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Fujifilm FinePix 2300

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

Review First Posted: 07/2/2001

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MSRP $279 US


2.1 megapixel CCD for 1,600 x 1,200 images
Fixed focal-length lens equivalent to 36mm on a 35mm film camera
Very easy point & shoot operation
USB connection for quick downloads to your PC

Manufacturer Overview
A longtime contender in the digital imaging arena, Fuji Photo Film U.S.A. Inc. has made a strong showing in consumer-based digital cameras in recent years. Fujifilm's first digicam under the FinePix brand name -- the 4700 Zoom -- was introduced in 2000, incorporating Fuji's highly controversial Super CCD technology. While the subsequent FinePix 4800 and 4900 models both fell within the higher-quality prosumer category ($700 - $1,000 list), Fujifilm also introduced three new entry level models, the FinePix 2300 and 2400 Zoom, and the FinePix 40i with MP3 and QuickTime movie capabilities. Both the 2300 and 2400 sport the same 2.1-megapixel CCD sensor (of Fuji design, but not Super CCD), compact construction, and point-and-shoot user interface. The difference lies in the lenses. The 2400 features a 3x optical zoom lens and the 2300 has a fixed-focus 36mm equivalent wide-angle lens, with a price difference of just over $100 ($279 vs. $399 list). While we would happily invest the extra money for the convenience and versatility of a 3x zoom lens, our tests indicate that the FinePix 2300 still delivers high-quality images at a very reasonable price. If you're in the market for great price and point-and-shoot simplicity, this model certainly deserves your attention.

High Points

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.

Trim, compact, and lightweight, the FinePix 2300 is a very portable addition to the Fujifilm FinePix digicam line. The camera's rectangular body has an attractive brushed silver surface and sophisticated styling, with a mix of black, silver, and gray highlights around the control buttons and windows. The camera's surface is free of any major protrusions (even the lens is nested into body), making it a likely tagalong to the beach, mountains, or summertime road adventures. Measuring only 4.3 x 3.0 x 1.5 inches (110 x 77 x 39 mm), the FinePix 2300 weighs about 10.6 ounces (300 grams) with the batteries and SmartMedia card installed, so it's just the right size and shape to fit into a large coat pocket, purse, or waist pack. (It passes the "shirt pocket" test, fitting into a standard men's dress shirt pocket.) The accompanying wrist strap provides a little extra security while carrying the camera outdoors, but we also recommend investing in the optional soft case to add protection from the elements.

The FinePix 2300 features fully automatic exposure control, 1,600 x 1,200-pixel resolution, and a limited number of external controls across the camera's surface. The front panel is especially feature-free, with only a viewfinder window, built-in flash, fixed focal length lens, and a set of two small circles next to the lens, including the Self-Timer lamp and flash control sensor. Instead of a lens cap, the 5.8mm lens (equivalent to a 36mm lens) is covered by a protective clear plastic shield that remains in place to prevent any damage to the glass lens surface. Though this plastic cover is fairly tough, it's still prone to scratches, so must be treated kindly. (We also noticed that the location of the lens made it easy to smudge with your fingers when picking up the camera.) Though there isn't much of a hand grip on the FinePix 2300, a curved beige recess on the front of the camera gives your fingers an area to cling to as they wrap around the camera body.


Centered on the right side of the camera is the SmartMedia compartment, with a small sliding release button to open it from the side. A plastic door protects the SmartMedia slot, and a small LED lamp inside the compartment stays lit whenever the camera is accessing the card (never remove the card while this light is on). At the top right side is metal rod eyelet for attaching the wrist strap cord.

The left side of the camera features the USB and DC-In jacks at the bottom, and the Macro / Normal lens focus switch on top.

The Shutter button is the only control on the top panel, located on the far right side, within easy reach of the forefinger.

All of the remaining camera controls are located on the back panel, along with the LCD monitor and optical viewfinder eyepiece. A small LED lamp on the right side of the eyepiece reports the camera's status by glowing or flashing different colors, depending on the function. For example, when the lamp flashes green, the camera is warning of a slow shutter speed or that the automatic exposure system is still setting the exposure. A solid green lamp indicates that the camera is ready to shoot. If the LED lamp flashes orange, the Flash is still charging, while a solid orange lamp reports that the image is being recorded on the SmartMedia card. Finally, if the LED lamp flashes red, the camera is warning of a SmartMedia error, the details of which are reported on the LCD monitor. Next to the viewfinder is the sliding Power switch, and to the right of that are the Menu / OK button and four-way Arrow Rocker pad, linked by small bridge. On the far right is the Mode dial, with three settings -- Setup, Photography (Record), and Playback -- and a Display button sits right on top of the 1.6-inch LCD monitor to rotate between different information displays. A series of raised bumps covering the lower right corner of the back panel serves as an effective thumb grip.

