A310 ($299) is Fuji's lowest priced camera with a SuperCCD
sensor. The 3.1 million hexagonal-shaped sensors on the SuperCCD
HR sensor allow it to produce images with 6 million pixels.
That doesn't make this a 6 Megapixel camera by any means --
but it's handy for making large prints. In addition to its
SuperCCD, the A310 also features a 3X zoom, compact body, and
an easy to use menu system.
the A310 a good entry level camera? Find out now!
they are so similar, I will be reusing sections of the FinePix
A210 review here.
in the Box?
FinePix A310 has an average bundle. Inside the box, you'll find:
3.1 (effective) Megapixel FinePix A310 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 barely enough
to get started with, so you'll want a larger one right away.
xD cards are currently available as large as 512MB.
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 plus a charger. Since the camera uses two batteries,
a four-pack will keep you going for quite a while.
estimates that you can take about 205 photos using alkalines,
340 using the optional ($20) NH-10 battery pack, or 300 photos
with your own 1700 mAh NiMH batteries (assumes 50% LCD use in
all cases). That's not bad.
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.
A310 has a sliding lens cover to protect your lens from the elements.
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. The A310 does not support
a conversion lens or external flash.
includes their FinePixViewer software with the A310. 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 most digital cameras.
It's complete, but finding what you're looking for may be difficult.
There's lots of small print as well.
A310 is a compact, all-plastic camera. It definitely does not
feel as solid as other cameras in its class. The body is compact
(much more so than the A205/210), and it will fit in your pockets
with ease. While the important controls are easy to reach, I'm
not a fan of the too-small four-way controller.
official dimensions of the A310 are 97.0 x 63.9 x 33.0 mm / 3.8
x 2.5 x 1.3 inches (W x H x D, excluding protrusions), and it
weighs 155 grams / 5.5 ounces empty. Those numbers for the Canon
A70 are 4.0 x 2.5 x 1.2 inches and 215 grams, respectively.
tour of the FinePix A310 now!
FinePix A310 has an F2.8-4.8, 3X optical zoom lens. The focal
length of the lens is 5.7 - 17.1 mm, which is equivalent to 38
- 114 mm. The lens is not threaded.
the upper-left of the lens is the built-in flash. This flash
has a working range of 0.3 - 5.0 m at wide-angle, and 0.3 - 4.0
m at telephoto. The camera does not support an external flash.
items to the right of the lens include the flash sensor, self-timer
lamp, and optical viewfinder. There's no AF-assist lamp on this
mirror-looking thing on the far left (I hate photographing these)
is the power switch. Push it away from the lens to turn on the
camera, and toward the lens to turn it off.
FinePix A310 has a 1.5" LCD with a pretty low resolution
of just 60,000 pixels. You'll notice too, as things on the screen
just aren't sharp. The screen is bright, though, and images on
it move smoothly. Brightness can be adjusted in the menu system.
I did notice that the screen become quite grainy indoors or in
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.
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 "f" button to the right
of that turns on the Photo Mode menu. This menu has the following
(6M, 3M, 1M, 0.3M)
sensitivity (Auto, 200, 400, 800)
Color (Standard, chrome, black & white)
thing I love about the quality option up there is that the camera
tells you how many photos you can take at a given image quality
setting (see screen shot).
lowest ISO on the camera is a rather unusual 200. If you need
more sensitivity (at the expense of noise), you can bump it up
to 400 or 800. Do note that ISO 800 is only available at the
1M resolution. Also note that the Auto option is only shown with
the camera in auto mode, with the ISO 200 option only shown in
FinePix color options let you select normal color, chrome (high
contrast and saturation), and black & white.
two buttons to the right of the LCD include Menu/OK and Back.
Both of these are used while navigating the menu system.
the right of that is the mode dial. It's a little weird, as it
has four options that you cannot actually select by turning the
wheel. To get to those items in gray, you must turn the wheel
to SP and then use the menu. The items on the mode dial include:
position (Portrait, landscape, action, night scene)
final item on the back of the camera is the four-way controller,
which also operates the zoom. It takes just under two seconds
for the lens to move from the wide-angle to telephoto positions.
Quick presses of the buttons allow you to make precise movements
of the lens.
only thing worth mentioning on the top of the A310 is the shutter
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 is unusual.
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.
I'm showing a 64MB xD card in that picture, your camera will
include a 16MB card.
the Fuji FinePix A310
takes a little over two seconds for the A310 to extend its lens
and "warm up" before you can start taking pictures.
speeds are about average, with a half-second lag in good lighting,
and slightly longer for "tough to focus on" subjects.
Like most cameras without an AF-assist lamp, the A310 struggled
to lock focus under dim indoor lighting.
lag was quite low at fast shutter speeds, and noticeable (though
still brief) at slower speeds.
