Fujifilm FinePix A201 review: Fujifilm FinePix A201

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Shirt-pocket size with built-in lens cover; bright LCD; simple operation; good image quality in daylight.

The Bad No optical zoom; weak low-light performance; some important functions accessible through LCD menu only; very few manual options.

The Bottom Line This is a fun, affordable camera for weekend shutterbugs. But you may quickly outgrow its short feature list.

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The 2-megapixel FinePix A201 sticks with a formula that has long characterized Fujifilm's entry-level digicams: It's highly compact, the feature set is downright minimalist, and it can take surprisingly good pictures. But the camera does have some significant limitations--there's no optical zoom, and low-light performance is, frankly, shabby. Still, if you're a casual shutterbug, you will love its portability and easy automatic operation. The 2-megapixel FinePix A201 sticks with a formula that has long characterized Fujifilm's entry-level digicams: It's highly compact, the feature set is downright minimalist, and it can take surprisingly good pictures. But the camera does have some significant limitations--there's no optical zoom, and low-light performance is, frankly, shabby. Still, if you're a casual shutterbug, you will love its portability and easy automatic operation.

Simple and compact
Even a low-priced camera is no bargain if it's so bulky that you tend to leave it sitting at home, so we appreciated that the A201 is small and lightweight enough (6.9 ounces with batteries and SmartMedia card installed) to slip into a pocket. Adding to the portability is a built-in sliding lens cover that opens when you switch on the camera and protects the lens from scratches when the camera is bouncing around in a backpack or a purse. We were dismayed to see that Fujifilm combined the SmartMedia and battery compartments without adding a latch to hold in the two AA batteries when you open the compartment door. However, our most serious complaint about the camera's design is the lack of physical controls for many of the camera's functions. To select a flash mode, activate the self-timer, and even to change picture-quality settings, you have to navigate menus on the battery-draining LCD. Fortunately, those menus are logical and easy to read.

Easy on auto
This camera is made for people who prefer shooting in full Auto mode, but it does allow you to manually select white-balance presets and exposure-compensation settings. These are useful features for dealing with difficult lighting situations, and it's unfortunate that it takes several steps to get to them through the LCD menu. On the other hand, it's easy to flip the camera into Video mode to capture silent clips by just turning the mode dial. The A201 can function as a Webcam in Video mode as well when it's connected to a PC (but not a Mac). On the software side, we liked the fact that the USB driver enables your computer to treat the camera as an external hard drive; this makes it fast and easy to upload photos by clicking and dragging in your file directory.

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Where to Buy

Fujifilm FinePix A201

Part Number: 43860740

MSRP: $249.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Digital camera type Compact
  • Optical Sensor Type CCD
  • Sensor Resolution 2.0 Megapixel
  • Optical Sensor Size 1/2.7"