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Fujifilm FinePix A607 - Digital Camera Review
Introduction: The Fujifilm Finepix A607 is a 3 megapixel digital camera with a 3x Fujinon optical zoom lens (5.7 - 17.1mm equivalent to 38 – 114mm on a 35mm camera) - it is identical to the A330, except for the fact that it uses a Super CCD sensor instead of the standard / conventional sensor in the A330 - plus the A607 is sold exclusively in Currys, Dixons, and PC World for £149, whereas the A330 can be bought for £99. It has a 1.5" Colour TFT screen. The camera comes with a 16mb XD memory card, and can be upgraded with an additional XD card. The camera takes 2 AA batteries. The camera also records unlimited 320x240 videos at 10fps without sound. The camera can be bought for 149 from PCWorld, Currys or Dixons in the UK. The camera is fairly compact with a size and weight as follows: Dimensions: 104.1 (W) x 61.5 (H) x 31.3 (D) mm. Weight: 145g (without batteries or recording media).

PC World / Currys and Dixons are very keen to point out that the A607 produces 6 megapixel images - this is due to the Super CCD sensor interpolating the images up to 6 megapixels - the same can be done with any 3mp digital camera using software, but according to Fuji, the shape of the sensor means that you get more information in your pictures. You can find out more about Fuji's Super CCD sensor here.

Until recently they were charging £249 for what is effectively a 3mp digital camera! The camera offers average value for money at it's current price of £149. (especially when compared to the 3mp conventional sensor Fujifilm A330, which has the same features).

Fujifilm have this to say about the camera:

"The FinePix A607 is a great combination of style, ease of use and high quality. Featuring Fujifilm's 4th Generation Super CCD HR technology, high quality 3x optical zoom lens and one-touch operation this camera is ideal for anyone taking their first steps into digital photography."

You can find out more about the Fujifilm FinePix A607 at the Fuji webstie.

The Camera: It's compact and made out of shiney plastic and metal (mostly plastic).


Front - Camera off. Sliding lens-cover, Flash, status light / self-timer lamp, small optical viewfinder.


Front - Camera on, lens extended.


Back - the 1.5" TFT screen, Playback / On button, Menu/OK, Disp/Back, Macro (left), Flash (right), Zoom (up/down paddle), Optical viewfinder, and status light.


Top - shutter release, and the metal strip on the left.


Bottom, under the camera is the tripod mount which is in the middle, as well as the battery comparment and memory compartment.


Left Side (from back) - Video out, USB, DC in.


On this side is the wrist strap hole.

Size Comparison: Compared to a Pentax PC-550 35mm automatic, this camera is smaller than the Pentax.


There is a small optical viewfinder.


Size comparison next to the Konica Minolta Dimage X31.


Size comparison (metal strip on Fuji).

Specifications / Features:

  • 3.1 million pixels Super CCD HR sensor (produces 6mp images)
  • High performance Fujinon 3x optical zoom lens
  • 1.5 inch LCD (60,000 pixels)
  • Fast start-up time of 3.3 seconds
  • One-touch, fully automatic operation
  • PictBridge compatible, for direct PC-free printing
  • Low power consumption; operates on 2xAA batteries
  • Movie capture (320x240pixels) at 10 frames per second
  • Video output for TV monitor (NTSC/PAL)
  • ISO 125 – 200

Full Specifications can be found on the Fujifilm site.

Box Contents:

  • Camera
  • Strap
  • 16MB xD-Picture Card
  • USB cable
  • A/V cable
  • 2 AA batteries
  • Software CD-ROM
  • Cradle Adapter

Average box contents - A case, and a larger memory card would have been nice, as would some rechargable batteries.

Menu Options / Modes: The camera mode is selected using the play button on the back of the camera, this switches between photo and playback mode when the sliding lens cover is open, alternatively when the sliding lens cover is closed, the play button will switch the camera on and off, but only go into playback mode.

Photo mode: The menu button brings up the menu screen as shown below:

The options are: Image (6m Fine, 6m normal, 3m normal, 1m), Self-timer (on/off), Mode (portait, auto, manual, video), Setup. In Manual mode you have 2 further options: Exposure compensation and White Balance. There is no custom white balance.

Video mode: The video mode has the following options: Image (320 or 160), and Setup.

Playback mode: The menu button brings up the menu screen as shown below:

In playback mode the options are: Erase, Print, Lock, Setup, Playback (slideshow), Trimming (lets you trim a picture).

