The following review of Fuji's AV 200 is by Alyson Colman from Caerphilly, Mid Glamorga. Alyson's a regular reviewer on the Ciao and Dooyo websites, and this review was first published on those sites in June 2011.. The camera (and it's siblings including the AV 220) has a street price of around £50.00. Fuji have a reputation for roducing quality cameras, and their entry level models are reasonably priced. Read Alyson's detailled review to find out if it's the camera for you.

Smile.... Yoou're on camera!

Whilst my husband and I jointly own a Nikon D80 we had been contemplating for quite some time on purchasing an additional camera, as whilst the D80 produces high quality photographs, the camera, together with its’ various lenses is extremely heavy and rather bulky to carry around. I cannot state that we actively looked around as it was one of those tasks that was constantly pushed to the bottom of the list and whilst I made notes of various cameras that I had read about on both Dooyoo and Ciao our decision had still not been made. I would describe myself as someone who is very impulsive when purchasing make up and toiletries, but when it comes to more expensive items I tend to hesitate for months on end. However, several months ago my husband kindly offered to carry out the weekly Tesco shop and in addition to the apples, loo roll and joint of beef he arrived home with a camera! It was a brand that we had been looking at for a while, but we hadn’t agreed on a particular model. My husband can be described as expert in the photography field, so I was more than happy to hand over the cash to cover my share of the purchase. Despite his considerable knowledge I have to say that I was very apprehensive about his choice, particularly as the camera had cost only £40 as opposed to the £1,000 we had paid for the Nikon, but I have one hundred per cent faith in his judgement and couldn’t wait to try out our new Fujifilm Finepix AV10. However, when I removed the camera from the box I was somewhat shocked to discover a folded A4 piece of paper from the Fujifilm Product Team advising that the camera had been substituted with a superior model, namely the FinePix AV200. My initial thoughts were very negative, particularly as the box clearly stated that the camera was the AV10 model and the receipt did not match with the superior model that we had purchased. Whilst we are thrilled that we unknowingly purchased a superior model I am very surprised that Fujifilm have been able to get away with this, as the box should clearly be labelled to advise the consumer of the change of model. However, the letter informs us that we must retain it with the receipt should we ever need to make a claim on the warranty. Over the last few months I have had considerable experience in using this fantastic camera and I would like to share this with you.

REASONS FOR PURCHASE

Although my husband made the ultimate decision on the particular model, we had been considering Fujifilm for quite some time, as it is a trusted and innovative brand that was established in 1934. Through our reasearch we learned that the company have received numerous awards throughout the years, so they are experts in the field of photography. As previously stated, we wanted a camera that was small and compact to enable it to be slipped into either my handbag or my husband’s jacket pocket. In addition to its’ size we required something that was lightweight, stylish and most importantly would give us high quality images at a reasonable price.

Whilst our Nikon D80 is a fantastic camera to use, as previously advised its’ weight is rather excessive for everyday use. Consequently, the 168g weight of the FinePix AV200 ticked all of these boxes for us as its’ neat size of just 9 cm in length x 6 cm in width and 2½ cm in depth perfectly matched our requirements. Its’ sleek and contemporary design gives the camera an extremely superior appearance and whilst this model is available in a choice of five colours, namely pink, blue, red, black and silver, we chose the latter due to its’ upmarket smooth and polished finish. An important feature for me was the screen size, particularly as I prefer to use the screen as opposed the viewfinder when taking my snaps. Quite often the screens can be too small, which makes them difficult to use, but the LCD colour screen perfectly meets with our requirements with its’ 5½ cm length and 4 cm width. I’m not going to pretend that I know all there is about cameras, but I am learning all of the time and in doing so, am gaining a wealth of valuable knowledge. I do not understand many of the specifications relating to this camera, so throughout my review I will be making references to the User Guide, which despite consisting of dozens of pages, only four of them are in English.


USING THE FINEPIX AV200

Obviously, the first thing I needed to do is place two AA alkaline batteries (which are supplied) into the underside of the camera and slot the SD memory card into place, which is located in the same area. The battery/memory card cover tightly closes and I’m ready to begin with my happy snapping. The good sized on/off button is situated on the upper section of the camera and when pressed the camera will emit a few beeps as the lens extends ready for use. The size of the on/off button is of real importance to us, particularly as my husband suffers with diabetic related neuropathy, which has caused the nerve endings in his fingers to become unresponsive. In addition to this his fingertips are frequently sore due to this being the area where he extracts blood for the purpose of testing his sugar levels. Consequently, he often experiences difficulties with small buttons and switches. On my initial use of the camera it was necessary for me to select the appropriate language where I then proceeded to set the time using the menu options. The beauty of this camera is that there are a large number of shooting modes from which to choose, such as natural light, portrait, close ups, night, night with tripod and when pointed at your subject it automatically detects the conditions, such as poor light and as a result, the flash will operate. On the rear of the camera is a small bar with the letter “W” on one side and the letter “T” on the other. These are used to focus in or out on your subject until you achieve the perfect picture. Consequently, the large shutter button located next to the on/off switch needs to be pressed half way to focus and pressed fully to capture the image. Using the camera is an absolute joy, as unlike our Nikon D80 there is no fiddling with different lenses to obtain focus, as I simply point and shoot. The images are clean and crisp due to the camera’s 14 megapixel digital sensor and according to the research I carried out the camera has an image sensor of 1/2.3-inch CCD with primary colour filter. As I am far from being technical minded, I have lifted the following few specifications from FujiFilm’s website in order for my review to contain full and concise information. The lens has a focal length of 5.7 – 17.1 mm, which is the equivalent to 32 – 96 mm on a 35 mm camera. Its’ full aperture is F2.9 wide – F5.2. The digital zoom is approximately 6.7 x (up to approximately 20.1x with 3 x optical zoom). Whilst I am fine on understanding those specifications I was totally lost on the aperture, which I learned is F2.9/F8.8 wide and F5.2/F16 telephoto with ND filter. A very useful feature on this camera is that if it has been switched on for too long without any usage, which I have just timed to be almost 2 minutes, it will automatically switch itself off to save the battery life.

