Universally known for great color and performance, Fuji has also
carved out a niche for itself by consistently providing, good-quality
consumer digicams at rock-bottom prices. The latest in Fuji's
line of bargain-priced cameras is the FinePix A210, the 3-megapixel
twin to the two-megapixel FinePix A205. The FinePix A210 carries
on the value-leading tradition of Fuji digital cameras by offering
a 3.2 megapixel CCD and 3x optical zoom lens at a price lower
than those of many competing two megapixel models. As you'd expect,
the FinePix A210 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 get started with. Read on for all the details,
or check out my review of the FinePix A205 to see a two-megapixel
Fuji digital camera with essentially the same feature set.
already read the A205's review, you may want to just skip to the
conclusions section here, as the features and operation of the
A210 are virtually identical to its lower-resolution sibling.)
Increasing the point-and-shoot options of Fuji's FinePix line
of digicams, the FinePix A210 is an affordable entry-level digicam
that offers good quality and value. Small, compact, and very lightweight,
the A210 offers a larger, 3.2-megapixel CCD than its predecessor,
along with a Fujinon 3x optical zoom lens. Exposure control, however,
remains automatic, with the convenience of point-and-shoot control.
The A210's CCD captures high enough resolution for printing images
with nice detail as large as 8x10 inches, and offers a lower-resolution
setting for email attachments. Like its cousin the A205, the A210
sports a 3x optical zoom lens that increases the camera's flexibility.
The camera's dimensions are just a little too large for most shirt
pockets at 3.9 x 2.6 x 2.1 inches (99 x 65 x 53 millimeters),
although you could feasibly stow the camera in a larger coat pocket
or an average-sized purse. Despite its size, the all-plastic body
is extremely lightweight at just 7.9 ounces (225 grams), including
batteries and memory card. A sliding, built-in lens cover keeps
the A210's front panel nearly flat when closed, allowing the camera
to easily slip into a pocket or purse without snagging.
The A210 is
equipped with a 3x, Fujinon 5.5-16.5mm lens, equivalent to a 36-108mm
lens on a 35mm camera. Aperture is automatically controlled from
f/3 to f/10.8, with actual values depending on the zoom position
of the lens. Focus also remains under automatic control, ranging
from 2.6 feet (80 centimeters) to infinity in normal mode, with
a Macro setting ranging from 3.9 inches to 3.3 feet (10 centimeters
to 1 meter). The camera also offers as much as 3.2x digital zoom,
but keep in mind that digital zoom decreases the overall image
quality, since it only enlarges the center pixels of the CCD image.
For framing shots, the A210 offers both a real-image optical viewfinder
and a 1.5-inch color LCD monitor. The LCD monitor reports some
camera settings, and can overlay an alignment grid. The grid divides
the image area into thirds, both horizontally and vertically,
making it easier to line up tricky subjects.
automatically controlled at all times, despite the A210's selection
of Auto and Manual exposure modes. (The "Manual" setting
simply expands the Record menu to include Exposure Compensation
and White Balance options.) Shutter speeds range from 1/2,000
to 1/2 second, but the LCD display doesn't report it or the lens
aperture setting. To determine the best exposure, the A210 employs
a TTL (through-the-lens), 64-zone metering system, which averages
readings taken throughout the frame for the best overall exposure.
The camera's Exposure Compensation setting lets you increase or
decrease the overall exposure from -2.1 to +1.5 in one-third-step
increments. White balance options include an Auto setting, as
well as Outdoors, Shade, Daylight Fluorescent, Warm White Fluorescent,
Cool White Fluorescent, and Incandescent presets, to match most
common light sources. Although it's not adjustable, the A210's
sensitivity is equivalent to ISO 100, good for most average shooting
built-in flash is effective from 2.6 to 11.5 feet (0.8 to 3.5
meters) depending on the zoom setting, and operates in Auto, Red-Eye
Reduction, Forced, Suppressed, or Slow-Synchro modes. In Manual
mode, the flash also offers a Red-Eye Reduction with Slow-Synchro
combination mode. A Self-Timer mode provides a 10-second delay
between a full press of the Shutter button and the time that the
shutter actually opens, helpful in self-portraits or group photos.
The A210 also features a Movie mode, which captures movies without
sound at either 320 x 240- or 160 x 120-pixel resolutions. Maximum
recording times vary, depending on the resolution and amount of
available memory space, with a maximum of 60 seconds per clip
at 320 x 240 pixels, and a maximum of 240 seconds at 160 x 120
pixels (although actual movie lengths will depend on the available
memory card space).
The A210 stores
image files on xD-Picture Cards, and comes with a 16MB starter
card. You'll want to purchase a larger size fairly soon, given
the A210's maximum 2,048 x 1,536-pixel resolution. (The xD-Picture
Card itself is very tiny, rivaling the popular SD memory cards
in size.) The A210 uses two AA-type batteries for power, either
alkaline or NiMH, and an optional AC adapter is available. A set
of single-use AA alkaline batteries comes with the camera, but
I strongly recommend purchasing a couple of sets of high-capacity
NiMH batteries and a good charger, and keeping a spare set of
batteries charged at all times. Click here to read my "battery
shootout" page to see which batteries currently on the market
are best, or here for my review of the Maha C-204F charger, my
long-time favorite. The A210 also comes with an adaptor for use
with the separate accessory PictureCradle, which allows quick
image downloading when connected to a computer. (The camera actually
fits into the cradle sideways, lining up the USB/Digital jack
with the cradle's jack.)
CCD delivering image resolutions as high as 2,048 x 1,536 pixels.
* Real-image optical viewfinder.
* 1.5-inch color LCD monitor.
* Fujinon 3x, 36-108mm (35mm equivalent) lens.
* 3.2x digital zoom.
* Automatic exposure control.
* Adjustable white balance with seven settings.
* Sensitivity equivalent to ISO 100.
* Apertures from f/3 to f/10.8.
* Shutter speeds from 1/2,000 to 1/2 second.
* Built-in flash with five modes.
* xD-Picture Card storage (16MB card included).
* Power supplied by two AA-type batteries or optional AC adapter.
* Interface software and USB drivers included for Windows and
* Movie mode
* 10-second Self-Timer for delayed shutter release.
* DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) compatibility.
* USB cable for connection to a computer (driver software included).
Lightweight, portable, and easy to use, the Fuji's FinePix A210
offers the point-and-shoot convenience that novices enjoy, with
the benefit of a 3.2-megapixel CCD and 3x optical zoom lens. Although
exposure remains under automatic control, you can adjust Exposure
Compensation and White Balance if needed. A simple, straightforward
user interface means little or no downtime spent learning, and
makes the A210 adept at shooting on the fly. For under $300, you
get the color and clarity on which Fuji has built such a strong
reputation, with the convenience of a very user-friendly camera
Measuring 3.9 x 2.6 x 2.1 inches (99 x 65 x 53 millimeters), the
A210 is better-suited for average coat pockets than most shirt
pockets, but fits easily into most average purses and comes with
a wrist strap for a little extra security. Loaded with batteries
and memory card, the A210 weighs a mere 7.9 ounces (225 grams),
thanks in part to the all-plastic camera body. Because of the
A210's straightforward design, external controls are limited and
the LCD menu system is short and quick to navigate.