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Fujifilm's solid 10x zoom compacts priced to move

If you've been itching for some extra zoom in a point-and-shoot but don't want a big camera or to spend a lot of money, these two Fujifilm FinePix models are worth considering.

Sarah Tew/CNET

There's a good chance you're unaware of Fujifilm's FinePix JZ500 and JZ300. When the company announced its 2010 cameras, there were so many launched at once that these two were quickly overshadowed by other more technologically interesting models. However, after testing these two out, there's a good chance that the company will sell a lot of these thanks to their very good price-to-feature ratio.

Both models feature a 28mm-equivalent wide-angle lens with a 10x zoom and a 2.7-inch LCD packed into a body that's easy to slip in a pants pocket or small bag. They're designed for snapshooters who tend to stay in Auto, but still include a few extra shooting options and HD movie capture with use of the optical zoom while recording. The 14-megapixel JZ500 starts at a price of $249, whereas the 12-megapixel JZ300 is only $200; both can be found for less than those prices.

Other than the higher resolution, the JZ500 gets new Dog and Cat Face Detection modes, for those who want to prioritize animals in photos, as well as Face Recognition for prioritizing specific humans in photos.

Generally speaking, the cameras perform as promised. The biggest problem with them is photo quality. It's not that the photos are bad, just that they are soft and lack fine detail when viewed at 100 percent. If you don't mind doing a little post-shoot sharpening occasionally or don't plan on printing larger than 5x7 regularly, the results will likely be satisfactory--especially considering the price tags.

My personal preference would be the JZ300, but if you want the flexibility of the extra resolution, take a lot of pictures of cats and dogs, and the Face Recognition appeals to you, the JZ500 is worth the $50 price difference.

Read the review of the Fujifilm FinePix JZ500 and the JZ300.