than the E550.
**Still Life Scene
**Below is a shot of our playfully retro still life scene, as shot with the Fujifilm FinePix E900.
Click on the image above to view a full resolution version (CAUTION: the linked file is very large!)](https://www.reviewed.com/cameras/viewer.php?picture=E900-StillLife-LG.jpg)
**Resolution / Sharpness ***(7.70)*
We shot an ISO 12233 resolution chart to test the resolution of the FinePix E900's 1/1.6-inch Super CCD HR and Real Image Processor. We shot at several focal lengths and apertures. The E900 delivered its best results at f/5.6 and a focal length of 22mm.
Click on the image above to view a full resolution version (CAUTION: the linked file is very large!)](https://www.reviewed.com/cameras/viewer.php?picture=E900-ResCH-LG.jpg )
We examine the test images with Imatest software, which reports resolution in line widths per picture height (LW/PH). LW/PH is a count of how many alternating black and white lines the camera could theoretically record before blurring them together.
The E900 delivered remarkably good results – it showed 2079 LW/PH vertically and 2402 LW/PH horizontally. That's DSLR-level performance.
Noise – Auto ISO (2.58)
Even subjects that are perfectly smooth show up with a texture in digital photos. Look a patch of clear, blue sky in a print or on a computer screen. When it's magnified, it becomes clear that it is made up of pixels of slightly lighter and darker shades. From a distance, the patches meld together to form the color the viewer expects. In a perfect image, a patch of sky would be made of identical pixels. The variation in the shades of pixels is noise. The more variation there is, the more distracting the noise is. Digital cameras usually deliver more noise at higher ISO settings, and more noise in shadows than in highlights.
The FinePix E900 scored very poorly in our Auto ISO noise test – it performed as if it had set the ISO to about 300 to shoot our brightly-lit target.
**Noise – Manual ISO (6.33)
**The E900 performed better in our manual ISO test than in auto. Its score is about average for compact cameras, but that's a bit disappointing – Fujifilm has delivered quite a few compacts with outstanding performance. It may be that the company recognized a problem with the E900 – the company left off the ISO 1600 setting, a feature that better-performing Fujifilm cameras usually have.
It's notable that the E900's noise performance at its lowest ISO settings of 80 and 100 are good, but that 200 is significantly worse, and 400 and 800 are progressively worse yet. Other Fujifilm cameras also do best at low ISO settings, but their performance deteriorates slowly, rather than taking the jumps that the E900 takes.
**Low Light Performance ***(6.5)*
Fujifilm flaunts its Real Photo Technology as being able to produce quality shots in low light without a flash. We put the FinePix E900 to the test by taking pictures in decreasing light levels of 60, 30, 15, and 5 lux. In theory, the E900 should be able to produce great pictures in 60 and 30 lux as those are somewhat common settings. 60 lux is approximately equivalent to the light in a living room with two soft lamps. 30 lux is about the amount of light from a single 40-watt bulb. 15 and 5 lux are very near total darkness, but we test the camera at these levels to see how the image sensor reacts. Most image sensors produce massive amounts of noise when the light gets low and the shutter stays open longer. Below are the modified GretagMacbeth color charts shot at the four light levels with the Fujifilm FinePix E900.
All of the colors took on a blue hue at the darker end of the testing, but the overall image retained illumination quite well. As the light dimmed, the image got noisier. Below is a chart showing the noise levels as they relate to the open shutter. In general, the longer the shutter is open the more noise there is. On the chart below, the shutter speeds are on the horizontal axis and the noise levels are on the vertical axis.
There is a steady rise in noise from the 60 lux test at a quarter of a second to the 5 lux test that took 2.5 seconds. This is good because it shows there is no significant leap in noise from one second to the next. Overall, the Fuji E900 did quite well in low light.
Speed / Timing
*Start-up to first shot (7.9) *
The FinePix E900 took 2.1 seconds to start up. That's slightly below average, even for compact cameras. A two-second delay isn't likely to be annoying when a user takes the camera out of a pocket or bag to start shooting. If the camera's power-saving mode shuts the E900 down during a birthday party, for example, the user might be surprised to find the camera out of commission while the guest of honor is blowing out the candles. In that instance, 2.1 seconds will feel pretty long.
