Fujifilm FinePix E510

21 Oct 2004

Product: digital camera
Price: €399.99
The Christmas buying season for all things electronic is about to begin and Fujifilm is getting its act together with no fewer than eight new digital camera models to suit every taste and pocket. The FinePix E510 is a 5.2MP zoom digicam that can print up to poster size without any loss of image quality.

First impressions of the E510 are good. The styling is thoughtful, if not revolutionary, deviating from the standard flat front of many compacts through its barrel grip on the right-hand side that makes for a more comfortable shooting position. The main functions — shooting mode, shutter and power button — are arranged in a triangle on the topside of the camera. Beside these is the pop-up flash.
At the rear, there is the usual menu four-way toggle button to the right of the generous two-inch LCD display, the photo/play switch and the zoom lever, which controls the 12.5 x zoom lens (3.2 optical x 3.9 digital). A slight anomaly is the viewfinder, which instead of being positioned directly above the display, is pushed over to the left, which may irritate some users but not the many others who rely on the LCD to frame shots, despite its considerable draw on battery power.
The E510 comes with a 16MB XD picture card that can store 122 photos at the lowest image quality setting (640 x 480 pixels), which is suitable for website display only, but just six at the superfine (2,592 x 1,944 pixels) end of the scale. It is only a matter of time,
we hope, before manufacturers ship digicams with at least a 64MB card but so doing
would, of course, eat into their profits on accessories so we must wait and see.
Battery life seemed reasonable given that the camera runs on just two AA batteries but, if you do not already have one, a recharger unit will quickly recoup the investment. This is one of a number of accessories available with the E510. Others include XD picture cards up to 512MB, wide-angle and telephoto lenses and a cradle that connects the camera to a PC. The device also comes with the usual software for viewing images on a PC as well as a power cable and two USB cables for connecting to a PC and printer.
The camera features a PictBridge function that allows you to connect it directly to a compatible printer. There are quite a few pitfalls and limitations in this procedure so be sure to follow the instructions in the manual closely.
We found the quality of the prints from the E510 to be well up to standard with just the right levels of colour saturation and contrast.
In summary, a well designed machine that, with the oomph of 5.2MP and the portability of a point-and-shoot job, has struck a nice balance between performance and size. The FinePix E510, available for €399.99 (incl. Vat), could well find its way into a few stockings this Christmas.

By Brian Skelly