After six months in the making, the blog-friendly Z5fw is finally here. A sweet little number in the tradition of Sony's Cyber-shot T1, sleek with a sliding front and bright 2.5-inch LCD, it's not really expensive, either: the 6-megapixel, 3X optical zoom camera costs $219, has plenty of features, and is great in most lighting situations.
But I'm not planning to review every little silver camera that falls in my lap (ouch). This baby stands out because it is supposed to have tools to make a blogger's life easier. Follow the jump to see each blogger perk coupled with my strong opinion. (Hint: Some are great, some need work, and some should run back home to Mommy, crying all the way.)
Bloggosize It: The most trumpeted feature is an auto-resizing tool that lets you shoot at full resolution, then do a "save as" at 640x480, the better to fit on your little patch of real estate in the blogosphere. When you are reviewing your shots, you just hit the F button and then select "Trimming for Blog." You can crop or not, but either way, you save the file in the low-res format. It's a great idea, but there's this problem: The largest image we typically run on the Giz is 500 pixels across. I don't know what fancy blog Fujifilm had in mind, but I need to shrink things down a little tighter than VGA res. Also, there's no file optimization. The resulting file is still over 100KB, rather than a nice tight 25KB.
Transmit (to 1998): When you are in the "Trimming for Blog" mode, you can press the F button again to wirelessly transmit the file via infrared (IrSimple interface). I love the idea of a low-powered wireless transmission technique, as so many blogging missions require fast photo management. However, I don't much encounter the IR interfaces on laptops anymore, and that's why I use for field posts. As lovely as IR was in the past, and some wise commenter is likely to tell me that IR will soon make a comeback, but these are the days of RF, and if Fujifilm really cared about bloggers, it would have included a Bluetooth file-transfer tool.
Globebloggin': A true blogger has a bag packed by the door, ready to hop on a plane for Timbuktu or Toledo, OH, to spend $3,000 getting a 200-word post up online before his competition does. That's why I love the Z5fd's Time Difference feature. You just plug in the time difference between your home and your destination. Then when you get back, you just flick the setting back to Home, and all of your files should be properly timestamped (according to your locale).
In Your Face: Fujifilm has boasted about its Intelligent Face Detection software for a while, but I've never noticed its auto-crop function before. If you have used the detection button to take your pic, go into "Trimming" then press the detection button again. As you can see in the shots of the very handsome man below, the camera automatically crops and re-centers the image around the face. You can cancel, accept or spend a second or two more tweaking, but it's a great way to get would-be close-ups of Steve Jobs posted fast, even when you're blogging from the nosebleed section.
Real Bloggers Don't Use Flash: You guys all know how annoying it is to see a product shot with a blinding flash blasted right through the middle of it. It's hard to get the right balance of natural light and sharp detail when trying to show off a new device. Fujifilm has done an admirable job with its Natural Light setting (not to be confused with a beverage I consumed too much of in college). Still, I have to say, it's a little ISO happy sometimes. It might even come down to personal taste, but I say, if the Natural Light shots are looking a little gritty, go in and ratchet down your ISO: the camera is surprisingly good at low-light shots, even around 400. See no-flash examples below.
So, it's a nice camera, in fact, further proof that Fujifilm is no longer as categorically crappy as it once was, but can this baby blog? Not yet. Fujifilm: We don't know where you got your impression of tha bloggin' life, but there's a little more going on here. That said, please try again, because anything that keeps me from launching Photoshop out in the field would be sweet indeedy.
Product Page [Fujifilm]