The battery compartment and tripod mount are both located on the FinePix 2300's bottom panel, positioned too close together to allow quick battery changes while the camera is mounted on a tripod. The plastic battery compartment door slides forward before opening outward to reveal the compartment. The plastic threaded tripod mount is a little off center, to accommodate the extra battery weight on the right side of the camera.

The FinePix 2300 is equipped with a real-image optical viewfinder and a 1.6-inch color LCD monitor for composing images. The optical viewfinder is an Inverted Galilean design, which provides very clear viewing, but does not have a diopter adjustment dial. We found the optical viewfinder accommodating to eyeglass wearers, as it has a moderately high eyepoint to allow room for eyeglass lenses. In the center of the viewfinder display is a circular focus and exposure target, intended to help line up shots, however the target mark is transparent, so it's hard to see when you're looking directly into the viewfinder. We also noticed that the optical viewfinder shows a much smaller image area than what is actually recorded, and furthermore that the area you can see through it varies quite a bit as you move your eye around. This makes it somewhat difficult to accurately frame images, particularly if you're looking for tight, precision framing. Fujifilm estimates that the optical viewfinder provides about 80 percent frame coverage, but we found it to be about 86 percent accurate, using a "best guess" for where our eye should be behind the viewfinder. We achieved best results by judging the framing at the center of the frame, rather than using the outside edges as marks. Overall, the poor framing of the optical viewfinder was one of our biggest gripes with the camera.

The 1.6-inch, D-TFT color LCD monitor provides much better framing accuracy than the optical viewfinder (95 percent in our testing). Comprised of approximately 55,000 pixels, the FinePix 2300's LCD monitor delivers average color saturation and brightness (we found it to be a bit dark in interior settings). The Display button above the LCD monitor controls the image and information displays, cycling through three options: information with no image display, information with an image display, and the image display by itself. The information readout includes basic status indicators, such as operating mode, flash mode, and the number of available images, image size and quality settings, exposure compensation, and white balance (aperture and shutter speed are not reported).

In Playback mode, the LCD information display reports the file number and date and time it was recorded. As in Record mode, pressing the Display button turns off the information readout. Pressing it a third time brings up the index display, which shows as many as nine thumbnail images on a single page. When a single image is displayed, the up and down arrows serve as playback zoom buttons, enlarging captured images as much as 4x, and the right and left arrow keys allow you to scroll through captured images.

The FinePix 2300's fixed focal length lens measures 5.8mm, the equivalent of a 36mm (wide-angle) lens on a 35mm camera. Aperture is automatically controlled at all times, with two available settings: f/4.8 and f/11. A switch on the left side of the camera controls the focus mode, setting the focal range to Normal or Macro. Fujifilm reports that the focus ranges are from 2.6 feet (80 cm) to infinity in normal mode, and from 3.1 to 5.9 inches (8 to 15 cm) in Macro mode. (Readers will note that these measurements leave a huge gap between 5.9 inches and 2.6 feet. Our tests indicated that Macro mode actually worked up to 12 inches and Normal focus began to take over at about 24 inches, so there was a one-foot gap between those areas where focus was soft. The FinePix 2300 isn't alone in having a macro-focus "gap" of this sort (the Kodak DC215 comes to mind also), but we much prefer to see continuous focusing ranges. Our concern is that a split focusing range such as this may be confusing to consumers.)

Though the FinePix 2300 does not feature true optical zoom, it does offer a "digital zoom" as high as 2.5x. Digital zoom is only available with the 1,280 x 960- and 640 x 480-pixel resolution sizes (as much as 2.5x at 640 x 480 pixels, and as high as 1.3x at 1,280 x 960 pixels). The up and down arrows of the four-way Arrow Rocker Pad control the digital zoom. Keep in mind that because digital zoom is simply enlarging the center portion of the CCD image, overall image quality is compromised, usually in the form of lower resolution or excess image noise. The FinePix 2300's digital zoom does a fairly good job of holding detail, though we did notice a substantial increase in image noise in our test shots.