*Shot to shot (9.43)
*The E900 took 4 frames in 2.09 seconds in "First 4" burst mode. 4 frames took 2.16 seconds in "Last 4" burst mode. 2 frames per second is average for a compact camera, though, with the E900's 9-megapixel resolution, it indicates a pretty fast data stream.
*Shutter to shot (7.94)
*The E900 delayed about 0.53 seconds between when the shutter was pressed and when the shot was taken. That's slow, but many compacts are equally slow. That kind of delay would be frustrating for users who try to shoot action.
Fuji went with a black paint and brushed aluminum for the E900's face, conjuring the much sleeker, smaller Z1 produced by Fuji earlier this year. The effect is spoiled, however, by a large, vertical chromed plate on the front of the black rubber hand grip. The plate features the FinePix nameplate and a SuperCCD logo. The lens assembly is mostly brushed metal, except for the two halves of the lens cover—thin black plastic petals that slide apart when the camera is turned on. The lens mount seems very large, compared to the glass. The outer part of the mount is a removable ring, which covers the bayonet mount for auxiliary lenses and accessories. The ring carries a label for the lens specifications reading: "Fujinon Zoom Lens 4x Optical 7.2 – 28.8 mm 1:2.8-5.6." A small button to the lower left of the lens base releases the lock on the bayonet to remove the ring or an added accessory.
The FinePix E900 has an optical viewfinder; its very small window is just northeast of the lens and framed in brushed metal along with the camera's microphone. Below the shiny area, is a small oblong slot for the self-timer light. In the lower right corner, the camera is labeled "9.0 Mega Pixels," and to the left, between the hand grip and the lens, Fuji printed, "Digital Camera E900." Along the top edge, between the chrome cap on the grip and the viewfinder, The Fuji logo and "Fujifilm" appear in brushed metal.
The very small viewfinder is at the upper left of the FinePix E900. The flash status light next to it is in dull gray plastic bezel. The flash pops up with a press of a button to the right of the viewfinder. The button is almost flush, and pretty small. The zoom rocker is wide, near the top right edge of the camera. A shallow divot fits the user's thumb.
There are two buttons to the left of LCD. The top one controls burst mode; the lower one activates exposure compensation and is part of the button combination for manual focus.
The black rubber from the hand grip on the front of the camera wraps all the way around to the right side of the E900’s back, making it easy to get a secure grasp on the camera.
The Playback button is on the right of the LCD and above the 4-way controller. The 4-way controller is a ring, rather than four separate buttons. The OK/menu button is separate and in center of the controller. Below and to the left of the 4-way controller is the Display/Back button, which cycles the LCD through various display options and cancels certain actions within Menu mode. The FinePix button to the right of that brings up shooting options and, in Playback mode, printing options.
There are six dimples in grid, at the far lower left of the back. Apparently, they're also supposed to improve the user's grip.
**Left Side ***(7.0)*
On the left side of the FinePix E900 is a discrete panel with 9 speaker holes. A single rubber flap stretches most of the height of the camera and covers the A/V Out plug, a jack for 3-volt power in and a USB 2.0 connector. Unfortunately, the flap has no real dust/moisture seal.
**Right Side ***(7.0)*
The right side of the FinePix E900 is contoured to form a comfortable grip, with black rubber on either side of a smooth panel running up the camera. There is a flush-mounted wrist strap lug, which seems sturdy enough. The flush mount keeps the surface comfortable.
The left side of the FinePix E900's top is flat when the flash is down with "Digital Camera FinePix E900" printed again on the camera, this time over the viewfinder. We find it odd that the phrase "Digital Camera" appears multiple times on the E900. Is Fuji addressing some common misunderstanding plaguing previous models? Did consumers of the E550 think it was a cell phone, or a tropical fruit?
The flash pops up from the center of the FinePix E900. Users should note, that the flash assembly wobbles a bit, and may not be as durable as other designs.
The right-hand section of the top, which caps the hand grip, has a chrome finish. It holds a large shutter release button toward the fron, a power button set very flush toward the center of the camera, and10-position mode dial to the back right.
**The FinePix E900's tripod socket is centered laterally, and a bit toward the front of the camera just to the right of the lens. The battery compartment and memory card slot are behind a single door, under the hand grip. The door is latched well, so it's unlikely to open accidentally.
Though we assume that using it could save battery power on the FinePix E900, the tiny viewfinder did not appeal to us. The very deeply set eyepiece is also relatively finicky about how you line up your eye: if the user gets off to one side, the view winks out. It's not easy to line up a shot with the viewfinder, which shows much less than the full view of the CCD.
