New Camera: Fuji Finepix E510

My old clunky Olympus D-510Z is overdue for retirement. It's only a 2 megapixel camera, and takes increasingly worse pictures. They're fine if there's a LOT of light, but otherwise, all bets are off.

So, I just cashed in my SDLW benefit (a University thing, where we get a small portion of our salary alotted to buying toystools to support our lifelong learning - computers, iPods and digital cameras appear to be the most popular way to do that).

I picked up a Fuji Finepix E510 - a nice compact 5 megapixel beauty, with a honking big 2" screen (and it's amazingly bright and clear). I like the controls, and the camera was reviewed well. Probably the best camera in the low-end price range - at least one of the best bang:buck ratios. (if I'd had more cash to allocate, I'd have sprung for the Canon Digital Rebel (or the XT), but that's another story...)

Anyway, I look forward to taking a LOT more pictures, and am hoping they'll turn out consistently better (at least photo-quality, if not aesthetically) than before. I'll be taking the Fuji on the Sonoma State Pachyderm Developer's Retreat on Monday, so there will likely be a Metric Boatload of new photos from the Bay Area uploaded over the next few days. I know it's not going to turn me into a Kris Krug or anything, but at least I'm going to be having to throw out badly exposed/focussed photos as often...

Fuji Finepix E510

Things I like so far:

  • the screen - huge, clear and bright.
  • the controls - the dial makes it so easy to change modes. That was a huge pain on the Olympus (mitigated by its lack of meaningful modes, so I never really changed modes too often as a result anyway)
  • takes only 2 AA class batteries (or rechargeable) - the Olympus chewed through 4 at a time
  • resolution - 5 MP is nice
  • picture quality
  • flash doesn't pop up unless you want it - it automatically popped into position on the Olympus
  • it's inexpensive - I got it for only $299 CDN, and got a 256MB xD card for about 20 bucks after rebates. I overlooked my disgust for Future Shop to buy it there - because it was so much cheaper there, and it's totally commodity - I just walked in and asked for the exact item that I wanted...

Things I don't like so far:

  • it's not a Canon Digital Rebel XT :-)
  • having to plug the camera in via USB to unload it - I have a Smart Media card reader, but that won't work for the xD card. Meaning I have to turn the camera on to unload it. This would have been a dealbreaker with the Olympus' appetite for batteries, but the Fuji is apparently much more thrifty. Maybe this is a non-issue. If it turns out to be a problem, I may have to spring for the PCMCIA xD card reader so I can just plug the xD card into my Powerbook... (that would be nice because I wouldn't be limited by USB 1.0 speed while transferring images from the camera)
  • having to remember to activate the flash if needed - it's got a handy and easy to read indicator so maybe this is a non-issue as well
  • when activating the flash, and after using the flash, it takes 2 seconds to recharge it - and it dims the LCD while it's charging. frustrating. this may be a side-effect of the cheap/stale AA batteries that came with it. I'll slap in some high end batteries to see if that makes a difference
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