In our testing, the FinePix 2300's lens seemed to be of pretty good quality. The lower righthand corners of our images were a bit soft, but all forms of lens distortion were quite low.

The FinePix 2300 operates under automatic exposure control at all times. There is an option for "Manual" exposure mode in the Record menu, which merely provides Exposure Compensation and White Balance adjustments. Aperture and shutter speed remain under automatic control, with two possible apertures -- f/4.8 and f/11 -- and shutter speeds ranging from 1/1,000 to 1/2 second. The FinePix 2300 employs a 64-zone metering system to determine exposure, reading the entire image area and averaging the values to find the best exposure for the whole scene. The camera's light sensitivity is rated at 100 ISO equivalency, which, when combined with a maximum shutter time of 1/2-second, significantly limits the 2300's low-light shooting capabilities.

The FinePix 2300's Exposure Compensation is adjustable from -0.9 to +1.5 exposure equivalents (EV) in one-third step increments. Adjustment is accessed through the Record menu, as is White Balance setting, which offers Auto, Outdoors, Cloudy, Daylight Fluorescent, Warm White Fluorescent, Cool White Fluorescent, and Incandescent settings. Though the FinePix 2300 does not have an AE Lock button, you can manually lock the exposure by simply repositioning the camera. To lock exposure, frame the portion of the image you want metered in the center of the frame, halfway press the shutter button until you get a "Standby" message on the monitor, and continue holding down the Shutter button halfway while you reframe the subject to the original composition. Exposure will be locked until the Shutter button is fully depressed or released.

The 10-second Self-Timer is only available as a menu option in the Automatic exposure mode. Once the mode is enabled, a full press of the Shutter button triggers a 10-second countdown. The self-timer lamp on the front of the camera lights steadily for the first five seconds, then blinks for the remaining five. A countdown also displays in the LCD monitor, if activated. Self-Timer mode is automatically disabled after the image is captured, and you can cancel the countdown midway by pressing the down arrow key.

Continuous Shooting
The FinePix 2300's Continuous Shooting mode is the second menu selection in Record mode, only accessible when the camera is in Automatic exposure mode. File size is automatically fixed at 640 x 480 pixels, and the flash is automatically disabled upon entering the mode. Continuous Shooting captures as many as nine consecutive shots with one press of the Shutter button, at speeds as high as two frames per second. The actual number of recordable images will vary with the available SmartMedia space.

The FinePix 2300 features a built-in flash with five operating modes: Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, Forced, Suppressed, and Slow Synchro. Flash modes are changed by accessing the Flash menu in Record mode and pressing the up and down arrow buttons until the desired mode icon is highlighted, then pressing OK. (To use the flash in Macro mode, the camera must be set on Manual exposure and any Flash mode except Auto or Red-Eye Reduction must be selected.) Auto Flash mode puts the camera in charge of when to fire the flash, based on the existing light level or whether or not a subject is backlit. Red-Eye Reduction mode fires a pre-flash before firing the flash at full power, which shrinks the subject's eye pupils and reduces the effects of red-eye. Forced mode fires the flash with every exposure, regardless of light level, while Suppressed mode simply disables the flash entirely. The final mode is Slow Synchro, which combines the flash with a slower shutter speed, allowing more ambient light into the image. Slow Synchro mode is good for night subjects, as the longer shutter speed preserves color and produces a brighter exposure. Fujifilm estimates the FinePix 2300's flash as effective from 2.3 to 9.8 feet (0.7 to 3.0 meters), which falls in line with our testing.

Shutter Lag & Cycle Times
When you press the shutter release on a camera, there's usually a lag time before the shutter actually fires. This time is to allow the autofocus and autoexposure mechanisms time to do their work, and can amount to a fairly long delay in some situations. Since this number is almost never reported on, and can significantly affect the picture taking experience, we now routinely measure it using an Imaging Resource proprietary test system.


FinePix 2300 Timings

Time (secs)
Power On -> First shot
Fairly fast
No lens to retract, so can put away instantly
Play to Record, first shot
Quite fast
Record to play (max/min res)
Quite fast
Shutter lag, full autofocus
Faster than average
Shutter lag, prefocus
Slower than average
Cycle time, max/min
8.2/2.5 sec.
Fairly slow
Frame rate, continuous mode
1.57 frames/sec
Slower than Fuji's spec of 2 frames/second, but not bad for an inexpensive camera.