**LCD Screen ***(6.25)*
The FinePix E900's LCD is a disappointment. At 2 inches, it only offers 115,000 pixels of resolution. However, the screen does remain viewable over a fairly wide angle of view side-to-side, but not up and down. Its color is also very good, as is its contrast.
Given that the E900 is has 9-megapixel sensor, and delivers very high resolution, it really could benefit from a better display – this one isn't good enough to show the quality of the camera's images.
The FinePix E900's flash shares many of the annoyances of most compact camera flashes: It's very small, so its light is harsh and unflattering. It’s close to the lens, making it more likely to produce "red-eye." It's also off-center, so it casts shadows to the side of the subjects.
Other flash problems we found are specific to the FinePix E900. Its pop-up mechanism is wobbly and more delicate than some others. Fuji reports that it is powerful enough to light as far as 12 feet for wide-angle shots, but only 6 feet for telephoto. Our use confirms those figures in an office setting. Outdoors or with very high ceilings, however, it might not reach that far.
The 4x zoom on the FinePix E900 runs from 7.2 to 28.8 mm, giving it a 35mm equivalent of 32 to 128 mm. Its maximum aperture runs from f/ 2.8 to 5.6, from wide to telephoto. In casual shooting around the office, we took some images that show minor color fringing, and plenty of barrel distortion at wide angle. The very dark maximum aperture of f/5.6 at 28.8 mm will limit the camera's low-light capability when it comes to telephoto shots. The Natural Light mode will be most useful for wide-angle views, where the zoom has a reasonable maximum aperture.
Design / Layout
Model Design / Appearance ***(7.0)*
**The FinePix E900 mixes black and chrome like the Z1, and comes off looking more stylish than some of Fuji's other entries – the low-end super zoom S5200, for instance. Unfortunately, Fuji did not exercise as much restraint in designing the E900 as it did with the Z1. A functionless lump of chrome on the grip, that doesn't match with the curves and fillets that characterize the rest of the E900’s styling, crowds the front of the camera.
Although, the E900 we received shows very good manufacturing – the seams between major parts fit well, the screws sit snug in their holes, and there aren't any obvious creaks or rattles.
**Size / Portability ***(6.5)*
The FinePix E900 measures 4.0 x 2.5 x 1.4 inches and weighs 9.2 ounces with batteries and card. There are plenty of smaller cameras, but most of them offer lower resolution and less-usable controls. It's particularly relevant to camera size that the E900 has a 1/1.6-inch sensor, which is large for a compact camera. Sensor size has a big influence on image quality, so it's worthwhile to put up with the extra bulk. The lens retracts flat when the camera is shut off, and nothing else projects from the camera to snag while the E900 is stowed in a bag or purse.
We wish the E900 had better materials to seal against dust and moisture, but the built quality does supply some durability. The E900 will fit in a backpack or large coat pockets, but if those spaces are dirty, the lens setup may well take on some gunk that could work its way inside and cause problems.
**Handling Ability ***(7.5)*
The FinePix E900 has a fine grip – we found the size comfortable for a range of users and the rubber coating gave many a secure hold. Just about any camera will be steadier handheld if the user holds it in both hands, so it's good that the E900 has good spots for the left hand as well as the right. There's a small spot for the left thumb low on the back of the camera. The top and bottom of the E900 are comfortable spots for the left hand too.
The optical viewfinder is not particularly useful, so we expect most people to rely on the E900's LCD. That makes it even more vital that users steady the camera with both hands as they shoot.
**Control Button / Dial Positioning / Size ***(7.25)*
Fuji's buttons tend to be mechanically very good – it's easy to feel when they've been pressed far enough to activate, and they're durable. Some of the E900's buttons are set very flush to avoid accidental pushes. For some controls, it's appropriate, but in some cases, we'd rather see other types of functioning mechanisms. Slide or rotary switches are usually more positive in their action, and it would be better if the E900 had that sort of switch for its on/off control. As it is, the push button is small and set below the surface of the camera's top. While a tap seems enough to shut it off, the shooter must hold the button down briefly to activate the E900. The button seems tweaked so that it won't turn the camera on accidentally if it's bumped in a pocket or bag, but this will obviously impact its start-up time.
