Fuji FZ-3000

This unusual-looking camera looks like a sci-fi prop, but do you need a degree in Space to use it?

Strapping great BIG CAMERA

Fuji FZ-3000 Zoom Date
Camera: £0.99
Postage: £3.15
Total: £4.14

This strange-looking 1991 camera looks super-complicated and very technological.  Actually though, it’s pretty simple.  It’s a versatile point-and-shoot automatic that takes 35mm film.  You hold it sort of like a pair of binoculars – except there’s just the one hole to look through.  There’s a handy strap on the side where you slide your hand in and feels more like a old video camera than a stills camera.

It’s pretty large for 35mm camera, the big lens and the zoom accounting for a lot of the space, but it still feels a bit larger than it really needs to be – again, like a video camera.

Reasonably Large

The unusual design does allow for a reasonably large lens.  It’s a pretty flexible zoom lens which ranges from 38mm which is slightly wide-angle to 115mm which is a useful telephoto length.  It also opens up quite wide (for this sort of zoom) to an aperture of  f/4.5.  Both of these factors should let a lot of light in, which is always a good start for a camera.

The controls are simpler than they look in the pics.  Most of the buttons are for setting the date, which as the name suggests gives you the option to ruin your pictures by imprinting them with the time and date the picture was taken.  Aside from that there’s a zoom dial plus three preset zooms you can jump to, flash control, self-timer, landscape and macro modes.  I had trouble getting the macro mode to work – I think it’s only intended to be used when the zoom is fully extended, which is kind of the opposite to how a lot of cameras work – instead of going up close, you stand back and zoom in so much that it looks up-close – it’s sort-of the same trick that the new dual-camera smart phones use to give you a limited depth of field in portrait mode.

The flash on top was an add-on originally, but came with my camera.  It is only really intended for extending the flash range when using a long zoom as it completely washes anything out close-up, it is so bright.  Thankfully it can either be turned off, folded down or easily removed entirely.

It can handle a wide range of films from ISO 25-1600 which it unwinds completely when put into the camera before winding back one frame after each shot.  While this does mean the pre-printed numbers on the film run backwards, the design is intended to protect already-taken pictures from exposure if the camera back is accidentally opened.  Since the catch to open the back is where you slide your hand into the strap, that is not an entirely unlikely occurence.

BIG pics

Ilford FP4
Cost: £0.88
Expired: Feb-11
ISO: 125
Format/Type: BW negative
Exposures: 24
Processing: £0.27
Full Total: £1.15
Cost per shot: £0.05
My Rating: 8

There are some pretty decent shots here.  Good contrast, good detail and clarity.  The grain doesn’t get in the way – you do notice it – but that’s just a characteristic of this film.  It’s the same film I used in the Zenit ET and in the Holga, which at their best produced similar-quality shots, but needed a lot more work to achieve.  With the Fuji FZ-3000 it was easy, but also there was less control – when you’re just framing the shot and pressing the button then it’s a less-involved process and the results feel like they lack a little of the character shown in shots from those other two.

That may also be down to the subject matter.  With a zoom lens you can pick out shots from further away, but lose intimacy in the process.  With a more technologically-advanced camera you have less imperfections, but lose some of the charm of working with cameras which produce unpredictable results.

The Fuji FZ-3000 is probably one of the first bridge cameras – meaning a camera that bridged the gap between point-and-shoot and SLRs.  A big, versatile lens, zooming viewfinder and option flash, but still simple to use while delivering good, consistent results.  I can’t really fault the results, but it’s the size of this camera which would keep it out of the favourites bag.  For the space it consumes I could have three quality point-and-shoots or an SLR with a much larger lens on, and it can’t compete with that.

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