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Fuji @xia ix-100 Digital Camera [1.3MP]
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Small and lightweight, the Fuji @xia ix-100 is a simple, easy-to-use digital camera that's great for getting started with digital photography. With a 1.3 megapixel resolution, the ix-100 produces images that are ideal for putting on your Web site or printing out as small photos: you get a choice of 1280 x 1024 or 640 x 512 resolutions and you can fit between 14 and 43 images on the 4 MB SmartMedia card that comes with the camera. At the lowest resolution you can use the 2x digital zoom and the macro mode gives you reasonable close-up photos. You can also capture up to 90 seconds of video--a handy feature you won't find on many cameras in this price range.
The CMOS sensor means the camera needs a little longer to take a snap, so you need a steady hand or your images will be blurred. Once you've mastered that, you'll produce bright and colourful shots although you may need to experiment with the flash for indoor shots. Use of a CMOS sensor also means the batteries will last well.
The USB connection makes transferring images back to your computer quick and easy, and if you leave the ix-100 plugged in, it you can use it as a WebCam. There isn't a screen on the camera for checking images although you can delete pictures. If you want to show your images off without cluttering round a computer screen, the ix-100 comes with a lead that plugs into your TV. Apart from the slider for normal or macro shots all the controls are on the top of the camera. You can change the flash settings, the image quality and whether the display shows how many photos you've taken or how many you've got left. Almost everything else is automatic, so it's easy to get started taking pictures. While it's not the most advanced digital camera, the @xia ix-100 is simple, cheap and perfect for beginners. --Mary Branscombe
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The lens is "fixed focus" and renders everything from around 1m to infinity reasonably sharp with good colour rendition. There is also a macro mode for objects in the 20-30cm range. (Note the gap between 30cm and 100cm). Whilst you will not get the pin sharp subject with the out of focus background loved by portrait photographers, you will not have a problem with an autofocus system that cannot deal with low light situations either.
There appears to be a slight delay after pressing the shutter release and the picture being taken. I found I was taking pictures of feet or heads all too often, but have not had a problem since I started holding the camera steady for a couple of seconds longer.
The exposure control does well with evenly lit subjects. However the system does seem to struggle with uneven lighting situations, producing shots that have slightly over or under exposed the subject in instances where a more expensive camera might have coped better. I accidently left the flash on for a couple of outdoor pictures and these shots were very badly exposed suggesting that the exposure system cannot cope with fill-in or backlit situations using the flash.
The lack of a LCD screen means that the batteries last a very long time. Indeed rechargeables are not absolutely essential. Controls are very basic. There is a button to switch the flash on, off or to auto, a self timer and a movie mode. The movie mode produces pictures without sound in a very small window. There may be some benefit in emailing these movies to distant friends and family. Pictures can also be viewed on a TV although I have not tried this.
The camera is very small and feels robust (apart from the rubber USB port cover). It will fit in a pocket or bag without any difficulty, a real plus point. Everything that is needed is in the box, including a soft case.
The smart media card supplied will hold 14 high resolution shots or 20 at the normal compression ratio. The software is easy to load and relatively straitforward to use, although I have not worked out how to add more than one photo at a time to the album. This could be a bit tedious with a full 32mb card holding nearly 120 shots.
Prints up to 6x4 are good on photo quality paper.
For those on a budget, this Fuji is ideal, so long as you are aware of its limitations. If you can afford the extra, however, I feel you will get good results more often from a camera slightly further up the Fuji range.
The 4MB card is the only letdown really, my preference is to use the highest image quality for the best pictures, and with the card supplied you get 14 pics. I have bought a 32MB SM card for about £18 and now I can get over 100 images - so that is well worth it IMO.
A great feeature is the TV compatability, just plug in with the supplied cable and see the images and vidoes full screen on the telly! And if like me you use the highest quality setting, the pictures are outstanding for this price range.
I am more than happy with this camera, it's my first digital, although I have used other more expensive models, this is right up there with them. Amazing!
I'm really impressed with the camera it performs far beyond my expectations and is really easy to use plus the software is user friendly to, its good how the software puts the camera as an extra drive on your PC for quick 'n' easy viewing.
My advice is if you want a easy to use introductory camera to digital photography so you can take reasonably good quality pictures or you are using it for an outdoor activity (is small and light) and if it gets broken in the process you haven't lost a massive fortune...then this is the one!!
conditions, it doesn't produce good pics.
But great on the whole and much much more handy and cheaper in the long run than a normal camera that uses film. i'm a student with a website and this camera is fantastic for my needs (budget, good value, instant results).
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