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Fuji FinePix A310 Digital Camera

A310 Camera QuickLook
Review Date
11/15/03
User Level
Novice to experienced amateur
Product Uses
Family / Travel / Special Events
Digicam Design
Point and Shoot
Picture Quality
High, 3.1-megapixel CCD
Print Sizes
Good prints to 8x10
Availability
Now
Suggested Retail Price
$299.95


Introduction

Fuji FinePix A310 Review Links
Overview
Picky
Details
Design
Operation
Recommended Accessories
Test Images
Specifications
Conclusion

Whether in the analog or digital world, Fuji is universally known for great color. In the digicam arena, they're also know for good-quality consumer digicams at very attractive prices. Combining quality and portability, Fuji's FinePix digicam line has been populated with compact, travel-worthy cameras that take great pictures. One of the latest additions to this line, the Fuji FinePix A310 provides very attractive prints under daytime lighting, and uses Fuji's Super CCD HR technology to deliver 6-megapixel files, interpolated from its 3.1-megapixel sensor, for sharp 8x10 prints. Sleek and compact, and with great outdoor picture quality, I wanted to like the FinePix A310 more than I did. Unfortunately, its photos showed quite a bit of image noise, most likely due to its minimum ISO of 200 (most cameras provide a minimum ISO of 100 or even lower, to deliver lower image noise when shooting under bright conditions), and its white balance system had some trouble under the household incandescent lighting that's very common in the US. Read on for all the details on the Fuji FinePix A310!


Camera Overview

Small, compact, and lightweight, the new FinePix A310 store images on a super tiny xD-Picture Card, which helps maintain the small case size. The A310's 3.1-megapixel CCD captures high resolution images with good detail, and its largely-automatic exposure control is a boon for novices. Loaded with batteries and memory card, the A310's surprisingly rugged-feeling, all-plastic body weighs in at only 7.2 ounces (204 grams) with batteries and memory card loaded. The A310 is pocket friendly as well, measuring just 3.8 x 2.5 x 1.3 inches (97 x 64 x 33 millimeters). With the lens retracted, the A310's front panel is mostly flat, letting it slip in and out of pockets quickly. A small strap secures the A310 to your wrist while shooting (a welcome feature given its minimal hand grip), but you might invest in a small camera case as well. Its maximum resolution 2,816 x 2,120-pixel images are good enough for printing as large as 8x10 inches, although lower resolutions are available for printing as snapshots or sending as email attachments.

Equipped with a 5.7-17.1mm 3x zoom lens, the equivalent of a 38-114mm zoom on a 35mm camera (a moderate wide angle to a moderate telephoto), the A310 offers a maximum aperture of f/2.8-f/4.8, depending on the lens' zoom position. Focus ranges from two feet (0.6 meters) to infinity, in normal mode, with a Macro setting ranging from 3.9 inches to 2.6 feet (10 to 80 centimeters). In addition to the A310's 3x optical zoom, the camera also offers up to 2.9x digital zoom. (Maximum digital enlargement depends on the image resolution, with more magnification being available at smaller image sizes.) I always remind readers that digital zoom decreases the overall image quality, since it only enlarges the center pixels of the CCD image, but that said, the A310 adopts my favored approach, simply presenting the available pixels as a smaller file, not trying to resample them back up to a full-sized image. Optical distortion was better than average, with the A310's lens producing a moderate 0.5 percent barrel distortion at wide angle, and only 0.1 barrel distortion at telephoto. Chromatic aberration was also fairly low. (See the sample images page for further analysis.) For framing shots, the A310 offers both a real-image optical viewfinder and a 1.5-inch color LCD monitor. A limited information display reports camera settings on the LCD monitor, and a framing guideline option displays an alignment grid. The optional grid divides the image area into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, making it easier to line up tricky subjects. Fuji estimates approximately 80 percent frame coverage with the optical viewfinder, which is close to my findings (approximately 79 percent accuracy at both wide angle and telephoto). The LCD monitor proved more accurate, at about 92 percent frame accuracy at wide angle (90 percent at telephoto). I generally like to see better viewfinder accuracy than this, although the LCD monitor's accuracy is marginally acceptable.

