Fujifilm FinePix A400 Review

By Movable Type Admin


Click for main menu





Steve's Conclusion

The FinePix A400 is Fujifilm's entry-level 4-megapixel digicam for 2006. It features a 1.8-inch LCD and a 35mm-equivalent 38-114mm zoom lens. This simple point-n-shoot model allows the beginner to snap photos without fuss when using its "Auto" mode, while offering a "Manual" mode with adjustable White balance settings and Exposure Compensation. There are also four pre-programmed scene modes to choose from (Portrait, Landscape, Sport and Night) and a movie mode without sound at 320x240 resolution.

Ergonomics were good with the exception of the zoom control. Although it's located in the "normal" position on the back, its Up and Down motion is a bit awkward; I often found myself accidentally enabling Macro or changing flash modes. Usually these switches rock left and right, which is much more comfortable and intuitive. The menu system was easy to navigate and allows you to quickly change settings.

The 1.8-inch LCD seemed small by today's standards, but it worked effectively. Outdoors, the combination of anti-reflective coating and brightness control made the LCD useful as a viewfinder in even the brightest conditions. Indoors, the LCD gains-up the live image a bit in dim lighting, helping you to compose the shot. The A400 also includes a small optical viewfinder that, while showing only 75% of the frame, is useful both to conserve battery power and in those rare conditions that the LCD is not effective.

The 38-114mm equivalent focal length range of the Fujinon optical zoom lens is typical for a camera in this class, its wide angle end having enough field of view for landscapes and average interior shots, and its telephoto magnification able to bring your distant subjects closer. The lens produces adequately sharp results throughout its range, with some noticeable barrel distortion at extreme wide angle and slight pin cushioning at full telephoto. Chromatic aberrations are well-controlled, with only slight purple-fringing in areas of very high contrast. The operation of the optical zoom is smooth and quiet, but not continuous; it moves through its zoom range in 10 distinct steps, adequate for most shot composition needs.

The A400 is not what I would call a responsive shooter. While its pre-focused shutter lag was less than 1/10 second, lag including autofocus was a leisurely 6/10 for a high contrast subject; add 1/10 second to those times when using the LCD viewfinder. Shutter lag using the red eye reduction flash mode was a relatively short 1/2 second, during which the LCD viewfinder goes blank; I preferred to use the optical viewfinder in this mode. Rapid shooting without flash yielded shots at 3 second intervals; flash shots could be captured at intervals of between 5 and 9 seconds, depending on subject distance. Power-up to first image captured measured about 3 seconds. The A400 has no continuous capture mode. Our tests were done using a Olympus 512MB xD-Picture card, 4M/Fine size/quality, preview off, flash off, and all other settings at default (unless noted.) Times may vary depending on lighting conditions, camera settings, media, etc.

Outdoors, I found the overall image quality was average when using the 4M Fine mode. Most of our sample images were sharp with good color balance and exposure, but exhibited a bit of graininess due to image noise even at ISO 100. Image noise increased at ISO 200 and 400, but not enough to render those shots unusable.

The limited field of view of the lens 38mm maximum wide angle and the maximum flash range of about 10 feet combine to limit your indoor shooting to small rooms and portraits of small groups. Red eye reduction flash mode was only marginally effective. The AF system struggles in dim lighting, due in part to the absence of a focus-assist lamp.

The A400's movie results befit its entry-level market position. Resolution is limited to 320x240 and frame rate to 10fps. Despite not recording sound with the moving image, the A400 does not allow use of the optical zoom during recording. That said, the A400's movies are memory efficient, consuming less that 200k bytes per second of recording at 320x240.

Battery life was average. Using a single pair of AA NiMH 2700mAh rechargeable batteries, I was able to capture less than 75 shots, including extensive use of the LCD and flash, before a low battery warning occurred. We always recommend using NiMH batteries, they last longer and save you money. Be sure to carry at least one extra (freshly-charged) set with you into the field.

Bottom line - the Fujifilm FinePix A400 was a mixed bag. It produced average quality indoor and outdoor images, but its versatility is limited by its relatively weak flash and poor autofocus performance in dim lighting. But at a street price under $150, cost-conscious consumers might overlook its shortcomings and consider it a good value. Those for whom price is less of a consideration should also look at the Fujifilm A500; with less image noise at ISO 100 and identical features except for its 5-megapixel imager, it is available for about $30 more. Please examine our sample pictures to see if this bargain-priced 4-megapixel digicam will satisfy your needs.



Continue on to
Sample Photos



Return To
Reviews Index


Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.

Buy related cameras and accessories from Amazon.com
Related Product Description Price
FinePix AX660, With 8GB SD Car FinePix AX660, With 8GB SD Car $159.99
** FinePix AX660 Digital Camera Bundle, 5x Optical Zoom, 16MP ** FinePix AX660 Digital Camera Bundle, 5x Optical Zoom, 16MP $112.86
* FinePix AX660 Digital Camera Bundle, 5x Optical Zoom, 16MP * FinePix AX660 Digital Camera Bundle, 5x Optical Zoom, 16MP $112.86
BOYO - BLK LICENS PLT CMRA 130deg BOYO - BLK LICENS PLT CMRA 130deg $112.83
72 Mm 0.43X Super Wide Angle Lens With Macro For Digital Slr Cameras (Black) Produced by YSK 72 Mm 0.43X Super Wide Angle Lens With Macro For Digital Slr Cameras (Black) Produced by YSK $112.78
2 NP-45 Batteries Rechargeable + Car / Home Charger + Battery Pouch for Fujifilm FinePix T305, T350, T360, T400, T500, T510, T550, T560 and Other Models 2 NP-45 Batteries Rechargeable + Car / Home Charger + Battery Pouch for Fujifilm FinePix T305, T350, T360, T400, T500, T510, T550, T560 and Other Models $40.00
Genuine Olympus High Speed Type M+ 2GB xD Memory Card for Digital Cameras - Fujifilm FinePix A202 A203 A205 A205S A210 A303 A310 A350 A360 Zoom A370 A400 A405 A500 A600 A610 A700 A800 A805 A820 A825 A920 BIGJOB HD-3W E500 E510 E550 E900 F10 F100fd F11 F20 F30 F31fd F402 F40fd F410 F420 F440 F450 F455 F460 F470 F47fd F480 F50fd F5fd F60fd F650 F810 IP-10 Digital Photo ID System IS-1 J10 J12 J50 S3 Pro S3000 S304 S3100 S3500 S5100 S5200 S5500 S5600 S5700 S5800 S6000fd S6500fd S700 S7000 S8000fd S Genuine Olympus High Speed Type M+ 2GB xD Memory Card for Digital Cameras - Fujifilm FinePix A202 A203 A205 A205S A210 A303 A310 A350 A360 Zoom A370 A400 A405 A500 A600 A610 A700 A800 A805 A820 A825 A920 BIGJOB HD-3W E500 E510 E550 E900 F10 F100fd F11 F20 F30 F31fd F402 F40fd F410 F420 F440 F450 F455 F460 F470 F47fd F480 F50fd F5fd F60fd F650 F810 IP-10 Digital Photo ID System IS-1 J10 J12 J50 S3 Pro S3000 S304 S3100 S3500 S5100 S5200 S5500 S5600 S5700 S5800 S6000fd S6500fd S700 S7000 S8000fd S $38.93