Very basic info is shown on the LCD in
speed wasn't nearly as fast as on Fuji's other SuperCCD-based
cameras. It took 3 seconds before I could take another shot,
even with the post-shot review turned off.
some of the other recent Fuji cameras, the A310 lacks the ability
to let you delete a photo immediately after it is taken (you
must enter playback mode).
let's take a look at the resolution and quality choices available
on this camera.
photos on 16MB card (included)
(2816 x 2120)
(2048 x 1536)
(1280 x 960)
(640 x 480)
the SuperCCD sensor has 3.1 million pixels, its design requires
it to first create the 6 Megapixel image, and then downsize to
whatever resolution you selected. That leads to some debate over
what the native image size is -- 3M or 6M? I suppose the correct
answer is "both".
with Fuji's other recent cameras, there is only one quality level
available at each resolution. This is a shame, as they really
compress the heck out of these images.
no TIFF or RAW mode on this camera. I was surprised to see that the
A310 didn't have a RAW mode, as the other recent SuperCCD cameras
camera names files as DSCF####.JPG, where # = 0001 - 9999. The
camera maintains the numbering even if you erase the memory card.
FinePix A310 has a nice looking, very basic menu. The camera
has an auto mode, where many of the menu options are locked up.
If you want full access to the menu, you need to switch into "manual" mode.
Here's a look at the menu now, with the manual mode-only options
shooting (Off, final 4, top 4) - see below
position (Portrait, landscape, action, night scene) - only
available in SP mode
mode (Auto, manual) - manual mode unlocks the two bold options
(Set-up menu, LCD brightness)
compensation (-2.1EV to +1.5EV, 1/3EV increments)
balance (Auto, sunlight, shade, fluorescent x3, incandescent)
- no custom option available
only thing worth mentioning up there are the two continuous shooting
modes. Top 4 mode will take up to 4 shots in a row at about 3
frames/second. Final 4 mode will take up to 25 shots in a row
at the same frame rate, and will save the last four shots taken
before the shutter release button is, well, released. If the
25 shot buffer fills up, it will also stop shooting and save
the last four photos.
you can see, it's a simple, brief menu! In addition to that one,
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 A310
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 A310, 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 did an okay job with the macro test, with color and exposure
being accurate. The problem here is noise though: just look at
Mickey's coat (cloak?) and see it -- this is not something usually
seen in the macro test. The A310 is one of those cameras that
locks the lens at the wide-angle position in macro mode. The
focal range is 10 - 80 cm in macro mode on this camera.
night shot is also average. As this is a point-and-shoot camera,
you're at the mercy of the camera's brain for taking long exposures.
The longest shutter speed on the camera is just 2 seconds, so
don't expect miracles. The issue in the shot is (again) noise
-- which eats away at the detail of the image. This is most noticeable
on the right side of the picture.
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 mild barrel distortion and no vignetting
(dark corners) at the wide end of the lens.
hate to sound like a broken record, but noise has been a problem
with all of Fuji's recent SuperCCD HR-based cameras. That noise
is what makes the A310's photo quality worse than average. It's
too bad, as color and exposure are both very good, and purple
fringing was not a problem. You definitely want to shoot in 3M
mode, as 6M is just too noisy, reducing the detail in your photos
(use it only when you know you're making large prints). Noise
was especially bad indoors, as you can see in this flash
shot. I'm hoping Fuji will address this with a firmware upgrade
best way to judge photo quality is with your own eyes, so have
a look at the A310 photo gallery!
A310's movie mode isn't nearly as good as the one on some of
Fuji's more advanced cameras. You can record video at 320 x 240
or 160 x 120, at a frame rate of 10 frames/sec, for up to 120
and 480 seconds, respectively. Sound is not recorded, since the
A310 lacks a microphone.
though it doesn't record sound with movies, the A310 doesn't
let you use the zoom lens during filming. In fact, it goes a
step further, locking the lens at the wide-angle position.
are saved in AVI format, using the M-JPEG codec.
a fairly unexciting sample movie for you:
to play movie (2.1MB, AVI format)
Can't view it? Download QuickTime.
mode on the A310 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
18X, depending on the resolution of the photo, and then move
around in the zoomed-in area. This feature is a little on the
slow side. Once you're zoomed in, you can use the trim feature
to crop your images right on the camera.
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.
A310 isn't going to win any awards for playback speeds. It takes
two seconds to go from one photo to the next.
Does it Compare?
Fuji FinePix A310 is average in almost all respects, except for
image quality, where it's worse than average. For whatever reason,
Fuji is overcompressing and overprocessing their images, giving
them way too much noise, even at the 3M setting. And that's a
shame, as the other important factors in photo quality (color,
exposure) are all good. In terms of performance, the camera is
average, and that goes for features as well -- the A310 is point-and-shoot,
with few gimmicks other than the Windows-only
The plastic body and movie mode both leave much to be desired.
The A310 isn't a bad camera, but there are several superior cameras
available for around the same price.
be used as a webcam (Windows only)
camera dock for battery charging, photo transfer, and photo
viewing on TV
I didn't care for:
much noise in images
manual controls of any kind
image compression options
frame rate, lens locked at wide-angle, no zooming, and no sound
recording in movie mode
low light focusing / no AF-assist lamp
remove xD memory card while camera is on tripod
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 A310 and it's competitors before you buy!
how the photo quality stacks up in our photo
another opinion? How about two?
more reviews at Steve's
Digicams and Imaging
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.
in mind that this review is just one person's opinion. Your
conclusion may be different than the one above.