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.
93 ? 60 ? 27.5mm
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.
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.
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.
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
Where it is not so hot:
Very basic movie mode
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 Back View
Fuji Finepix A500 Top View
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