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We purchased a Fujifilm FinePix JZ500 digital camera a few months ago in the ASDA Black Friday deals promotion. It cost us £65, which we thought a great price as it generally retails at anything from £78-£100. We were looking for a compact, easy to use digital camera and this seemed to meet those requirements.
So, for the superficial stuff.... Silly as it sounds, the look and feel of the camera is actually quite important to me, as well as the general size and shape. With that in mind, I thought I’d do a quick section on this before moving on to the more technical features.
My camera is predominantly black in colour with a silver band across the top and down one side (I believe the model is also available in silver). There are also various silver features on the camera – the rim to the lens and the lettering are both silver. The camera is smooth to the touch and the corners are rounded – making for a smart, sleek look. The camera is thin (23mm) and lightweight – approximately 150g.
I am by no means a digital camera expert, so not all features mean a great deal to me. I have included details from the manual in this section for those that they mean more to! The camera is 14 Megapixels and has a 10x optical zoom lens. The camera also has the ability to be used for video recording and the 10x zoom can be used during this, video is captured with sound at 720p. ISO is 100 to 1600 (full resolution). The LCD screen on the back of the camera is 2.7 inches.
The camera has various additional features and different shooting modes. It has face recognition, automatic scene recognition and also an auto dog or cat detection function. The scene recognition function selects the optimum camera settings. There is also a setting that enables two photos to be taken consecutively – in natural light and with a flash. This is handy if you are unsure whether flash is required or not as you can compare the two resulting pictures.
There are also portrait settings for those close up shots – portrait offers ‘soft overall tone and beautiful skin tones’ and portrait enhancer ‘shoots face skin to appear smooth’.
USING THE CAMERA
The camera is simple to use, with basic controls that are similar to most digital cameras. They are also clearly labelled and functions explained so you are able to use the camera pretty much without consulting the user manual. The on-off switch is a silver push button on the top of the camera. This contains a blue light which lights up when the camera is on. The zoom is controlled by a circular button next to this that can be twisted right to extend the lens and left to retract it.
On the back of the camera the controls are located to the right of the LCD screen. At the top there is a dial that can be rotated clockwise to select the mode for shooting in. This features 8 different modes, including video. Beneath this there are two small buttons, one for viewing the photos taken and one to select the ‘display’. This displays the date and time that a photo was taken when in viewing mode. At the bottom, there is another circular button that can be pressed in several places to select different functions – flash type, automatic timer and the ‘trash’ button to delete unwanted photos when viewing. The pictures are taken by push button at the top right hand side of the camera.
At the bottom of the camera there is a door that can be flipped open to reveal the battery and a slot for an SD card. The camera can be connected to your computer to download the photos by connecting it to the computer using the lead provided. This attaches to the camera in the slot on the top right side. On first connection to the computer, the necessary software can be installed – this is quick and easy and very simple to use.
The ease of use of this camera is what appealed to me the most. The settings are all self explanatory and text is displayed on the screen as to what they are to be used for when they are selected. This really helps me, as a ‘now and then’ photographer, to select the correct setting for my needs. The LCD screen is large and bright and provides an excellent picture for taking photographs from.
The zoom operates quickly and smoothly and quietly too. Some of the features of the camera have really helped me improve my picture taking and given me much better photos. The red eye reduction really works and has vastly reduced any editing time I have spent previously on my computer before printing the photos off.
There is no SD card provided with the camera and you really need to purchase one as the camera has very little memory. We had taken 10-15 photos only and the message that memory is full appeared – not very convenient at all! A standard SD card fits into the camera and you can pick these up quite cheaply online, but it would have been nice if one had been included with the camera (or the camera had more memory in the first place).
The quality of the photos that this camera takes is fantastic. The pictures are clear and detailed and the colours etc are accurate and true. The software for downloading the picture to your computer is also very simple to use and can be used without instruction. The video function is also very good – giving sharp videos with clear sound. The flash is powerful and lights up even the darkest of scenes nicely so that decent photos can still be achieved.
The camera itself is a very convenient size and weight and fits nicely in my handbag. This makes it convenient and practical for me to carry with me when necessary – holidays, weddings etc. It also seems pretty durable – with no scratching or problems with buttons sticking.
I am really impressed with this camera – and especially pleased with the price that we paid for it. It meets my needs as an occasional photographer (predominantly family snaps – documenting my baby son’s progress) perfectly and I have achieved some fantastic photos with this. It is extremely user friendly and easy to use, even for a novice photographer. The settings really make it easy for you to achieve good pictures whatever the setting/circumstance as there is pretty much a setting to cope with all situations.
I really can’t fault this camera (apart from the severe lack of memory, although this is easily rectified with a basic SD card) and highly recommend it.