Speed-wise, the FinePix 2300 is a bit of a mixed bag. It starts up and shuts down very quickly, and is quite fast in normal focusing, but is rather slow from shot to shot. Also, while its normal-focus shutter delay is quite speedy, there's no speed advantage when the camera is prefocused by half-pressing the shutter button before the shot itself. The 2300 is thus a fine camera for many uses, but likely wouldn't be your first choice if you intend to photograph a lot of sports or other fast-paced activities.

Operation and User Interface
The FinePix 2300's user interface is very straightforward and easy to learn. The fully automatic exposure control and limited features keep camera operation simple, with only a handful of external controls and a limited number of LCD menu options available. All adjustments, with the exception of Digital Zoom and Macro focus, are made through the LCD menu system, which is very minimal and quick to navigate. We would have liked to see the Continuous Shooting and Self-Timer modes accessible in both Automatic and Manual exposure modes, as it would have been nice to have Exposure Compensation and White Balance settings available in both modes. Setting the Flash in Macro mode was a problem, because we had to switch to Manual exposure to use the Flash at all. We also found it a little tedious to change the image size and quality settings, which require you to access the camera's Setup menu. Despite these minor inconveniences, we found the FinePix 2300's user interface relatively user-friendly, and the accompanying User Guide quickly cleared up any operation questions. We also appreciated that the User Guide provides tips on how to use each exposure adjustment, which is useful to novice photographers.

Control Enumeration

Shutter Button: The only control on the top panel, this silver button sets focus and exposure when halfway depressed, and triggers the exposure when fully depressed.

Mode Dial: Located in the top right corner of the back panel, this large, notched dial sets the camera's operating mode to Setup, Record, or Playback.

Four-Way Arrow Rocker Pad: Directly to the left of the Mode dial, this button features one arrow in each direction (up, down, left, and right). The arrow keys navigate through menu options in both Record and Playback modes. In Record mode, when the file size is set to 1,280 x 960 or 640 x 480 pixels, the up and down arrows control digital zoom. (Digital zoom is not available in the 1,600 x 1,200 file size.) When the Self-Timer is activated, the down arrow button cancels the countdown. In Playback mode, the left and right arrow buttons scroll through captured images on the SmartMedia card, while the up and down arrows enlarge a captured image as much as 4x. Once a captured image is enlarged, all four arrow keys pan the enlarged view.

Menu / OK Button: On the left side of the four-way Arrow Rocker pad, the OK button activates the settings menu in Record and Playback modes. It also acts as the "OK" button to confirm menu settings when selected.

Display Button: Positioned over the center of the LCD monitor, this button controls the monitor's display. In Record mode, the button cycles through no image display, image and information display, and image display only modes. In Playback mode, the button cycles through image with information display, image display only, and the nine-image index display.

Power Switch: Just above the Display button, this sliding switch turns the camera on or off.

Macro / Normal Focus Switch: Located at the top of the camera's left side, this switch places the camera into Macro or Normal focus modes.

SmartMedia Compartment Release: Located next to the SmartMedia compartment on the camera's right side, this switch releases the memory card compartment door.

Camera Modes and Menus

Playback Mode: Marked on the Mode dial with the traditional green playback symbol, this mode allows the user to review captured images on the SmartMedia card. Images can be deleted, protected, enlarged, set up for printing, or viewed as an index. Pressing the Menu / OK button displays the following options:

Record Mode: The red camera icon on the Mode dial indicates Record mode, which allows the camera to capture digital images. Pressing the Menu / OK button pulls up the Record settings menu:

Setup Mode: Indicated on the Mode dial with the word "Set" in black letters, this mode immediately displays the Setup menu, which allows the user to alter various camera settings.

Image Storage and Interface
The FinePix 2300 uses removable SmartMedia cards (3.3v) for image storage and comes packaged with an 8MB card. Additional cards are available in capacities up to 128MB, and we strongly recommend purchasing one or two higher capacity cards, as the 8MB card holds only 10 images at the camera's highest File Size / Quality setting.

The SmartMedia card itself can be write-protected by placing a small sticker in a designated spot on the card. This prevents anyone from writing to or deleting images from the card. Because each sticker must be clean to be effective, write protection stickers can only be used once.

Individual images can be protected from accidental erasure through the Playback menu, however this does not protect images from being deleted if you Format the card. The FinePix 2300 is set up to comply with the DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) printing standards, and images can be set up for printing to DPOF printing devices through the Playback menu.

