capsule review

Fujifilm FinePix JZ500: A Slim, Basic Pocket Megazoom

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Fujifilm FinePix JZ500 Compact Camera

    TechHive Rating

    More pocket-friendly than other compact megazooms, Fujifilm’s FinePix JZ500 doesn’t have the features or the performance to match higher-priced competitors.

The Fujifilm FinePix JZ500 ($250 as of June 1, 2010) is the most pocketable pocket megazoom in our latest test group, thanks to a curvy 1-inch-deep body that's significantly slimmer than any of the other cameras we reviewed.

Fujifilm FinePix JZ500 pocket megazoom camera
Unfortunately, its performance was also comparatively anemic. Its shortcomings aren't entirely surprising: This model is Fujifilm's bargain pocket megazoom for 2010, playing second string to the higher-end FinePix F80EXR.

In PCWorld Labs subjective evaluations for image and video quality, the JZ500 turned in a disappointing score of Fair. Our jury noted that sample images taken with the FinePix JZ500 were murky and soft, posting well-below-average scores for both exposure quality and sharpness.

The JZ500 doesn't make up for its imaging shortcomings with battery life, either. The camera has a rating of 230 shots for each charge of its lithium ion battery, which is well short of some of the more feature-loaded cameras in our latest test group.

Video performance was at the bottom of the pack, especially in our low-light tests--and that tells only half the story when it comes to shooting video with this camera. Due to the JZ500's noisy zoom-lens motors and laggy autofocus, taking 720p clips with this camera is often a study in frustration.

Here are sample clips that we shot in bright indoor lighting and in low light with the FinePix JZ500. For the highest-quality clips, select 720p from the drop-down menu in the lower-right corner of each player.

The JZ500 lacks manual shutter and aperture controls; you're limited to the camera's scene modes, program mode (which lets you adjust ISO, white balance, autofocus, and other basic settings), auto mode, and automated scene-selecting mode. It's certainly easy to use, but it lacks the polish and image quality of the similarly robot-like Nikon Coolpix S8000.

The most interesting aspect of the FinePix JZ500 is its pet-detection scene mode, which is a face-detection mode for dogs and cats. You can set the camera to snap a photo automatically as soon as your pet turns toward the camera, although our hands-on tests revealed that the shutter isn't quick enough to capture particularly fast-moving dogs or cats. If you opt to snap the shutter button manually, it does take a fine pet photo.

The JZ500 is an also-ran among the big players in the pocket megazoom class, but it has a bigger, more-powerful sibling. For Fujifilm fans pining for a pocket megazoom, we suggest holding out for the FinePix F80EXR, which boasts the company's higher-end EXR sensor along with a 10X-optical-zoom lens.

This story, "Fujifilm FinePix JZ500: A Slim, Basic Pocket Megazoom" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • TechHive Rating

    More pocket-friendly than other compact megazooms, Fujifilm’s FinePix JZ500 doesn’t have the features or the performance to match higher-priced competitors.

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