Fujifilm FinePix V10 

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This powerful 5MP camera with 3.4 to 1 optical zoom is small enough to fit into the smallest pocket but has one of the biggest TFT displays I have seen.
FujiFilm Finepix V10 camera

The TFT display literally fills the whole back of the unit. The dimensions are 8.5x6.5x2.5cm and it weights around 150grams. The TFT display is 6x4.5cm and in a line along the bottom of the display are seven buttons that control the unit. The other controls are a switch on the right side above the wrist strap anchor point to switch between still and movie mode and the on/off, 'f' button and the shutter button with the wide angle/telephoto around it all along the top.

The base has a cover to hide the solid battery that is recharged in situ - a rubber bung on the otherwise empty left side hides the access point - and another bung on the right side is A/V out but with such a large TFT most will do their viewing on the unit.

For those unfamiliar with the recent Fuji cameras the 'F' key is the very quick way to change various settings on the unit. This camera has two top resolutions of 5MP with fine and normal compression, then a 3:2 mode, a 3MP mode that should be enough for an A4 printed image, a 2MP and VGA. It allows you to change the ISO settings from the default of 'Auto' from 64 up to 1600, you can also set up Black and White among others from the one click 'F' button. All other changes are from the menu button which is one of the buttons along the bottom edge under the TFT.

I have found two main drawbacks to this otherwise nice unit, the totally inadequate 16MB XD card supplied for storage and the lack of a viewfinder.

As far as the storage is concerned I suspect the larger retailers demand only a small card be supplied as they can then enhance the purchase by selling another card or two of a larger capacity. As for the viewfinder the size and shape of the unit make it impossible to have one. Taking images indoors or on dull days is no problem but in strong sunlight you are really guessing as to what you are taking as the TFT - even when adjusted to it's brightest setting - is still almost unreadable.

Often with very small compact units the flash is not brilliant, but this is perfectly acceptable as my images taken at my normal jazz night will testify. Plenty of power to get into the darker recesses. When switched off the lens is well covered however no case or bag is supplied (probably for the same reason as the supply of the small memory card) but you really cannot just slip the camera in your pocket or bag without some protection for the huge TFT that otherwise will soon be damaged by keys or coins.

Image sizes can vary a lot according to content but an average 3MP image would be around 800kb while one minute of video - at the default setting - takes around 800MB. I rarely mention the video quality on a digital camera but here it was rather good at VGA and taking images in an unlit room on a dull day with all light coming from a single window I was impressed as to how it coped and changed the amount of help it gave according to the light available. While no replacement for a camcorder having a large XD card could allow the odd short video to be taken in reasonable lighting conditions. Still on light the V10 even has an ISO 1600 mode ideal for low light, as far as I know this is the only model in this category to have this.

Fujifilm is a perfectly acceptable make of camera and the FinePix V10 will not let you down once you have a reasonable sized XD card and a case providing you do not take a lot of images in strong sunlight.

Doing my Internet searches found the V10 at a best price of £162.80 including delivery from the first link below and buying from them you also get a case.

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