Fuji Finepix A400 Review

Simple and Easy

Picture
Fuji Finepix A400 Ease of Use 10
Features 6
Movie Mode 5
Build Quality8
Colours 8
Photo Quality 6
Style 7
Lowlight 6
Macro 8
Value for Money 6
4 Megapixels
3x Zoom
1.8 inch LCD Screen
93 ? 60 ? 27.5mm
140g

Overview

The Fuji Finepix A400 is a simple and very straightforward digital camera. In terms of features it is stripped down to the bare bones. This makes it extremely easy to use. The Finepix A400 has four megapixels and a three times optical zoom lens.

Price wise this camera comes in towards the lower end of the market. Therefore it is likely to appeal to anyone who is looking for a simple and relatively inexpensive digital camera.

Main Features

Megapixels:
Zoom:
LCD Screen:
Dimensions:
Weight:

4
3x
1.8 inches
93 ? 60 ? 27.5mm
140g

Macro:
HD Movies:
Manual Controls:
Batteries:
Memory Cards:

10cm
No
No
AA
xD-Picture Card

Image Quality

Taking into account the low price of the Finepix A400 it is understandable that allowances need to be made in certain areas for this camera. Even so I am disappointed by the quality of the photos I managed to take with this camera.

Looking at the outdoor scenic shots there are three major issues I have with the camera. The first and most important one is the lack of sharp focus to each of the shots. This is especially noticeable in the first and second shots. The brickwork on the building in the first shot is nowhere near as sharp as almost all other cameras seem to manage. The whole picture is slightly out of focus in my opinion.

The next problem is that the camera is unable to cope with the light surfaces of the boats. This may be partly caused by the glare of the sun bouncing off them, but I am used to other cameras coping well with this. It causes a lot of the detail of each boat to be lost from the print.

Another worrying issue is that purple fringing is evident along the edges of bright objects where they are caught by the sun. This is where a thin purple line is added to the edge of the objects. This is a common problem with digital cameras with a 10x or 12x optical zoom lens, but is extremely rare with a camera like the Finepix A400 with a standard 3x zoom.

There is better news when it comes to colours. They have a pleasant natural look to them. This is a consistent theme throughout my test shots and is supported by the dedicated test for colours. This test also shows that no single colour dominates and the colours are balanced correctly.

The outdoor portrait shot is my favourite one from the tests. I think this photo works well. It was taken in shade and I used the white balance shade setting to add some warmth to the colours. Skin tones are impressive too.

Moving indoors the Finepix A400 makes a fair attempt at the indoor portrait shot. The picture is again not perfectly focused, but it is a better attempt than managed by many other cameras in this price bracket. When the light gets really low as in the picture of beer bottles the camera does not perform so well. As the lighting levels drop the camera loses the ability to pick out the subject and focus on it.

Considering the price bracket the camera falls into the macro shot is very good. The image produce is sharp and clear.

Finishing on another high note the camera the Finepix A400 handles higher ISO settings better than many other digital camera. In fact it outperforms cameras that are far more expensive in this area. Picture quality at ISO 400 is not perfect, but it is more than acceptable.

Shutter Lag and Recycling Times

I was able to take a single photo in 0.45 seconds and five photos in 14.52 seconds. Both of these times are on the slow side.

You can compare this camera to other models by taking a look at the Shutter Lag Comparison Table.

Features

The three times optical zoom lens has a focal length equivalent to 38 - 114mm in 35mm format. The maximum aperture is F3.3 (wide) and F5.5 (tele). A 3.6x digital zoom can be used as well. For close up photography the Finepix A400 can focus from 10cm away from the subject.

For composing images and accessing the menu system there is a 1.8" LCD screen. The screen is made up of around 77,000 pixels. There is also an optical viewfinder.

Movie mode is pretty basic. Movies are silent and zoom cannot be used. When shooting at the maximum resolution of 320 x 240 the recording time is limited to one minute. If you decrease the resolution to 160 x 120 recording time increases to four minutes. All movies are recorded at a rate of ten frames per second.

The built in flash unit has a maximum range of 3.1m. This falls to 2m when the zoom lens is in use. The flash modes are Auto, Red-eye Reduction, Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Slow Synchro, Red-eye Reduction + Slow Synchro.

To help you take the best possible photos there are a small number of pre programmed scene modes. These are Portrait, Landscape, Sports and Night Scene. By selecting a scene mode the camera is alerted to the type of photo you are about to take. It will then use what it considers to be the optimum settings to take the best possible photo.

When you would like to appear in the picture there is a self timer. This can be set to a delay period of either two or ten seconds. A 3:2 aspect ratio is available. This corresponds perfectly to the shape of a 6x4" photo and means the image will not need to be trimmed at all to fit on to the paper.

There are a few settings available to you that can impact the way the final photo will look. These are sensitivity (Auto, ISO 100, 200 and 400), white balance ((Fine, Shade, Fluorescent light (Daylight), Fluorescent light (Warm White), Fluorescent light (Cool White), Incandescent light) and exposure compensation (+/- 2 in 1/3 increments). Shutter speeds cannot be changed and are set automatically by the Finepix A400. These work in the range of 2 seconds to 1/1500 seconds.

Fuji supplies all the necessary cables and software to connect the Finepix A400 to a printer, computer and PictBridge compatible printer.

Ease of Use

I would say that ease of use is the biggest attraction of the Finepix A400. This series of cameras offer some of the simplest digital cameras you are likely to find. Features have been cut down to a minimum and this leaves little room for confusion. The menu system is just about the most straightforward you are likely to come across.

Controls for zoom, flash, macro, accessing the menu and reviewing photos can all be found on the back of the camera.

Cost

You can pick up a Fuji Finepix A400 for around £85. This compares to around £82 for a Nikon Coolpix L4, £55 for a Kodak EasyShare C330 and £100 for a Canon Powershot A430.

Although the Finepix A400 is one of the cheaper cameras around I would suggest the Powershot A430 offers much better value even though it is more expensive.

Style

Taking the price of the Finepix A400 into account once again I think the build quality of the camera is pretty good. Although I would not describe the camera as beautiful it has a pleasant, simple design.

It is on the large side for slipping into a pocket. It has dimensions of 93mm x 60mm x 27.5mm and weighs 140g.

Batteries and Memory Cards

Power is supplied by two AA batteries. To keep running costs low it may be a good idea to pick up some rechargeable batteries to go with the camera.

Fuji have built 12mb of memory into the Finepix A400. A memory card is not supplied as standard. I was able to take 12 photos before the memory was full. Therefore you will need to pick up a high capacity memory card before you can really get started with the camera. It is compatible with xD cards.

Click here to save money on xD cards..

Points I like:

Ease of use
Viewfinder

Where it is not so hot:

Picture quality
Very basic movie mode

Summary

The Fuji Finepix A400 is a basic, easy to use digital camera. It is keenly priced, but I am not convinced it offers value for money. Any digital camera has to be judged on its picture quality and this is an area where the Finepix A400 struggles.

Fuji Finepix A400 Front View Fuji Finepix A400 Front View

Fuji Finepix A400 Back View Fuji Finepix A400 Back View

Fuji Finepix A400 Top View Fuji Finepix A400 Top View

Sample Menus

Fuji Finepix A400 ISO Fuji Finepix A400 shooting mode

Fuji Finepix A400 quality Fuji Finepix A400 self timer

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Related Pages

Fuji Finepix A400 Review Fuji Finepix A400 Specification Fuji Finepix A400 Sample Images Fuji Digital Cameras

Review Date

July 2006

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