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This new offering from the popular Fuji stable is a 14 mega pixel travel compact zoom.
Basic and uncomplicated by nature I bought and road tested this camera for a non-photographer friend who was looking for something light, easy to use and with decent results for the price.
Taking the camera out of the box I couldn't help but notice how light the unit was, weighting in at around 250 grammes once the battery and SD memory card was fitted.
The metal body is smooth and rounded, and the overall size of 97x57x28.5mm is smaller than many models of this class, making it ideal for slipping into a shirt or trouser pocket.
The lens is a reasonable 28mm at the wide end and 280mm at the tele end giving a 10x optical zoom, an ideal range for general travel photography.
Aperture wise the lens offers f/3.3 at 28mm and f/5.6 at 280mm
The 2.7 inch LCD back-screen is a sensible size and gives out a good preview even in sunlight, an improvement over earlier models.
This model has many useful features including-
Image stabilisation - to prevent camera shake, useful when using the zoom end of the lens, and also when shooting in low light when a longer exposure time is selected.
Automatic scene recognition - Where the camera detects what you are shooting be it a landscape, portrait, macro or night shot and chooses the optimal setting for you.
Video - HD 1280 x 720p video recording at 24 frames per second. With full use of zooming during recording, mono sound, and a recording time of 15 minutes per clip.
To save memory, the video can also record at a lower quality of 640 x 480 or even 320 x 240.
Face recognition - The ability to concentrate on the face of your favourite person within a group.
Pet recognition - Yes, honestly! The ability to focus on your fast moving dog or cat, and only click the shutter when they are looking at the camera!
For ease of use, the main control thumb operated ridged wheel with eight basic settings, is situated at the rear of the camera. Two of these (SP1 SP2) are reserved for your personal programmed settings.
Most of these main controls (Auto, video, program etc.) are self-explanatory and easy to access.
For those who like to tweak and twiddle, the more complex settings menus are accessed by the lower dial.
The menu system is very easy to navigate through.
The included CD manual gives full and concise instructions on how to set these.
Also included is an integrated flash, with al the usual auto setting, red-eye reduction, forced on/forced off settings which are easily accessed.
The large on/off button is recessed in the camera top to prevent accidental activation.
Next to this is the all important shutter button which I found to be quite positive when using at half-depressed to lock focus. Surrounding the shutter button is the zoom in/out lever.
The power-up time is very fast, with the LCD showing a preview in just over one second.
And with a half pressed shutter the camera gives you a reassuring confirming 'beep' to show that focus and exposure are set and ready to take your photo.
On taking the photo, the writing of the JPG to the memory card is reasonably fast.
The resulting pictures from the camera were of acceptable if not outstanding quality. Some fringing did appear in hi-contrast situations, but overall a very acceptable result.
This camera would not suit everyone, due to its small size it would not be the preferred model for someone with large hands.
However, the balance between portability, image quality and ease of use makes this model a very acceptable choice for the on-the-move traveller.
Looking for a slim easy-to-use camera packed with all the features you'll need for great pictures? Then reach for the Fujifilm FinePix JX500. Featuring a 5x optical zoom and 14 megapixels you'll get stunning still images and - thanks to the dedicated movie recording button - you can also capture video in 720p HD at 30 frames per second. Once you've shot your scenes you can play the movies back on any HD Ready TV - and enjoy still pictures in Full 1080p HD detail. Scene Recognition Auto mode automatica