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Fujifilm FinePix 2300

Fuji updates their "value priced" entry-level camera with 2 megapixels and USB connectivity.

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Page 2:Executive Overview

Review First Posted: 07/2/2001

Executive Overview
The FinePix 2300 is Fujifilm's newest 2.1-megapixel digicam offering point-and-shoot simplicity with convenience and portability. Designed for the first-time digital photographer, the FinePix 2300 is a true "point & shoot", fully automatic with very few user controls. You set it on Automatic and don't give it a second thought. It does offer some exposure adjustments though, for those times you need a little more flexibility. The compact body design is very streamlined, small enough to slip into a pocket or purse. A clear plastic filter protects the fixed-focus lens, eliminating the need for a lens cap, although we personally prefer more certain scratch-protection. Camera operation is relatively straightforward, with a Mode dial for choosing the main operating mode -- Setup, Photography (Record), or Playback -- and a limited number of external controls, most of which are used to navigate the on-screen menu system.

The FinePix 2300 provides an optical viewfinder and a 1.6-inch color LCD monitor for composing images. The LCD screen displays basic camera information, although no specifics such as aperture or shutter settings are provided. In Auto mode, the on-screen icons show the shooting mode (Auto or Manual), File Size, Macro mode, the number of shots available, and Flash mode. In Manual mode, Exposure Compensation and White Balance settings are added to the display. Playback mode shows the capture number, date, and time. The on-screen information display appears automatically in both Record and Playback modes, but can be easily eliminated by pressing the Display button a second time.

The 5.8mm, fixed focal length lens (equivalent to a 36mm lens on a 35mm camera) provides automatically controlled aperture settings of f/4.8 or f/11. Focus is automatically set from 2.6 feet (80 centimeters) to infinity in normal mode, and as close as 3.1 inches (8 cm) in Macro mode (camera specifications indicate a maximum limit of 5.9 inches in Macro mode, but we were able to focus out to 12 inches). The Digital Zoom is enabled by pressing the up arrow key on the four-way Arrow Rocker pad, in either 1,280 x 960 (1.3x zoom) or 640 x 480-pixel (2.5x zoom) resolutions. The FinePix 2300 provides two exposure modes (Auto and Manual), both of which offer somewhat basic options. Auto mode puts the camera in charge of all exposure settings except for Flash mode, File Size, and Quality setting. Manual mode allows you to adjust the Exposure Compensation from -0.9 to +1.5 exposure equivalents (EV) in one-third-step increments, and to select one of seven White Balance settings: Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Daylight Fluorescent, Warm White Fluorescent, Cool White Fluorescent, or Incandescent settings. Flash is available in both exposure modes, with settings for Auto, Redeye Reduction, Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, and Slow-Synchro -- all of which are accessed through the Record menu. The 10-second Self-Timer and Continuous Shooting modes are only available in Auto mode, so White Balance and Exposure Compensation cannot be adjusted in either of those two modes. Continuous Shooting enables you to capture as many as nine successive frames as quickly as two frames per second.

Images are stored on a 3.3v SmartMedia card (an 8MB card is supplied with the camera), and can be saved as 1,600 x 1,200-, 1,280 x 960-, or 640 x 480-pixel files, with Quality settings of Fine, Normal, or Basic. Four AA alkaline batteries accompany the camera, but you can also use NiMH or NiCd rechargeable batteries and / or purchase the optional AC adapter for direct connection to a household power source (both of which we highly recommend).

The FinePix 2300 connects to a PC or Mac via a USB cable and comes with a nice complement of software on a single CD. The FinePix Viewer, DP Editor, and Exif Launcher (Mac and Windows) and Adobe ActiveShare (Windows only) programs allow you to view and organize your images, as well as set them up for printing, and make minor corrections. Adobe PhotoDeluxe provides more creative options, allowing you to add filters and create cards and calendars with the supplied templates. The CD also includes a USB driver and Acrobat Reader.

The FinePix 2300 is a great option for novice photographers who want point-and-shoot simplicity in a digital camera. The wide-angle, fixed-focus lens will set some limitations in subject matter, as there's no optical zoom to magnify subjects from a distance. Because of this, we recommend the FinePix 2300 for day-to-day people photography, particularly small groups, rather than fast-paced sports or nature photography. Overall, the image quality is good and the user interface is easy to learn -- perfect for teens and families.

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