I often suffer with camera shake when snapping my subjects, particularly as I find myself concentrating a little too much, but fortunately, this clever little camera with its’ ISO 3200 sensitivity remedies the problem for me, as it increases the shutter speed, which operates at 1/4 seconds to 1/4000 seconds until the camera can capture the perfect image. Both my husband and I love taking snaps of basically anything of interest, particularly as during the warmer months we enjoy walking around beautiful gardens and parks where we will sit for hours simply watching the world go by. It is during these visits that we will witness many birds, which as you can imagine, are extremely difficult to photograph, particularly when they’re in flight, but the camera allows us to capture their natural beauty. Obviously, we are unable to photograph those that are too far away due to the 3x optical zoom, which minimises the distance of our subjects. Our home is situated fairly high within the South Wales valleys where there are a number of green fields, which are often watched by birds of prey, so we will regularly sit outdoors in an attempt to capture some memorable imagines; many of which my husband has uploaded on Flickr. Unlike earlier years where we had to pay to have each and everyone of our 110 or 135 mm photographs to be developed, new technology has now progressed us into the world of digital where many of our images are simply stored on memory cards or uploaded onto computer files. I cannot admit to printing off all of my photographs as that would be a total impossibility, but those that I have printed are crisp and clear and offer the most perfect colours, which is due to the quality of both the camera and our printer. The majority of our photographs are stored on our desktop computer and laptops, so we will often sit and recapture our precious memories. We both enjoy photographing the flowers in our garden, which at present, is multi-coloured due to the huge number of varieties that I have planted.

We are thrilled with the natural appearance of our photographs, which is due to the camera’s ability to capture high resolution images in 16:9 format. The camera also has a very useful function whereby we are able to remove red-eye, which is something that frustrates me when taking photographs and is something often not noticed until we look at the images some time later. I am not intending to discuss all of the various features are there are far too many such as the LCD brightness adjustment, image rotation, 10 second, 2 minute delay timer and the frame number memory. The battery is fairly long lasting and according to Fujifilm’s website approximately 180 images can be captured when using alkaline batteries or 480 when using NiMH (2700maH) rechargeable batteries, which are not included with the camera. I am not intending to discuss how many images can be captured on a memory card, as obviously it is dependent on the size of the card and the size of the images. Looking through the images is an easy task by way of the large circular button located on the lower side of the reverse of the camera, which houses a rather small memory button in its’ centre. It is in this section that you can flick through your images and erase those that are not required. There is considerable information contained on Fujifilm’s website that gives full details of the images that can be obtained on memory cards dependent on the size of the Jpeg. The camera has a small D shaped socket where the USB cable can be inserted to upload your images onto your computer. On the lower side of the camera is a small socket to enable it to be mounted on a tripod although this is a feature that we have not yet used. There is a small corded hand strap, which is attached to the side of the camera and enables it to be safely and comfortably carried without the need of continually placing it back inside the case, which we needed to purchase separately. We were also provided with a CD-Rom, which includes the driver for uploading the images and was extremely easy to use. In addition, the full user’s manual is contained on the CD-Rom although we found the 4 page booklet to be quite sufficient, particularly as I have a fair amount of knowledge of using digital cameras as I owned a Sony Cybershot when I was married to my first husband.

FILMING MOVIES

Whilst it was not a feature we were looking for, particularly as we own a digital video camera, the option to film 16:9 movies has been of real benefit when we have found a moving subject that we wish to film. The movie images are pretty good considering we only paid £40 for the camera and they offer a reasonable quality of monaural sound. However, this is a feature we will probably not regularly use, as our video camera offers higher specifications. If you are looking to use this feature I would advise that according to the Fujifilm website movies are recorded in 280 x 720 pixels/640 x 480 pixels/320 x 240 pixels (30 frames per second), but unfortunately, when the zoom function is in operation the sound will not be recorded.

It would be inappropriate of me to copy long lists of specifications from my user guide and the Fujifilm website, particularly as I do not understand them all and I hope that I have covered the basics from my limited knowledge. As my husband is the camera expert I asked his opinion of this camera and how he would rate it. Whilst he will continue to use our Nikon D80 for serious photography where he frequently takes many close ups and then manipulate his work using Photoshop, he rates our new camera extremely highly for a number of reasons, which I totally agree with. It’s easy to use, offers superb first class results, compact and lightweight and is available at such a fantastic low price. Whilst the camera has not suffered any knocks or bumps, particularly as we store it in a bag, it is very durable and I keep it clean by wiping it over with a normal household duster (minus the polish). My only grumble with this camera is the User Guide, which is extremely minimal and internet access is necessary to obtain the full instructions. It is difficult for me to advise that this camera is available in Tesco at £40, particularly as we did not know that our original choice had been substituted with this model. You can purchase the Fujifilm Finepix AV200 from a number of outlets, such as Currys, Comet or Amazon. I have today looked on Amazon where prices start at £60.49 for the black model and was amazed to see that Currys are asking for £79.99 for the silver model. It looks like we had a fantastic bargain and it may well be worth you visiting Tesco to see if you can receive the same deal that we did. Due to the reasons given above, this camera receives our full recommendation together with 5 stars.

I hope you found my review useful and would thank you for reading.

This review also appears on Dooyoo under the same user name.

To user photos of the AV200 on Flickr click on the following link: http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=fujifilm%20AV200

 

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