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Fujifilm FinePix JZ300 review: Fujifilm FinePix JZ300

Fujifilm FinePix JZ300

Joshua Goldman Managing Editor / Advice
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
Expertise Laptops, desktops and computer and PC gaming accessories including keyboards, mice and controllers, cameras, action cameras and drones Credentials
  • More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.
Joshua Goldman
8 min read

It seems like Fujifilm tried very hard to offer something for almost everyone in its 2010 camera lineup. It's not surprising that it includes two 10x zoom pocket cameras priced to move at $199.95 and $249.95--the FinePix JZ300 and JZ500, respectively. What is surprising, though, is how very similar the models are, differing mainly in resolution and color choices; the 12-megapixel JZ300 comes in black or silver versions, whereas the 14-megapixel JZ500 only comes in black.


Fujifilm FinePix JZ300

The Good

Nicely designed pocketable wide-angle compact with a 10x zoom; very good features for price.

The Bad

Mixed photo quality; questionable extra features.

The Bottom Line

Fujifilm offers a very good value with the compact megazoom FinePix JZ300, but you'll have to be a little forgiving of its photos.

The JZ500 also has a couple of somewhat extraneous shooting options to make up the price difference. One of those is face detection of pets, more specifically dogs and cats. The other is Face Recognition (for people only), which can be handy but seems like a tough thing to use for an upsell. (Frankly, a panorama mode of some sort would be more worthwhile to me.) However, if those things appeal to you, then the $50 price bump is probably easy to swallow. For me, the JZ300 is the better deal and at less than $200, its mixed photo quality is easier to overlook.

The main attractions of the JZ300 are the wide-angle lens with a 10x zoom packed into a small body. All of the corners are nicely rounded as is the lens surround so there's nothing to snag when slipped into a tight pocket or bag. The metal body gives the camera a more upscale feel, but it's a bit too slick and there's nothing really to help your grip. That said, it's a comfortable camera to use despite the limited space for controls. One thing that you have to be careful of, though, is blocking the flash, which is placed high on the upper left, and the mono microphone, which is to the bottom left of the lens. Also, the LCD is reasonably bright, but it was still a struggle to see it clearly in direct light.

The controls are pretty basic and should be simple enough for even first-time camera users. On top are the shutter release and zoom ring and the power button. The power is flush with the body, but has enough of a lip surrounding it that operating it without looking isn't a problem. On back next to the LCD is a slightly concave shooting mode dial; the dished shape gives you someplace to rest your thumb. It moves freely, however, so you'll have to check your settings if you're taking it in and out of a tight pocket or pouch. Below the dial are a playback button; a display button for turning on and off onscreen info; and a directional pad with a menu/select button in its center. Along with menu and setting navigation, the pad changes options for flash, timer, exposure compensation, and macro focus.

The menu system is easy to manage as there are only two tabs: one for system settings, the other for shooting settings. There aren't a lot of options to play with, but there are a couple worth mentioning. If there's someone you shoot regularly who frequently ends up with red eyes, you can opt to have the camera digitally remove it. That's not unusual, but it was nice to find that you can opt to save the unedited original, too, while shooting. And though one of the first things I do is shut off all operational noises, the JZ300 has a Silent Mode that turns off the speaker, flash, and self-timer lamp, by pressing and holding the display button. Press and hold again and it turns them all back on.

The battery and card slot compartment is on the bottom right. The door covering it doesn't lock, but the door slides forward instead of off to the side, which seems to keep it from accidentally opening during use or when stored loose in a bag. The battery life is average for its class; the battery must be removed from the camera for charging.