It's good that the four-way controller and the OK button are separate – shooters don't have to worry about accidentally pressing "OK" when they mean to scroll down. Having a dedicated button for exposure compensation is another plus – people do use that feature shot by shot, so it is better to have a handy button rather than a menu entry that takes a few steps to access. Direct access to the Flash Synchronization mode and Macro Focus are also good choices.
Fuji persists in putting image quality, ISO and color effects in a separate menu activated by the "Finepix" button. This is a gimmick – Fuji is trying to play up its acknowledged image quality, clustering adjustments related to quality under a branded control. It would actually make more sense to include white balance in the FinePix menu – but such a placement wouldn't necessarily reinforce Fuji’s marketing message.
The FinePix E900's menus are readable and attractive. The self-timer is at the top of the shooting menu, which indicates an effort to reach out to beginners – why not start the list with something everyone can understand? The list goes a good bit deeper, though, including an independent flash exposure control, which will help improve fill flash performance.
The Setup menu controls interface options.
"F" includes settings Fuji is particularly proud of, it seems. Size/Quality stresses the FinePix E900's high resolution, ISO shows off its top end of 800, and Color includes the the "Chrome" mode, which boosts saturation. Since Fuji's chips are known for good performance at high ISOs, and good color rendition in general, it makes marketing sense to lump these features together. Usability might have prompted Fuji to add white balance in this category, but instead it's in the main menu. A separate menu comes up in Playback mode.
In movie mode, the "F" button calls up quality settings, allowing the user to choose between 640 x 480 or 320 x 240 resolution. In Playback mode, the "F" button calls up print options.
**Ease of Use ***(7.25)*
The Fujifilm FinePix E900 gets high marks for ease of use. Its automatic modes are, in fact, clear and useful. Nearly all compact cameras are easy to use in automatic, though. The FinePix E900 distinguishes itself by providing good access to manual controls – for a compact camera, it's easy to set aperture and shutter speed. Exposure compensation has a dedicated button, so it's quick and easy to tweak the camera's settings.
The FinePix E900 falls short in two areas: First, users have to manually pop up the flash. This should really pop up by itself, particularly in automatic modes. Second, the manual focus control works neither quickly, nor well.
**Auto Mode ***(7.5)*
The FinePix E900 has an Auto mode, which sets just about everything. Unfortunately, Auto mode leaves ISO up to the user. Those shooters wanting full exposure automation with ISO control can use the Program mode – where full Auto should cover everything. Exposure compensation, however, does not work in Automatic or Scene modes.
Custom Image Presets***(6.0)*
The FinePix E900 offers four standard image presets, but not the range of highly-specialized settings of many other beginner cameras. For example, there is no "Food" or "Fireworks" setting. In general, those settings are only marginally useful, even for beginners. Fuji's approach is to offer manual controls that allow users to accomplish the same things.
**Drive / Burst Mode ***(6.25)*
Compact cameras really aren't on track to compete with the high-speed DSLRs that are popular for shooting sports and other fast-moving subjects. The FinePix E900 won't deliver multi-image sequences of fast action, such as a golf swing, a bride's bouquet toss, or a bird landing on a feeder.
Still, at 2 frames per second, it is competitive with cameras in its price range, particularly given the large size of the files it's writing. The E900 offers four burst modes: First 4 frames shoots four images at 2 frames per second, and then stops to write them to memory. Last 4 frames keeps on shooting for longer, but only saves the last four frames to memory, also at 2 frames per second. Long-period shoots up to 40 images at 0.6 frames per second, writing all of them to memory. Fuji also includes its three-frame bracket option in the burst mode.
**Playback Mode ***(6.5)*
The FinePix E900's Playback mode offers a range of formats for looking at saved images. Pressing the exposure compensation button brings up an information display with histogram, quality, ISO shutter speed and aperture, color setting, flash setting, white balance, exposure compensation, frame number, and date and time. Pressing the Display/Back button cycles the shooter through other options. The FinePix E900 shows images with no text, nine thumbnails, and a folder view showing the date shot. There's also a highlight warning available on single images.
The Fujifilm FinePix E900 interface allows users to erase one frame at a time or all the unprotected frames in memory at once; there's no separate way to select several images and delete them all at once, which would be a more convenient system. The user can rotate, crop and protect images, and then use DPOF or PictBridge printing through the Playback interface. The Playback mode also includes a sort-by-date view that speeds up navigation.
