The Fuji Finepix A340 is a 4 megapixel digital camera with a 3x optical zoom lens. Whilst it has all the features you need to take pictures it is a "no frills" camera. The plus side of this is that it is remarkably easy to use and you can be up and running with it almost straight away.
Although it may be lacking some of the bells and whistles of other digital cameras the Finepix A340 is still more than capable of taking all your holiday photos, pictures for the family album as well as various social gatherings and parties.
It is clearly aimed more at someone who wants to pick up a camera and just point and shoot rather than having to worry about setting the shutter speed.
104.1 x 61.5 x 31.3
I was very happy with the Finepix A340 in outdoor situations. The images the camera produced were sharp and the colours were vivid. Overall I would say they were a good reflection of each scene at the time the shot was taken. Focusing was fast and the camera was ready to take each picture quickly.
Shooting indoors is the weak point of many digital cameras. Although I wouldn't recommend the Finepix A340 is a top drawer camera for indoor shots I found the pictures acceptable and superior to a number of other models. Particularly for a camera in this price range it is hard to find a one that excels indoors. I did find it difficult to compose shots once the lighting really dipped. This is because the LCD screen would be very dark indeed.
Family album style portraits work well enough outdoors. The Finepix A340 had little trouble producing a good shot with correct colour balance and image sharpness. Indoors the results were not quite so impressive. Both the lighting and sharpness of the pictures failed to match those produced by other digital cameras.
Macro or close up shots were of acceptable quality. For example you could quite happily take pictures of jewelry and similar items to post on the Internet. For serious macro photography a more advanced camera is required.
For composing and reviewing images there is a 1.5" LCD screen. This is also used for accessing the camera's menu system. To be honest the 1.5" screen is about as small as they come and the lack of a reflective coating means that you can struggle to see the LCD screen in bright sunlight.
The 3x optical zoom lens is supported by a digital zoom with a 1.6x capacity.
To help you get the best picture in different shooting situations they are four pre programmed scene modes available to you. These are for portraits, landscape (scenes) night shots and sports.
When the light is poor or you want to use some fill in flash there is a built in flash unit with a maximum range of 3.5m. The range drops down to 3m when the zoom lens is in use. The flash modes available are: automatic where the camera decides whether or not the flash is required, always on, always off, red eye reduction and slow synchro. Slow synchro can be used at night when you want to illuminate the background as well as the subject itself.
For close up work the macro facility lets you get in as close as 10cm.
The movie mode is a bit limited for a 4 megapixel digital camera at the back end of 2004. The maximum time you can shoot a movie for is four minutes. This falls to one minute at the highest resolution. The resolutions available are 320x240 and 160x120. All movies are captured at a rate of 10 frames per second.
A 10 second self timer is available for when you would like to appear in the picture yourself.
There are a couple of more advanced features. These let you use pre programmed settings for white balance and exposure compensation.
All the required cables and software are supplied by Fuji to connect the Finepix A340 to a television set or computer. Cables are also supplied to attach the camera to a PictBridge compatible printer. This lets you print photographs without the need to upload images to a computer first.
Ease of Use
As I said in the introduction the Finepix A340 scores very heavily when it comes to ease of use. It has very few buttons and dials that you need to understand. All you really need to know is where the on and off and shutter buttons are.
When you do encounter the camera's menu system you will again find a simple set of menus that are all colour coded to make things even easier to understand. Out of all the camera brands that I have looked at I find Fuji menus easier to work with than any other brand.
You can pick up a Fuji Finepix A340 for around £140.
The Finepix A340 is a typical compact digital camera, shiny and silver and more or less rectangular. It comes with a sliding lens cover that is also used to turn the camera off and on.
It weighs in at a lightweight 145g. With dimensions of 104.1 (W) x 61.5 (H) x 31.3 (D) mm it is a little large to slip into the pocket of your jeans, but will fit into a larger pocket or small handbag.
Batteries and Memory Cards
Two AA batteries are used to power the Finepix A340. The advantage of AA batteries is that you can buy them more or less anywhere and it is easy to carry a spare set around with you. If you are planning to use your digital camera heavily then you should consider investing in a set of rechargeable batteries so that you keep the running costs down to a minimum.
xD Picture cards are used for storing images. Fuji supplies a 16mb card with the Finepix A340, but you will find that this will soon become full with 4 megapixel images and movies. It is therefore advisable to buy a high capacity card along with the camera.
Click here to find cheap memory cards
Points I like:
Ease of use
Good quality pictures
Good value for money
Where it is not so hot:
Limited movie mode
Scene modes only available through the menu
Small LCD screen
It all depends what you are looking for in a digital camera. If you are looking for a simple digital camera that takes good pictures then the Finepix A340 is certainly one you should consider. It doesn't have all the functions that you may find on other 4 megapixel digital cameras, but it still takes good pictures. If that is all you need then add this one to your shortlist.
Fuji Finepix A340 Front View
Fuji Finepix A340 Top View
Fuji Finepix A340 Back View
Fuji Finepix A340 Side View
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