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Fujifilm FinePix A920
Fujifilm's A-series of plastic-bodied, AA-powered compacts is quite possibly the longest-running camera range of them all, with the first model in the line, the 1.2-megapixel FinePix A101, appearing as long ago as 2001. Over the past seven years the A-series has had its ups and downs, with some very good models and one or two absolute stinkers, but on the whole it has always represented good value for money. Today's camera is the latest in this long line, the FinePix A920.
The A920 is a prime example of this low-cost, high-value ethos. Currently priced at around £95 it offers 9.0-megapixel resolution from a 1/1.6-inch SuperCCD HR sensor, a 4x optical zoom Fujinon lens and a 2.7-inch LCD monitor. Of course it does have its limits; the monitor is only 115k pixel resolution, and the maximum ISO value is only 800, but it's still a lot of camera for not very much money. There aren't many camera on the market that can easily be compared with the A920, but a fairly close match might be the excellent Samsung S85 (£90), or the not-so-excellent Nikon L14 (£90), although neither of these cameras can match the Fuji's specification.
While your £95 buys a good specification, it has to be said that it doesn't buy a lot of elegance. The A920 is a rather big-boned camera, measuring a pocket-stretching 97.5 × 61.9× 31.8mm, and weighing over 200g when loaded up with a couple of standard AA batteries. About 25g can be shaved off this weight by using lighter and longer-lasting Lithium batteries, but it's still a big, heavy camera. Despite its plastic body the build quality is generally good, with only a couple of creaks when given a good squeeze. The battery hatch has a plastic hinge, but it's pretty solidly made and looks quite durable. The tripod bush is also plastic, but to be fair a camera like this probably isn't going to spend much of its life on a tripod anyway.