Fujifilm FinePix A800 review
Great Image quality with a few quirks.
Judging from the specifications, this one probably shares its sensor and lens with the F40fd, and it shows. Detail level is just great, purple fringing is low for the most part and the lens keeps corner softness quite well under control. Contrast and color saturation are nicely balanced and not overdone. The in-camera sharpening is also on the safe side, the pictures are tack sharp but still retain some room for later sharpening in software.
High-ISO performance is very good. I would say that the image quality of the A800's ISO800 mode is similar to what we are used to see between ISO200 and ISO400 from other (non-SuperCCD) compacts. The noise remains quite unobtrusive and the is no ridiculous overblurring going on, images get just *slightly* softer as ISO is increased.
The build quality and finish are really nice considering the price. Some parts of the case actually look and feel a lot like polished metal (and, unfortunately, also collect finger prints rather easily).
Since this is an entry level point'n'shooter, some of the more interesting settings are are either unavailable or hidden away in the scene modes. Let me give you a run down of what is possible: First, this camera has a "manual mode" which I'd call a poor man's Program AE – here, you can set ISO, EV, white balance, flash mode and macro mode. For longer exposures, there is a "night mode" which fixes ISO at 200 and allows the camera to automatically set exposure times up to 3 seconds. Then there's the "fireworks mode" which lets you manually set the exposure time between 0.5 and 4 seconds (ISO is fixed at 100, infinity focus). If you know how to work around its limitations, you can get amazing results from this camera.
Sometimes focus gets "distracted" and the low-resolution display hides that fact from you. Big buzzkill when you come home to view the images on your computer, but many other cameras use similar borderline inadequate displays.
Ergonomics could be better, something resembling a grip is missing which would help holding the camera steady.
What's holding this camera back are the stubborn scene modes and the limited manual control, although it still does give you more control than most other entry level compacts. The only thing really missing is a mode that allows ISO800 AND slow enough shutter speeds for night use, because as it is, you can only have one OR the other which makes not too much sense.
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