Still images can be recorded at a maximum of 4608 x 3456 pixels in the default 4:3 aspect, with further 4:3 options of 8MP and 4MP. Aside from this, the only other option is 16:9, which can be used up to a maximum resolution of 4608 x 2592 pixels. As might be expected the Z900 is JPEG only (no RAW options here), although compression can be set to either Fine or Normal quality.
The Z900 gets a 5x optical zoom that uses a folded-lens design, protected by a sliding front panel that also acts as the camera’s main on/off switch. In 35mm terms, this offers a focal range of 28-140mm. It’s by no means the widest on the market, although it should be enough to cover most day-to-day needs. Maximum aperture is not particularly fast ─ f/3.9 at 28mm, rising to f/4.9 at the telephoto end.
Shooting modes are very much of the point-and-shoot variety although to be fair, there is a good range on offer, including the three EXR-specific modes, each of which takes advantage of Fuji’s triple-layer sensor design in a different way. The first is a High Resolution mode for when maximum-sized images are the priority. The second, High ISO and Low Noise, offers better performance in low light, while the final option, Dymanic Range Priority, aims to retain as much shadow and highlight detail in high-contrast scenes as possible. If you’re unsure which one you should be using then the camera can be set to choose automatically.
Elsewhere there’s a new Automatic mode whereby the camera will automatically select an appropriate Scene mode, plus there are 15 individual Scene modes (collectively accessed via a single sub-menu, obviously), and a couple of Portrait specific modes whereby the Z900 can be ordered to shoot without flash, or to shoot both with and without in a single button press. The final shooting option is a Program mode that allows you some degree of control over basic shooting settings from White Balance to AF Mode and suchlike.
On top of all this there’s also a Panorama mode that allows you to make 120, 180 or even 360-degree panoramas simply by panning the camera in a predetermined direction with the shutter button held down. This is a lot of fun to use and the results are actually pretty good too.
The Z900 doesn’t offer any built-in digital filter effects to play around with, nor is there any way to tweak individual JPEG processing characteristics such as saturation and sharpness. You can however choose a Film Simulation profile, with the standard ‘Provia’ setting complemented by a more vivid ‘Velvia’ option. These names will undoubtedly sound familiar to old-school film photographers – they’re named after well-known 35mm film stock from Fujifilm. If only there was an ‘Astia’ slide-film option for muted portraits too. Oh well, you can’t have everything!
In addition there are three Dynamic Range settings – 100%, 200% and 400% – that, in theory, allow you to expand the Z900’s dynamic range beyond its default setting. In practice, however, we struggled to see how changing these settings made any great difference to high-contrast scenes.
Movies can be recorded at a maximum 1920 x 1080p Full HD at 30fps. And in keeping with other Fuji EXR models, the Z900 also offers some high-speed movie modes (albeit in reduced resolution) including 60fps and 120fps options
One further trick up the Z900’s sleeve worth a quick mention is the ability to upload your images directly to Facebook and YouTube. Although not exactly new to the Z900 we expect it’ll nonetheless prove popular with its target audience. You’ll need to install the software using the bundled disc to get it to work, mind.