The Slide show feature allows users to choose the length of time each image is displayed and gives the option of fading between images or not. There is no feature to show only selected images – everything in the camera’s entire memory is displayed.
**Movie Mode ***(6.75)*
The FinePix E900 shoots video at the industry-standard 30 frames per second, at resolutions of 640 x 480 or 320 x 240 pixels. While the 640 x 480 is comparable to standard video, and the picture looks pretty good, it's not time to throw away those camcorders yet. The E900 does not zoom while shooting video, records only mono sound, and the microphone picks up the focus motor's sound in a very distracting way.
**Manual Control Options
**The FinePix E900 has an extensive implementation of manual controls. Its manual exposure modes include full manual, shutter priority (the user chooses the shutter speed), aperture priority (the user sets the aperture) and program (the camera sets both aperture and shutter speed.) The E900 allows the user to set ISO and white balance, including custom white balance. An exposure compensation feature works in Aperture, Shutter and Program modes. A live histogram helps set manual exposure or exposure compensation; the exposure compensation button activates it.
Auto Focus (7.0)
We found that the autofocus mechanism on the FinePix E900 could produce very accurate focus. The E900 offers three autofocus modes: Center, Multi, and Area. Center mode focuses on the center of the frame. In Multi mode, the E900 identifies a high-contrast subject around the center of the frame, and focuses on that. In Area mode, the user can choose the focus area with the four-way controller. These modes all seemed to perform equally well.
The E900's autofocus performance won't set any speed records, and it can delay shots enough to be annoying. That's typical of a compact camera – other cameras in this price range and zoom range don't do better, and compacts with longer zooms usually focus more slowly than the E900.
Manual Focus (1.5)
The manual focus option on the Fujifilm FinePix E900 is atrocious. As manual focus options on compact cameras often do, it requires pressing two buttons at once; in this case the exposure compensation button and the zoom rocker. The problem is that there is very poor feedback about how sharp the image is. The LCD display is not nearly good enough to show a sharp image and there is no distance scale on the display. Two yellow triangles sometimes appear on the screen as the focus gets close – one if the focus is too near, one if it's too far, and two yellow brackets when it's just right – but they aren't nearly as accurate as the autofocus mechanism. Even if they worked, they're beside the point: the whole idea of manual focus is that the user judges the focus.
*The FinePix E900 has four exposure modes that accept manual intervention: Full Manual mode, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Program mode. The user chooses everything in Manual mode, the aperture setting in Aperture Priority and the shutter speed in Shutter Priority. The E900 chooses both aperture and shutter in Program mode. In Program mode and the priority modes, the E900 exposure compensation control allows the user to increase or decrease exposure up to 2 stops in 1/3-stop increments.
*The E900 can measure exposure in 256 zones. With this system, it offers three modes: Multi, Spot and Average. In Multi mode, the E900 takes many measurements across the image, and sets an exposure based on a comparison of the data. In Spot mode, it takes a single measurement at the center of the image, and in Average mode, it takes a single measurement of the whole image. Multi mode produces good results without user intervention, and both Spot and Average can be useful when users shoot manually.
**White Balance ***(7.0)*
The FinePix E900 offers six white balance presets: Sunny, Shade, Daylight fluorescent, Warm White fluorescent, Cool White fluorescent and Incandescent. It also has an automatic white balance setting, and controls for setting a custom white balance. Those E900 owners who really want to take control of their images will probably opt to set custom white balances, which significantly improve the camera's performance in mixed lighting.
The FinePix E900 offers ISO settings from 80 to 800 in addition to Auto. ISO 800 is a relatively high ISO for a compact camera, particularly for one with such high resolution. But other Fuji cameras, including last year's F10 (one of digitalcamerainfo.com's Selects), have included an additional ISO 1600 setting. This would have been a nice inclusion on the E900, though perhaps limiting noise on a 9-megapixel chip was impossible for Fujifilm at ISO 1600.
**Shutter Speed ***(7.5)*
The FinePix E900 offers a wide range of shutter speeds, which is common on cameras with full manual controls. The range varies, depending on the exposure mode. In Manual, the range runs from 15 seconds to 1/2000. In Auto, most scenes and Program, the longest exposures are eliminated, as is the top speed, for a range of 1/4 to 1/1000 seconds. In Night and Shutter Priority, the range runs from 3 seconds to 1/1000.
