Man alive! You think the American economy is in rough shape? Japan’s economy shrank 12.7 percent from October to December of last year, the sharpest fall since the end of World War II. Combine that with the unusually strong Japanese Yen, which makes Japanese products, like the new Fuji FinePix Z30, FinePix J20fd and J250, more expensive in foreign (non-Japanese) markets, and you’ll get a sense of just how rough things are out there. What a time to be alive! The cameras themselves look fine, about as good as a point-and-shoot can, but you sorta feel for Fuji and other Japanese companies, trying to sell their well-produced wares to a market (USA!) that doesn’t have any money to spend.
But enough of that armchair analysis, let’s talk cameras. The FinePix Z30, pictured above, is the more “consumery” of the three models I just mentioned, with Fuji describing it as being for Generation Z, which, according to Wikipedia, is grade schoolers. (I’m 23, so I think I’m Generation Y; in any event Generation Y and Z are doomed to obscurity, barring a cataclysmic war.) It’s got a 10.0-megapixel sensor, a 2.7-inch LCD and a 3X optical lens. Again, if this is for Joe Consumer, or, apparently, Joe Consumer’s 10-year-old daughter, then those numbers should hold up well. It’s got the standard innovations we’ve seen creep their way into digital cameras over the years: face recognition, scene recognition (the camera’s ISO, shutter speed and white balance, etc. change in response to the environment), etc. It’s a point-and-shoot; what do you want? She’ll be out in March for $179.
Then there’s the FinePix J Series, which isn’t as fancy and is more for “budget-conscious” consumers. That’s a polite way of saying “people up to their eyeballs in debt, but who need a point-and-shoot to show their neighbors, “Hey, times are tough but we can still manage.” (I imagine that’s damn near everyone saying that these days.) The guts are similar—J20fd: 10.0-megapixel sensor, 3X optical zoom, 2.7-inch LCD; J250: 10-megapixels sensor, 5X optical zoon, 3-inch LCD—but the body (pictured above is the J250) is, shall we say, less attractive than the Z30. Outside of the lesser body, these two look the same. These two are $129 and $199, respectively.
In other, completely unrelated news, Pryda’s new song, “Loaded,” (labeled “Pryda 13 preview” on his MySpace) is pretty good.