Fujifilm FinePix A205 Review
Offered at an entry-level price, Fuji equipped the FinePix A205 with a 2 megapixel imager, 3X optical zoom lens, movie mode without sound, and webcam function. This automatic point-n-shoot is simple enough for a novice to obtain good results, but offers little creative control for the intermediate user. In addition to automatic exposure shooting mode, the A205 offers manual settings for only Exposure Compensation (+1.5/-2.1EV), and White Balance.
The Fujinon 3X optical zoom lens produces sharp results throughout its range, with some barrel distortion at extreme wide angle and pincushioning at full telephoto. The operation of the zoom is not continuous, but instead consists of 5 distinct steps. Because of this, you might find yourself using your feet as well as your finger on the zoom control to precisely compose your shots.
The FinePix A205's shooting performance is average. From power-on to the capture of your first image takes under four seconds. Shutter delay, the elapsed time between releasing the shutter and capturing the image, measured a respectable 3/10 second when pre-focused, or just under 1 second including autofocus time. Shot-to-shot took 3 seconds; the A205 is not equipped with a continuous capture mode. These times are based on 1600 x 1200 images without the flash on. The A205 is barely responsive enough for you to capture images of your childrens sports activities, but do not expect a high percentage of good results.
Outdoors, the FinePix A205 produces good results, both well-exposed and nicely saturated. The 3X optical zoom lens has enough range, 36-108mm in 35mm equivalence, to provide flexibility in composing your shots and is sharp enough to produce pleasing 5X7-inch prints. Although the LCD viewfinder has no anti-reflective coating, its brightness can be adjusted and we found it to be usable in most outdoor shooting situations. The A205 is also equipped with a zoom-coupled optical viewfinder that you will find preferable to use on the brightest of days.
Because of the limited flash range and 36mm wide angle focal length, you'll realize the best indoor results when shooting portraits of individuals and small groups; capturing an image of a large banquet room is beyond the A205's capability. You'll be able to include yourself in group portraits because the FinePix A205 is equipped with both a tripod socket and self-timer. You'll have some difficulty obtaining good results in low ambient light; the FinePix A205 is not equipped with a focus-assist lamp and you'll sometimes be notified of its failure to autofocus. The A205 did a reasonable job of squelching its flash during macro-photography, and would make an acceptable camera for online auction product shots. We also found the LCD viewfinder quite usable in low light.
The A205's battery life was acceptable during our tests. Using a pair of AA NiMH 2000 mAh rechargeable batteries, we were able to capture nearly 100 images with the LCD on before a low battery warning occurred. We always recommend using NiMH batteries when possible, and you should have several charged pairs on hand.
Fuji is offering a reasonable value in the FinePix A205. For an entry-level MSRP of under $200, the A205 will produce pleasing family and travel photos, and double as a webcam. If you are in the market for an entry-level family camera, be sure to include the Fuji FinePix A205 on your short list. If you are considering the A205 as a gift for a budding adolescent photographer, please read the following opinion by a 15 year old high school sophomore:
This camera has many good qualities for a young adult's first digital camera. The controls were easy to use. I liked the lens cover because it will protect the camera when it is loose in my school bag. I also liked the 2-step power-on process - open the lens cover, then slide the power switch - this will save batteries if the cover opens accidentally. The flash is bright enough for the shots I would take of my friends at parties. The LCD is small, but good enough to compose and review my shots. The only thing I didn't like about this camera was the zoom because it only moved in steps, not continuously.
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