The Acceptance Speech (realmedia, 1678kb)
- Image quality, image quality, image quality. At the end of the day, this is what matters. And the FinePix has, I do believe, the third best image quality of any mid-range consumer camera (behind the Canon S-series, and the Olympus Camedia D-series). Gorgeous shots, very consistently.
- 6x Zoom. When you start looking for greater than 3x, you narrow the candidate pool immensely. However, when shooting wildlife (which I'm going to be in, like, Serengeti National Park), zoom counts. It's just too hard to get close to the furry buggers.
- Form factor. This is a compact, though not "ultra-compact," model. But it is just about the smallest camera with this much zoom. Also, it happens to be shaped like a camera with a sturdy right hand grip, a lens housing you can get your left hand under, and an electronic viewfinder you can stick your eye up to. This gives you a very good SLR-style grip on the thing, for steady shooting.
- Eats the right kind of things (for me). Memory is SmartMedia, which my laptop also reads natively. And power is AAs, which I just happened to buy two sets of NiMH rechargeables, with a compact rapid recharger. (Also, AAs beat proprietary lithium ion batteries, when you're in the Okavango Delta without a power outlet, and you go dead. I can slap in some spare alkalines and still be in business.)