Fujifilm FinePix JZ300 Review: A compact camera sculpted to take decent snapshots

Fujifilm FinePix JZ300 Camera

Manufacturers have been delving to produce feature-loaded compact cameras with competitive price tags. In one such attempt, Fujifilm sculpted its JZ300 that hit the Indian store shelves recently. The ultra-compact Fujifilm FinePix JZ300 integrates a 12 megapixel sensor with 10x optical zoom. To know if the price tag has lead to compromising on feature-set or performance level, we took the point-and-shoot camera under our hood for a series of tests. Peep into this comprehensive Fujifilm JZ300 review to know more.

We received the JZ300 in a neat packaging with enough room for the JZ300, battery charger with cable, USB 2.0 cable and user manual. The device can be infused with enough juice using the USB cable as well as the battery charger. We were pleased to see the battery charger cut down cable clutter as the plug has been directly attached to the charger body.

The Fujifilm FinePix JZ300 belongs to the point-and-shoot clan as mentioned earlier and popped out in all silver metallic attire. The device resembled a small soap bar that snuggly fit into our palm and is extremely light in weight. The rounded sides make it comfortable some of us could even tuck it in our jeans pocket. However, do not expect dimensions like the recent pocketable HD cameras offered by Creative or Kodak. Needless to say, it does not even belong to that particular class. This point-and-shoot camera is all rounded on its edges and front surface. It does not pose in the most striking design to make heads turn, but the device is super-compact and definitely high on portability.

The silvery look is disturbed just by the steel rim that runs along the side and top edges. The top edge is etched with lettered FinePix while the zoom ring, shutter button and on/off button settle calmly on the rim. The right side houses the mini USB port inside a protective door and a slot for wrist strap while the left side decides to keep it plain. On the lower side, one can see the tripod socket and a flapped locking compartment with two slots for the battery and SD card each.

FinePix JZ300

The main power button has been embedded with a blue LED which instantly glows once we switch on the device. As you hit the on button, the front side shows off the Fujinon f3.3-5.6, 28-280mm wide-angle lens with 10x optical zoom that stretches outwards to about an inch. The lens has been guarded by an automatic cover. The Xenon flash is placed on the top left side of the device. To the right side of the lens the tracking/AF sensor is placed while one may notice a microphone on the lower left side next to the lens. The zoom ring carries the shutter button at its centre and this set is aptly located for comfortable usage. Moreover, the ring around the shutter button didn’t chart out any accidental zooming while clicking or vice versa.

The backside of the Fujifilm FinePix JZ300 has been outfitted with a 2.7-inch LCD display bearing an aspect ratio of 4:3. Next to the screen on the left side, one will notice several controls. It includes two circular buttons – one is a mode dial while the other is a five-way navigation button (jog wheel). In between both, you will see the playback and display/back buttons in oval shape. Using the jog dial we could navigate through images as well as select options like EV value, macro mode, flash, delete and delayed shutter. The centre of this dial is imprinted with Menu/OK. Further, the speaker has been integrated at its base.

Well, the model dial would let you lay your hands on ample of features. To begin with, the automatic mode that adjusts to bring in optimal shooting, SR helps choose apt settings for certain conditions, Program Settings, Movie recording, SP1 and SP2 to select and save particular scene (preset modes), Natural light mode maintains ambient light without any flash and Natural with two images shot one with flash and another without.

However, users may miss the full automatic mode. On the other hand, the camera does not give complete control in the user’s hand. We could tweak the settings for shutter speed or aperture size. We couldn’t manually focus the lens too. Moreover, users could notice a little fringing here and there, especially when a zoom range on higher side is reached.

Coming straight to the point, we found the image quality quite decent as we experimented with the various modes infused into the device. The snapshots of the zoomed images also appeared pretty well. We are sure Fujifilm could have done a better job with it.

Fujifilm JZ300

The Fujifilm FinePix JZ300 camera’s ability to record 720p HD movies with stereo sound comes across as a notable inclusion. One could look for recording better 24 fps in AVI format with clear and vivid images flashing on the screen. The image quality as well as the sound is good. We were glad to see the autofocus and zoom functions effectively working even while shooting videos. The optical image stabilization gives in equal contribution for better video quality.

Besides, some features that users expect from every camera that hops on to store shelves these days have been incorporated in this dainty device. It is inclusive of Face Detection that recognizes up to 10 faces and Red Eye Removal. Though Fujifilm strikes off manual controls of the camera but it is overall capable of taking decent images. The colors reproduced seem well. However, some disappointment crops up with focusing. The SP1 and SP2 turned out to be handy while the integrated 720mAh 3.7V Fujifilm NP-45A battery delivers decent battery life.

Pros:

The camera is slim and compact. It snugly fits into palms and slips into pockets and purses.

We liked the zooming ability of the device that stretched up to 10x.

The 720p HD video recording ability turned out pretty well.

Cons:

The image quality could have been better.

We didn’t have complete control over the camera due to missing manual controls for several attributes.

Our Shout

Verdict:

Well, before we start weighing the pros and cons of this device, let’s look at the price tag that states Rs. 9999. Considering this class of cameras, the JZ300 seems a decent piece of innovation to own. The camera has been sculpted for a comfort fit and exudes portability in its design elements. The ease-of-use and simple interface were other notable factors. The image quality did come across pretty decent but doesn’t match some of the cameras we have laid our hands on. There are a few attributes that go missing. Nevertheless, you get what you pay for. Well, this doesn’t mean we say that don’t look for other options available in the market. The Fujifilm FinePix JZ300 camera has climbed the rating ladder up to 7 out of 10.