Picture Size / Quality: The camera takes the following size pictures / and the following number of images will fit on the 16mb memory card: (an extra memory card is recommended)

  Number of Photos Stored / Quality / (Average file size)
Resolution / Compression: 6M Fine
2,816 x 2,120
6M Normal
2,816 x 2,120
3M
2,048 x 1,536
1M
1,280 x 960
320 video 160 video
Number: 5 (2.8mb) 10 (1.4mb) 19 (730kb) 33 (440kb) 98 seconds 5 minutes 6 seconds

You can't fit very many images on the provided 16mb memory card - a larger memory card is definitely recommended, unless you want to use the lower megapixel settings (ie 1megapixel). There is a fairly poor choice of image size and compression levels available, for example you can't choose a "Fine 3M" mode, and there is no RAW or TIFF mode. There is also no 2mp mode, which would be useful if you just wanted to print 6 x 4".

Speed, ease of use: The camera is easy to use, fairly quick to switch on and quick to take photos, the control on the back of the camera are easy to use. The screen updates are quick and smooth. The camera speed in use, seems quick when taking a photo, and shot to shot time is fairly average. The camera is quite compact, and easily fits into pockets. The menus are easy to pick up and use, and the modes are easy to access (due to there only being photo/video/playback), the menus seem quick.

Buttons: (Feel, placement, labels, etc) The buttons are easy to use, and they are in a good position, the zoom control is not the best I've used. There seems to be the right amount of buttons. The buttons feel okay, they are also labelled fairly well, although the labels for the zoom control and macro/flash are the same colour as the rest of the camera so don't stand out very well.

The buttons on the back of the camera quickly give you access to: Playback mode, Menu/OK, Display/Back, Macro, Flash and Zoom control.

Battery usage: Battery life seems average - using rechargable Ni-MH 2000mAh batteries, they seemed to drain fairly quickly. High-power Ni-Mh rechargable batteries are definitely recommended.

LCD Display (Photo mode / Playback mode):


LCD display in photo mode: Mode, Picture size / quality, remaining pictures, Focus (in the middle). Battery life appears when low.

LCD display in photo mode: The screen is quite low-res, but updates smoothly - the colours appear overly saturated, and yellowy, meaning you don't get a very good idea of how the picture turned out or how it will turn out when taking it. The screen shows how many remaining photos you can take with the available memory, as well as current mode etc, although unfortunately the camera does not show aperture / shutter speed and there is no live histogram.

Playback mode: The camera displays the information as shown above. Scrolling through the photos is very quick. The zoom is fairly quick, but doesn't show you how much you have zoomed in, scrolling around the photo is fairly slow. Playback menu options are discussed above.

Image Quality: Here are some sample photos/video(s) taken in various settings, such as Inside, Noise, Outside, Zoom, Macro, Movie to demonstrate the quality of pictures taken and also show different features of the camera. Full size (and medium size) versions of these photos, plus more photos are available in the new gallery!

Inside:

Heather and Flower 2 people Group photo

Inside: The camera has quite a powerful flash, and copes well with group photos. Red eye was noticable on some photos of people - Good colours and details. Some of the images are slightly soft - but this isn't a major issue on this camera. The camera did fairly badly focusing in low light. Skin colours are very good however.

Noise: Noise generally is a bad thing - it removes detail, and gives a grainy effect over the image. With digital cameras noise can be a real problem as digital camera noise is often made out of blue, red or green dots. As the ISO setting increases, pictures tend to have more noise. The camera has an Automatic mode for ISO levels, due to this the usual noise test picture has not been used. The Fuji's ISO levels ranged between 125 (outside) and 400 inside, with the majority of the pictures being taken at ISO 200.

ISO125 - 100% ISO200 - 100% ISO320 - 100%

Noise levels at ISO125, and ISO200 are quite low - which means you get quite smooth images. ISO320 and above can be quite noisy but the majority of the time this camera seems to use ISO200.

Outside:

Liverpool Playhouse Unisys Building Cars

Outside the camera had very good colour, they are accurate, well saturated colours with fairly low noise, I didn't notice jpeg artifacts in the images. Images are a tiny bit soft, and edges are slightly undefined and noisy.

Zoom: This camera has a 3x Optical zoom and a built in 2.2x Digital zoom (usable in the 3 megapixel mode) - in the case of this camera the digital zoom basically takes a smaller area of the photo and enlarges it using software blurring the image so that it is not pixellated. Generally it's best to avoid using digital zoom as it degrades the quality of the image and, often, better results can be obtained by using a photo package such as Adobe Photoshop. I've included examples below simply to show what these features do.

