Fuji FinePix 40i

(02/06/2001) – Ever yearn to enjoy Mozart while photographing beautiful landscapes? You may think your wish has been granted with Fujifilm AG’s combination 2.4-megapixel digital camera/MP3 player, but regrettably the FinePix 40i can’t perform both functions at once.

As a camera, the $899 FinePix allows you to adjust white balance, set brightness from -1.5 to +1.5 EV, and use a macro setting for close-up photos. It has a digital zoom, and you can shoot up to 80 seconds of video with sound. Photos taken with the shipping unit I tested looked crisp and realistic, and videos were sharp, albeit dark. A 16MB SmartMedia card comes with the camera, but you’ll probably want to invest in a new card that has more memory, especially if you plan to use the FinePix as an MP3 player. A 64MB card will hold about an hour of music at a compression rate of 128 kbps.

Unfortunately, as a two-in-one device, the 40i may be more trouble than it’s worth-the MP3 player seems like an afterthought. To listen, I first attached a remote with playback settings to the camera, then attached headphones to the remote, and finally set up the software for downloading MP3 files to the camera. Fujifilm includes MP3 creation software. I found the remote extremely easy to use, and the music sounded quite clear.

Unless you buy multiple SmartMedia cards, you must store your photos and MP3s on the same card, which leaves less space for either function. And of course, using two functions in one device runs down the AA rechargeable batteries faster (a recharger is included).

To fully use this product, you’ll need to install and run more software on your PC. And would you feel safe tossing a $899 camera, instead of a much less expensive MP3 player, into your gym bag? In view of these issues, the main question about the Fujifilm FinePix 40i seems to be: Why?

FinePix 40i

PRO: Easy-to-use digital camera with many extra features.

CON: One device performing two major functions quickly exhausts memory and battery life.

VALUE: Good stand-alone camera, but don’t expect it to replace a separate MP3 player.

Street price: $899




Prices listed are in Cdn currency.

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