To anyone else who’s a keen photographer and gadget nerd like myself, reviewing digital cameras for a living must seem like the ideal job. I get to play with all the latest toys, sometimes before they’re even available in the shops, the hours are flexible enough for me to go out taking photographs whenever I want, and I get to work from home. On paper at least it sounds like paradise.
To be sure it is very cool and I wouldn’t willingly trade jobs with anyone except Angelina Jolie’s masseuse, but some weeks it just plain sucks. Right at the moment it’s pouring with rain, dark, windy and freezing cold outside, but I’ve got to go out and try to take some decent photos with today’s camera, the Fuji A700, while anyone with an ounce of common sense would stay at home with the central heating turned up, have a nice hot cup of tea and curl up in front of the TV.
It gets worse. When I’ve done the photos and my fingers have thawed out, I’ve got to sit down and write 1,000-odd words about it. That may not sound like a major problem, but you haven’t seen this camera. It takes the concept of a simple point-and-shoot and runs clear out of the building with it. If it were any simpler it would squirt water instead of taking photos. Would anyone notice if I only wrote 200 words about it and then filled up the rest of the space with lightbulb jokes? (yes; now get on with it – ed)
Launched in September last year, the A700 is the most powerful of the four models in Fujifilm’s A-series of point-and-shoot compact cameras. It features a 3x zoom lens, 2.4in 112k pixel LCD monitor, 400 ISO maximum sensitivity and a 7.3 megapixel 1/1.6-inch Super CCD HR sensor. It’s strictly a budget camera, and currently retails for around £110, although some online stores are selling it for as little as £95.
There aren’t many cameras that can compete with the A700 in terms of bang-for-your-buck. The closest contenders are probably the Olympus FE-170 at £95, the Sony DSC-S600 or the Pentax Optio E-20 both at around £100, although all of those cameras are only six megapixels.