I got this point and shoot digital camera as a 10-year anniversary gift from my work about ten months ago. It came in handy because our daughter had just dropped her Canon Power Shot A3100IS camera in an unfortunate manner, and she needed a new camera. I thought this would be a good camera to give to her as a replacement, so I did.
Recommend this product?
These kind of small, simple, almost zero maintenance cameras are getting some competition from smart phones. However, smart phone cameras typically have fixed focus lenses, no physical shutter, small sensors, no flash, and you cannot take very good pictures with them in low light. Based on what I've seen my daughter needed a small point and shoot camera despite her also taking many pictures with her iPhone. I should add that if you don't have a phone with a camera you may also need a point and shoot camera for that reason (that's not our case).
Naturally my daughter is the one who has used it the most. She has taken pictures and HD videos of the dogs, herself, all kinds of other things, and she took pictures on our recent trip to Disney World and Universal Studios. However, I have also taken many photos with this camera and I am typically the one who downloads the photos to our computers. Therefore I have some experience with it. My very brief verdict is this;
This simple inexpensive point and shoot camera is certainly no Canon Powershot G12 and no Canon Power Shot A3100IS either. Don't expect great photos under all circumstances. However, it takes decent pictures if you use it right and it certainly takes much better pictures than you can muster from the kid's smart phones. It is a decent camera for kids, and it is fairly easy to use (but not as easy to use as the Canon Power Shot A3100IS). It is practical for casual every day use and when you don't want to think much about the camera.
Overview of the Fuji Finepix AV100 Digital Camera
The Fuji Finepix AV100 camera is a quite small point and shoot camera that takes AA batteries. This is quite convenient for those who just want to have a camera in their back pocket and forget about it until an opportunity appears. You don't need to recharge batteries, or worry about forgetting or losing special batteries. AA batteries can be bought almost anywhere and if you want to, you can recharge many AA batteries.
The camera looks pretty nice and as mentioned it is pretty small. On top of the camera you have an on/off button and a shutter button. The back of the camera features a 2.7 inch wide LCD screen which takes up most of the real estate of the back side. To the right you have the panel zoom (W - T button), and below it two small buttons, the display button, which also functions as the "back" button, and the view button (viewing stored photos). Below these buttons there is a four button wheel with a Menu/OK button in the middle. The four buttons are LCD brightness/delete, flash settings, delayed shutter, and the macro mode. By pressing the menu button you get all the other shooting modes.
The other shooting modes are Fireworks, Sunset, Snow, Beach, Party, Flower, Text, Scene recognition Auto, Auto, Program, Movie, Natural 2 images (no flash & flash), Natural light, Portrait, Baby mode, Landscape, Panorama (3 shots), Sport, Night, and night Tripod with slow shutter speed.
The Fuji Finepix AV100 camera has a 12 Megapixel CCD sensor, a 3X optical zoom lens, picture stabilization, face detection (10 faces), automatic red eye removal, HD (720p) movie shooting, and several levels of photo resolutions (up to 4,000 x 3,000pixels). The maximum sensitivity is ISO3200, which is good for a simple point and shoot camera. It is compatible with both SD and SDSC cards, but I do not know if it is compatible with SDXC.
Thoughts and Experience of the Fuji Finepix AV100 Digital Camera
When I go to performances and shows I often see hundreds of people taking photos of the stage from hundreds of feet away using the camera flash. Clearly simple point and shoot cameras intended for "camera dummies" has a market. So keeping it simple and stupid (KISS) and inexpensive is a good idea in general.
In general this camera is slightly less advanced than the similar Fuji Finepix AV200 and AV300 cameras, with its fewer features and lesser optical zoom. It is also less advanced then the Canon Power Shot A3100IS. In my experience it seems like the photos are not as good and the specs are not as good. However, the movies seem to be coming out pretty good. For the cheap price (well I got it free) I think it is good enough.
I think that the shutter speed is pretty good. I did not notice any significant delays and the flash is also ready pretty quickly. For the most part it takes good pictures, considerably better pictures than the smart phones we have. However, it does not match the picture quality of the Power Shot 3100A camera as far as I can tell (at least not in dim light). On the other hand the Canon Power Shot A3100IS costs almost double as much.
You can also take really bad pictures with this camera and with the Canon Power Shot A3100IS camera because you are not getting the basics right. For example, if you take pictures using the wrong photo shooting mode (not night setting) in dim light and without using the flash, or against the sun, or if you or the object is moving too much and you are not using the sports shooting mode, etc. Figure out what the shooting modes are, or use Auto, and don't hope to use the flash for object more than 20 feet away. If you have problems with this kind of stuff at least you are only paying $70.00 for this camera.
One thing that I think was a negative was that the camera has no view finder. The LCD screen is fairly good and I believe that most people use the LCD screen most of the time. However, if you have certain issues with your eyes (like my dad) you really need a view finder. You also need if you are shooting against the sun light (for what ever reason).
I think that placing the shooting modes on a thumb wheel button on top of the camera would have been better than hiding them under the menu. This was to me a little unintuitive and inconvenient. I also found that navigating the menu was a little unintuitive. Perhaps Fuji could take a look at how Canon does it with their Canon Power Shot A3100IS.
I like the fact that this camera uses AA batteries. I think that is a good approach for simple point and shoot cameras. For example, if you are at Disney World and you somehow lose your special camera battery, it is going to be very difficult to find one soon enough and you may have to order it online. However, if you lose an AA battery, or you run out, you just replace them at any of the nearby gift stores. The AA batteries may run out more often but it depends a lot on which kind of AA battery you buy.
In summary, this camera is better than our smart phone cameras, but it is on the low end among Point and Shoot cameras. The picture quality might not be the best especially in low light. I think putting the shooting modes under the menu was a mistake and I think having a view finder is good. However, it is a very inexpensive camera that is doing its job, so I still give it three and a half stars rounded up to four stars.
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This Camera is a Good Choice if You Want Something... Easy Enough for Anyone to Use