Fujifilm FinePix JZ500 Review

May 21, 2010 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The Fujifilm FinePix JZ500 is a new ultra-compact digital camera with a 14 megapixel CCD sensor, a 2.7 inch LCD screen and a 10x optical zoom lens (28-280mm focal length). For movie makers the JZ500 has the must-have feature of 2010, high-definition 720p video recording, with the welcome ability to use the 10x zoom during recording. Dual Image Stabilization, ISO 100 up to ISO 1600 at full resolution, Tracking Auto Focus, support for SD/SDHC memory cards, an Automatic Scene Recognition mode for beginners and even an Auto Dog / Cat Detection function complete the JZ500's main specifications. The Fujifilm FinePix JZ500 costs £179.99 / $249.95 and is available in black or silver.

Ease of Use

The Fujifilm FinePix JZ500 is a very compact metal-bodied point and shoot camera that's smaller than most other 10x zoom models. It's also cheaper too at £179.99 / $249.95, quite a lot less than both more fashion-orientated snapshot models and competing travel-zoom rivals. Size and pricing aside, this 12-megapixel camera is as much about user friendliness as creative flexibility. For those with kids or subjects that don't stay put its auto focus tracking ability will doubtless come in handy, as will its most prominent feature, the 10x optical zoom lens, which provides a versatile focal range of 28mm wide-angle to 280mm telephoto.

Given the telephoto lens reach of 280mm, image stabilisation is included, here the 'belt and braces' arrangement of CCD-shift anti shake plus high ISO speed (up to ISO 3200, albeit with a drop to 3 megapixels if straying above ISO 1600). In practice therefore with the Fujifilm FinePix JZ500 it's mostly a case of a half press of the shutter release button and the camera does the rest, particularly with Fujifilm here including an 'auto everything' scene recognition (SR) auto mode. Although far from infallible - if you're not paying close attention and it's presented with a busy scene it'll call up landscape when macro is needed and vice versa - it adds to the beginner-friendly feel.

The JZ500 introduces high-definition video for the first time to the Fujifilm J-series, capturing 1280 x 720 pixel footage at 24fps with mono sound, full use of the 10x zoom and a maximum recording time of 15 minutes per clip. Alternatively there are also 640 x 480 pixels and 320 x 240 pixels modes, also at 24 fps. Although there's no built-in HDMI port, you could use Fujifilm's optional HD Player Kit instead, which includes an HD card reader that connects the camera to your HDTV, and even a wireless remote control.

Fujifilm FinePix JZ500 Fujifilm FinePix JZ500
Front Rear

Given its beginner market the Fujifilm FinePix JZ500's buttons and controls are for the most part large, particularly the familiar thumb operated mode dial on the rear. They're also sufficiently self-explanatory that the manual - a full version here on CD only - doesn't need to be digested before you're up and shooting. As for the remainder of the box contents, you'll need to supply your own SD, SDHC or SDHX card for image storage.

The front of the JZ500 looks much the same as any standard compact model; that's to say it's dominated by the lens, the barrel of which extends 0.75cms out from the front of the camera. The lens itself then extends by a further 4cms when zoomed to full 280mm telephoto. The lens offers respectable maximum apertures of f/3.3 at 28mm and f/5.6 at 280mm. Above the lens are the integral flash unit and an activity LED. Note that there's no hand-grip on the front of the JZ500, which does make it a little tricky to hold.

The Fujifilm FinePix JZ500's top plate houses the large On/Off button, partly recessed into the bodywork to prevent accidental activation, with the JZ500 powering up in just over a second - pretty quick for this class of camera - the rear LCD displaying a Fujifilm logo initially before blossoming into life. Also on top is the tactile shutter-release, encircled by a responsive lever for operating the zoom. Happily the former has a definite halfway point so that a premature capture is avoided, the camera giving an affirmative 'beep' when focus and exposure have been determined and the AF point highlighted in green dancing around the screen if either your camera or subject is moving. With a nudge of the zoom lever, the camera takes just under four seconds to move through the range from maximum wideangle to telephoto. Full resolution JPEG images are saved almost instantaneously when shooting in single shot mode, so no complaints there.

