Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Fuji FinePix A350

If you are still taking photos with a film camera, it's probably because of one of the following reasons. You might be a professional photographer who makes a living from working with film, in which case this article doesn't really apply to you. You might be a techno-phobe who is a bit scared and overwhelmed at the thought of having to run your pictures through your computer. Or you might simply be wary of the expense involved in switching to digital. If you fit into either of these last two categories, then I recommend you check out the FinePix A350 from Fuji.

The A350 is a great beginner's camera. It has a nice combination of features that you will find handy, without going overboard and including pricey extras that you would probably never use. The camera boasts a picture quality of 5.2 megapixels, which is good enough to print out nice 8 x 10 photos suitable for framing. Speaking of printing, the A350 comes with PictBridge, which allows you to connect the camera directly to a compatible printer without having to first upload your images to a PC, which makes printing pictures a quick and easy process.

Some of the features of the A350 that will be useful for first-time digital camera owners include a 3X optical zoom coupled with a 4.1X digital zoom, thereby yielding a total zoom of 12.3X; movie recording capability (plus sound); and a continuous shooting mode. In addition, there are 6 different shooting modes to choose from: automatic, manual, sports/action, portrait, landscape, and night. If you think you need any more features than these, then I say you are not a beginner!

The Fuji FinePix A350 was the first digital camera that I ever owned, so I am speaking from personal experience here. It was an excellent camera to learn from. The A350 was able to perform a range of functions that gave me practice under different conditions, and it handled everything reasonably well. It was the camera I trusted my vacation pictures with, and I even used it for the bulk of the photography done during my baby's first year of life. I never had a problem with the battery life, with the memory card, or with the camera itself. Everything worked great. The only thing I find that I can complain about after all this time is some of the coloring in the photographs didn't turn out as well as I would have liked. But if I had taken the time to read the owner's manual I probably would have found out how to adjust some controls to correct that problem. I never bothered, though, because I just corrected the images in Photoshop anyway.

If you are looking for your first digital camera, then I suggest going with the Fuji FinePix A350. It has all the features I mentioned above, yet it is still small enough to fit conveniently into your pocket. It is also very affordable, with a MSRP of less than $300. I hope you will like this camera as much as I did!

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