I've had a camera almost always since I was a little kid; my Dad was a fine and prolific photographer. Got the first digicam in 1998, a 640x480 Fujifilm, and this F401 in Tokyo in late 2002. I'm not that happy with it.

Update March 8: opinion confirmed, this thing is a dog, don't get one:

  • Every time you erase the pictures from memory, the name-counter resets to zero, so you have to upload to a new directory on your computer or you get name collisions.
  • If you're viewing the already-taken pictures on the camera, and looking at the most recent, and press "next", it honks and says Read error!, like it can't figure out it's at end-of-file?!?!
  • The autofocus is really easily confused by a leaf or grain of dust or imaginary playmate between you and the target.
  • It is easily overwhelmed by intense light.

The algorithm for picking it was pretty simple; I've been happy with Fujis so why change, and it's small enough to be a really comfy pocket fit.

The pocket fit bit is important, and another lesson from Dad. He'd always had a big honking SLR, Pentax or Nikon or whatever, as did I, and sometime in the late seventies starting carrying around one of the then revolutionary little point-and-shoot cameras.

After this, I noticed that he was getting better pictures than me, and (not coincidentally) was also taking a lot more pictures than me because there was less fuss and bother and more time for composition and fewer chances for a good shot to get away.

So I went to the mini - my wife has the big SLR to this day - and started getting lots more shots and the usual small percentage was good and thus the number of good shots climbed. Thus any camera I buy must be small.

The F401 replaces a Finepix 4700 and so far hasn't been an improvement. First of all, it frapped out 24 hours after I bought it and the Fuji repair department sat on it for 8 weeks before replacing it.

Secondly, there are not nearly as many ways to get in and override the point-and-shoot auto-everything mode.

Third, I have yet to get a decent night-time shot out of the sucker. Maybe this new tool simply requires more skill and dedication - but with the 4700 all I really had to supply was the eye for an opportunity.

OK, sometime in the next few months I will write this off as a bad investment and try again - recommendations from digicam enthusiasts out there will be gratefully received.

author · Dad
colophon · rights
picture of the day
February 05, 2003
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