Fujifilm MX-2700 review
The Fujifilm MX-2700 is one of a number of two-million-pixel digital cameras appearing on the market.
In real terms, this means they're capable of capturing images at 1800 x 1200 pixels.
The MX-2700 is based on Fujifilm's MX-700 device and, if anything, it's even smaller and lighter. It's similar in looks and operation, with a few noticeable improvements. The grips on both the front and rear of the camera have been enlarged, making one-handed operation easier. The only other difference on the front is a lens cover, which is automatic - it snaps open whenever the camera is switched on and the record mode is selected, and closes when the camera is switched off.
The power switch has been moved to the top to make way for a monochrome LCD control display on the back, next to the 2in colour TFT image preview screen. Sadly, there's no brightness control for the TFT, so it can be difficult to see at times. The MX-2700 uses the same thumbwheel method of operation as its predecessor, but it's been modified for ease of use. Two buttons have been added next to the thumbwheel to make accessing the full range of features easier.
Operational features, with the exception of the increased resolution, are the same as for the MX-700. There are two resolution options - 1800 x 1200 and 640 x 480 pixels - and three levels of compression: Fine, Normal and Basic. Image files are stored as JPEGs on a removable Smart Media card. The lens has a 35mm equivalent focal length with a focus distance of 9cm to infinity. Other features enable you to choose between five different white-point settings and two aperture values. The MX-2700 also features 2.5x digital zoom.
Fujifilm also claims to have speeded up operation. The start-up time is a reasonable three seconds, and the times for shutter release and delay between shots have been improved, although you'll still have to wait a good eight seconds between shots in Fine compression mode. The increased resolution of captured images results in a noticeable delay when previewing shots. In our tests, it took an average of seven seconds between selecting the play mode and an image appearing on the display. The addition of a thumbnail preview mode is some compensation for this problem. If all you want to do is decide which shots to delete, this feature is very useful.
As you'd expect, the quality of the images produced is very good. However, the improvement over the 1.3- and 1.5-million- pixel devices isn't that great. Compression, even in Fine mode, still causes a degree of artefacting, and there's a noticeable loss of detail in images viewed at full size. That said, the MX-2700's images are among the best in the sub-£1000 bracket.
The improvement in image quality must be balanced against the disadvantages of increased resolution: bigger file sizes means fewer images can be stored on a single Smart Media card, download times are longer - it took us about two minutes to download one 1800 x 1200 pixel image - and viewing of images is delayed. There's also the additional cost: you can pick up an MX-700 for around £450, compared with £599 for this new device.
Images are downloaded to your Mac using the supplied cable and software. In addition to its own Picture Shuttle and EZ Touch applications, Fujifilm bundles Adobe PhotoDeluxe. Also included is an AC adaptor, so you don't have to run down the battery while downloading. The battery is a Lithium Ion rechargeable, and the AC adaptor doubles as a recharger. This means you don't have to spend a fortune on double AAs, although if the battery runs out while you're on the road, you can't replace it.