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"Picky Details" for the Fuji FinePix A303 digital camera
(Timing, Power, and Storage Info)

Timing
Since they're rarely reported on but very important to the picture-taking experience, I measure both cycle times and shutter delay times for all the cameras I review, using a test system I designed and built for the purpose. (Crystal-controlled, with a resolution of 0.001 second.) Here are the numbers I collected for the Fuji FinePix A303:

Fuji FinePix A303 Timings
Operation
Time
(secs)
Notes
Power On -> First shot
3.61
Time is for lens to extend. About average.
Shutdown
1.09
Lens retracts before shutdown. About average
Play to Record, first shot
2.47/1.05
Time until first shot is captured. First time is for lens to extend again if retracted while in Playback, second is with lens extended. First time is average, second is faster than average.
Record to play
4.24
Time to display a large/fine file after capture. Rather long.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
0.87
About average. (Which is too slow, IMHO, but the A303 is no worse than most cameras in its category.)
Shutter lag, prefocus
0.23
Time to capture, after half-pressing Shutter button. Somewhat faster than average.
Cycle Time, max/min resolution
3.55/3.39
First numbers are for large/fine files, second number is time for small/basic images. Average to a bit slower than average.

Looking at the timing results above, I guess the word that comes to mind is "average." While it seems its become a negative commentary to call something "average," in the case of the A303, it's both accurate, and not at all a bad label to be pegged with. The A303 is an inexpensive camera, so to come out "average" in its timing means that it did pretty well. 

Power
The A303 uses two AA-type cells for its power source, and displays good to excellent battery life. (Provided that is, that you use high-capacity NiMH cells, coupled with a good charger. Read my NiMH Battery Shootout page for the latest on actual battery performance, or my review of the Maha C204F to see why it's my favorite charger.)

The table below shows the A303's power consumption in various modes, and approximate run times for each, based on a set of NiMH batteries with a (true, not advertised) 1700 mAh capacity:

 

Operating Mode
Power
(@3 volts on the external power terminal)
Est. Minutes
(Two 1600 mAh NiMH cells)
Capture Mode, w/LCD
530 mA
145
Capture Mode, no LCD
138 mA
557
Half-pressed shutter w/LCD
526 mA
146
Half-pressed w/o LCD
410 mA
187
Memory Write (transient)
558 mA
n/a
Flash Recharge (transient)
710 mA
n/a
Image Playback
270 mA
302

 

Overall, good battery life for a fairly compact camera, particularly one running on only two AA cells. Still, heed my advice to purchase a couple of sets of high-capacity rechargeable NiMH AA cells, and a good-quality charger. (See my Battery Shootout page for performance details on the latest crop of NiMH batteries on the market, and read my review of the Maha C-204F to learn about my favorite charger.)

Storage Capacity
The A303 stores its photos on xD-Picture Cards, and is the first of the Fuji FinePix line to do so. A 16MB card comes with the camera, though I strongly recommend buying at least a 32MB card, preferably a 64MB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings. The chart below shows how many images can be stored on the included 16MB card at each size/quality setting, and the approximate amount of image compression applied in each mode. (The more image compression that's applied, the smaller the image files, but the lower quality the photos will be.)

Image Capacity vs
Resolution/Quality
16MB Memory Card
Fine
Normal
3M Resolution
2,048 x 1,536
Images
(Avg size)
12
1,300KB
26
590KB
Approx.
Compression
7:1 15:1
2M Resolution
1,600 x 1,200
Images
(Avg size)
39
390KB
N/A
Approx.
Compression
14:1
N/A
1M Resolution
1,280 x 960
Images
(Avg size)
49
320KB
N/A
Approx.
Compression
11:1
N/A
0.3M Resolution
640 x 480
Images
(Avg size)
122
130KB
N/A
Approx.
Compression
7:1
N/A

 

Download Speed
The A303 connects to a host computer via a USB interface. Downloading files to my 500 MHz PowerMac G4 (OS 9.1), I clocked it at 195 KBytes/second, very much on the slow end of the range. If you plan much picture-taking, you may want to purchase a card reader to use with it. (Cameras with slow USB interfaces run as low as 300 KB/s, cameras with fast ones run as high as 600 KB/s.)

A303 Review
A303 Test Images
A303 Specifications
A303 "Picky Details"
Up to Imaging Resource digital cameras area

 

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