I have bought the Fuji FinePix E510 not expecting too much. Of course, the camera has a 5.2-Megapixel CCD, 2-inch LCD screen, optical zooming viewfinder, wide-angle optics, pop-up flash and manual controls. The list is impressive. But the fact that I could buy it for only $183 (including sales tax) and that it came with two $15-dollar rebates, was very suspicious.
The pictures of the Fuji FinePix E510 as well as sample photos I took using it are available at the address below:
Click here to see the sample photos I took with this Fuji E510 camera and photos of the camera
What Is Fuji FinePix E510?
The Fuji FinePix E510 is a 5.2-Megapixel stylish digital camera with a 3.2x optical zoom (28-91 mm equivalent with maximum f/2.8 aperture at wide angle), a 2-inch LCD screen, powered by two AA-size batteries.
The camera features ISO range of up to ISO 400 (automatic or manual), automatic and manual white balance, automatic and manual focusing. It also has Aperture and Shutter Priority modes as well as a full Manual mode. The camera stores pictures on xD-Picture memory cards (16 MB xD card is supplied) and features USB connection to PC and Mac computers.
Once the camera arrived, I discovered that, unfortunately, it was defective. The camera has a spring-loaded pop-up flash, that refused to pop-up once the appropriate button was pressed. The flash would open by maybe 1 millimeter and get stuck. I was able to make it pop up by picking the front of it with my nail and pulling it upward, but it is going back to the store.
Aside from this little adventure (which is, I am sure, is not indicative of what you should expect), the camera seems very well assembled and nicely styled.
The camera is made from plastic and metal and looks stylish. It has a lens that is flush with the camera body when retracted and the metal lens lid (two halves) covers it. The bezel around the lens can be removed to accept the optional accessories.
The bottom of the camera has a plastic tripod mount and the battery/memory card compartment lid. The side has a small rubber-like lid that covers a USB, A/V and DC power ports. The lid has no hinge, but you just remove it and set aside. The camera comes with an extra lid in case you loose the one that is on the camera.
The rear houses a 2-inch LCD screen, zoom control, a metal disc for menu control and other functions with a MENU/OK button in the middle as well as other buttons and a playback/shoot mechanical switch. It also has a mechanical flash release button and a exposure compensation button.
The top deck has a power on/off button, a mode wheel (Auto/S/S/M /Video, scene modes) and a shutter release button.
I inserted the memory card and my two AA NiMH batteries and discovered that the battery compartment door requires quite an effort to close. But once closed, I was ready to shoot.
The E510 feels rather sturdy. And the controls are within easy reach. The menu system is not very simple to use, but it is better than the one on FinePix F10 and I could use the camera and all of its features without reading the manual.
You just have to know that the F button on the back camera panel is used to adjust ISO (Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400), resolution (5M Fine, 5M Normal, etc.) and color modes (Standard, Chrome (higher contrast and saturation) and B&W).
The camera has a retractable lens that extends and has a lens cover that opens when the camera is powered on. When the camera is powered off, the lens retracts and the lens cover closes.
The camera is very flexible, but with an oversight. It has real adjustable aperture and has aperture priority, shutter priority and manual mode. It also lets you focus manually if you wish. But the manual focusing is not as well implemented as what I saw on its competitors.
Firstly, you have to hold the exposure compensation button while pushing on the zoom control to focus manually, which is not very convenient. Secondly, the camera does not magnify the center of the screen or show you the distance scale. Thus, it is rather difficult to confirm focus.
Unlike many compact cameras that use a two-step aperture control (Sony W5, Canon SD300, SD400 and SD500 come to mind), the camera uses a real adjustable aperture.
The camera can be used in full auto mode, scene modes or manual modes (A, S, M). Very impressive for the price
The camera comes pre-set to Auto mode. You do not have to do anything other than point and shoot - the camera takes care of the rest. You press the shutter release button halfway to make camera focus and the camera shows you (on the LCD screen) where it focused. Then you take the picture by pressing the shutter release button all the way.
In auto mode, the camera can be used by anyone who can point and shoot. The preprogrammed scene modes give you more control.
In addition, you can select Macro mode at a push of a button. The camera has no dedicated review mode on the mode selector, but you activate it using a switch between the shooting and review modes. I like this idea, but would prefer a button rather than a switch
I have not tried the macro mode yet.
