Fuji Finepix A500 Review

Simple and Easy

Picture
Fuji Finepix A500 Ease of Use 10
Features 6
Movie Mode 5
Build Quality8
Colours 7
Photo Quality 6
Style 7
Lowlight 5
Macro 8
Value for Money 6
5 Megapixels
3x Zoom
1.8 inch LCD Screen
93 ? 60 ? 27.5mm
140g

Overview

The Fuji Finepix A500 is a five megapixel digital camera with a three times optical zoom lens. In terms of features it is one of the most basic digital cameras you are likely to find. The upside of this is that it makes it extremely easy to use.

In terms of price the Finepix A500 finds itself towards the cheaper end of the market. Therefore this camera is likely to appeal to anyone who is looking for a no frills camera that is very easy to use and will not put too big a dent in your back balance.

Main Features

Megapixels:
Zoom:
LCD Screen:
Dimensions:
Weight:

5
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

To be honest the photos I took with the Finepix A500 are disappointing. I am afraid there are very few highlights to report and I feel even in this price range the majority of digital cameras have improved their picture quality to overtake this model.

Looking through the outdoor scenic type shots I am not happy with the focusing. None of the images are sharp enough for my liking. In fact it is difficult to say whether or not focusing drifts off away from the centre as it is not that great to start with.

I also experienced a degree of purple fringing. This is where a purple line is added to the edge of bright objects. It is common in digital cameras with very long lenses, but it is rare for it to crop up on a camera with a standard 3x zoom.

The test for colours is fine. The colours are not the most powerful I have ever seen, but they are well balanced and have a fairly natural feel to them. This is supported by the various test shots.

The outdoor portrait is another where I have no real complaints. Considering the cloudy conditions when the photo was taken I think the Finepix A500 makes a good attempt at the shot. To help the camera I used the cloudy white balance setting to match the weather on the day. This helps to add a touch of warmth to the general colours and skin tones.

Moving indoors the camera really struggles. Neither the indoor portrait nor the test shot of some beer bottles is sharply focused. On top of this the portrait shot is also blighted by red eye. These results do not bode at all for shots in lowlight.

The macro shot is about average. It is not the sharpest or clearest shot I have seen and the purple fringing is visible again in this shot.

Finally the camera does do quite well in the test for noise at ISO 400. This setting is often used in lowlight to help brighten an image that would otherwise come out too dark. Although the end result is not perfect the picture is better than many I have taken using this setting with other digital cameras.

Shutter Lag and Recycling Times

I was able to take a single picture in 1.60 seconds. Five photos took 16.60 seconds. These are both very slow times and could easily lead to missing photo opportunities.

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. For close up photography the camera can focus from 10cms away from the camera. There is also a 5.2x digital zoom feature.

Unlike many digital cameras the Finepix A500 does have a viewfinder. This can be a big help composing images in bright sunlight. The 1.8" LCD screen is made up of around 77,000 pixels.

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 available are Auto, Red-eye Reduction, Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Slow Synchro and Red-eye Reduction + Slow Synchro.

To help you take the best possible shots there are a small number of scene modes available. By selecting the appropriate scene mode you let the camera know the type of shot you are about to take. The camera will then select the optimum settings. The scene modes are Portrait, Landscape, Sports and Night Scene.

For when you would like to appear in the shot there is a self timer. This can be set to either a two or ten second delay.

If you are looking to make 6x4" prints then there is a 3:2 aspect ratio available. Using this ratio avoids the photo having to be trimmed in any way for it to fit onto the paper.

Almost all features are under automatic control of the camera. Some that you can change include white balance (Fine, Shade, Fluorescent light (Daylight), Fluorescent light (Warm White), Fluorescent light (Cool White), Incandescent light), exposure compensation (-2EV to +2EV (in 1/3EV steps)) and ISO sensitivity (ISO 100, 200, 400). Other features such as aperture size (F3.3 to F5.5) and shutter speeds (2 to 1/1500 seconds) are controlled directly by the camera.

Movies can be recorded by the Finepix A500. The maximum resolution is 320 x 240 and the maximum frame speed is 10 frames per second. Recording time is limited to one minute when the resolution is set to 320 x 240. This increases to four minutes when the resolution is reduced to 160 x 120. Zoom is not available while a movie is being recorded, but you can zoom in before you start recording. Sound is not available either.

Fuji supplies all the necessary cables and software to connect the Finepix A500 to a printer, computer and PictBridge compatible printer.

Ease of Use

Ease of use is the key attraction of the Finepix A500. When it comes to features there simply are not enough to confuse you. The menu system is very easy indeed to get to grips with and there are also only a very small number of buttons and controls on the camera that you need to get to know. The term point and shoot camera could have been invented with this camera in mind.

