By Edvarcl Heng
The compact camera seems to have reached the end of its tether. The megapixel race is largely over (consumers are seeing the relationship between increasing megapixel count at the same sensor size and increasing noise) and cameras can't seem to get any smaller.
The good: Chic design; CCD-shift stabilization; useful auction tool; 5x optical zoom. The bad: Irksome menu; overexposed images. The bottom line: The Z100fd is a good looker of a camera, but as they say, beauty is only skin deep.
So instead of practical additions, manufacturers are pushing out zany features. Some Nikon and Sony cams have Wi-Fi built-in. Olympus has digicams that are as tough as nails. Casio is partnering with YouTube. And the Fujifilm Z100fd, well, it's got a camera slider that glides… diagonally.
Yes, the Z100fd is fearless in the face of common slider design philosophy. Sony do it vertically. The first Fujifilm FinePix Z1 and Casio does it horizontal. So the oblique slider must be Fujifilm for thinking out of the box.
Functionally, the diagonal slider works the same as a sideward version--if you pull it from the side. It doesn't work when we tried from the top. But we like it for the glide mechanism moves with a smooth fluid motion.
But the Z100fd is more than a design aberration. It's one of the best-looking compact cameras to gallop out of the Fujifilm stable. In fact, we like to think that its brushed metal finish and straight utilitarian lines puts it on par with the best that Sony's got (the Cyber-shot T200).
It's solid in feel and weighty (138g). The two-tone color scheme chic. Buttons are functional in design with good tactile depth, and that's true even for the too-tiny Display and Playback nubs beneath the scroll wheel.