FinePix A210 ($279) is the latest update of Fuji's old 2600-series
cameras. It packs a 3.2 Megapixel CCD and 3X optical zoom into
a fairly small plastic body. A 2MP version, known as the A205,
is also available for $199. Both of these cameras make up Fuji's
entry-level line of cameras, with a price that makes them attractive
to first-time buyers. The main differences between the A205/210
and the FinePix 2650 are a faster lens (F3.0 vs F3.7) and a video
the A210 a good value for the money? And how does it compare
to what I consider the best camera in this class, the Canon PowerShot
our review)? Find out now in our review!
in the Box?
FinePix A210 has an average bundle. Inside the box, you'll find:
3.2 (effective) Mpixel FinePix A210 camera
xD Picture Card
AA alkaline batteries (non-rechargeable)
featuring FinePix SX software
page camera manual (printed)
includes a 16MB xD card with the camera. That's enough to get
started with, but you'll probably want a larger one right away.
xD cards are currently available as large as 512MB, and Fuji
lists them as supported in the manual.
includes two alkaline AAs which will quickly find their way into
the trash (or should I say, recycling bin). Instead of throwing
money away on alkalines, you should pick up a set or two of NiMH
rechargeables. Fuji would be happy to sell you their NH-10 NiMH
battery back (basically two AA's taped together), but at $20,
it's overpriced. Since the camera uses two batteries, a four-pack
will keep you going for quite a while.
estimates that you can take about 350 photos using the NH-10
battery pack, or 385 photos with your own 2100 mAh batteries
(assumes 50% LCD use in both cases). I survived a full day at
Magic Mountain using the alkaline batteries that came with the
way to get that Fuji NiMH battery pack is to buy the CP-FXA10
cradle ($99) -- it's included with the dock. The cradle lets
you charge the battery, view photos on your TV, and transfer
photos over the USB connection.
common question that I get is "do I need the dock?",
and the answer is no. Assuming you buy your own batteries and
charger, you can do everything the dock does with the items included
with the camera.
A210 has a sliding lens cover to protect your lens from the elements.
Unlike on some cameras, the lens cover is not used to turn the
camera on and off -- that's a good thing in my opinion.
choices are limited on this entry-level camera. Aside from the
cradle and battery pack, the only other options are an AC adapter
($50), memory cards, and card readers. Since I'm comparing the
A210 to the Canon A70, I should mention that the A70 supports
includes their FinePixViewer software with the A210. The version
numbers are 4.0 for Windows, 3.2 for Mac OS 8/9, and 1.4 for
Mac OS X. Even with the differing version numbers, the software
acts about the same on each platform. FinePixViewer is for basic
image organizing and editing, and is no substitute for something
like Photoshop Elements. Fuji also includes a RAW File Converter
(not needed for this camera), and ImageMixer VCD (for making
video CDs, Windows only) on the CD.
camera manual is typical of those included with digital cameras.
It's complete, but finding what you're looking for may be difficult.
There's lots of small print as well.
FinePix A210 is a small (but not too small) camera with an all-plastic
body. I'd rate the build quality about average, and a notch below
similar plastic cameras from companies like Canon and Olympus.
Still, the A210 should be able to go where life takes you, as
long as you don't drop it. The camera is easy to hold and operate
with one hand.
official dimensions of the A210 are 3.9 x 2.6 x 2.1 inches (W
x H x D, excluding protrusions), and it weighs 175 grams empty.
Those numbers for the Canon A70 are 4.0 x 2.5 x 1.2 inches and
215 grams, respectively. The A210 is a surprisingly "thick" camera.
tour of the FinePix A210 now!
that sliding lens cover, you'll find an F3.0 - F4.8, 3X optical
zoom lens, with a focal range of 5.5 - 16.5 mm. The 35mm equivalent
is 36 - 108 mm. The lens on the A70 is slightly faster (F2.8),
and is threaded for conversion lenses.
the lens, you'll find the optical viewfinder, flash sensor, and
self-timer lamp. There's no AF illuminator on this camera, which
is a shame (the A70 has one).
the upper-left of the lens is the built-in flash. The flash has
a working range of 0.8 - 3.5 m at wide-angle, and 0.8 - 3.0 m
at telephoto. The numbers for the A70 are 0.46 - 4.2 and 0.46
- 2.5 m, respectively. Neither the A210 nor the A70 support an
the back of the camera, we find that the A210 has a 1.5" LCD
display with a relatively low resolution of 60k pixels. The A70
has the same size LCD with a few more pixels, though it's still
low in terms of resolution. The A210's LCD is bright and fluid,
and you can easily adjust the brightness in the menu. The LCD
shows 92% of the frame.
the LCD is the optical viewfinder, which shows 80% of the frame.
