Product Type: Fujifilm digital cameras
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A no-frills aim and shoot camera that gives decent photo quality
Fujifilm Finepix AV250
Member Name: aethys
Fujifilm Finepix AV250
Advantages: Ease of use, value for money
Disadvantages: Some focusing and photo blighting issues
I had planned a gift for my father who is visiting us this spring and picked up this camera so that he could store his memories during his stay with us. I have had a few trial runs with this piece and now seem confident enough to attempt a review.
Firstly, I picked it from the Amazon marketplace for around £50ish. Currently it shows £53 on the marketplace and £59 on Amazon.com. So it is a budget camera and should not necessarily come with the frills. Perfect for an old gentleman who simply wants to aim and shoot without necessarily being bothered about the more fancy features. However, it does comes with the bells and whistles that I realised later and hence is very good value for money. Secondly, it is very is very easy to use. Thirdly, it takes decent pictures. Perfect to store those memories without trying to attempt anything artistic having aesthetical relevance. And finally, it has a brilliant frill - high definition movie recording feature. Not sure whether my father would necessarily want to record movies but then I can very well record a memorable evening family chatter and banter and download it onto my computer for keepsake.
IS IT A GOOD BUY?
Surely, if you are not fussy about super quality photos then it is a perfect buy. BTW, if you are an average person with no great photographic talent it is quite impossible to distinguish between a decent quality images from its super quality photograph. Also, you should be a minimalistic person who is not obsessive about the bells and whistles that adorn a product but buys things for what they are basically supposed to do - in this case take good quality photographs.
At a glance (from manual)
LCD Screen: 2.7 in
Dimensions: 93 x 60 x 28mm
HD Movies: Yes
Manual Controls: No
Batteries: 2 AA
Memory Cards: SD/SDHC
I have seen many persons basing their digital camera decisions on the megapixels it has. I believe that it is a good boast but it does not necessarily result automatically in good photograph. 'Megapixels is not everything' for taking a good photo. Also it depends on what you use the camera for. If you like to take family photos or shoot holiday pictures (like in this case) and view it on a computer or laptop, all you need is 4 megapixels at best. Yes, only 4, nothing more. Why is this so? Because megapixel literally means million pixels and this is the amount of pixels that the camera can capture from its lens. So what it means to the user? It means how much pixels will the user use even if the camera is designed for capturing 16 million (in this case). If you do not print (90% of time) then you can only use the maximum pixels that your computer can offer you. A high end computer monitor has a resolution of 2048×1536 or 3,145,728 pixels (approximately 3 Megapixels) or not more than 4.
So if you plan to see the photos on computer - 4 megapixels is enough and 16 megapixel offered by this camera is a luxury which you cannot use.
What about printing photos? I actually went and checked as to how the megapixels are related to the print quality. I would like to share some findings which would help you decide things for yourself - not with purchasing this camera but any camera as such.
Maximum Print size of 5 in x 7 in with a resolution (dots per inch) of 2048 x 1536 would need a 3 megapixel camera for good quality print.
Maximum Print size of 8 in x 10 in with a resolution (dots per inch) of 2560 x 1920 would need a 5 megapixel camera for good quality print.
Normally, you would print with a resolution of 240 or 300 DPI (dots per inch) which giver super quality print. If we need a 300 dpi (highest quality) print of size 8 in x 10 in (a normal family album size), the calculations for the number of megapixels needed would be 300*8*300*10 = 7,200,000 megapixels (less than 8 megapixels).
With this camera having 16 megapixels, it is technically possible to get a super quality print photo of the size of 12 in x 15 in (16,000,000/300x300), which is an enormously large photograph and will be printed for special purpose only.
Verdict - The megapixel offered by this camera far exceeds what you would normally need. It's nice to have but not something that I would highlight.
This camera has a 3x optical zoom. Optical zoom is what is called a real zoom. I personally never get bothered by digital zoom which is basically image expansion as even normally done on a camera. Optical zoom, on the other hand, actually brings image closer ensuring quality and resolution is maintained. When the lens of the camera moves forward then a greater optical zoom is achieved. Higher the optical zoom, better it is. So how good is a 3x optical zoom? 3x optical zoom would bring the image 3x closer. What needs to be considered is the focal length, which is 32 - 96mm. It is pretty weak.
