The pocket-size wonder that makes big claims

12th May 2000 at 01:00
Merlin John finds out if the quality and advances of FujiFilm's new digital camera live up to expectations

It's possibly the most pocketable digital camera around - shirt pocket that is - but Fujifilm's FinePix MX4700 Zoom could also burn a sizeable hole in it. However, for people who put a premium on quality and size, the pound;699 price tag could woo them away from its comparable compact rival, the Powershot S20 from Canon. The advantage for Web authors here is that, besides recording the expected range of compressed JPEG images, this Fuji can also record video clips (with sound) that can be played back as computer video files.

The MX4700 is said to be the highest resolution digital compact camera currently on the market, capable of 4.3 megapixels, but at the current rate of progress that might not be for as long as Fuji thinks. And I wasn't convinced that its pictures were noticeably better than ones taken on lower resolution digital cameras, so check out the claim.

The MX4700 has a 3x optical zoom lens and you can also use a digital zoom on the pictures. For storage it comes with a 16Mb SmartMedia card that can hold up to 90 seconds of video, or 240 images of the lowest size (640 x 480 pixels) and quality or nine images of the highest size (2,400 x 1,800 pixels) and quality. These can be transferred to your PC or Mac using a USB cable or via the SmartMedia card. You can also connect to a TV or video.

The controls are cleverly designed and give the range of automatic and limited manual settings you can expect from a camera of this type. A dial on top gives you a range of picture modes, while an LCD window on the back is surrounded by four directional buttons to give further features.

A rather natty trick is the placing of a little lever on the "on-off" button on the back which allows you to switch quickly between picture and view modes.

This model uses two AA batteries and came with four plus charger. Battery life wasn't great, but neither was it dire. The only weak point was the pop-up flash. However, the MX4700 is superbly designed and constructed and will instantly appeal to people who need this size and quality.

Fujifilm FinePix MX4700 Zoom. Price: pound;699. Available from Fuji stockists or from RM sales. Tel: 0870 908 6868.

Reviews on www.dpreview.comnews

Suitability for purpose **** Ease of use **** Value for money **** Styling ***** Weight *****

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