Exposure remains under automatic control at all times, despite the A310's offering of both Auto and Manual exposure modes. The "Manual" setting simply expands the Record menu to include Exposure Compensation and White Balance options, as opposed to the purely "point & shoot" operation in Auto mode. Shutter speeds range from 1/2,000 to 2 seconds, and the lens aperture ranges from f/2.8 to f/11.6, but the A310's LCD display doesn't report either. (Most entry-level cameras don't report aperture or shutter readings, perhaps to avoid confusing novices with too much information. I'm a big proponent of at least presenting the information though, so people can have at least some idea of how sensitive the camera might be to motion at longer shutter speeds, or how much depth of field might be available, depending on the aperture setting.) Note though, that shutter speeds are restricted to 1/2 second and above in normal shooting mode, with the longest shutter times only available in Night Scene mode. To determine the best exposure, the A310 employs a TTL (through-the-lens) 64-zone metering system, which averages readings taken throughout the frame for the best overall exposure. Through the camera's Record menu, you can increase or decrease the exposure from -2.1 to +1.5 in one-third-step increments.

The A310 offers four Scene modes. Portrait optimizes settings for shooting portraits, using larger apertures to soften the overall background and adjusting the camera's color to enhance skin tones. Landscape, which disables the flash, is optimized for shots of scenery in daylight, providing crisp, clean shots of distant objects. Sports mode gives priority to faster shutter speeds to "freeze" action. Night Scene mode allows shutter times as long as 2 seconds to capture ambient light in combination with several available flash modes.

White balance options include an Auto setting, as well as Outdoors, Shade, Daylight Fluorescent, Warm White Fluorescent, Cool White Fluorescent, and Incandescent presets. The A310's light sensitivity is adjustable from its default of 200 to as high as 800, although the ISO 800 option limits the resolution to 1 megapixel. Combined with the longer shutter times available in Night Scene mode, the A310 can capture images at light levels as dark as 1/4-1/8 foot-candle (roughly 1/4 to 1/8 as bright as city night scenes under typical street lighting), although its autofocus system can't operate at light levels any lower than 1 foot-candle.

The A310's built-in flash is effective from 1 to 16.4 feet (0.3 to 5.0 meters) depending on the zoom position, and operates in Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, Forced, Suppressed, or Slow-Synchro modes. A Self-Timer mode provides a 10-second delay between a full press of the Shutter button and when the shutter actually opens, helpful in self-portraits or group photos. The A310 also features a Movie mode, which captures movies without sound. Two resolutions are available (320 x 240 and 160 x 120 pixels). Maximum recording times vary, depending on the resolution and amount of available memory space, with a maximum of 120 seconds for 320 x 240, and a maximum of 480 seconds for the 160 x 120 size.

Digital Print Order Format is also supported on theA310, so you can tag prints in the camera to be printed on a DPOF-compatible printer or DPOF print service.

A 16MB  xD-Picture Card comes with the camera, but you'll want to purchase a larger size almost immediately, given the A310's maximum 2,816 x 2,120-pixel resolution. (The xD-Picture Card itself is very tiny, rivaling the popular SD memory cards in size.) The A310 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. In my testing, the A310 offered better than average battery life for a camera powered by only two AA cells, but I still strongly recommend purchasing at least a couple of sets of high-capacity rechargeable cells to use with it. 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 longtime favorite.

Basic Features

  • 3.1-megapixel Super CCD HR delivering images as large as 2,816 x 2,120 pixels.
  • Real-image optical viewfinder.
  • 1.5-inch color LCD monitor.
  • 3x, 38-114mm (35mm equivalent) lens.
  • 2.9x digital zoom.
  • Automatic exposure control.
  • Adjustable white balance with seven settings.
  • Sensitivity equivalent to ISO 100.
  • Maximum aperture of f/2.8-f/4.8, depending on zoom.
  • Shutter speeds from 1/2,000 to 2 seconds.
  • 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 Macintosh computers.

Special Features

  • Movie mode (silent only, no sound).
  • 10-second Self-Timer for delayed shutter release.
  • DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) compatibility.
  • USB cable for connection to a computer (driver software included).

Recommendation
Trim and compact, the A310 travels well, and can be quickly stashed in a pocket when on the go. Exposure Compensation and White Balance adjustment options enhance the largely automatic exposure control, for uncomplicated picture taking. The A310 should immediately set novices at ease, as the user interface is quite simple and straightforward. Great for toting around town, to the kids' ball games, or on laid-back vacations, the A310 is a good "starter" digicam for teens or new users. I'd be quite enthusiastic about it, were it not for its limitations of higher than average image noise and poor handling of the incandescent lighting that's so common in US homes. (If you mainly shoot outdoors though, its color is first-rate.)