Verdict - This camera is not good for taking long distance shots. I would say this would be perfect for normal snapshots, parties, family portraits and closer objects but would struggle to get good close-up shots of anything longer than 5 feet away. Normal shots of long distance objects would be fine but you are bound to miss the details, if that is important.
LCD Screen -
It is easiest to frame shots using the LCD screen. Sometimes the glare of the sun creates problem and you remember the need of the viewfinder. But at this price point it is not possible to have a camera that also offers a viewfinder. Finepix A250 does fine by not having a viewfinder. The camera has a standard 2.7 inches screen size which is the norm for any standard point-and-shoot camera. The quality of the screen is slightly basic.
Verdict - As good a size as anything else, in this price range and similar point-and-shoot cameras. Compromised on quality, which might be an issue if the sun shines brightly (not here in Scotland J)
It has an inbuilt flash positioned in the middle.
Verdict - Very nice because there is no way that your fingers and thumb would be anywhere near so as to block the flash light.
Dimensions, Weight and Controls
It is slightly bigger than a normal compact camera but to compensate it provides firm grip and dimpled resting place at the back of the camera for your thumb. Good for an old man whose thumb might start tiring after a day of photography. Nothing much to say than that it is light and compact. Good, handy stuff but you need to be careful with this shiny piece because it does not look sturdy.
There is an on-off button and a shutter button on the top. At the back of the top you have the zoom control where you press one end to zoom in and the other to zoom out. Midway there is the button to change menus on the LCD and to review the photos taken. Lower down you have the main controls - exposure compensation, deleting unwanted photos, selecting flash mode, activating self -timer and for shooting close subjects.
This camera has the ability to shoot High Definition movies. High-definition movies has rapidly become a must-have feature with even budget camera offering this exciting possibility of using the same camera body and lenses for both still and movie shooting. However, it requires a memory card of class 4 and above (expensive than standard). This camera can shoot 1280 x 720 pixels resolution HD movie for a maximum of 9 minutes. This is very impressive.
Verdict - This is an impressive feature for making short movies and recording memorable vents for posterity. 9 minutes is good length for a birthday cake cutting ceremony or a kiss or even a short thank you speech or a funny moment.
Memory Cards -
There is no internal memory so you will need a memory card even before you start. That means you need to spend on buying the memory card SD or SDHC and if you plan to take HD movies make sure they are more than class 4.
Verdict - Expensive proposition but absolutely necessary. I have the opinion that providing some internal memory to take care of a sudden need in case the memory card gets filled up would have been wonderful.
These include white balance (to adjust colour), exposure compensation (lighten or darken your photos) and ISO (add more light / freeze action).
PHOTO SHOOT METHODS
There are number of preset modes that can be used for taking photos, a good feature when the user is not well versed with the intricacies of photography. The preset mode selects the most optimum setting for your photograph and there is no way you can make any errors of judgement. The shooting modes available are natural light, portrait, babies, landscape, sports, night, fireworks, sunset, snow, beach, party, flower and text - pretty much everything that you might possibly need for a photography setting.
It also can take photographs in the near range - as close as 10cm away or even nearer from the subject, which is remarkable for a budget camera.
It is however not perfect for shooting movie object in a still photo mode because of slow shutter speed leading to slow turn on and shutter delays.
And now to the most important thing to consider while deciding on any camera - hoe good is the photo quality? Considering that it is a budget camera, the photo quality is quite up there at the top. The colours are vibrant, the images effervescent and the focus sharp. The print also would come out very nice provided you apply decent resolutions and not try to be over ambitious. Otherwise you would get some colour bleed and blighting.
The outdoor shots are nearly as nice as any other within this measly budget. Focus is sharp and colour dazzle. There appears to be some impair where there is inadequate light.
Zooming works well as long as you do not try to see the photo at full resolution on the computer. However works fine with low resolution.
As for taking photos of people it works very well in adequate light. Indoor shots taken with flash alter the colour balance. However, indoor shots without the use of flash make for more natural photos though it reduces the sharpness.
Finepix AV250 is a simple aim and shoot camera which is easy to use and have enough frills to interest the novice or those who are simply interested in recording memories rather than indulge in fanciful photography.
For its simplicity, low price and decent quality photos, it deserves an A.
Also in Ciao UK under same name and title
Summary: Finepix AV250 is a simple aim and shoot camera which is easy to use and have enough frills.
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