LCD and Viewfinder
The camera has an optical viewfinder and a 2-inch LCD monitor that "gains-up" in the darker environments and has adjustable brightness. It works well overall, even in darkness, but could have higher resolution. The coverage is about 100% for the monitor, but the viewfinder (as is ususal for optical viewfinders) is on the tight side.
The camera takes about 3 seconds to power up and extend its lens. Not too fast, but not too slow either. The shutdown takes about the same time.
The shutter lag, when pre-focused, is very fast. The focusing is fast in bright light, slower in darker environments, but is still rather fast. But sometimes the camera fails to focus (if it is too dark).
The camera can take pictures at intervals of about 2 seconds until the memory card is full in single-frame mode.
You can fully zoom in or out in about 2 seconds.
Overall, the camera is average in speed.
The camera should allow you to take more than 200 pictures on one battery charge (if you use high-capacity NiMH batteries).
The camera uses USB connection to transfer pictures to a computer. You can also remove the xD memory card and use a memory card reader (if you have one). The file transfer using the camera USB port is average at about 700 KB/s. I do not use the software that was provided with the camera since I have Adobe Photoshop CS2.
I was having problems with flash pop-up action, but once extended, it worked well, although I would like more power by default.
The camera has a good white balance system overall, but I had difficulties with incandescent light in Auto mode. The photos came out too reddish. Switching to the Tunsten mode helped restore order. The skin colors are slightly warm, but pleasing.
The camera produces very good photos with well-exposed, sharp, contrasty images (see the samples). There is some chromatic aberration, but not too much and the photos generally have very good sharpness corner to corner.
The noise situation is typical for a compact camera. Lower ISO settings feature lower noise with higher ISO suitable for small prints only.
If you are printing 6x4 pictures, the noise should not be visible at all. And at lower ISO settings, enlargements up to 11x14 are possible.
Very low price, features, manual controls, image quality, wide angle capability (28mm equivalent), AA batteries, real aperture, sharp optics.
Some plastic elements (battery door, tripod mount), expensive xD cards, poorly-implemented manual focus.
I highly recommend Fuji FinePix E510 if you want an inexpensive, compact, cool yet capable camera with 5.2-megapixel resolution, wide angle capability and sharp optics.
This review is also available at Epinions.com: Fuji FinePix E510 5.2-Megapixel Digital Camera Review on Epinions.com
My Reviews of Other Digital Cameras
Canon Powershot S2 IS Digital Camera Review
Canon Powershot S1 IS Digital Camera Review
Canon PowerShot A520 4-Megapixel Digital Camera Review
Canon PowerShot A510 3.2-Megapixel Digital Camera Review
Canon PowerShot S500 5-Megapixel Digital Camera Review
Canon PowerShot S410 / Digital IXUS 430 Digital Camera Review
Canon PowerShot SD500 7.1-Megapixel Digital Camera Review
Canon PowerShot SD400 5-Megapixel Digital Camera Review
Canon PowerShot SD300 4-Megapixel Digital Camera Review
Canon PowerShot SD200 3.2-Megapixel Digital Camera Review
Fuji FinePix A345 4.1-Megapixel Digital Camera Review
Fuji FinePix E510 5.2-Megapixel Digital Camera Review
Fuji FinePix F10 6.3-Megapixel Digital Camera Review
Kodak EasyShare Z740 5-Megapixel Digital Camera Review
Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z6 6-Megapixel Digital Camera with 12x Optical Stabilized Zoom Review
Olympus Camedia D-595 Zoom 5-Megapixel Digital Camera Review
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ5 5-Megapixel Digital Camera with 12x Optical Stabilized Zoom Review
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20 5-Megapixel Digital Camera with 12x Optical Stabilized Zoom Review
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ4 4-Megapixel Digital Camera with 12x Optical Stabilized Zoom Review
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ1 4-Megapixel Digital Camera with 6x Optical Stabilized Zoom Review
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-S200 7.2-Megapixel Digital Camera Review (DSCS200)
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-S40 Digital Camera Review
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-H1 5-Megapixel Digital Camera with 12x Optical Stabilized Zoom Review (DSCH1)
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-T33 Digital Camera Review
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-T7 Digital Camera Review
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W7 7.2-Megapixel Digital Camera Review (DSCW7)