The quality is simply stunning...
by John Henshall
The Fujix DS-300 uses the same two-thirds of an inch 1.3 million (1280 x 1000) pixel sensor as the SLR-based DS-505 and 515 cameras and picture quality is at least as good as these excellent cameras - for a fraction of the price. The camera will be available in June at a price of £1800 in the UK, US $2500. I guess this is a high-end camera for all kinds of business use, although the camera's magnesium body is reminiscent of Fuji's medium format film auto focus cameras and will most certainly appeal to professional photographers - in particular security, police and medical - but also as a general purpose digital camera. The camera handles just like a conventional film camera with a built-in zoom equivalent to 35-105mm, plus a 2x digital zoom which doubles the focal lengths but restricts the image to 640 x 480 pixels.
There is no LCD panel, but the camera provides a high quality 625 line PAL video output, enabling images to be viewed on any television monitor. There is no internal storage but the camera takes standard size Type II ATA Flash memory PC cards, or SmartMedia miniature cards (as used in the DS-7) with a PC card adapter. A major 'plus' is that images are stored in standard TIFF or JPEG formats, with a choice of 'Fine', 'Normal' or 'Basic' compression providing storage for 21, 43 or 84 images on a 15MB card. Switch the image resolution to 640 x 480 pixels and the number of JPEG images stores jumps to 84, 161 or 296. Uncompressed, the card will store 5 1280 x 960, or 23 640 x 480 pixel, TIFF images. The ability to take the card out of the camera, insert it into a card reader and open the images direct in applications such as Adobe Photoshop without needing any special plug-in or other software, is a major advantage of Fuji digital cameras. Access to images is almost instant - there is nothing more frustrating than using poor acquire software and waiting for downloads via a slow serial cable. There is also an additional base unit which allows shooting at 4.5 frames per second and allows connection to a computer via a SCSI port. It also makes it possible to print direct to Fuji printers, without the need for a computer. I now carry this camera everywhere with me, downloading the images to my Macintosh PowerBook via its PC card slot. Quality is simply stunning.
For more information on the Fujix DS-300, try the Fuji UK site