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Worth the pose

Fujifilm FinePix 3800.

Although patience is commonly considered a virtue, sometimes it can be burden. Consider, for example, the depth of forbearance needed with a traditional camera, when even a one-hour photo drop-off requires killing time at the mall just to see those pictures of Aunt Joyce’s birthday party. Thanks to technology, however, instant gratification is a digital snap away, if you have the right camera.

A proper digital camera should be small, easy to use, affordable, and able to be dropped in the sand without worry. The Fujifilm 3800 is just such a gem. Its $449 list price means it’s not the cheapest on the market, but its reliability and simplicity make it worth the extra cash. With only a smattering of menus and minimal settings, the camera would seem rather stripped down at first, but it actually has quite a bit of functionality.

The 6-by zoom is particularly nice, as is the ability to do auto and manual focus, change lenses, and view it all at 3.2 megapixels. It fits neatly in one hand, thanks to grips on one side, and the sound of a faux shutter snapping when a photo is taken is amusing, if slightly kooky. It’s also fun to utilize the camera’s movie feature, which lets you take 200 seconds of video. But unless you have a tripod or are an amazingly calm person, the lightness of the camera tends to give all video a kind of “Blair Witch” quality.

The only other drawback is viewing images through the camera. Although the photos come out sharp and clear when transferred to computer, through the LCD display they looked like captured images from the Zapruder film. In general, though, it’s a dependable, tough little camera that has one truly great feature: keeping you out of the photo developing line.

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