Earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Fujifilm announced what it claims to be the world’s thinnest 10x optical zoom compact camera. It’s unusual for a thin compact camera to have such a high optical zoom, so we decided to take a look.
This Fujifilm camera is the T190, which is generally distributed through Wal-Mart. It is also sold in some other outlets under the number T200. The two cameras are identical. Since our review unit was a FinePix T190, we will refer to this camera by that number for the purpose of this review.
The FinePix T190 comes in a small, unassuming purple box, as shown in Figure 1.
Inside the box, as shown in Figure 2, are the camera itself, a rechargeable NP-45A Lithium Ion battery, a battery charger with collapsible wall prongs, a USB cable, a software disk, a small User Guide, a small hand strap, and some miscellaneous material including a flyer with battery specifications, charging instructions, and indicator lights explanations..
As you can see in Figure 2, this camera is very compact. It measures 3.7 x 1.9 x 0.9 inches (97 x 56.5 x 28.1 mm) and weighs approximately 4.7 ounces (134 grams), excluding battery and memory card. Although the camera is light-weight, it has a good solid feel. It is thin enough to easily fit in a pocket. The camera comes without a memory card and has no internal memory, so you will have to purchase an SD or an SDHC card with the camera.
Our review camera was black with silver trim and accents. The camera also comes in gray, silver, red, and blue. The slightly rounded corners and edges give it a nice feel.
Fujifilm packed a lot into this little pocket camera. It boasts 14 megapixels, a 2.7-inch LCD, and a 28-280 mm equivalent lens. It features 720p recording, image stabilization, Motion Panorama and Photobook in-camera book design software.
[nextpage title=”The Hardware”]
The front of the FinePix T190 can be seen in Figure 3. The Fujinon 10x zoom retractable lens takes up most of the camera’s face. To the left of the lens is the “Fujifilm” label which is done quite nicely in silver letters. To the upper right is the built-in flash.
The top of the camera is marked with the “Finepix T” logo and contains the on/off switch, and the shutter button surrounded by the zoom control, as shown in Figure 4. The on/off switch is flush with the top of the camera and must be depressed to turn the camera on and/or off. Because of its small size, it is difficult to press with a fingertip and may require that you use a fingernail to press it. However, there are two things that we liked about the on/off functionality of this camera. The first is that the on/off button glows a bright blue when the camera is on, so it is easy to tell if you have pressed the button fully or not. The other nice feature of this phone is that you can turn it on and off by pressing the playback button on the back of the camera to turn it on to review pictures. Once you are in the playback mode, you can simply tap the shutter button to extend the lens and get the camera ready to take a picture.
The back of the camera contains a 2.7-inch, approximately 230,000 dots, TFT color LCD monitor and the picture controls, as shown in Figure 5. The screen is crisp and clear, but unfortunately, it is very hard to see in direct sunlight.
The picture controls are navigated by a round mode dial in the upper portion of the back of the camera. The choices are: Program, for full control over camera settings including exposure, white balance, and focus; Scene Recognition Auto, which lets the camera analyze the composition and select the appropriate scene mode; Auto, which lets the camera automatically select all settings; Movie, for the video mode; Scene Position 1 and Scene Position 2, which let the user select the scene mode; Natural Light, to capture natural lighting under low light conditions; and Natural & Flash, which tells the camera to take two shots, one with the flash off and one with it on.
The scene modes are varied. They include: Portrait, Baby Mode, Smile & Shoot (during which the camera’s Face Detection will release the shutter automatically when it detects a smiling face), Landscape, Panorama, Sport, Night, Night Tripod (for slower shutter speeds), Fireworks, Sunset, Snow, Beach, Party, Flower (closeup), and Text.
Under the first mode dial is a playback button and a Disp/Back button. The Disp/Back button hides and/or displays screen icons and is also used to back out of functions. Just to the right of these are three indicator lights. These lights glow and/or blink green, red, and/or orange to indicate things like the focus locked, flash charging, and lens or memory errors.
