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Fujifilm FinePix A345 Digital Camera@DASHING THING REVIEW

11 Jul

Fujifilm FinePix A345 Digital Camera

Fujifilm FinePix A345 Digital Camera
Review Date
10/26/2005
User Level
Novice
Product Uses
Family / Travel / Special Events
Digital Camera Design
Point and Shoot
Picture Quality
Good, 4.1-megapixel CCD
Print Sizes
8x10s, sharp 5x7s
Availability
Now
Suggested Retail Price
$199

 

Introduction – Fujifilm FinePix A345

Known for great color and performance, Fujifilm has also carved out a niche for itself by consistently providing good-quality consumer digicams at rock-bottom prices. The latest in their line of bargain-priced cameras is the Fujifilm FinePix A345, a 4.1-megapixel digital camera, and its twin the FinePix A350, sporting 5.2 megapixels. The Fuji A345 carries on the value-leading tradition of Fujifilm digital cameras by offering a 4.1-megapixel CCD and 3x optical zoom lens at a low price, including a good-sized bright LCD monitor, Pict-Bridge support, two-second maximum exposure time and four preset scene modes. As you’d expect, the Fujifilm FinePix A345 trades off a few features and capabilities to achieve its remarkably low cost, but the camera still takes good-looking pictures in daylight conditions, and is simple enough for even rank beginners to enjoy immediately. 

Camera Overview

The Fuji FinePix 350 and its $249.95 4.1-Mp twin the FinePix 345 share not only a trim, rectangular body style in a sleek metal finish but the manual as well. The latest models in the “A-Series” line, their retractable 3x zoom lenses include an automatic lens cover, dispensing with the sliding cover of previous models. At 3.5 x 2.4 x 1.2 inches (90 x 60 x 30.3 millimeters), the new models are smaller and more compact than their predecessors, easily slipping into a shirt pocket, a purse (nearly a coin purse) or small leather pouches. They’re only a little taller than a credit card, if quite a bit thicker.

Both new models also enjoy a boost in image quality and overall performance. To process data from the FinePix A345’s 4.1-Mp CCD and the FinePix A345’s 4.1-Mp CCD, both cameras use new image processors that produce more robust color and enable quicker frame-to-frame shooting. Also new on these models are larger, 2.5-inch LCD monitors. And Movie mode now can capture sound, too.

The Fuji A345 shares the operational simplicity of past models, with fully automatic exposure complemented by a “Manual” mode that lets you set exposure compensation and white balance. In addition, four Scene modes are available to shoot Portrait, Landscape, Sports and Night images. In full Auto mode, the camera handles everything including flash, unless it’s suppressed. Manual mode lets you adjust exposure using exposure settings from -2.1 to +1.5 EV in 0.3 EV steps. It also lets you select one of seven manual White Balance settings, including Outdoors (good weather), Shade, Daylight Fluorescent, Warm White Fluorescent, Cool White Fluorescent or Incandescent. When the flash is active, the white balance setting for flash is used, regardless of the White Balance mode setting. Suppressing the flash enables the White Balance mode setting.

The Fuji A345’s four Scene modes optimize camera settings for specific situations. Portrait enhances skin tones and sets a soft overall tone. Landscape sets the camera for shooting scenery in daylight with no flash. Sports gives priority to faster shutter speeds for capturing sporting events and Night does just the opposite, favoring slower shutter speeds up to a full two seconds for shooting evening and night scenes. A tripod is recommended for Night Scene mode. None of the Scene modes allow you to adjust Exposure Compensation or White Balance.

The new retractable Fujinon 3x optical lens ranges from 5.8-17.4mm (a 35-105mm 35mm equivalent), a moderate wide angle through a useful telephoto typical of point-and-shoot digicams. Maximum aperture ranges from f/2.8 to f/4.7, depending on the zoom position, and focuses in Normal mode from two feet (60 centimeters) to infinity. In Macro mode, the lens focuses from 2.4 inches to 2.6 feet (6 to 80 centimeters) but restricts the focal length to the wide angle setting. In addition to the 3x optical zoom, the FinePix A345 also offers as much as 4.1x digital zoom, which effectively increases the camera’s zoom range to a total of 12.2x. Keep in mind though, that digital zoom decreases the overall image quality, since it just stretches the center pixels of the CCD image.

For composing images, the Fuji A345 offers both a real-image optical viewfinder as well as a generous and bright 2.5-inch color LCD monitor. The optical viewfinder sees only about 75-80% of the captured scene, so tight that you’ll be forced to use the LCD display for any but the least critical framing. The LCD monitor reports some camera settings (but not shutter speed or aperture), and can overlay an aligment grid. The grid divides the image area into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, making it easier to line up tricky subjects.

The through-the-lens auto focus system uses contrast-detection to find the subject. Light sensitivity ranges automatically from the equivalent of ISO 64 to 400.

The built-in flash is rated as effective from 2.0 to 11.5 feet (0.6 to 3.5 meters), reaching 9.8 feet (3 meters) in telephoto and 2.6 feet (0.8 meters) in Macro mode. Flash modes include Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Slow Synchro and Red-Eye Reduction with Slow Synchro. Slow Synchro leaves the shutter open a bit longer than normal to capture more of the ambient light, leaving the main exposure up to the flash itself. The stated range agrees well with our own tests, but we did find that this range is achieved by boosting the camera’s ISO to 400, which results in very noisy images.

Image quality settings include two 4-Mp settings for 2304×1728-pixel images, Fine and Normal; 3:2 (the standard 35mm aspect ratio) at 2304×1602; a 2-Mp setting for 1600×1200; a 1-Mp setting for 1280×960; and a 640×480 VGA setting. Except for the 3:2 setting, image are captured with a 4:3 aspect ratio.

The Fuji A345’s continuous Shooting mode captures images continuously if there is room on your memory card when you hold down the shutter button at the rate of 1.34 frames per second. The number of frames depends on the image quality setting. Three frames can be captured at 4-MP Fine, or 18 at VGA quality. Focus is set for the first frame and does not change through the sequence. The flash is suppressed, too. Self-Timer mode offers a 2 or 10 second delay between the time the Shutter button is pressed and when the shutter actually opens, so you can get into your own shots.

The Fujifilm FinePix A345’s movie mode captures MPEGs with monaural sound at 15 frames per second in either 320×240- or 160×120-pixel frames. Zoom is disabled during recording. Recording starts and stops with a brief, full press of the Shutter button. As you record, the duration of the movie appears in a running counter on the LCD monitor. Maximum movie lengths depend on the size of and free space on your card. The included 16-MB card holds 65 seconds at the 320 setting, but a 512-MB card would capture 34.6 minutes.

The Fujifilm FinePix A345 features PictBridge support, which means you can connect it via the included USB cable to a Pict-Bridge printer and use the A345’s Digital Print Order Format features to select images to print directly from the camera. Options include quantity per image (up to 99) and whether or not to imprint the date on the image. In addition, when the camera captures images, it records Exif Print Format data containing a variety of shooting information for optimal printing.

The Fuji FinePix A345 ships with a 16-MB xD-Picture Card. The xD-Picture Card itself is very tiny, rivaling the popular SD memory cards in size. I highly recommend picking up at least a 128-MB card right away, given the camera’s 2304×11728-pixel maximum resolution size, though cards as large as 512-MB card are also available.

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Posted by on July 11, 2011 in cameras

 

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