Cost

You can pick up a Fuji Finepix A500 for around £105. This compares to around £125 for a Sony DSC S600, £115 for a Panasonic DMC LS2 and £105 for a Canon Powershot A430.

Although the Finepix A500 is a fairly cheap digital camera when compared to the majority of models I do not think it offers great value for money. Cameras such as the Canon Powershot A430 and Sony DSC S600 produce much better picture quality for around the same price.

Style

All in all this is a fairly standard looking digital camera. It has a typical rectangular body and is a shiny silver colour. Compared with other similar cameras I thought the build quality was quite good.

It has dimensions of 93 x 60 x 27.5mm and weighs in at 140g.

Batteries and Memory Cards

The camera runs on two AA batteries. A couple of alkaline ones are supplied with the camera as standard. If you are planning to use your camera on a regular basis it is likely to prove worthwhile to pick up some rechargeable batteries.

Fuji have built 12mb of memory into the Finepix A500. I was able to take just 9 photos before the memory was full. Therefore you will need to buy a high capacity memory card to go with the camera. The camera is compatible with xD Picture Cards.

Click here to save money on xD cards.

Points I like:

Ease of use
Viewfinder

Where it is not so hot:

Picture quality
Shutter lag
Very basic movie mode

Summary

A polite way of describing the Fuji Finepix A500 is cheap and cheerful. It is a very simple camera and very easy to use. The problem is its picture quality. This is well down even compared to other cameras in this price range. Long shutter lag times are also a big turn off.

Fuji Finepix A500 Front View Fuji Finepix A500 Front View

Fuji Finepix A500 Back View Fuji Finepix A500 Back View

Fuji Finepix A500 Top View Fuji Finepix A500 Top View

Sample Menus

Fuji Finepix A500 ISO Fuji Finepix A500 shooting mode

Fuji Finepix A500 quality Fuji Finepix A500 self timer

Top Rated Cameras in this Category

Canon Powershot A4000 IS Rating 84/100

You get quite a lot for your money with the Canon Powershot A4000 IS. If you only plan to make small sized prints or share your photos on the Internet you may not see a great deal of difference between the photos taken with this camera and those taken with other models available at around the same price. What you might notice is that the pictures have a touch more clarity. This is likely to become more evident if you make larger prints. To sum up, if you are looking for a handy compact camera, at a reasonable price, that can cope very well with most photo opportunities this camera is hard to beat.

Read Review: Canon Powershot A4000 IS Review

Panasonic DMC S5 Rating 84/100

If you are looking for a cheap pocket sized digital camera it is difficult to find one offering better picture quality than the Panasonic Lumix DMC S5. It is such a small camera and very easy to use. It is almost the ideal snapshot camera if you do not want to spend a great deal of money.

Read Review: Panasonic DMC S5 Review

Panasonic DMC S3 Rating 84/100

The Panasonic Lumix DMC S3 is an excellent value for money pocket camera. It is very hard to beat when compared alongside its direct rivals. Picture quality and features have an edge over many of its competitors while the rapid response times are also a big plus point. If you are looking for a cheaper compact digital camera then you can’t go far wrong with the Lumix DMC S3.

Read Review: Panasonic DMC S3 Review

Related Pages

Fuji Finepix A500 Review Fuji Finepix A500 Specification Fuji Finepix A500 Sample Images Fuji Digital Cameras

Review Date

May 2006

Best Deals



Read a Review



Photography Courses

photography courses

Search By Price

Digital Cameras Under £50
Digital Cameras £50 - £100
Digital Cameras £100 - £150
Digital Cameras £150 - £200
Digital Cameras £200 - £300
Digital Cameras £300 - £500
Digital Cameras £500 - £1000
Digital Cameras Over £1000

Search By Camera Type

Simple and Easy Digital Cameras
Pocket Sized Digital Cameras
Extra Zoom Digital Cameras
Super Zoom Digital Cameras
Advanced Digital Cameras
Waterproof Digital Cameras
Compact System Cameras
Digital SLRs

Search By Camera Brand

Canon Digital Cameras
Fuji Digital Cameras
Nikon Digital Cameras
Olympus Digital Cameras
Panasonic Digital Cameras
Sony Digital Cameras

Buyers Guides

Digital Cameras
Memory Cards
Digital SLRs
Major Features
Shutter Times
Batteries
Where to Buy

More Guides

Local Guides

All Local Guides
England
English Counties
London Locations
Northern Ireland
Scotland
Wales

News Feeds

XML RSS My MSN My Yahoo