 

Design
Measuring 3.8 x 2.5 x 1.3 inches (97 x 64 x 33 millimeters), the A310 is small enough for most shirt pockets and purses, but fits the average hand well. Loaded with batteries and memory card, the A310 weighs just 7.2 ounces (204 grams), thanks in part to the all-plastic camera body. The included wrist strap secures the camera in-hand, but a soft camera case would be ideal for protecting the camera during long excursions. The A310 is an uncomplicated camera, with largely automatic exposure control and a select few menu options. External controls are limited, and the LCD menu system is short and to the point. Let's take a look at the camera's external features:

The sliding lens cover is activated by the large silver Power switch on the front of the camera, that also serves as a finger grip. Hidden beneath a sliding lens cover, the A310's telescoping lens keeps the front panel flat when retracted. The silver lens cover slides out of the way when the camera is powered on, allowing the lens to extend forward a little over half an inch. Also on the front panel are the flash, flash sensor, self-timer lamp, and optical viewfinder window. A small ridge provides a finger grip on the far side of the front panel, with a shiny silver finish highlighting the FinePix logo.

The right side of the camera (as viewed from the rear) holds only the eyelet for the wrist strap. At the very bottom of the right panel, the edge of the memory card and battery compartment door is visible.

The opposite side of the camera features the Video Out, USB and DC In connector terminals, all of which are uncovered.

On the A310's top panel is the Shutter button.

The few remaining camera controls are on the rear panel, sharing space with the optical viewfinder and LCD monitor. The Display and Photo mode buttons line the top of the LCD monitor, while a set of arrow keys in the top right corner control both zoom position and menu navigation. The center arrows are implemented as a two-way rocker button, controlling optical and digital zoom, in addition to other functions. A large Mode dial to the right of the LCD monitor selects the camera's main operating mode, with a series of ridges that provide a grip for your thumb as it turns the dial. To the left of that are the Back and Menu/OK buttons. Finally, the Flash button is located just below the Mode dial.

The A310's bottom panel is flat, with the plastic, threaded tripod mount in the center. The xD-Picture Card and battery compartment is just adjacent, with a hinged door that slides out before opening. Although I personally prefer to have access to the battery and memory card compartments while a camera is mounted to a tripod, I doubt this will be much of an issue on the A310, given its very portable nature.

 

Camera Operation
With automatic exposure control and only a sprinkling of manual adjustments available, the A310's user interface is a snap to learn. The large Mode dial sets the main camera mode (Scene Position, Still Photography mode, Playback mode or Movie mode), and common functions such as zoom and flash mode employ simple external controls. Although you'll have to get into the LCD menu system for any other adjustments, the menu screens are simply laid out, and feature only a handful of options each. Thus, the A310 shouldn't take much time to get acquainted with, and even novice you should have little trouble learning to use the camera. (The one thing I found a little cryptic was the "F" button, which accesses controls for image size, ISO, and color modes. - Unless you read the manual, there's nothing on the camera itself to indicate that this is a button that leads to a menu or configuration option. I think a lot of novice users could miss it completely.)


External Controls


Shutter Button
: Located on the camera's top panel, this button sets focus and exposure when halfway pressed, and fires the shutter when fully pressed.


Power Switch
: A silver finger grip on the front of the camera, this switch turns the camera on and off.


Display Button
: Just above the top left corner of the LCD monitor, this button controls the LCD display, and also activates the framing grid. It also optionally disables the LCD monitor, so you can save battery power by using just the optical viewfinder.


Photo Mode Button
: Just above the top right corner of the LCD monitor, this button displays the Photo mode menu, which contains Image Quality, ISO and Color settings in Record mode and DPOF options in Playback mode. (As noted above, I personally found this button rather cryptic, think that a lot of novices could miss its function completely.)


Menu/OK Button
: Left of the Mode dial, this button displays the settings menu in Playback or Record modes. It also serves as the "OK" button, to confirm any menu selections.


Back Button
: Left of the Mode dial and below the Menu/OK button, this button backs out of camera menus without making changes.


Zoom Rocker and Arrow Buttons
: In the top right corner of the back panel, these three buttons serve as the arrow keys, for navigating through menu screens and captured images. The center button is a two-way rocker button, which also controls optical and digital zoom in any record mode. In record modes, the left arrow toggles Macro mode and the right arrow steps through the Flash modes (Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, Forced, Suppressed, and Slow-Synchro). In Playback mode, the right and left arrow keys scroll through captured images, while the up and down rocker button controls digital enlargement.