It's decent-sized, though it lacks a diopter correction feature
for those of us without perfect vision. Next to the viewfinder
is the display button, which turns the LCD on and off, and also
displays a 3 x 3 grid on the LCD, to help you compose your shots.
the right of the LCD, you'll find the menu/ok and back buttons
-- both of which are used for menu navigation.
the top-right is the four-way controller, which is used for controlling
the zoom, navigating menus, and setting the macro and flash setting.
When controlling the zoom, the controller smoothly moves from
wide-angle to telephoto in about 1.5 seconds. The available flash
options are auto, auto w/redeye reduction, flash on, flash off,
slow sync, and slow sync w/redeye reduction.
shot of the top of the A210 gives you an idea about how thick
it is. The only items worth mentioning up here are the power
switch, mode switch, and shutter release button. The three modes
are record, playback, and movie -- this is a point-and-shoot
camera if there ever was one, so don't expect any manual control
over shutter speed or aperture (the opposite of the A70).
this side of the camera you will find the I/O ports. These include
video out, USB, and DC-in (for optional AC adapter). There's
no cover to project these ports, which surprised me.
to see on this side!
finish our tour with a look at the bottom of the camera. Down
here you'll find the battery compartment, xD card slot, and plastic
tripod mount. The batteries and xD card are both protected by
a fairly sturdy plastic door. One thing to note is that you can't
remove the memory card (or the batteries for that matter) while
the camera is on a tripod.
included 16MB xD card is shown as well.
the Fuji FinePix A210
takes about three seconds for the A210 to extend its lens and "warm
up" before you can start taking pictures.
speeds are average, with a half-second lag in good light, and
more like a second if the camera has to work a little. Like most
cameras without an AF-assist lamp, the A210 struggled to lock
focus under dim indoor lighting.
lag was noticeable, even at fast shutter speeds. In those situations,
the lag was fairly short. When you start approaching slower shutter
speeds (where you should be using a tripod anyway), the lag becomes
speed on the A210 is average as well. Assuming you have the post-shot
review feature turned off, you can take another photo in about
some of the other recent Fuji cameras, the A210 lacks the ability
to let you delete a photo immediately after it is taken.
let's take a look at the resolution and quality choices available
on this camera.
photos on 16MB card (included)
(2048 x 1536)
(1600 x 1200)
(1280 x 960)
(640 x 480)
with Fuji's other recent cameras, there is only one quality level
available at each resolution. I can forgive them for that here,
but on the more expensive cameras it's definitely a no-no.
or RAW mode on this camera.
camera names files as DSCF####.JPG, where # = 0001 - 9999. The
camera maintains the numbering even if you erase the memory card.
FinePix A210 has a nice looking, very basic menu. Like I said,
this is the epitome of a point-and-shoot camera. Some of the
options are only available in "manual" mode -- I'll
put those in bold. The menu options are:
compensation (-2.1EV to +1.5EV, 1/3EV increments)
balance (Auto, sunlight, shade, fluorescent x3, incandescent)
- no custom option available
mode (Auto, manual) - manual mode unlocks the two bold options
(Set-up menu, LCD brightness)
simple, eh? In addition to that menu, there's also a setup menu,
with the following options:
display (on/off) - post-shot review
save (on/off) - LCD monitor turns off after 30 secs to conserve
(Off, low, high) - volume level
(on/off) - whether LCD is on by default
number (Continuous, renew)
mode (DSC, PC-Cam) - the latter option lets you use the A210
as a webcam for videoconferencing; Windows only
(Japanese, English, French, German, Spanish, Chinese [I think])
system (NTSC, PAL)
- unusual option for discharging NiMH batteries
- settings to defaults
in case you didn't notice, the A210, like all of Fuji's recent
cameras, can be used as a webcam on Windows systems.
enough about menus, let's do photo tests now.