Fujifilm FinePix JZ500 Fujifilm FinePix JZ500
Side Front

At the rear of the JZ500 we find the rest of the operational controls. Like the top plate, these are well laid out and their functions ably illustrated. Starting top right of the 2.7-inch, 230k-dot LCD screen, there's a ridged mode wheel featuring 8 settings. Starting with full auto mode and moving clockwise we come to one of the camera's main selling points, the aforementioned SR (Scene Recognition) auto, and, continuing in the same direction next alight on Program, the shooting mode with the largest amount of configurable options.

Next around the dial is a setting for the already mentioned video capture - note that there's no one-touch video-record button on this camera. With a successive turn of the dial we come to two Scene Position settings. These modes feature standard pre-optimised settings for 15 familiar scenes and subjects, accessed by pressing the 'menu' button at the camera's rear, and includes portraits, landscapes, sunsets, fireworks, plus the new cat and dog detection modes amongst its selection. These modes recognise up to 10 cats or dogs from an array of breeds (57% of the Fédération Cyno Logique Internationale (FCI) registered dogs, 80% of the Top 20 Dogs in the American Kennel Club (AKC) Ranking and 60% of The Cat Fancier’s Association (CFA) breeds), although sadly not both species at the same time, and can even fire the shutter release when one of them looks directly at the camera.

Next up are two modes for improving low-light photos. The Natural Light mode forces the JZ500 to select a fast shutter speed in order to freeze subject movement more effectively, whilst setting a fast ISO speed without firing the flash for more natural results. It's an effective automatic way of taking photos of children indoors, for example. Natural Light and Flash is a little more exciting. When selected, the camera instantly takes 2 photos, one with flash, one without, giving you the option of which one to choose later (both are saved by the camera). And, with a further twist, we're back to full auto again.

Fujifilm FinePix JZ500 Fujifilm FinePix JZ500
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

Directly below the shooting mode dial is the self-explanatory playback button, and underneath that a button for cycling through the various LCD display settings. Pressing this turns off the visible icons on screen and/or calls up a nine zone compositional grid when in capture mode, or, as it sounds, jumps back a step if you are poised to delete an image in playback mode but think better of it. Immediately below this again we have a four-way control pad/jog dial with a familiar menu/OK (set) button at its centre. Placed at the four points are icons for deleting images and setting the exposure compensation, the various self-timer options, plus macro and super macro settings.

Press the Fujifilm FinePix JZ500's central 'menu' button in anything but auto mode and you're presented with two clearly read screens of shooting options when in capture mode or review mode (if shooting using one of the auto settings, options are abbreviated to turning self timer or high speed shooting on or off, plus access to the set up menu). The set up menu itself is divided into three folders allowing the adjustment of operational volumes, screen brightness, and the ability to format the inserted memory card or internal memory.

Face detection, which biases the focus and exposure toward any faces in the frame, is activated in the main menu system, as is the Red Eye Removal setting. Joining face detection is Face Recognition, which allows you to register up to 8 different people, who are then automatically recognised by name when they appear in your pictures (up to five registered people on screen at the same time). Even better, the JZ500 will even prioritise the exposure and focus for a named subject if Face Recognition is turned on, making sure that your friends and family are always the centre of attention. In addition you can assign registered faces to different categories and also enter their birthday. When you playbakc your images, the new Picture Search Tool can use the Face Recognition data (name, birthday and category) to help you find and playback your photographs.

Thankfully Fujifilm have gone with the more widely available SD than retaining historical loyalty to the now outgunned (in terms of available capacity) xD-Picture Card, a slot for which is provided at the base of the camera where it's shared with the lithium-ion battery required for power. This means that if you're shooting with the camera on a tripod via the metal mount, you have to first remove the camera to remove the card, which is a bit of a pain but far from uncommon. The right hand flank of the JZ500 (when viewed from the back) features a plastic flap covering a combined AV out and USB port, below which is an eyelet for attaching the provided wrist strap. There are no controls on the left hand flank.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 14 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5Mb.

The Fujifilm FinePix JZ500 produced images of above average quality during the review period. This camera handled noise quite well, not becoming obvious until ISO 400 and then becoming progressively worse at the faster settings of ISO 800 and 1600. The fastest setting of ISO 3200 is recorded at 3 megapixels and therefore not really worth using.

Chromatic aberrations were quite well controlled, with purple fringing effects appearing only in high contrast situations. The 14 megapixel images were sharp enough straight out of the camera at the default sharpen setting and don't require further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop.

Macro performance is average, allowing you to focus as close as 5cms away from the subject when the lens is set to wide-angle. Barrel distortion is evident at the 28mm focal length. The built-in flash worked quite well indoors, with no red-eye and adequate overall exposure, although there is noticeable vignetting at 28mm.

