Fuji Finepix AV200 Review
The Fuji Finepix AV200 is one of the cheapest digital cameras you are likely to find. Despite that it still takes decent snapshots. In fact the Finepix AV200 has few major limitations when you consider the low price. Aside from struggling to focus from very close into the subject it handles most typical photo opportunities to a surprisingly high level.
Why Buy The Fuji Finepix AV200
If you are looking for simplicity at a very low price the Finepix AV200 is hard to beat.
93 x 60 x 28mm
Fuji have not packed the Finepix AV200 with features. This is one of the main factors in keeping the price down. In addition this also helps to ensure the camera remains easy to use.
Megapixels and Zoom
The Finepix AV200 has 14 megapixels and a 3x optical zoom lens.
Fuji have opted not to build any memory into the camera. So you will need to pick up either a SD or SDHC card before you can take any photos.
This is one of a very small number of digital cameras to run on power supplied by AA batteries.
The Finepix AV200 is capable of shooting High Definition movies. These have a maximum resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. There are a couple of points worth noting about shooting movies. The first is that the maximum length of individual movies is 9 minutes. The second is that to record High Definition movies you will need memory cards of class 4 or higher.
The LCD screen is 2.7 inches in size. That is a standard size for a camera in this price range.
Fuji have equipped the Finepix AV200 with a number of preset shooting modes. When you switch to one of the preset shooting modes the camera finds it easier to work out the optimum settings for the shot you are taking. The result should be better looking photos. The shooting modes you have access to are natural light, portrait, babies, landscape, sports, night, fireworks, sunset, snow, beach, party, flower and text.
For close up photography the Finepix AV200 can focus from 10cm away from the subject. Most other digital cameras can get in closer. It may be worth asking yourself how often you plan to get in extremely close to a subject to take a photo.
There are a small number of features that give you extra control over the way your photos will look. These include being able to set ISO, white balance and exposure compensation.
The Finepix AV200 is large enough to get a good grip, yet small enough to be easy to carry around without a problem. On the front of the camera is a raised area on the left hand side to help you get a good grip of the camera. On the back there is just about enough room to squeeze in your thumb. The thumb area is dimpled to enhance your grip.
The flash unit is positioned centrally at the top of the camera. There is a small amount of distance between the flash unit and the lens. This position places the flash unit well out the way of any stray fingers that may block out light from the flash.
LCD Screen Quality
The LCD screen is fairly typical for a camera of this overall quality. Quality is not top drawer, but at the same time the screen does a decent enough job and it is only when a light source such as the sun shines directly onto the screen that you are likely to have a problem with viewing.
Turn on Time and Shutter Delay
Shutter lag and turn on times are respectable. It's true that this camera may miss fast action, but if that is important to you, you will find it hard to find a suitable camera at this price point.
Design, Build Quality and Finish
This camera is a bit on the large side to be classed as a true pocket camera, although it will fit into a large pocket. Build quality is superior to what was available three or four years ago from an entry level digital camera and there is unlikely to be many complaints about the build. The Finepix AV200 has a pleasant, shiny finish.
On the top of the camera there are two buttons. One button turns the camera on. The other takes a picture. On the back is a small rocker. Pressing one end zooms out. Pressing the other end zooms in. Below this are buttons to change the information displayed on the LCD screen and to review your photos.
Lower down is the main control area. This section gives you access to the menu system, deleting images, accessing flash options, setting the self timer and placing the camera in macro mode.
Image Quality - See Sample Images Below
Picture Quality Summary
As you might expect at this price point there are one or two quality issues. Is the picture quality good enough for your needs? That will depend on how you intend to use your photos. The first point to consider relates to print size. If you are planning to print up to 7 inches by 5 inches you are unlikely to see most of the weaker points of this camera. The second point is the lighting conditions you intend to use the camera in. If the majority of your photos are likely to be outdoors in good light then you will see better results.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 1
Focusing in the centre of this shot is good, but there is a fall off in sharpness as you move away from the centre. There is also a loss of detail in the lightest area of the boats. This is a fairly common problem, especially with cheaper models.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 2
This is one of the toughest tests for any digital camera, but the Finepix AV200 handles it well. This camera does not have a wide angle lens. That means you will not be able to squeeze scenes quite as wide into your shots as most digital cameras can. Looking at this test shot the advantage of this limitation is that Fuji have not pushed the lens beyond its limits. This leads to better quality photos.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 3
The far left hand strip of this photo is not as sharp as the remainder. That is a shame because the rest of the shot is better than a lot of this camera's direct competitors manage.
This picture has similarities with the previous photo. Sharpness is reduced on the left hand side with the side of the building having a much softer focus when compared with the front. It may be the camera finds it difficult to achieve consistent focusing when different distances are involved in the photo. As with the first test shot some detail is also lost where the sun strikes the lightest areas of the building.
If one of your main requirements is to be able to take simple portrait shots, then the Finepix AV200 should be up to the job. As long as lighting is good a typical outdoor portrait is easy enough for most digital cameras.
Indoor Portrait With FlashOne or two areas of the hair have been left a little dark, but the face receives plenty of light. Be aware that the flash unit is not the most powerful, so do not expect to be able to light up distant subjects.
Indoor Portrait Without Flash
This shot has a more natural look when it comes to skin tones than the one taken with flash. To be able to avoid using flash indoors you will need to be in a well lit room. Otherwise noise levels will creep up and the Finepix AV200 will find it hard to focus.
The macro mode is one of the weaker features of the Finepix AV200. If you take a look at the macro test shot and compare it to ones taken with other digital cameras you will see this camera is unable to focus from as close in as other cameras.
There is not a great deal to choose between the different brands when it comes to colours now. The Finepix AV200 is capable of producing bright, colourful photos.
Noise is an issue when looking at the full size images on a computer. This is an area where large prints will start to show noise even for outdoor shots taken in good light. Smaller prints are unlikely to show noise at all, unless you have taken photographs in extremely challenging, dark conditions.
Shutter Lag Times
Single Shot With Flash
Five Shots With Flash
Turn on Time
Ease of Use
The Finepix AV200 is a straightforward, easy to use digital camera. In fact this is one of the strengths of camera.
Points I Like
Value for money - ease of use
Where it Could Improve
Macro mode - some focusing issues
For a digital camera available at such a low price taken the Fuji Finepix AV200 does a commendable job. Obviously if you are looking for a wide range of features or for superior picture quality you will need to pay more, but for a relatively inexpensive model this camera performs over and above expectations.
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