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Hands-on with the family-friendly Fujifilm FinePix J100

The Fujifilm FinePix J100 is so simple a baby could use it. Or just chew it. But a big screen and 5x zoom elevates this above many other budget snappers

What a week that was. With Photokina bringing the camera industry together for its biennial bunfight, new products and innovations flew thick and fast. But we can't live in a world of groundbreaking formats, boundary-pushing development or frankly crazy 3D technology all the time. So it's back down to Earth with a bump with the everyman compact that is the Fujifilm FinePix J100.

This 10-megapixel snapper puts the point-and-shoot in point-and-shoot with its simplicity of operation. Fuji calls it the 'perfect family camera', although we're not sure what that means. Surely a family, being a group of people, is more likely to have a range of abilities and knowledge rather than being a homogenous lump of lowest-common-denominator skills? So the perfect family camera would surely serve the widest range of photographic ability, from the skilled photog to the casual snapper, offering manual control and clever automatic capabilities. We're just sayin'.

Instead, the J100 puts baby mode on the mode wheel. This gives warmer skin tones. Alongside this radical innovation, it has all the usual scene and playback modes, face detection and red-eye reduction, but not much in the way of manual control. All of this is set in an inoffensive, non-threatening, slightly retro brushed-metal box with a large 69mm (2.7-inch) screen. What sets it apart from the budget snapper crowd is a 5x optical zoom, so when the baby runs off into the road, you've got longer to take a decent picture before you have to run after the little ankle-biter.

After all the excitement of last week, it's reassuring to see that even a camera as basic as the J100 has a decent-sized screen and optical zoom, although it's not exactly feature-laden. The Fujifilm FinePix J100 is available now for a very reasonable £120, if you absolutely don't want to spend any more to pick up a few more features. Expect a full review in no time at all. -Rich Trenholm