The FinePix E900's zoom lens has a maximum aperture of f/2.8 at its wide angle setting, but only an f/5.6 maximum at its narrowest telephoto setting. Its minimum aperture is f/8 across the zoom range. The aperture can be adjusted in 1/3-stop increments.
**Picture Quality / Size Options ***(8.0)*
The FinePix E900 offers seven quality settings. There are two settings at the camera's 9-megapixel maximum resolution: 9MF and 9MN. The MF setting provides a higher-quality JPEG, while the MN setting makes a smaller file. A 3:2 setting makes wider images at a comparable resolution. The other quality settings are 5 megapixels, 3 megapixels, 2 megapixels and 0.3 megapixels. The 0.3 setting is 640 x 480 pixels, which might be right for emails and web use.
The FinePix E900 also shoots in RAW format – an uncompressed file that can be opened and converted with Fuji software on either Windows or Macintosh computers.
Picture Effects Mode ***(5.5)*
**Fuji's FinePix menu features "FinePix Color," which offers normal color and "F-Chrome," which boosts saturation, imitating Fuji's color transparency films. The menu also offers black-and -white shooting.
Connectivity / Extras
The FinePix E900 comes with FinePix Viewer, which helps the user download, sort, crop and print pictures. The viewer can call up RAW converter LE, which converts RAW images to TIFFs. "LE" might logically stand for "Limited Edition," because the software doesn't allow the sorts of manipulation that Fuji's Hyperutility2 program allows for images from the FinePix S3 and S2. The E900 is also packaged with a limited edition of Image Mixer, a program for creating slide shows on DVD or video CD. The full version of Image Mixer costs extra.
Jacks, Ports, Plugs (6.0)
The FinePix E900 has a jack for analog video output in either PAL or NTSC, a USB 2.0 connector, and a plug for external power. It doesn't offer flash sync or remote control.
Direct Print Options (6.0)
The FinePix E900 is both DPOF and PictBridge compatible, which means that users can print with the camera connected to a printer, without a computer, or can set up a print order on the xD Picture card for download at a drugstore or camera shop. The E900 can be set to print the shooting date on each image (or not), and the number of prints of each image. As the user creates a print order, the FinePix E900 displays the total number of prints to be made.
Since some competing cameras offer the option of selecting print size, specifying whether the print will have borders, and creating an index print; the E900's options are relatively thin.
Fujifilm’s FinePix E900 comes with a pair of AA-size, Nickel-Metal Hydride rechargeable batteries and a charger. In general, NiMH batteries are the best choice among AA cells, and Fuji is good to include a set. We'd suggest getting another set, though. Two cells wouldn't get us through a full day of shooting. Disposable alkaline AA cells will also work in a pinch, but they'll wear out too fast to be affordable.
A competing battery technology, Lithium-Ion, is used for custom cells in many cameras, and they tend to last much longer, weigh less and take up less space. Of course, they're more expensive, and less convenient.
The FinePix E900 accepts xD-Picture cards, a very compact memory format that Fuji and Olympus use. However, xD-Picture cards run a bit more expensive than SD and compact flash cards.
**Other Features ***(6.25)*
*Adaptor Ring - *The FinePix E900 accepts an adapter ring which allows the use of filters.
Conversion Lenses - Fuji makes a wide-angle conversion lens that's compatible with the E900. It's called the WL-FXE01, and apparently gives a wide-angle view comparable to a 24mm lens on a 35mm camera. There's also an auxiliary telephoto (TL-FXE01), which maxes out at a 248mm equivalent.
*Live Histogram - *The FinePix E900 shows a live histogram when the exposure compensation button is pressed in shooting mode.
Olympus Stylus 800 - The Olympus Stylus 800 is an 8-megapixel, 3x zoom compact, so it comes up short on both pixel count and zoom range when compared with the E900. On the other hand, 8 megapixels are plenty for many uses (though we found the Stylus's resolution lackluster), and the Stylus has a 2.5-inch, 215,000-pixel LCD, which blows away the E900's measly 2-inch 115,000 pixel screen. The Stylus is well-sealed against dust and moisture, which is useful to active users and folks who want a camera to take anywhere. The E900, on the other hand, is poorly sealed and likely to suffer in moist or dusty conditions.