Wide-angle 3x Optical zoom Full 3x Optical + 2.2x Digital

The digital zoom shows you on screen how much magnification you are using with a yellow bar. It is quite quick. When using the optical zoom, it's quite quiet, and fairly quick, it has about 9 steps between wide and telephoto. The amount of optical zoom isn't displayed on screen numerically, the amount is simply displayed with a bar. The digital zoom can't be switched on and off.

Other Image Quality issues: Chromatic Aberrations / Purple Fringing was not noticable in photos.

Macro: When this camera is in macro mode, the lens is set to wide angle, and you can't zoom in, you can use the digital zoom though - and you can use the flash. This camera can focus down to roughly 10cm in macro mode.

Macro - Timex Watch Actual Pixels (100%)
Macro - Sony Flash Actual Pixels (100%)

The macro mode is okay - you can't get very close, and detail is a bit soft. The camera does a good job of toning down the flash. Colour is good.

Movie: 320x240 / 160x120 - 10fps without sound - you can use the digital zoom whilst recording a video, you can also zoom in using the digital zoom before you start recording. The movie is recorded as an .AVI file. Length is limited only by the size of the memory card.


Alan Partridge - Download 320x240/10fps movie
Click here. (right click, save target as, 804kb AVI) (saved as Zip file)

The quality of the movie(s) is just about okay, in that colour and focus are okay - but 320 x 240/10fps without sound is quite poor.

Conclusion

Image: When outside image quality is quite good - the images have rich saturated colour, and good detail although images could do with a slight sharpen, and edges are a bit "muddy". Images have fairly low noise. There is very little purple fringing. Image compression doesn't seem to cause jpeg artifacts, although there is a fairly poor range of image sizes and compression options. The macro mode is average. The flash didn't cause problems when the subject was close. Auto white balance and metering seemed to be good. The movie mode is worse than average, at 10fps without sound. When inside, the camera does an fairly poor job of focusing, especially in low-light, the flash is fairly decent.

Everything else (the camera as a whole): The design is okay, the size is okay, the camera is quite compact, stylish and pocketable. The small 1.5" screen updates smoothly but is a very low resolution and overly saturated and yellowly. The camera is very easy to use, the menu systems being easy to use, if a bit basic in the amount of options and features available. The 3x optical zoom lens seems to be very good. Camera handling, and button layout are good. The camera speed is good in use and has a quick zoom, shot to shot time is average, and the camera has an average switch on time. My other complaints are that it takes XD cards (expensive), there is no custom white balance, and the camera seems to scratch easily.

Alternative 3mp/4mp digital cameras: Fuji Finepix A330 (£123), Fuji FinePix A340 (4mp, £155), Sony Cybershot P73 (4mp, £153), Pentax Optio S30 (£99), Olympus C-310 (£100), C-360 (£130), Olympus C-470 (4mp, £149), Nikon Coolpix 3200 (£125), Canon Powershot A400 (£110 - read my review), Canon Powershot A75 (£144), Kodak Easyshare DX6340 (4x Optical zoom, £135), CX7330 (£99), Konica Minolta Dimage X31 (£117 - read my review). Check amazon.co.uk / kelkoo.co.uk or amazon.com for the latest prices.

Summary: The Fujifilm FinePix A607 is a compact 3 megapixel, 3x optical zoom digital camera with a poor 1.5" colour screen. The camera features a 3 megapixel Super CCD sensor that produces 6 megapixel images in camera. The camera generates good pictures, with rich saturated colour, and especially good skin tones. The camera can also record unlimited videos without sound. For around 149 (UK) this camera offers fairly poor value for money, especially as the almost identical A330 is available for around £30 less, and the 4 megapixel A340 is available for the same price. If you want a very easy to use digital camera that produces decent 6 megapixel images on a budget, then this may be worth considering, but I personally wouldn't recommend it, especially as Fujifilm's other cameras offer better value for money.

If you like the look of this camera, then take a look at the Fuji Finepix A330 (£123), and the Fuji FinePix A340 (£155).

Update 29/11/04: The price of the A607 has been reduced to £99, click here for more information!

What I like:

  • Very Easy to use
  • Quite stylish
  • Good rich saturated pictures
  • Good skin colours
  • 6mp mode / super ccd does seem to offer a bit more resolution than the 3mp mode.

What I don't like:

  • The screen is low-res and highly saturated / yellowy.
  • Takes XD cards which are twice as much as SD / Compact Flash cards
  • Struggles to focus in low-light
  • No custom white-balance
  • Very few image size / compression options
  • Very basic point and shoot
  • Camera scratches easily
  • No sound on videos, poor video mode.

Remember to have a look at the full size (and medium size) versions of these photos in the new gallery.