Fujifilm FinePix A610
At a Glance
Fujifilm FinePix A610 Compact Camera
Offers limited controls, such as exposure compensation and white balance presets, but for low light reaches only ISO 400.
The Fujifilm FinePix A610 ($120 as of 5/10/07) is an entry-level digital camera that's well constructed and offers a few worthwhile features. Its basic specs are a little more generous than those of other similarly priced point-and-shoots you may see: a 3X zoom, a 6.3-megapixel sensor, and a 2.5-inch LCD (some other models offer fewer megapixels or only a 2-inch screen).
The A610 is best suited to people who rarely make camera adjustments in their search for the perfect photo. That's because it offers few manual controls. For example, it lacks aperture- and shutter-priority modes, and you can't manually calibrate the white balance--a feature common even on low-cost cameras.
You do get six white-balance presets (including three for different fluorescent lighting conditions) as well as exposure compensation for when auto settings don't deliver an accurate exposure. Another convenience is that the A610 allows you to manually set the ISO; this is handy when you want to shoot in low light. However, the maximum setting of ISO 400 won't get you far in very dim conditions. Some other models in this price range offer up to ISO 800, and a few have an antishake mode, which the A610 also lacks.
This FinePix offers a generous number of scene modes--14 total. The top button, which is for deleting photos during preview, can also be used to adjust the brightness of the LCD. At its highest setting, this screen is bright enough for viewing in midday sunlight--a welcome feature, since the A610 lacks a viewfinder. Other than these controls, you'll have to dive into the on-screen menus to make most changes because the A610 doesn't have a mode dial.
Overall, the A610's scores in our image quality tests were about average, but impressive for a budget-priced camera. In lab tests, our jury gave the camera scores slightly above average for the color and exposure accuracy of its images, but rated it slightly below average for image sharpness.
The A610 runs on AA batteries, and in our tests, it lasted just 195 shots before running out of juice, compared to the average of 260 frames. In contrast, the similarly priced Nikon Coolpix L10, which also runs on AA batteries, lasted 343 shots.
The A610 comes with a well-organized printed manual--no need to resort to a PDF file. The FinePix Viewer software is for uploading, viewing, and printing photos. There is also an e-mail function, which simply launches your default e-mail program with selected photos automatically attached to a message. You can also make slide shows, though the software does not offer any editing functions.
Although the A610 is a competent low-cost camera, a few more features would make it a better deal.