Using the File Size / Quality menu in the Setup menu, you can choose between 1,600 x 1,200-, 1,280 x 960-, and 640 x 480-pixel image sizes. Image quality choices include Fine, Normal, and Basic compression levels, with different compression levels available at each resolution size. All files are saved as Exif Ver. 2.1 JPEGs (Exif is a JPEG format designed for use with digicams).

Following are the approximate number of images and their compression ratios for an 8MB SmartMedia card:

Image Capacity vs
High Resolution 1600x1200 Images 10 19
5:1 10:1
Standard Resolution 1280x960 Images
Low Resolution 640x480

A USB cable and software CD accompany the FinePix 2300, allowing quick access and image downloading to Macintosh or Windows computers. In our tests, the FinePix 2300 was a bit slower than average among USB-equipped cameras, with a transfer rate of 163 KBytes/second. This is still plenty fast enough that you shouldn't feel a need for an external card reader, though.

Video Out
The FinePix 2300 does not feature a video out capability.

Four AA batteries power the FinePix 2300, either alkaline, NiMH, or NiCd (a set of four AA alkaline batteries comes with the camera). An AC adapter is available as a separate accessory, and we highly recommend buying it for tasks like reviewing images and downloading files. Fujifilm estimates that a set of AA alkaline batteries should provide approximately 240 frames with the LCD monitor on, and about 730 frames with it turned off (NiCd batteries only provide about 130 frames with the LCD monitor on and about 400 frames with it off). Fujifilm warns against using lithium or manganese batteries, as the heat produced could damage the camera internally.

The table below shows the results of our own power measurements on the FinePix 2300, along with estimated run times when using 1500 mAh capacity NiMH rechargeable batteries.

Operating Mode
Est. Minutes
Capture Mode, w/LCD
520 mA
Capture Mode, Manual Mode, no LCD
370 mA
Capture Mode, Auto Mode, no LCD
40 mA
(>10 hrs)
Half-pressed shutter w/LCD
590 mA
Half-pressed w/o LCD
520 mA
Memory Write (transient)
410 mA
Flash Recharge (transient)
670 mA
Image Playback
370 mA

Overall, the 2300's power consumption is better than average for its category (2 megapixel point & shoot cameras). As with most digital cameras, the LCD consumes a significant amount of power. - Note that the LCD never completely turns off in "manual" exposure mode, since it's needed for menu displays. You'll need to operate the camera in "auto" mode to get the best battery life. Still, even in manual mode, with the live viewfinder display turned off, the camera will run for nearly 4 hours. With the display completely off in "auto" mode, you can blithely leave the camera on all day without noticeably draining your batteries. We still strongly recommend buying a good set of rechargeable NiMH AA batteries and a charger, but the 2300 offers better run times than many competing models.

About Batteries
We've gotten so many emails about power issues for digicams, that we're now inserting this standard notice in the reviews of all AA-powered cameras on our site: Don't even *think* about using alkaline AA batteries in a digicam! Despite their being packed in the box with many cameras, they simply don't have the juice to handle typical digicam demands. (Even the "high power" ones the battery manufacturers say are designed for devices like digital cameras.) Spend the $35-40 or so it takes to get a set (or two) of high-capacity NiMH rechargeable batteries and a good charger! The few dollars up front will save you literally hundreds of dollars in the long run, not to mention the hassle of wimpy batteries running out in the middle of the action. We suggest you buy two sets of batteries, so one can always be in the charger, ready to go, and so have two sets available for longer excursions. Good brands of batteries include Maha (our favorite), GP, Kodak, and Nexcell. Also, buy the highest capacity AAs the manufacturer makes, the few extra dollars for the extra capacity is usually well worth it. Getting a good charger is critical though, almost more so than buying good batteries. We recommend the Maha C-204F (see the photo at right), the charger we use the most in our own studio. - Read our review of it for all the details. Or, just click here to buy one, you won't regret it.

Included Software
Packaged with the FinePix 2300 is a software CD loaded with USB drivers, FinePix Viewer, DP Editor, and Adobe ActiveShare and PhotoDeluxe image editing software. It also includes extra drivers and launchers necessary for Windows. A USB cable comes with the camera for quick connection to a PC or Mac. All software is compatible with Windows 98/98SE/Me/2000 and Macintosh OS 8.6 to 9.0 platforms, except for Adobe ActiveShare, which is for Windows only. The FinePix Viewer software enables you list the images on the camera or computer, print indexes of images, as well as view and print individual images. The DP Editor package works with the DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) setup to print images on DPOF compliant printers. Adobe ActiveShare software sets up images for Web sharing, and Adobe PhotoDeluxe allows you to get creative with your images through a variety of filters and image manipulation tools. You can also correct minor problems and work with templates to create greeting cards, calendars, brochures, and many others.