Under these is another round dial with a Menu/OK button in the middle. This dial is a four-way dial. Press the top of this dial in playback mode and the picture is deleted. Press the top of this dial in photo mode and the exposure compensation is activated. The right side can be pressed to quickly enter the macro mode and the left side controls the flash functionality. The Menu/OK button is used for confirming choices.
This dial is also used for other selections, like scrolling through the pictures in playback mode.
The left side of this camera, seen in Figure 6, has a place to hold the included wrist strap along the thick silver bezel.
The bottom of the T190 can be seen in Figure 7. Just to the right of center is the tripod mount. Next to that is the micro USB port and to the right of that is the opening for the battery and memory card, which is covered by a spring-loaded cover. This camera takes SD/SDHC memory cards.
You will note that the battery/memory card door cannot be opened when a tripod is mounted. Since we do a lot of tripod photos, we find this an inconvenience. We also had some trouble with this door swinging open at unexpected times. It should also be noted that the battery can be inserted in the wrong position. This will result in an error on the screen when the camera is turned on.
[nextpage title=”Using the Fujigilm T190″]
Setup of this camera is easy. Just choose your language and set the time. There are several pages of other settings that you might want to go through later, but they don’t need to be changed for the initial setup. The software disk contains the MyFinePix Studio which allows you to import, edit, and manage your photos. We found the software adequate, but there are other free programs that are just as good, if not better.
This Fujifilm T190 is a 14 megapixel camera with 10x optical zoom covering 28 – 280 mm (a 35 mm camera equivalent), and an ISO sensitivity of 100 – 3200.
It should be noted that at the full resolution of 14 megapixels, sensitivity is limited to a maximum of ISO 1600. Higher ISOs can be used at lesser resolutions.
Dual image stabilization is included by combining high sensitivity and CCD Shift type image stabilization. We found that this worked well for freezing action in motion shots as well as minimizing blurs when at the maximum zoom range. This amount of image stabilization is uncommon in a camera in this price range.
This camera also has a framing guideline, face detection, auto red-eye removal, blink detection, and smile recognition.
Fujifilm should be commended for making this camera easy-to-use. As shown in Figure 8, when you choose a picture mode, the screen displays the mode along with pertinent information about that mode. This means that you don’t have to remember what the various icons are. You can simply dial through the sections to make the right choice.
This camera has three auto modes: full auto, scene recognition auto, and program auto. This allows the user to choose between the auto modes. The program auto mode uses an automatic mode but allows the user to select the settings for certain features like the white balance and exposure. All the auto modes work well and will be a bonus for the amateur photographer.
The scene modes are versatile, with everything from Fireworks to Snow. We especially liked the Text mode which allows you to take clear pictures of printed text or drawings.
While many other cameras have the smile and blink detection modes, this is the first camera that we reviewed that has a Natural & Flash mode. This mode takes two pictures with one press of the button. The first is taken with the flash off and the second with the flash on. This allows you to take a good picture when you aren’t sure if you need the flash or not. We found it to be more useful than expected.
A big, 10x optical zoom was a surprise in such a small camera. Thanks to the Fujinon lens, whether wide angle or zoomed to the fullest, pictures were sharp and detailed. The lens is shown in the extended position in Figure 9.
We were not surprised to find that when using the highest resolution and ISO levels, some noise was introduced into the photos. Indoor shots without the flash were susceptible to this, but using the flash and/or the Natural & Flash setting helped.
Photos at or under ISO 800 were excellent. Color representation was good. Some colors were a bit muted, but not enough to be problematic for most users. Photos were very detailed and macro shots were excellent.
We were surprised to find that Fujifilm removed the popular F (Finepix color) button that was found in most of their previous cameras, but we found that these settings were still available in the main menu.
[nextpage title=”Video and Extra Features”]
The Fujifilm T190 has four additional features: HD video, face recognition, photobook assist, and motion panorama.
Video is taken at 720p at 30 frames per second in a 16:9 format (1,280 x 720 pixels). The video is smooth and detailed. The microphone is adequate, although the sound is monorail. While Fuji suggests using at least a class 4 card for video, we found that a class 10 card gave much superior results. We appreciated the ability to zoom in and out while taking video, a feature that is not available on all cameras.
