There's no tripod mount built into the camera, so to shoot hands-free, you have to put the camera in the included dock, then mount the dock on your tripod. Perhaps a more problematic omission for snapshot photographers is the lack of any ports on the Z1, aside from the one that connects the camera to the dock. The USB, A/V and power ports are built into the dock, which means that you'll have to take it and the requisite cables along if you want to download photos, hook up to a TV, or charge the battery away from home. There's also no optical viewfinder on the camera, which probably won't bother most people who buy it.
The Fujifilm FinePix Z1 helps you avoid all those confusing exposure and focus decisions by largely removing your ability to make them. There are just two autofocus options -- multi- and centre focus -- along with the macro mode, which focuses down to 75mm when the lens is at its widest angle. Similarly, exposure is fully automatic and locked into a 64-zone metering system. Shutter speeds range from 4 seconds to 1/1,000 second, and the aperture is fixed at f/3.5 at wide angle and f/4.2 at telephoto. You get a 36mm-to-108mm (35mm-camera equivalent) zoom range, which isn't ideal for shooting in small spaces, but we've seen worse.
For a modicum of control, you can make adjustments via exposure compensation to plus or minus 2EV, or select one of five scene modes (Natural Light, Sports, Night Scene, Portrait and Landscape). Careful snapshot photographers can also select white-balance presets -- including three fluorescent-light options -- and adjust light sensitivity from ISO 64 to ISO 800. There's also a choice of colour modes: Standard, Chrome (which is more vivid) and Black and White.
The 64mm LCD particularly lends itself to displaying the 640x480-pixel, 30fps movies that the Z1 can capture. With a 1GB xD-Picture Card, you can shoot almost 15 minutes of this reasonably high-quality video with monaural sound. Viewing options include normal playback, fast-forward, reverse and frame by frame, complete with volume control of the small but surprisingly clear speaker that's built into the left edge of the camera. You can also attach voice memos to stills and crop photos in playback mode.