Fujifilm FinePix JZ300: Compact Marvel
The FinePix JZ300 is part of a new series of Fujifilm cameras that sport a lot of zoom in an ultra compact body. Neha Mutreja puts it to the test.
The Fujifilm FinePix JZ300, launched in February this year, is a part of the new J-series of ultra compact cameras that target an audience looking for both features and affordability. This tiny camera is packed with a number of modes that target basic users and also packs in some interesting features.
The FinePix JZ300 is a 12.1-megapixel camera with a 10x optical zoom lens that gives an effective focal length of 28–280mm (in 35mm parlance). To target casual photographers, the camera is bundled with 13 Scene modes, but it does not have a Manual mode. The camera has a Scene Recognition Auto mode as well. This mode chooses the most appropriate settings by taking a reading from the shooting situation. The camera also features CCD-shift image stabilisation, which is a feature that is often missing in cameras of this price range. Going with Fujifilm’s new philosophy of including HD video in every compact camera, the JZ300 also shoots 720p HD video with mono audio.
The Fujifilm JZ300 is a sleek camera that easily snuggles into one’s pocket. Since it is so small, the camera has no real grip—I found it necessary to put the camera strap around my wrist at all times to avoid dropping it. The top plate of the camera houses the On/Off button, shutter-release button and zoom rocker. Most of the other controls are placed at the back of the camera, to the right of the LCD. The mode dial placed at the back of the camera not only helps you to access various modes, but is also highly customisable, allowing you to assign any two particular scene modes to the mode dial. The menu, too, is simple to understand and navigate. The camera has a 2.7-inch LCD that shows exposure and colours accurately, but I found it difficult to view the LCD in bright sunlight. I was also left unimpressed by the zooming action, which is jerky and does not allow you to compose your frame accurately.
The efficient all-round ergonomics of the camera meant that it was easy to use on field, and its superb performance is like an icing on the cake! I used the camera to shoot nature, sports events, still-life subjects and even scenes outside my window at night. The camera’s autofocus is quick and accurate, and delivered in every possible shooting situation, even when the light levels were low. Surprisingly, the camera has only one metering mode, and does not have the option of using Centre-weighted or Spot metering. In spite of this, the TTL 256-zone metering of the camera did an efficient job of calculating exposure in various shooting situations. The white balance performance is also quite consistent. The colours rendered by the camera are good and the images are tack sharp. Noise is well controlled at higher ISO settings. In fact, even ISO 1600 retains a good amount of detail and the images have minimal compression artifacts. Despite the fact that Fujifilm has not included their superior EXR technology, the dynamic range is quite good and is superior to other compact cameras in this price range. The camera manages to retain details in both shadows and highlights, even while shooting in contrasty light. However, the camera’s lens is susceptible to flaring and purple fringing, though not too prominently. In fact, it was quite well-controlled for a 10x zoom lens.
At a price of Rs. 12,999, the JZ300 is an excellent all-round package. It is sleek, easy to use and gives good results with minimal efforts. Considering the fact that it also includes a 10x zoom lens, HD video recording and captures high-quality results, the Fujifilm FinePix JZ300 is an excellent deal.