Mode Dial
: On the right side of the LCD monitor, this dial controls the camera's operating mode, with the following options available:

  • Scene Position: Activates Scene mode in which you can select one of four Scene Positions (Night, Sport, Scene or Portrait).
  • Still Photography: Enables Auto or Manual (which adds White Balance and Exposure Value options) mode.
  • Playback: Displays captured still images and movie files, with options for deleting, protecting, and printing files.
  • Movie: Records moving images without sound, with the maximum recording length depending on the resolution setting and memory card space.

 

Camera Modes and Menus

The A310 offers four main operating modes:

  • Scene Position: This recording mode offers one of four Scene Positions (Night, Sport, Scene or Portrait). (Another minor user-interface bobble here: The markings on the mode dial would seem to suggest that you access the various scene options by continuing to rotate the dial. In fact, the dial stops at the main "SP" position, and the various modes are accessed via the menu system. - I wonder how many cameras Fuji will get back with the Mode Dial broken by users trying to access the modes by rotating it beyond its limit?)
  • Still Photography: This recording mode offers Auto or Manual (which adds White Balance and Exposure Value options) mode.
  • Playback: This display mode controls playback of captured still images and movie files, with options for deleting, protecting, and printing files.
  • Movie: This recording mode captures moving images without sound, with the maximum recording length depending on the resolution setting and memory card space.
Each of these modes may be modified using either the Menu button or the Photo mode button. Options vary depending on the active operating mode.

Record Menu
: The following menu items may appear when the Menu button is pressed in any record mode. Not all menu options are available in all modes.
  • Self-Timer: Activates the 10-second Self-Timer mode.
  • Continuous Shooting: Select Top 4-frame or Final 4-frame mode for continuous shooting while you hold down the Shutter button. Top 4-frame saves up to four images shot at intervals as short as 0.3 seconds. Final 4-frame saves the last four frames of up to 25 frames at a minimum interval of 0.3 seconds.
  • Shooting Mode [Auto Mode]: Select either Auto or Manual (which adds White Balance and Exposure Value options).
  • Scene Position [SP Mode]: Select between Portrait, Landscape, Sports or Night Scene modes.
  • Option: Set LCD Brightness or access Setup Menu. (See below for the Setup Menu contents.)
  • Exposure Compensation [Manual Mode]: Adjusts the overall exposure from -2.1 to +1.5 exposure equivalents (EV) in one-third-step increments.
  • White Balance [Manual Mode]: Sets the white balance to Auto, Outdoors, Shade, Daylight Fluorescent, Warm White Fluorescent, Cool White Fluorescent, or Incandescent.


Photo Mode Menu in Record mode
: The following menu items appear whenever the Menu button is pressed in any record mode. However, not all menu options are available in all modes.
  • Quality: Sets the image resolution to 6M (2,816 x 2,120 pixels), 3M (2,048 x 1,536 pixels), 1M (1,280 x 960 pixels), or 0.3M (640 x 480 pixels). To the right of each setting, the number of available frames is displayed. Movie mode options are 320 (320 x 240) pixels or 160 (160 x 120) pixels.
  • ISO: In Auto Mode, you can select between Auto, 200, 400 or 800 (Note that the ISO 800 option automatically sets the camera's resolution to the 1M file size.) In Manual Mode, you can select between 200, 400 and 800 (at 1M Quality).
  • FinePix Color: Options include Standard, Chrome and B&W. Standard records contrast and color normally. Chrome records enhanced contrast and color and suppresses automatic quality adjustments on Exif print compliant printers. B&W converts colors to black and white tones.

Setup Menu: Activates the Auto or Manual menu selections, adjusts the LCD brightness, and offers the following setup menu options:

  • Image Display: Turns the post-image capture review screen on or off.
  • Power Save: Turns the power save option on or off. If on, the camera will shut down after 30 seconds of inactivity.
  • Format: Formats the storage card, erasing all files.
  • Beep: Controls the camera's beep sounds, with options for Low, High, or Off.
  • Date & Time: Sets the camera's internal clock and calendar.
  • LCD: Turns the LCD monitor on or off. If on, the LCD monitor automatically comes on whenever the Mode dial is set to the Auto Record position. If off, you must enable the display via the Display button.
  • Frame Number: Specifies whether frame numbers are assigned consecutively from previous numbers or begin again.
  • USB Mode: Sets the USB mode to DSC or PC Cam. PC Cam mode lets Windows you use the A310 as a webcam.
  • Language: Sets the menu language to English, German, or French.
  • Video System: Sets either NTSC or PAL video output.
  • Discharge: Discharges rechargeable batteries.
  • Reset: Resets all camera settings to their defaults except date and time, frame number, language and video output.

