Tech Toys: Fuji FinePix A205 Digicam

The specs will have changed and they will have released a better version by the time anyone gets to this page, but this is a great (cheap!) little unit.  It has a couple of picture modes, although I always take my photos in 640x480 (the other available resolution is 1280x960, but I really don't do much high-res image editing).

It basically operates as an extra drive, so you really don't need to use any extra software to retrieve your files once you install the driver (a copy of which is on the website should you end up on a strange computer).  Although it came with a 16 MB memory card, we ended up upgrading to a 64 MB chip when we thought the original was lost while on a trip.  As a result, I occasionally use it to transport files between Dani's and my computer (e.g., text documents, edited photos, etc.).

The camera takes only a couple of AA batteries.  These last for maybe 150 or so shots with the flash (I've never really counted), but the camera requires a lot of current, thus the batteries aren't "drained" by the point the camera can no longer use them.  In fact, I recently ended up swapping a pair over to my GPSr (above), and they were only half-way discharged!  Fuji needs to work on their product efficiency.

I don't like that the lens pokes out and is motorized.  My previous camera did not do this, so it didn't eat up the batteries quite so fast (admittedly, it lacked an optical zoom as well).  It's just something else to go wrong, and I already had problems with the lens not wanting to come out following a drop from a table.  Fortunately, it worked past that problem and the gears are back in allignment now.  I have to admit that I do get a lot of use out of the 3x optical zoom (there's also a digital zoom beyond that, but those are never any good), so I guess it's a trade-off.
Another complaint I have is that the camera takes a bit too long to start up from scratch.  For whatever reason, the first time you turn it on, it takes five or more seconds to wake up.  As a result, I've missed entirely too many shots while waiting for it to come out of hibernation.  It takes a little less time to revive if you use it again within a short time from your last shot, but I think they could do better here.

Bottom line
Still, since it's so small and relatively cheap, we end up taking this camera just about everywhere.  This website will no doubt attest to the fact that I usually have it handy in case there's something to see when I'm running around town.  Also, a digicam is indispensable if you are going to sell your junk on eBay.  When I'm creating auction listings, I use an AC adapter since I'm usually indoors and near a wall outlet.  A universal adapter pretty quickly pays for its cost in terms of the batteries I've saved.

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