The Face Recognition in this camera is quite sophisticated. It goes further than the usual face detection that can focus on a face. The Fujifilm face recognition allows you to store (or register) the faces of up to eight people whom you photograph often. Then when taking a picture of a group of people, it will recognize your “friends” and will prioritize them in the frame. If you store the name of people in an image you can use the camera’s image search function to quickly find all other shots of that individual on the memory card. In actual use, however, this function is a bit complicated and doesn’t always work. The registration fails often for no obvious reason. So it is something that you have to spend a lot of time to actually get to work.
We were impressed by Fujifilms Motion Panorama System. It allows you to take three pictures for the camera to stitch together into a panorama. After you take the first picture, a yellow cross appears at the right side of the picture and a white circle with a cross appears on the left, as shown in Figure 10. When you move the camera to the right, the yellow cross moves to the left. When the yellow cross is positioned inside the white circle, the second picture is taken automatically. You do the same with the third picture. The camera then stitches the three photos together, and they are perfectly aligned. We were quite impressed with the simple sophistication of this system.
The Photobook Assist feature allows you to tag the pictures that you want to include in a photobook. You can even choose the photo to use for the front cover. After you’ve made your selections, the camera will create a simulation of a photobook that you view on the screen. In a similar manner, you can also tag the images that you would like to upload to Facebook and/or YouTube.
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
The main specifications for the Fujifilm Finepix T190 and T200 cameras include:
- Dimensions: 3.7 x 1.9 x 0.9 inches (97 x 56.5 x28.1 mm)
- Weight: 4.7 ounces (134 grams), excluding battery and memory card
- Resolution: 14 megapixels
- Sensor: 1/2.3-inch CCD with primary color filter
- Memory Card: SD/SDHC
- Internal Memory: None
- Battery: NP-45A Lithium-ion battery
- Lens: Fujinon 5-50 mm zoom lens with f/3.4 to f/5.6 aperture
- Zoom: 10x optical zoom covering 28-280 mm (35 mm camera equivalent)
- Screen: 2.7-inch rear TFT LCD with 230,000 pixels
- Shutter Speed: (Auto mode) ¼ sec. to 1/2000 sec., (All other modes) 8 sec. to 1/2000 sec.
- Image Stabilization: CCD Shift type Image Stabilization
- ISO: 3200 maximum sensitivity
- Video: 720p at 30 frames per second
- Number of Screen Modes: 21
- Self-timer: Approx. 10 sec. / 2 sec. delay
- More Information: http://www.fujifilm.com
- Price in the US*: USD 149
*Researched at walmart.com on the day we published this article.
The Fujifilm Finepix T190 packs a lot into a slim package. Both the design and the build quality of the camera are very good. What makes it remarkable is the excellent 10x optical zoom and the 14-megapixel CCD with first-rate image stabilization.
The camera performs very well, which is notable given the price. It includes all of the perks that have come to be expected in point-and-shoot cameras, like scene modes, blink detection, red-eye removal, face detection, and versatile shooting modes.
In addition, it has three useful auto modes that turn the camera from a fully automatic point-and-shoot, to a semi-user-controlled camera.
The T190 has the easiest panorama mode that we’ve ever seen and a wonderful Natural & Flash mode that takes two pictures, one with flash and one without. On top of that it is easy-to-use. We also give Fujifilm extra praise for making their website easy to navigate. They also make the product manuals easy to find by putting them both on the included software disk and on the website.
It’s powerful mix of features and minimal drawbacks make the Fujifilm Finepix T190 a good camera for an everyday family point-and-shoot camera. Its low price makes it a good-value choice as well.
- Quality build
- Small and slim
- Excellent feature set
- Good photos and video
- Excellent panoramic shot capture
- Can zoom while video recording
- Useful Natural & Flash mode
- Text scene mode
- Lighted on/off button
- Screen is very faint in bright sunlight
- Can’t access memory card when tripod is attached
- Face recognition mode difficult to get to work
- Inadequate latch on battery door