The anti-shake system works well when hand-holding the camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range. The maximum shutter speed of 4 seconds is disappointing, as it doesn't allow the camera to capture enough light for many after-dark situations.


There are 6 ISO settings available on the Fujifilm FinePix JZ500. At ISO 3200, the number of recorded pixels is limited to 3 megapixels. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting:

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)


ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)


ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

Focal Range

The Fujifilm FinePix JZ500's 10x zoom lens provides a focal length of 28-280mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.




Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are sharp enough at the default setting and don't really benefit from further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)


File Quality

The Fujifilm FinePix JZ500 has 2 different image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

14M Fine (4.74Mb) (100% Crop) 14M Normal (3.79Mb) (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations

The Fujifilm FinePix JZ500 handled chromatic aberrations quite well during the review, with some purple fringing present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)


The Fujifilm FinePix JZ500 offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 5cms away from the camera. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject in Macro mode (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop


The flash settings on the Fujifilm FinePix JZ500 are Auto, Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Slow Synchro, and any of those modes combined with Red-eye Reduction. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (28mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (280mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (280mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. Neither the Auto or Red-eye Reduction mode caused any amount of red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)

Red Eye Reduction

Red Eye Reduction (100% Crop)


The Fujifilm FinePix JZ500's maximum shutter speed is 4 seconds, which is not great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 2 seconds at ISO 200.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Anti Shake

The Fujifilm FinePix JZ500 has an anti-shake mechanism, which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, I took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with anti shake turned off, the second with it turned on. Here are some 100% crops of the images to show the results.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)

1/8th / 24mm
1/5th / 280mm

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Fujifilm FinePix JZ500 camera, which were all taken using the 14 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample Movie & Video

This is a sample movie at the highest quality setting of 1280x720 pixels at 24 frames per second. Please note that this 11 second movie is 33.9Mb in size.

Product Images

Fujifilm FinePix JZ500

Front of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix JZ500

Front of the Camera / Turned On

Fujifilm FinePix JZ500

Isometric View

Fujifilm FinePix JZ500

Isometric View

Fujifilm FinePix JZ500

Rear of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix JZ500

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

Fujifilm FinePix JZ500

Rear of the Camera / Turned On

Fujifilm FinePix JZ500

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

Fujifilm FinePix JZ500

Top of the Camera


Fujifilm FinePix JZ500

Bottom of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix JZ500

Side of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix JZ500

Side of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix JZ500

Front of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix JZ500

Front of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix JZ500

Memory Card Slot

Fujifilm FinePix JZ500

Battery Compartment


It may not have the most features or best image quality, but the new Fujifilm JZ500 is still a compelling travel-zoom camera, particularly for point-and-shoot beginners.

Image quality isn't the JZ500's strongest suit, with visible noise at ISO 400 which becomes progressively worse at the faster settings, a little too much unwanted purple-fringing in high-contrast situations, rather obvious barrel distortion and visible softness towards the edges at wide-angle settings, and a restrictive maximum shutter speed of 4 seconds. Similarly the feature list isn't as long as most rivals - 720p movies bring the JZ500 up to speed for 2010, with the ability to use the 10x zoom lens during recording very welcome, but there are few other bells and whistles that make this camera really shine.

What the JZ500 does major in, though, are a beginner-friendly approach and that ever-crucial component, price. Fujifilm have included a veritable treasure trove of hand-holding technologies, from the SR Auto mode that picks the right scene mode for you, reliable Tracking Auto Focus which ensures that your subject will be sharp regardless of whether its moving or not, to the clever Face Recognition technology that places the emphasis firmly on your friends and family. And if your close ones are canine or feline in nature, then the JZ500 can prioritise the furry members of your family too.

