Fujifilm FinePix A900 Review
By Movable Type Admin
Following in the footsteps of the A700 from earlier this year, the FinePix A900 is an entry-level camera that offers a Fujinon 4x optical zoom lens, 2.5-inch LCD, and 9-megapixel imager; which is one of the only major changes to this new model. Other new features include an array of user-friendly scene modes as well as a very "Cool" IR Communication mode in playback, that allows you to transfer images to other Fuji cameras that have this feature, using wireless Infrared technology.
Designed for the beginning photographer, there are very few "Manual" features, however, the A900 does offers several pre-programmed scene modes that will help users capture great photos in many different shooting situations. Then there's "Auto", which allows the camera to be used by just about anyone, regardless of their photographic experience.
While the A900 is thicker and a little heavier than most compact models, it still can be tucked away in a pants pocket or purse, making it easy and convenient to have around. The thicker, heavier body also makes it a more comfortable camera to handle than smaller models. Controls on the back are very simple and well placed, they don't get in the way when taking pictures. The zoom control is located around the shutter release, which allows for effortless zooming. Since there are not very many manual settings, the camera menus are very easy to navigate.
Another large upgrade to this model was the improved 2.5 inch LCD screen. This screen is a huge improvement over the A700's 2.4 inch, low resolution display. This new LCD has increased resolution and covers nearly 100% of the frame. It is also easy to view outside on a bright day, thanks to the anti- reflective coating, and gains up in low light situations.
The A900 features the Fujinon 4x optical zoom, with a 39-156mm (35mm equivalent) focal length range. This is a typical range for a camera in this class, with the wide angle end having enough field of view for landscapes and average interior shots, while the telephoto magnification is good for close-up portraits or macro shots. The lens produces adequately sharp results throughout the entire focal range, with only some barrel distortion at extreme wide angle and slight pin cushioning at full telephoto. Chromatic aberrations are well controlled, with only very slight purple-fringing in areas of very high contrast.
This model was a bit slower than most cameras when it comes to the initial power up. From pressing the power button to capturing the first picture is approx. 3.5 seconds. The shutter lag was less than 1/10 of a second when pre-focused and almost 5/10 of a second including autofocus, average for a consumer model. There is no continuous shooting modes on this camera, and the fastest you can take pictures is one every 3 seconds without the flash. With the flash it was about 5.5 seconds. Our tests were done using an Olympus H (High-speed) 1GB xD-Picture card, 9M/Fine size/quality, image display off, flash off, and all other settings at default (unless otherwise noted.) Times may vary depending on lighting conditions, camera settings, media, etc.
The quality of its 9M fine images is good for an entry-level consumer model. Outdoor shooting produced images that had good exposure and color saturation. The image noise was significantly less than the previous model on outdoor shots, however, there was still a significant amount in our indoor portraits (where the camera selected a higher ISO setting). The noise in these photographs is not enough to show up in smaller prints, like your typical 4x6, but will be noticeable in larger 8x10-inch and up prints. The flash works well within it's range of 12.5 ft., but don't expect it to cover anything past that, so illuminating a large room is out of the question.
Movie mode has been slightly upgraded, in which it will now capture video at 30fps (compared to the A700's 10fps). However, it's still behind similar models, only recording at a resolution of 320x240. The limit on recording time has been done away with, allowing you to record until your memory card is full. Our movies show some compression noise, but do run smoothly, thanks to the faster frame rate. File sizes are also still smaller than most because of the resolution, which saves space on your memory card and works out well for sharing through email, websites, etc.
The A900 is powered by standard AA type batteries, that can be found at almost any store. Fuji claims off the shelf alkalines will let you capture up to 100 pictures, while 2500mAh NiMH cells deliver as many as 350 pictures per charge. I still found that the battery life was below average, using a single pair of AA NiMH 2500mAh rechargeable batteries, I was not able to conclude the test and take only took 35 pictures and two 10 sec. videos before a low battery warning occurred. We always recommend using NiMH batteries, they last longer and save you money.
Bottom line - We have mixed feelings about the Fuji FinePix A900. While its 9-megapixel image sensor and
upgraded LCD display are welcomed additions, the low resolution movie mode and slower shooting performances
didn't impress us. With a price tag of just over US$150, this camera offers an Ok value, but we
recommended you take a good look at other similarly price models before making a decision.
FujiFilm has released a Firmware Update for the A900
The Firmware Update Ver.1.10 incorporates the following issues:
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