While we’re on the subject of menus, the Z1 is one of the first cameras to feature Fuji’s new menu design, and it is a massive improvement over the old one. It’s very simple and easy to use, with each option on the main list at the left of the screen spawning sub-menus at the right of the screen, with a brief description of the selected menu item appearing at the top of the screen. This system will be familiar to anyone who has ever used the Windows operating system on a PC. Hopefully other manufacturers will take note, because a lot of camera menu systems can be bewildering, especially to a first-time user.
Like most of Fujifilm’s recent cameras, the Z1 has an excellent movie mode, capable of shooting at a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels at 30 frames per second with good quality audio, with recording duration limited only by card capacity. A 512MB xD Picture card will provide approximately 7.4 minutes of recording time at full resolution and frame rate. A smaller 320 x 240 resolution is available, which not surprisingly doubles the recording time.
With its impressive design and performance it would be nice if the Z1’s qualities also included superb picture quality, but sadly this is not the case. Fujifilm’s proprietary SuperCCD HR technology has much to commend it, not least its superior low-light performance, but at the end of the day it is still interpolating its pixels from a smaller number of actual sensor cells. In very high resolution cameras such as the superb FinePix S7000 this can produce impressive results, but in the case of the Z1, where the 5.1 megapixel image is interpolated from a sensor with less than three million actual photo sensors, the results are somewhat disappointing.