Product Type: Fujifilm digital cameras
Newest Review: ... as though it fits in and as though it's a pretty high end model. The camera has a nice black with a bit of silver colour combination whic... more
Great little compact, if a little idiosyncratic.
Fujifilm Finepix J32
Author Name: KevinH
Fujifilm Finepix J32
Advantages: Picture quality, size, weight, ease of use. Good range of scene modes.
Disadvantages: No viewfinder. Casing prone to finderprints, no scene selection dial.
The Finepix J32 is a smart looking compact little camera, whether you take the black or red version. The casing is plastic, but it still feels quite solid. The only downside to the black model is that it shows up smudges and fingerprints very easily. You'll spend quite a lot of time wiping the casing. The camera is incredibly lightweight even with the battery fitted, weighing about the same as a decent mobile phone. It is also small enough to easily slip into a pocket and take everywhere. An AV cable, a CDrom containing the full manual, a second one containing the PC software and a charger complete the package. No camera case, no SD card and no PC connection cable I am afraid. So budget another £7-£10 or so for an SDHC card (4Gb card will hold over 600 photos at the highest resolution). You will also need an SD card reader if your PC doesn't have one, would you believe mine cost me £1 from a Pound Shop and works well.
At first the camera appears to have a lack of buttons on the top or back compared to most other makes, but once you get used to the menu navigation it is easy to use. Incidentaly, the manual mode goes further than other compacts from other manufacturers, allowing you to manually set a wide range of settings although of course, no manual zoom which is pretty normal for compact cameras in this price range.
The menu system is straightforward and easy to navigate, although I would have preferred the more normal scene dial on the top that other manufacturers still use. It's not too bad, just takes a bit of getting used to. The menu is well laid out though and all the settings are easy enough to find.
Most users will leave the camera set at full Auto, and to be honest, it does an excellent job of automatically selecting the best settings. Certainly better than both of my previous cameras (one a Casio 5MP and the other a Samsung 8MP), it only appeared to have chosen the wrong settings once or twice in over a month of use. Changing the settings to what you think is more appropriate is quick but again, as I said above, a scene selection dial would have been just that bit easier to use.
Taking pictures in very bright sunlight can be annoying, simply due to the fact there is no viewfinder and LCD screens can be hard to see properly in bright sunlight. This camera isn't alone in this, most manufacturers seem to have abandoned viewfinders on compacts. Increasing the screens brightness helps a bit though.
I've seen some reviewers complain that the camera suffers shutter lag. It does in full auto, portrait or in red eye reduction mode but this is because the camera has to measure distance to set auto focus as well as other settings. However in other modes such as sports the picture is taken much faster. Shutter lag is about the same as pretty much every other compact I have ever used.
There's no video button on the camera, you have to use the menu to switch to video mode. Slightly annoying but again, not unusual at this price range.
This is where this little camera really excels, picture quality is first class, colours are bright and natural, even indoors. The flash doesn't give the washed out look that some cameras do when a person is close to the camera. Portrait mode especially is fantastic for, well, portraits and gives a flattering look. The camera also has a panorama mode that works very well. Macro mode gives very good results down to about 10cm. In very dark areas the auto focus sometimes has problems, but then so do most other compacts in this price range. I generally find manually setting a high ISO and increasing the EV settings helps a lot here.
Battery life is very good, as it uses a lion battery. It will last most people anything from a few days to a week or more depending on how often you use the flash and how many pictures you take. It only takes an hour or so to recharge too. If you really want to make sure you never miss a shot, buy a second battery as it is not sealed inside like some so is easy to swap out. The LCD screen is prone to fingerprints and smudges, so buy a decent cleaning cloth and some screen protectors. Unlike some cameras this one has no black and white mode. Just use your favourite editing package to change the image to black and white, you'll have more control and get better results anyway.
For someone wanting a decent, small camera they can take pretty much everywhere, this is a great choice.
There are better compacts out there (even some from Fuji), but they generally cost more. Given that the price has been reduced in Argos to around £80 this camera is now something of a bargain if you can put up with some of it's idiosyncrasies.
Summary: Excellent compact for those on a bit of a budget.
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