Product Type: Fujifilm digital cameras
Newest Review: ... down to an unimpressive 80 cm; there *is* a macro, but that only works between 8 and 15 cm, so there's a big gap in the middle where... more
Fujifilm Finepix 2200
Member Name: davidbuttery
Fujifilm Finepix 2200
Advantages: Very cheap, picture quality okay for the spec
Disadvantages: Small feature set made worse by odd mode-based limitations, uncomfortable to hold, SmartMedia memory
** Introduction **
It's funny sometimes how things come full circle... years and years ago now, back when I was simply looking for a camera to use every day and before I became interested (some might say obsessed!) with the things as collectibles, Fujifilm's FinePix 2200 was a model I quite seriously considered for a while, before rejecting it on account of its lack of an optical zoom. However, all these years later and I've finally got one after all! This is a rather basic 2.1-megapixel digital camera from 2001 - note that the FinePix 2300 is *exactly* the same unit for all practical purposes; the 2200 was simply the Dixons/Currys "exclusive" version.
** Looks and handling **
It's fairly ugly, isn't it? Even for ten years ago, it's no looker, and if you use one of these in public you'd better have quite a thick skin, as not for a single second will you be able to fool anybody that you're shooting with anything other than the photographic equivalent of an old banger. That said, old bangers can be worthy transport in certain limited circumstances, so we shouldn't write off the 2200 simply on grounds of age and (lack of) style. However, I don't find its shape all that comfortable to handle: it's a little bit heavy (being powered by four AA batteries) and it's all too easy for some of the corners to dig into your hands.
** Optics and screen **
There's no optical zoom. I thought I'd better get that out of the way right at the start of this section, so that those looking for a cheap zoom digicam can cross it off their "possibles" list straight away. There's no autofocus either: this is a *basic* camera in that regard. What you get is a simple fixed-focus lens, at a focal length equivalent of a fairly bog-standard 36 mm, with two apertures (f/4.8 or f/11) controlled automatically; f/4.8 is *slow* and indeed for that reason, and also for others which I'll come to in due course, the 2200 is a pretty poor choice for indoor social shots. It focuses down to an unimpressive 80 cm; there *is* a macro, but that only works between 8 and 15 cm, so there's a big gap in the middle where the Fujifilm struggles badly.
The screen is not at all impressive, though it was probably good enough for 2001's consumers, who for the most part were still unused to an LCD being provided at all on a budget model. There's nothing wrong (for the era) with its 1.6-inch size, and it's pleasant that it's just a little recessed from the back of the camera to protect it from being scratched too much. However, the resolution is *terrible* - a mere 55,000 pixels, one of the lowest counts I can remember seeing, and it's dim, grainy and laggy; better than nothing, but not much. As usual for an old camera, button ergonomics round the back are a bit of a mess, too, with everything squashed into the top third of the rear plate.
** Features and settings **
The FinePix 2200 splits its limited range of features between "automatic" and "manual" modes, but it does so in a very strange way. Normally, you'd expect to have access to a certain number of settings in auto mode, and then add some more for manual. Not here: set the 2200 to M and you *lose* the ability to use some of the camera's features! Should you wish to make use of the self-timer, for example, the camera *must* be set to A. This is also the case for the FinePix's continuous shooting mode, though frankly I can't think of much reason why you'd *want* to use that as it's so feeble: a shooting speed of 2 fps sounds okay, but how about if I also tell you that you can only do it in 0.3-mp (640 x 480 pixel) resolution? Quite.
Should you prefer the dubious delights of M mode, you'll find that in place of the self-timer and continuous options you will now have access to those old stalwarts of the digicam world, white balance and exposure compensation. These are - surprise, surprise - rather limited: for example, the EC offers you a disappointing range of -0.9 to +1.5 EV - but at least they do have a discernible effect, unlike the camera's movie mode. Why should that be, you may ask? The answer to that is quite simple: it hasn't actually got one! That's actually not such a loss, however, as early Fujifilms that *did* offer a movie mode tended to have one so pathetic that it was hardly worth talking about anyway.
** Photo quality **
The results you get from shooting with the 2200 are, in all honesty, not too bad. You will need good light if you're using the camera outdoors - the (unchangeable) ISO rating is 100 - but if you have that then for a 2 mp camera the snaps it produces are acceptable. Fujifilm has a long record of giving its cameras pleasing colour reproduction capabilities, and this model is no exception. They're not that soft for the resolution, either, in fact probably sharper than average for age and class. Clearly there's very little scope for printing *large* images, but at 6x4 size or so, not examined in excessively minute detail, the results are mostly adequate.
** Consumables **
Batteries are no problem in one sense, but a substantial problem in another sense. The 2200 takes a quad of AA cells, so getting one going is simplicity itself. The trouble is that its battery life is, for a four-AA camera, really rather unimpressive. You can increase it by turning the LCD off, but who remembers to do that nowadays? In any case, if you use direct USB image transfer to your computer, the screen remains on whatever you do. As such, a card reader is an essential piece of kit. Unfortunately this camera is so old that it even predates Fujifilm's love affair with the xD memory card. Instead you have to use the obsolete and expensive SmartMedia - and, by extension, also have a card reader on hand that will read the blasted things. Not good.
** Problems? **
Most of my complaints about the 2200 concern its (lack of) features, ugly shape, SmartMedia reliance etc. There don't seem to be too many actual _faults_ to report; the lack of a moving lens means that these things are quite robust and mostly still working well enough a decade after manufacture.
** Buying and verdict **
The FinePix 2200 is a very cheap digital camera to buy - you shouldn't have to go anywhere near £10 to get hold of one - which makes it superficially attractive. If only it used the sturdy CompactFlash memory format rather than the brittle and expensive SmartMedia it might make a fair choice to let the kids play with. For the adult photographer, though, despite the acceptable photo quality there are just too many compromises, especially the bizarre "either/or" setup when it comes to which features are available in which mode. A camera this old has to be unusually capable or unusually interesting to be recommended, and the 2200 is unfortunately neither.
Summary: Not really worth buying, even at its ultra-low price point
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