Finally, as with most of Fujifilm's 2010 compact range, the JZ500 is certainly competitively priced - £179.99 / $249.95 full retail for a 14 megapixel camera with a 10x zoom is great value, even if you ignore the clever technologies inside. So if you don't mind the slightly no-frills approach and merely average image quality, the new Fujifilm JZ500 represents a cheap and very cheerful way into the point-and-shoot travel-zoom camera market.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 3.5
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 3.5
Value for money 4.5



FinePix JZ500 / JZ505

Number of effective pixels*1

14.1 megapixels

CCD sensor

1/2.3-inch CCD

Storage media
  • Internal memory (Approx. 40MB)
  • SD memory card
  • SDHC memory card*2
File format
Still image:

JPEG (Exif Ver. 2.2*3)


AVI (Motion JPEG) with sound


WAVE format, Monaural sound

(Design rule for Camera File system compliant / DPOF-compatible)

Number of recorded pixels

Still image:
4,320 x 3,240 / 4,320 x 2,880 (3:2) / 4,320 x 2,432 (16:9) / 3,072 x 2,304 / 2,048 x 1,536 / 1,920 x 1,080 (16:9) / 1,600 x 1,200 / 640 x 480


Fujinon 10x optical zoom lens, F3.3 (Wide) - F5.6 (Telephoto)

Lens focal length

f=5.0 - 50.0mm, equivalent to 28 - 280mm on a 35mm camera

Digital zoom

Approx. 6.4x (up to 60x when combined with optical zoom)


Wide: F3.3 / F6.4, Telephoto: F5.6 / F11.0 with ND filter

Focus distance
(from lens surface)
  • Wide: Approx. 45cm / 1.5ft. to infinity
  • Telephoto: Approx. 2m / 6.6ft. to infinity
  • Wide: Approx. 5cm - 2.5m / 2.0in. - 8.2ft.
  • Telephoto: Approx. 90cm - 2.5m / 3.0ft. - 8.2ft.

Auto / Equivalent to ISO 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200* (Standard Output Sensitivity)

  • *3M pixels or lower
Exposure control

TTL 256-zones metering

Exposure mode

Programmed AE

Shooting modes
Mode Dial:

SR AUTO, AUTO, Natural Light, Natural Light & with Flash, SP1, SP2, Movie, P


Portrait, Portrait Enhancer, Landscape, Sport, Night, Night (Tripod), Fireworks, Sunset, Snow, Beach, Party, Flower, Text, Dog, Cat

Image stabilizer

CCD-shift type

Shutter speed

(Auto mode) 1/4sec. to 1/2000sec.
(All other modes) 4sec. to 1/2000sec.

Continuous shooting

Top-3 (Up to 0.9fps; max. 3 frames)


Auto focus ( Center) / Tracking AF

White balance

Automatic scene recognition
Preset: Fine, Shade, Fluorescent light (Daylight), Fluorescent light (Warm White), Fluorescent light (Cool White), Incandescent light, Custom


Approx. 10sec. / 2sec. delay


Auto flash
Effective range (ISO AUTO):

  • Wide: Approx. 50cm - 2.6m / 1.6ft. - 8.5ft.
  • Telephoto: Approx. 90cm - 1.7 m / 3.0ft. - 5.6ft.

Flash modes
Red-eye removal OFF: Auto, Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Slow Synchro.
Red-eye removal ON: Red-eye Reduction Auto, Red-eye Reduction & Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Red-eye Reduction & Slow Synchro.

LCD monitor

2.7-inch, Approx. 230,000 dots, color LCD monitor; frame coverage approx.96%

Movie recording

1,280 x 720 pixels (24 frames/sec.) / 640 x 480 pixels / 320 x 240 pixels (30 frames/sec.) with monaural sound

Photography functions

SR AUTO, Face Detection, Auto red-eye removal, Power management, Framing guideline, Frame No. memory, Silent mode, Face Recognition

Playback functions

Face Detection, Auto red-eye removal, Crop, Resize, Image rotate, Slideshow, Multi-frame playback (with Micro thumbnail), Sorting by date, Voice memo, Picture search

Video output

NTSC / PAL selectable

Digital interface

USB 2.0 High-speed

Power supply

NP-45A Li-ion battery (included)
CP-45 with AC power adapter AC-5VX (sold separately)


97.0 (W) x 57.0 (H) x 28.5 (22.0*) (D) mm / 3.8 (W) x 2.2 (H) x 1.1 (0.9*) (D) in.
(*excluding accessories and attachments, measured at the thinnest part)


Approx. 148g / 5.2oz.
(excluding accessories, battery and memory card)

  • *1 Number of effective pixels: The number of pixels on the image sensor which receive input light through the optical lens, and which are effectively reflected in the final output data of the still image.
  • *2 Please see the Fujifilm website to check memory card compatibility.
  • *3 Exif 2.2 is a digital camera file format that contains a variety of shooting information for optimal printing.

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