The headline features of the JZ500 include a 10x optical zoom, spanning 28-280mm (equivalent) and 720p HD video, but it also features the same face and pet detection modes that appear in its more expensive cousin, the F80EXR. It doesn't share the same EXR sensor though, and instead, boasts a higher resolution, but more conventional, 14.1 million pixel CCD. Despite its bargain cost, the JZ500 is a very good performer in a lot of key areas.
In terms of its overall speed and responsiveness, it offers a similar performance as the considerably more expensive F80EXR. Exposures are impressively accurate, and we like the JZ500's color response, which - by default - is natural and neutral, but can quickly be made a little punchier by selecting 'F-chrome' from the FinePix Color option in the shooting menu. The JZ500's AF mode is very capable as well, and in face detection mode it is quick to acquire focus, but its lack of an AF assist lamp means that it can fall down badly in dimly lit conditions.
|Max resolution||4320 x 3240|
|Effective pixels||14.1 megapixels|
|Sensor size||1/2.3" (6.17 x 4.55 mm)|
|ISO||Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, (3200 with boost)|
|Focal length (equiv.)||28–280 mm|
|Min shutter speed||8 sec|
|Max shutter speed||1/1400 sec|
|Storage types||SD/SDHC card, Internal|
|USB||USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)|
|Weight (inc. batteries)||168 g (0.37 lb / 5.93 oz)|
|Dimensions||97 x 57 x 29 mm (3.82 x 2.24 x 1.14″)|
The Fujifilm Finepix JZ500 is one of the cheapest cameras in this group test, but Fuji has packed a lot into its tiny frame. Despite its small size, light weight and low price, the JZ500 is capable of holding its own against the competition, and in terms of its core feature set, it offers a very attractive package. Although it's pretty weak in low light, we like the JZ500 for its combination of point-and-shoot simplicity, good image quality and decent build.
Good for: Point and shooters looking for a lightweight, high-quality compact at a good price
Not so good for: More demanding photographers, who want more control. And anyone that does a lot of low-light photography.