Shooting modes are geared for point-and-shoot users with mostly auto and scene modes or a combination thereof. There is a standard Auto mode designed for use in most situations. There is an SR Auto that does scene recognition, but for only six scene types: Portrait, Landscape, Night, Macro, Backlit Portrait, and Night Portrait. If the camera can't fit your subject into one of these categories, it defaults to Auto. As fully automatic modes go, they're both good enough for when you don't want to think beyond framing your shot. There is a Program AE mode if you want control over ISO, autofocus mode, white balance, and exposure compensation. The camera's movie mode is capable of capturing at resolutions up to 720p at 24 frames per second. Also on the mode dial is a Natural Light mode for indoors and low-light shooting without the flash, and a Natural with Flash that takes two pictures, one using available light and one with flash. There are two spots for presetting with scene modes, which is nicer than having Fujifilm decide which ones you'll use the most. Options include Portrait, Portrait Enhancer (in-camera smoothing of blemishes), Landscape, Sport, Night, Night with Tripod, Fireworks, Sunset, Snow, Beach, Party, Flower, and Text.

Shooting performance is above average; it won't blow you away, but it's very good for a midrange compact megazoom. The start-up time is probably the worst part at 2.5 seconds from off to first shot. Shot-to-shot times are basically the same at about 2.5 seconds between shots--with or without the flash. Shutter lag is very good for its class at 0.4 second in bright conditions and 0.6 second in dim lighting. The JZ300 still won't be great for moving subjects like active kids and pets, but it is slightly faster than most in this group, and with a 1.4fps burst mode you've got a better chance of getting a clean shot.

For its price and features, the JZ300's photos are pretty good, but there is room for improvement. Even at this camera's lowest ISO settings, photos just aren't very sharp so subjects look a little soft and smeary. This means even in bright lighting, fine-quality prints larger than 8x10 inches might be difficult. However, the quality doesn't really drop off until ISO 800 and the Auto ISO is conservative, too, giving you a good chance of getting a sharper photo when shooting indoors when shooting fully automatic. This also means you're going to be better off not holding the camera and using the 2-second timer for lower-light photos or when using the zoom lens. At the camera's higher ISOs, colors are dull and washed out and subjects take on a painterly appearance from noise reduction.

The JZ300 has an ISO 3,200 setting for low-light shooting. Photos are limited to a maximum resolution of 3 megapixels, which is typical for its class. The outcome is noisy photos with flat color and soft, smeary details. This is fairly standard for a compact camera, though, and if you're just after a shot to share online or make a small print, the results are satisfactory.

The lens exhibits a little barrel distortion at its widest position and a barely perceivable amount of pincushion distortion when it's fully extended. Center sharpness is good, but it noticeably softens out to the sides, especially in the corners. Purple fringing around high-contrast subjects is plentiful and common for this class of camera. The JZ300 produces average to above average amounts, depending on the lighting conditions.

Color performance from the JZ300 is good; colors are fairly accurate and natural-looking, if a little washed out. Highlights tend to blow out on compact cameras and this model is no different. However, it does lean toward underexposing with subjects in tricky lighting, which is more easily remedied. The auto white balance is a little warm indoors, but is overall very good.

Fujifilm was a little late to start adding HD movie capture to its compact cameras, but for 2010 the feature was added to every model. The video quality from the JZ300 is very good, competitive with the 720p HD movies created by pocket video cameras. You get use of the optical zoom while recording, and though you will hear the movement in your video, it's not bad. There is a Continuous AF option, too, though the default Center AF setting operated smoother. The slower than usual frame rate didn't seem to be much of an issue, either.

The Fujifilm FinePix JZ300 is a serviceable compact megazoom. The lens specs make it flexible for a variety of shots and the compact body means you won't hesitate to take it with you. Shooting performance is very good for a compact megazoom, too. However, if you're after superb photo quality, you'll probably be let down. It's not that the photos are bad; they aren't. But the lack of sharpness even at its lowest ISO settings is disappointing. Then again, its lens, size, and price might be enough for you to overlook its shortcomings.

Shooting speed (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Time to first shot  
Typical shot-to-shot time (flash)  
Typical shot-to-shot time  
Shutter lag (dim)  
Shutter lag (typical)  
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZR1
Fujifilm FinePix JZ300
Canon PowerShot SX120 IS
Nikon Coolpix S8000
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W370

Typical continuous-shooting speed (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test digital cameras.


Fujifilm FinePix JZ300

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 7Performance 7Image quality 6