Playback Menu:

  • Erase: Deletes the current frame, or all frames on the xD-Picture Card.
  • Protect: Write-protects the displayed image, preventing accidental erasure or manipulation (except via card formatting). Also removes protection, and offers options to protect or unprotect all images on the card.
  • Playback: Select between four different interval (short, long) and transition (fade, no fade) options.
  • Setup Menu: Displays the same settings as under the Record menu, minus the Auto and Manual exposure options.
Photo Mode Menu in Playback Mode
(Sorry, no screen shot of this menu.)
  • DPOF: Marks frames for printing on DPOF devices, with an option to include a date and time overlay.
  • DPOF All Reset: Unmark all.

Test Images
See our test images and detailed analysis here. The thumbnails below show a subset of our test images. Click on a thumbnail to see the full-size photo.

Outdoor
Indoor
Indoor Flash
 

 

 

House
Musicians
Macro
 

 

 

Davebox
Resolution
Viewfinder Accuracy

 

Specifications
See the specifications sheet here.


User Reviews

 

Picky Details
Information on shooting speed, battery life, etc. can be found here.

 

Test Results

In keeping with my standard test policy, the comments given here summarize only my key findings. For a full commentary on each of the test images, see the A310's "pictures" page.

As with all Imaging Resource product tests, I encourage you to let your own eyes be the judge of how well the camera performed. Explore the images on the pictures page, to see how A310's images compare to other cameras you may be considering.

  • Color: Excellent color outdoors, trouble with incandescent lighting indoors though. Overall color was pretty good on the A310, but I noticed a tendency towards a slightly warm color balance, particularly when using the Auto white balance setting. This color cast was slight, but nonetheless noticeable in many of the shots I took with the A310. (Not a deal-killer by itself, but a factor to consider.) Apart from the slight color cast though, color outdoors was beautiful, with richly saturated and generally hue-accurate tones. Skin tones were also quite good under daylight illumination, slightly pinkish, but I've found that consumers tend to like slightly rosy-looking Caucasian skin tones. The difficult blue flowers were just slightly dark outdoors, with slight purplish tints, but their overall color was still quite good. Indoors, the camera's white balance system had some difficulty handling household incandescent lighting, producing pink and yellow color casts, with auto and incandescent white balance settings respectively. It's a shame, if Fuji could just get a handle on their incandescent white balance, I'd consistently rate their color as "excellent," given how nice their color looks under outdoor lighting.

  • Exposure: Pretty good exposure accuracy, but a contrasty tone curve leads to lost detail under harsh lighting conditions. The A310's exposure system handled a variety of lighting situations pretty well, but it had a fair bit of trouble with the harshly list outdoor portrait, where its high native contrast resulted in it losing large amounts of highlight detail, while "plugging" the shadows somewhat. Indoors, the camera required slightly more exposure compensation than average to get a bright exposure on my Indoor Portrait test, which then resulted in hot highlights on the white shirt. The Davebox target was slightly bright, but the camera differentiated subtle tonal differences quite well, but the camera's dynamic range appeared somewhat limited when it was presented with harsh scene lighting.

  • Resolution/Sharpness: Pretty good resolution, 1,000-1,100 lines/picture height. The A310 performed fairly well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 600 lines per picture height, in both horizontal and vertical directions. I found "strong detail" out to at least 1,000 lines, although you could perhaps argue for as high as 1,100 lines in the horizontal direction. "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until about 1,250 lines.

  • Image Noise: Higher than average image noise. While I don't currently perform a quantitative noise test, I've decided to begin including subjective comments on noise performance here, due to the high level of interest among readers in the topic. It's a little hard to rate the A310's image noise performance fairly, since its minimum ISO (light sensitivity) setting is 200. Since most digicams start with an ISO rating of 100 (and some go as low as 50), you'd expect that the A310's higher minimum ISO would result in higher minimum noise levels as well, and that indeed is the case. Comparing images shot at the A310's lowest ISO against those of other cameras shot at their minimum ISO settings, the A310's images show quite a bit more image noise. In fairness, you may not notice this if you mainly make 4x6 prints, but it will be noticeable in larger prints.