In the Box

Test Results
In keeping with our standard test policy, the comments given here summarize only our key findings. For a full commentary on each of the test images, see the FinePix 2300's "pictures" page.

As with all Imaging Resource product tests, we 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 the FinePix 2300's images compare to other cameras you may be considering.

Throughout our testing, the FinePix 2300 produced good color accuracy and saturation. The automatic white balance system handled most of our lighting situations fairly well, though we noticed it had a tendency to produce a slightly cool cast, especially in our Outdoor and Close-Up portraits. We also noticed orange and magenta casts in our Indoor Flash Portrait from the background incandescent lighting. On the Indoor portrait without flash, the FinePix 2300's incandescent white balance setting handled the tough lighting fairly well, though the image was slightly warm with a magenta tint to it. The large color blocks of our Davebox test target appeared accurate, though slightly undersaturated. The FinePix 2300 handled the difficult blues in the flower bouquet of our Outdoor test shot very well, though the blue flowers were somewhat light in hue (these blues are a common problem for many cameras we've tested). We also noticed a slight oversaturation of magenta in the skin tones. Overall, we were fairly pleased with the FinePix 2300's color performance.

The FinePix 2300 performance in our resolution target test was about average for a 2 megapixel camera, producing strong detail up to 750-800 lines per picture height, although it showed some artifacts as far back as 500 lines. As a result, we were a little perplexed as to how to rate it, and ended up assigning a rating of 550 lines. Optical distortion on the FinePix 2300 is moderate, as we measured an approximate 0.46 percent barrel distortion from the wide-angle lens. Chromatic aberration is low, showing about three pixels of coloration on either side of the target lines.

The FinePix 2300's optical viewfinder is rather inaccurate when framing images, as it shows a much smaller subject area than what is actually captured by the camera. Your view also changes quite a bit as you move your eye around the eyepiece, making it difficult for us to frame the target exactly. We lined up our standard lines of measurement in what we thought was the middle of the optical viewfinder, which resulted in an approximate 86 percent frame accuracy. The LCD monitor produced much better results, with 95 percent frame accuracy. Since we generally like to see LCD monitors as close to 100 percent accurate as possible, the 2300 performed pretty well in this respect. Bottom line, the LCD viewfinder is pretty good, the optical viewfinder needs some work.

The FinePix 2300's Auto exposure control and limited shutter speed range result in limited low-light capabilities. We were only able to capture a reasonably bright image at the eight foot-candle (88 lux) light level, though we wouldn't really call the image "usable" as it was still somewhat dim. The target was still visible at the two foot-candle (22 lux) light level, but grew less visible with each lower light level. Noise is moderate at the eight foot-candle light level, increasing to a moderately high level at the one-half foot-candle (5.5 lux) light level. To put the FinePix 2300's low-light performance into perspective, an average city night scene under modern street lighting corresponds to a light level of about one foot-candle, so night exposures will require the built-in flash.

The FinePix 2300 performs very well in the macro category, capturing a minimum area of just 3.66 x 2.75 inches (92.97 x 69.73mm). As noted earlier, there's a bit of a gap in the focus range, between macro and normal focusing, but as long as you keep track of how far you are from the subject, the results are pretty good. The FinePix 2300's built-in flash does a pretty good job of throttling down for the macro area. The camera was not tricked by the shiny coin, and though the flash doesn't provide even coverage, it does illuminate the entire subject area reasonably well.

Despite limited exposure control, the FinePix 2300 performed pretty well throughout our testing. Images showed moderately high resolution, as well as good detail, color, and quality overall. Though you'll need a flash for most low-light shots, the FinePix 2300's macro capabilities are quite commendable and the camera should handle most typical shooting conditions quite well.

The FinePix 2300 is a great option for novice photographers who want point-and-shoot simplicity in a digital camera. The 2.11-megapixel CCD captures great detail and color, while the uncomplicated user interface ensures smooth operation. The FinePix 2300 provides reliable automatic exposure control, plus a handful of basic adjustments for special shooting situations. 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. Therefore, it's we'd recommend it for day-to-day people photography rather than fast-paced sports or nature photography -- perfect for teens and families on the go.

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