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.