  • Closeups: The A310 turned in about an average performance in the macro category, capturing a minimum area of 4.07 x 3.07 inches (103 x 78 millimeters). Resolution was high, with good detail present in the dollar bill, brooch, and coins. There's only a little softening in the corners, mainly in the left corners of the frame. Overall color was warm from the Auto white balance setting, but exposure was pretty good. The A310's flash throttled down a little too well for the macro area, producing a dark photo. (Plan on using external lighting for macro shots with the A310.)

  • Night Shots: Low light performance adequate for typical city night scenes. Usable t stops darker than that (1/8 the light level), but only in the limited-resolution ISO 800 mode. The A310 operates under full automatic exposure control, but does offer a Night shooting mode and adjustable ISO setting. Although the camera's low-light shooting capabilities are limited by a maximum two-second exposure time, the camera is sensitive enough for average city street lighting at night (which equates to a one-foot-candle, 11 lux, light level). Night shooting mode is essential to access the longer exposure times, otherwise the exposure time is limited to 1/2 second. In my testing, the A310 produced usable images down to the one-half foot-candle (5.5 lux) light level at ISO 200, and down to the 1/8 foot-candle (1.3 lux) light level at ISO 800. The target was still visible at even lower light levels, but was quite underexposed. (You could conceivable lighten these in post-capture software, but noise would be pretty severe.) Color was pretty good with the Auto white balance, but a little warm. Noise was highest at the 800 ISO setting, but only moderately high at ISOs 200 and 400.

  • Viewfinder Accuracy: A very tight optical viewfinder, somewhat tight LCD finder. The A310's optical viewfinder was very tight, showing only 79 percent frame accuracy at both wide angle and telephoto zoom settings. The LCD monitor fared a little better, showing approximately 92 percent accuracy at wide angle, and about 90 percent at telephoto. Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the A310's LCD monitor has some room for improvement here.

  • Optical Distortion: Optical distortion on the A310 was better than average at the wide-angle end, where I measured approximately 0.5 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end fared better still, as I found 0.1 percent barrel distortion there. Chromatic aberration was also low, showing only about three or four pixels of fairly faint coloration on either side of the target lines. (This distortion is visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.)

  • Shutter lag and cycle time: The A310's shutter lag is solidly average (which means it's still way too high, IMHO), with full-autofocus shutter delays of 0.84 to 0.97 seconds, depending on the lens' zoom position. (Longer at telephoto than wide angle.) The prefocus delay is quite short at 0.20 seconds. Cycle times are another matter though, as the A310 has only two frames of buffer memory, and even then is somewhat slow. The interval between the first two shots is 2.11 seconds, and between all subsequent ones is 4.42 seconds.

  • Battery Life: The A310 does surprisingly well in the battery life department, particularly considering that it's powered by only two AA cells. Based on my power measurements, I project worst-case battery life at just over 2.4 hours (146 minutes), and run time in playback mode is 3.9 hours (235 minutes). (These times are based on true 1600 mAh capacity NiMH rechargeables, so you'll be able to do a fair bit better with the latest, highest-capacity NiMH cells.) Despite the good run times, I still strongly advise you to purchase a couple of sets of good-quality NiMH batteries and a good 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.)

In the Box
In the box are the following items:

  • Fuji FinePix A310 digital camera.
  • 16MB xD-Picture Card.
  • Two single-use, AA-type alkaline batteries.
  • Wrist strap.
  • Special video cable.
  • Cradle adapter.
  • Software CD-ROM.
  • Instruction manual and registration card.


Recommended Accessories

  • (I recommend 32MB as a bare minimum, 64MB would be preferable.)
  • Two sets (total of four cells, minimum) NiMH rechargeable batteries and good charger.
  • Soft camera case.


Conclusion
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The Fuji FinePix line of digicams has always been marked by good image quality and color, and the A310 for the most part continues this tradition. The qualification in that statement is because I found the A310's image noise to be enough higher than average that I think it might constitute a drawback for some users. Also, the A310 has a bit of trouble with the incandescent lighting that is so common in US households. If you're mainly looking for a camera for outdoor shooting, the A310's color is beautiful, and if you mainly make 4x6 prints, you may never see the image noise. Still, I'd like to see both factors improved before I'd consider recommending the A310 to people. Not a bad camera, just not a great one...

 

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