Canon PowerShot S80 - The Canon Powershot S80 is another 8-megapixel, 3.6x zoom, but it's distinctive because the wide end of its zoom is equivalent to a 28mm lens – wide enough to take in whole rooms in typical houses and apartments and group shots from reasonable distances. The S80's LCD is 2.5 inches, but also sports only 115,000 pixels, the same sub-par resolution as the E900. The S80 only goes up to ISO 400, giving the E900 a full-stop advantage. The S80 pitches a little harder to the snapshooters, with more than a dozen scene modes, but it also features full manual capability. The S80 lists for $549.99, and sells for around $500 – while the E900 goes for closer to $400.
Nikon Coolpix P1 - The Nikon Coolpix P1 is an 8-megapixel compact with a 3.5x zoom. Its most distinguishing feature is its capacity for WiFi connectivity. It can print or download images to WiFi-capable printers and computers within about 100 feet. It's an appealing feature that the FinePix E900 can't match.
In other respects, the E900 stacks up pretty well against the P1. The P1 performed badly in our color and resolution tests, and its ISO range extends to only 400, a full stop less than the E900. Though the P1 has a 2.5-inch LCD, the display has only 115,000 pixels – the same resolution as the E900. The P1 is available online for about $400, just what the E900 is going for. If WiFi is important, the P1 could be a better choice.
*Panasonic Lumix DMC LX1 -*The Panasonic Lumix DMC LX1 is an 8.6-megapixel camera with a 4x zoom. The zoom range is comparable to a 28-112mm lens on a 35mm camera, so it offers good wide-angle capability. The LX1 also has optical image stabilization, a feature that is very useful with long telephoto lenses – which the LX1 does not have. Still, it should steady even wide-angle shots in low light. To limit camera-movement induced blur, the E900 relies on good performance at high ISOs so that users can set relatively fast shutter speeds. Since the LX1 offers a maximum ISO setting of 400 and is noisy at that setting, Fuji's strategy with the E900 gives it the advantage in low light, despite the LX1's image stabilizer. The LX1 has a 2.5-inch 207,000 pixel display, which is much more useful than the E900's 2-inch 115,000 pixel LCD. The LX1 sells for something under $490 online, so its stabilization comes at a price substantially above the E900's.
**Why buy a FinePix E900 for about $400, when $300 would get an apparently similar compact? The E900's 9-megapixel resolution is not the only reason – though that's certainly a major part of the equation. The E900 produces clean images – which means the shots are easier to print and easier to edit than inferior ones. The E900 has excellent manual controls – they're complete, and easy to use. Though the RAW file converter is extremely limited – it doesn't allow adjustments – the E900 does offer RAW files.
All in all, the FinePix E900 is a flexible camera that's capable of making high-quality images with a range of control options.
Who It’s For
Point-and-Shooters -The FinePix E900 offers standard point-and-shoot features – a full automatic mode, plus scene modes – but the Automatic mode isn't as fool-proof as some others, and the camera costs more than the ideal point-and-shoot.
Budget Consumers - The FinePix E900 is relatively cheap among 9-megapixel cameras, but the typical budget consumer doesn't need 9 megapixels.
Gadget Freaks - The E900 doesn't contain any must-have new technologies – no image stabilization, no WiFi connectivity, no breakthrough video. At 9 megapixels, it's a remarkably high-resolution compact, but that doesn't reach the threshold for gadgetdom.
Manual Control Freaks - The FinePix E900 should please manual control freaks with, obviously, its manual controls, but also with its RAW file format and good image quality.
Pros / Serious Hobbyists - The FinePix E900 would make plenty of sense for serious shooters who use Fuji DSLRs. Aspects of the cameras' interfaces are similar, and image quality has a lot in common. Fuji shooters who want a compact with good quality would feel right at home with the E900.
The FinePix E900 is a very solid compact camera, with unusually high resolution, good color and image quality, good manual controls and a well-crafted interface. It's a sensible upgrade from standard compact cameras for users who want to use manual controls, either to learn how to use them, or because they want to actively shape their images.
Fuji's cameras typically deliver image quality at the top of their classes, but lag in other areas of technology – Fuji super-zooms lack image stabilization, and Fuji DSLRs are slow and at the low end of resolution. The E900 is true to this pattern – great image quality, great control and really nothing extra. Get the E900 to shoot sharp, big files with good color, and you'll have to put up with a small LCD and do without manual focus. Well, for users concerned with image quality foremost, it's certainly worth it.
Specs / Ratings