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I own several cameras and yet always revert to this one, which on first glance when competing with an slr, canon and even my iphone should be the runt of the litter. However I can't recommend it enough and always opt to take it out on walks, bike rides, nights out and even to events where I want to capture movement (racing) - it copes with them all.
The above could be expected from most cameras, however this one is nearly 3 years old and has survived many events, many more infact than one would expect for its sub £150 price tag (in 2006). I have dropped it, sat on it and dropped it in water (not submerged) and it has survived - a testiment to the great build quality.
Aswell as beating it up, I have also had the chance to test out many of its settings, of which there are many, all controled through the wheel on the top. It has the standard macro, movement, portrait, nighttime, landscape, video etc settings, all of which I have used to varying success through my ameateur photography career. There are just enough functions to make this camera great for an ameateur but there aren't enough if you're a serious photographer - you'd get bored and frustrated.
However, all the great photo taking features, brilliant life span and nice price, there is a downside. It only takes AA batteries and uses XD cards.
I find AA batteries very cumbersome, I always find myself searching for a set which are charged as using standard AA's is pointless, they last for a few photos before dying- highly frustrating. I also find XD cards very frustrating, they are uncompatible with many of my friends cameras and are uncompatible with the card slot on both of my laptops.
If this camera had a built in/specialist battery and took SD cards that would make it the perfect product. Perhaps the battery issue has been solved in other Fuji's but I know the XD card is here to stay.
Otherwise a brilliant camera.
This is my second digital camera, and i must say that i was suprised by how good this product is, and how much quality you recieve for such a small fee! I'm not a camera whizz, but i know a good quality photo when i see one!
It is extremely easy to use, and the menu's are easily accesible. This camera has a brilliant zoom function for taking pictures of more distant objects - and these pictures are crystal clear!
The battery life is suprisingly good for a digital camera - i have been able to snap over 250 images before the low battery icon started flashing on the screen.
One of the only downsides to this camera is that it has a TINY internal memory - which consequently means that you may have to fork out another 10-15 pounds for a memory card. Apart from that, i belive that this is one of the best value digital cameras on the market, and can be used by anyone - old or young!
I spent ages looking for a high spec compact with good manual control option.
This one is stunning. Solid build. It is the only model to use the ccd from their professional SLRs (which are probably the best that money can buy in low light, always a challenge to digital cameras).
When you switch it on it comes to life very quickly. The focus is fast. It can be used without file compression (RAF files, fuji's RAW format) for proffesional file manipulation.
Do not be put off buy prices as low as £75 now as it will easily stand up against newer compacts (even many prosumers) at 4 times the price.
I really cannot fault it, although it will eat through cheaper AA cells. I buy lithium AA cells on the internet which cost a little more up front but last much, much longer.
Buy it if you want a cheap compact While they are still available. Buy one if you want a really top spec compact. Buy one if you are a real photographer who enjoys manual control. Buy one if you are just a snapper!
In fact I may even buy another as a spare!