FinePix A210 did a fine job with the macro test subject, though
you'll notice that the white wall in the background has a brownish
cast to it. The A210 is one of those cameras that locks the lens
at the wide-angle position in macro mode. The focal range is
10 - 100 cm in macro mode on this camera.
night shot above could've been great, had the A210 had some form
of shutter speed control, or a night scene mode at the very least.
The longest shutter speed on the camera is just 1/2 sec, which
isn't long enough to take enough the light needed to properly
expose this shot. If you're not going to put a shutter priority
mode on a camera, at least have an automatic slow shutter mode!
a bit of redeye in our flash test shot, which is typical of a
compact camera. This annoying phenomenon can be removed pretty
well using software on your PC.
distortion test shows minor barrel distortion, and no vignetting
the photo quality on the A210 was competitive with other cameras
in its class. Color and exposure were good in almost all of my
test photos, and purple fringing was not a problem. Noise levels
were low in good lighting, but in low light, some noise was present.
I wish the A210 had a way to force a fast shutter speed, as it
didn't freeze moving subjects (roller coasters, at least) very
best way to judge photo quality is with your own eyes, so have
a look at the A210 photo gallery!
A210's movie mode is not great. You can record video at 320 x
240 or 160 x 120, at a frame rate of 10 frames/sec, for up to
60 and 240 seconds, respectively. Sound is not recorded, since
the A210 lacks a microphone.
not recording sound with movies, the A210 doesn't let you use
the zoom lens during filming. In fact, it goes a step further,
and locks the lens at the wide-angle position.
the sake of comparison, the PowerShot A70 lets you record up
to 30 seconds of video (with sound) at 640 x 480, and 3 minutes
at 320 x 240 and 160 x 120.
are saved in AVI format, using the M-JPEG codec.
a brief sample movie for you. This was pretty funny in person:
to play movie (1.8MB, AVI format)
Can't view it? Download QuickTime.
mode on the A210 is typical of those on other cameras. Basic
features are here, including slide shows, DPOF print marking,
image protection, thumbnail mode, and zoom and scroll.
zoom and scroll feature lets you enlarge your image by up to
13X, depending on the resolution of the photo, and then move
around in the zoomed-in area. When you enlarge an image, you
have the option to trim (crop) it down.
you want to see more information about your photos, you're out
of luck with this camera. What you see above is all that the
camera tells you.
A210 isn't going to win any awards for playback speeds. It takes
over two seconds to go from one photo to the next.
Does it Compare?
those looking for a basic camera for good outdoor photos, the
Fuji FinePix A210 is worth a look. If you want to delve into
more manual features or desire higher performance, then I'd probably
go with something else (the PowerShot A70 remains the best in
this class, in my opinion). The A210 takes good quality pictures,
with accurate color, low noise, and no purple fringing that I
could spot. Indoor shooting adds a little noise, but the autofocus
performance and shutter lag were frustrating. The A210 is a total
point-and-shoot camera, with a grand total of zero manual controls.
At the very least, I would've liked to have seen scene modes
for action and night photography. The camera's movie mode is
not great (lens locked at wide-angle, slow frame rate), nor is
the macro mode (lens locked at wide-angle, 10 cm minimum distance).
Finally, the plastic body seemed a little too thick compared
to other cameras in its class.
those who are interested in the A210 but want to save a few bucks,
don't forget about the 2 Megapixel FinePix
average battery life; uses two AAs
pretty good value for the money
camera dock for battery charging, photo transfer, and photo
viewing on TV
I didn't care for:
manual controls of any kind
locked at wide-angle in movie, macro modes
frame rate, no sound recording in movie mode
lag quite noticeable in many situations
AF performance in dim light, due in part to lack of AF illuminator
remove xD memory card while camera is on tripod
body seems a little chunky compared to competition
low cost, 3 Megapixel / 3X zoom cameras worth looking at include
PowerShot A70, Casio
Exilim EX-Z3, HP
Photosmart 735, Kodak
EasyShare CX6330, Kyocera
Finecam L3v, Minolta DiMAGE E323 and Xt, Nikon
Coolpix 3100, Olympus D-560Z and Stylus
Lumix DMC-LC33, Pentax Optio S and 33L,
and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P72 and DSC-P8.
always, I recommend a trip down to your local reseller to try
out the FinePix A210 and it's competitors before you buy!
how the photo quality stacks up in our photo
another view over at Steve's
welcomes your comments or questions. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Due
to my limited resources, please do not send me requests for
personal camera recommendations.