24 January, 2010

The FujiFilm FinePix 2600Z

I want to write a brief review of my digital camera. Good luck finding this camera in any store; they don't make it any more, let alone sell it. Amazon currently offers three used models for sale at $50, but as with most things in technology, the manufacturer moved on.

So the camera is a FujiFilm FinePix 2600. It offers 3x optical zoom with a 2MegaPixel image at highest resolution. It comes with a slot for a SmartMedia card—not an SD card: it's that old. It takes videos up to 20 seconds long, albeit without sound.

I first bought a 2600 in 2001, when they cost about $300. A year or two later, I dropped it on the floor of the kitchen where I lived, thereby breaking it. I wanted to buy another one, but already they were no longer available, since FujiFilm had moved on to the SD cards, so I bought a refurbished one on EBay (I think). I took better care of it, and it still works great.
By today's standards, 2MP and 3x optical zoom might seem inadequate—a cheap mobile phone will do better these days—but they aren't. They're perfect for most photos, even up to 8x10. I have contributed several photos to Wikipedia, and they all look great.

For me, that's the single biggest quality of this camera: the images look great. Members of my immediate and extended family have more recent or fancier camers, but they don't take very good photos in my opinion. I can't say what it is—I hate the cliché, but there really is a certain je ne sais quois about the photos taken with my camera.
My son, for example, has a two year-old Kodak with all kinds of whiz-bang features, including sepia-tinted photos. It's slim and lightweight, with a large, bright display on the back. It probably uses less energy, and its SD cards can hold an enormous number of photos.

In comparison, my FinePix looks something like an early 80s home computer must seem when placed next to a modern laptop. But you couldn't pay me to use the Kodak: no matter where we jiggle its settings, the photos always look far less vibrant than the FinePix's. About the only good photos the Kodak does take are the black-and-white and sepia photos. It takes reasonable videos, I guess, but when I want a good photo, I go hunting for my camera.

I wouldn't dare extrapolate from one camera to an entire brand's range, and I'm sure Kodak makes great digital cameras, but if I'm still happy with a ten year-old camera, is something wrong with me?

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