Fujifilm FinePix A345
Typical Price: $110.99
CNET Editors' Rating: 2.5 / 5
The good: Compact design; macro mode focuses to 2.4 inches; continuous-shooting mode; affordable.
The bad: Hard-to-grip zoom lever; inconsistent low-light focus; LCD and optical viewfinder have only 90 and 75 percent coverage, respectively.
The bottom line: The A345 has a modest set of features and a few flaws, but it produces decent photos--almost as good as those of the flagship A350.
Design, Features & Performance (out of 10)
Compact but not shirt-pocket-size, the FinePix A345 weighs just 6.3 ounces with two AA batteries and an xD-Picture Card installed. It ships with a 16MB xD-Picture Card, which can hold seven best-quality 4-megapixel photos--you can't expect to have everything in an inexpensive camera. The most obvious design compromise the A345 makes concerns the back-mounted zoom lever. In addition to being small and fragile-feeling, it doesn't stick out enough to allow a proper grip. More of a knob than a button, it frequently caused our fingers to slide right over it. The zoom lever is operated with an up-and-down motion, rather than the more common sideways motion, which may also take some getting used to.
The LCD menus, where you'll find almost all of the settings on this camera, are brightly colored and, for the most part, easy to distinguish from each other. The setup menus are an exception since they use gray text that completely disappears when you tilt the camera down.
Don't look for much in the way of features on the FinePix A345. It offers four scene modes in addition to plain automatic shooting: Portrait, Landscape, Sports, and Night. An automatic multipoint metering system controls exposure. There's also a manual mode that's limited to providing exposure compensation and white-balance settings. Other features include flash and red-eye-reduction options, a self-timer, and a continuous-shooting mode that varies from bursts of 3 frames when you shoot the best-quality 4-megapixel photos to 18 frames when you shoot 0.3-megapixel photos. There's also a video-recording mode that's limited to a jerky 15fps with either 320x240 or 160x120 resolution.
For a camera of this class, the lens has relatively wide apertures of f/2.8 to f/4.7, which helps with low-light photography. Unfortunately, there's no AF-assist lamp to aid focus in low light or to help you see what you're trying to photograph. Equivalent to a 35mm-to-105mm lens on a 35mm camera, the 3X optical zoom gives you a slightly wider angle than many competing point-and-shoot cameras. You can also focus the A350 closer than some competitors. With the macro mode selected, the camera will focus down to 2.4 inches.
Like the FinePix A350, the A345 turned out to be a middling performer. Its 4-second wake-up-to-first-shot time is average for its class, while its shot-to-shot time of 3.3 seconds without the flash is slower than we've seen recently with many point-and-shoot cameras. The shot-to-shot time of 3.8 seconds with the flash is slightly faster than that of comparable models. The burst mode grabs three of the highest-quality photos in 2.3 seconds, though the camera has to pause for as long as 13 seconds before it can resume shooting.
If you like to carefully compose your shots, you may be disappointed. The LCD screen shows only 90 percent of your scene, which can make a real difference with tight compositions. Even worse, the optical viewfinder is just 75 percent accurate, which severely limits its usefulness. The optical viewfinder could still be handy for extending the battery life for an extra few shots when the batteries run low. You can easily turn off the LCD to save power by pressing the Display/Back button several times.
We didn't see a big difference between the A345's 4-megapixel photos and the A350's 5-megapixel shots. The best of our highest-resolution photos from the A345 were almost as sharp as the best highest-resolution photos from the A350; however, none of the photos were tack-sharp. Colors in our test photos from the A345 were highly saturated, though not quite to the point of appearing unnatural or unpleasant. Dynamic range was solid, with especially decent contrast in darker hues, which were well defined and tended to stand out more than usual. As with the A350, we experienced a significant drop in focus accuracy as light levels diminished, as well as a slight reddish tint in some of our photos.
|Product Description||Fujifilm FinePix A345 - Digital camera|
|Product Type||Digital camera - Compact|
|Dimensions (WxDxH)||3.5 in x 1.2 in x 2.4 in|
|Flash Memory||16 MB|
|Supported Flash Memory||xD-Picture Card Type M, xD-Picture Card, xD-Picture Card Type H|
|Sensor Resolution||4.1 megapixels|
|Shooting Modes||Frame movie mode|
|Min Focus Range||23.6 in|
|Focal Length||5.8 mm - 17.4 mm|
|Red Eye Reduction||Yes|
|Microphone||Microphone - Built-in|
|Viewfinder||Optical - Real-image zoom|
|Display||LCD display - TFT active matrix - 1.7 in - Color|
|Supported Battery||2 x AA Alkaline battery ( Included ), 2 x AA NiMH rechargeable battery ( Optional )|
Average User Rating: 2.5 / 5
User Rating Breakdown
5 Star: 2
4 Star: 4
3 Star: 3
2 Star: 0
1 Star: 6
A Great Small EasyTo Operate Cheap Camera
Rating: 4 / 5
on September 11, 2005
5 out of 6 users found this review helpful
Pros: Colors Are Well Defined, Nicely Saturated And Sharp!
Cons: Theres no status to paying more! If you can find a better camera for the buck buy it!
Summary: A small camera with basic features thats easy to operate, and fun to use.Technology has really caught up through the years for these digital cameras, and they finally have the cost to quality level running hot.
I rate it as excellent for the fact that you don't break the bank with this one and the image quality & colors are spectacular!
I also bought an extra 256mb xd card that holds all of 129 pictures which I would consider a plus for whoever buys this camera, since the 16mb card that it comes with only holds 7 pictures in fine mode.It has all the needed features that you may, or may not even all use.
For a simple shooter as of this that everyone can use and own I highly recommended it!
Rotten on a whole
Rating: 1 / 5
on November 29, 2005
2 out of 3 users found this review helpful
Pros: Small, light, no learning curve
Cons: Shutter speed, durability, battery life
Summary: This is the second A series Fuji I've owned and both pulled the same thing on me; that is to decide to just not take any more pictures by never letting the lense work. It seemed to be about the same time that both died. Pictures turned out very nice, while it still took them. Avoid this camera.
Everything you need for the point & shoot photographer
Rating: 4 / 5
on October 14, 2005
1 out of 1 users found this review helpful
Pros: Many advanced features for a great value
Cons: Somewhat dim indoor shots, 1st set of batteries died fast
Summary: This is a very good camera for a great value. I really like the 3x zoom, the movie mode for taking mini videos with sound and the quick intervals between the pictures (very little lag time between photos). The only thing that sort of annoyed me was that sometimes I see an image on the LCD screen but by the time the picture is actually taken, the person or object has moved. That can probably be solved by using the viewfinder rather than the LCD screen. The first set of batteries that came with the camera (regular alkaline batteries) died so fast, I was taken off guard. But when I put in fresh batteries that I bought separately, the camera did OK, so my guess is that maybe the 1st set of batteries were old. The indoor shots were a little dim, but nothing that overly concerned me. But other than that, it does everything I want and more. I really couldn't ask for anything more in a relatively inexpensive digital camera. As long as you're not a professional photographer in the making, this camera will be all you need to meet your digital photography needs.
Update - Although I initially liked this camera, I really have come to dislike it over the last 2 years I have had it. My disappointment is especially about taking dark indoor shots. The LCD screen will not adjust for low light conditions even after tweaking the adjustment menu. It just becomes a useless black box. If you take a lot of low light shots, don't buy this camera.
Piece of Junk! Do not buy!!!
Rating: 1 / 5
on December 30, 2007
0 out of 0 users found this review helpful
Pros: good clarity of inanimate objects (under static conditions, only)!!
Cons: Point & (delay) & Shoot!! (BIG delay, I might add!!)
Summary: This piece of crap has caused me to miss more great picture moments than I care to remember. Point & Shoot my a%#! More like Point, press button, wait 2-3 seconds, shoot! BS! Not worth whatever inflated $$$ I gave for it. I hope all digital cameras are not as bad as this camera. Am actively trying to find one that actually takes the picture when I press the button!!!! However, to be fair, if you have the luxury of shooting inanimate objects under static conditions, it does take a very nice picture and it is very user friendly as far as downloading to PC.
motion sensor is fluky (even when sitting still!)
Rating: 0.5 / 5
on November 20, 2007
0 out of 0 users found this review helpful
Pros: Cheap, fast
Cons: eats batteries, motion sensor always "thinks" camera is moving, not very clear photos
Summary: Some photos turned out great, but for about a year, the motion sensor keeps getting "stuck" and takes fuzzy pictures. Even when I sit the camera on a table, it has motion/caution symbol and won't take a decent picture. Now I have a useless camera. It was good while it lasted! I should have guessed the quality when I bought it at Wal-Mart!!