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Fujifilm FinePix J50 Digital Camera Review

Fujifilm FinePix J50 Digital Camera Review - With a name like a bottle of juice, will Matt Grayson drink in the features of the J50 from Fujifilm or will he need to squeeze out a decent performance?

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Fujifilm FinePix J50 in Compact Cameras

That's it for the puns. A large zoom and reasonable resolution mean you should get decent images from this family snapper.

Skip to Verdict

Fujifilm FinePix J50: Specification

  • Fujifilm FinePix J50 Zoom: 5x optical (37-185mm)
  • Resolution: 8.2Mp
  • Sensor size: 1/2.5in
  • Sensor type: CCD
  • Image size: 3264x2448
  • File type: JPEG
  • Sensitivity: ISO100-800
  • Storage: Internal 12Mb, xD, SD
  • Focus types: Auto, face detection
  • Normal focusing: 40cm-infinity
  • Close focusing: 5cm-infinity
  • Metering types: Programme AE
  • Exposure compensation: 2EV in 1/3 increment steps
  • Shutter speed: 4sec-1/1500sec
  • Flash: Built in
  • Monitor: 2.7in TFT LCD
  • Interface: USB 2.0
  • Power: Li-Ion battery
  • Size: 95.6x55.4x23mm
  • Weight: 141g

For £94, you'll get 8Mp, a 5x optical zoom and a really easy to use interface. Comparably the Casio Exilim EX-Z80 at £91 has a similar 8Mp resolution, smaller 3x optical zoom and lots of quick access functions.

Alternatively, the Canon Powershot A590 IS at £100 also has 8Mp, a 4x optical zoom and the dedicated DIGIC III processor.

Fujifilm FinePix J50
The Fujifilm FinePix J50 has a large lens bezel but looks attractive.
Fujifilm FinePix J50
A typical layout with controls to the right.
Fujifilm FinePix J50
The camera uses a dedicated Li-Ion battery which is found on the side.
Fujifilm FinePix J50: Modes and features
The overly large lens bezel dominates the front of the camera taking up a third of the space available. It's accompanied by a flash that's the same size as any other on a small compact but because it's squarer, looks bigger.

Actually, the lens is quite small when the camera is switched on so the big silver ring surrounding it surprises me. The 5x optical zoom featured on the J50 is operated by the spring loaded rocker found wrapped around the shutter release on the top. Only the power button accompanies them with all other functions and menus located on the back.

Design follows conformity as all the wheels and buttons are situated to the right with the 2.7in LCD screen using up the left two thirds. A small mode dial gives access to the auto, video, scene, portrait, baby and red-eye modes as well as a 3x digital zoom and image stabiliser.

A discreet navigation pad sits below and is a little too close for comfort. In fact, the up button is used to adjust the screen brightness and this is signified by a sun icon. The problem being that they've had to paint the sun in a different place (next to the screen) and put a little guideline to help you. Moving the mode dial up by around a millimetre or two would've sorted this problem. It's not a major issue, it just looks like sloppy design and thought process.

For some reason, the manual mode has been put in the scene modes which is an area usually reserved for the fully auto modes. Manual mode frees up extra features in the menu such as being able to change the ISO sensitivity, exposure compensation and white balance.

You can also access the set up menu from here and this is just as easy as any other Fujifilm camera. A useful but usually over-looked feature is what Fujifilm have done to the language menu. If someone less responsible gets hold of it and changes it to Japanese, for example, the language menu will keep the word "lang" in English to ensure you can find your way back.

One thing I'm surprised at is the lack of film simulations. Fujifilm were the ones to start putting them on cameras many years ago when a 4Mp camera was cutting edge. Since then they've expanded the quality and improved the technology to the pinnacle features found on the S100fs. Yet here is a recent camera without even the basic ones.

In fact it's a good thing that the camera is priced at less than a hundred pounds because I'd feel short changed if it was any higher. The menu seems bereft of features and opts for unusual ones for a camera of this classification such as exposure compensation.

Not even the Fujifilm website mentions that the J50 is a dual format. I find this interesting because the recently reviewed S2000HD doesn't take xD cards at all. I wonder whether this may spell the end of xD format once and for all. It only needs Olympus to stop using them and that'll be it. This is more likely an issue with xD's 2Gb maximum capacity.

Fujifilm FinePix J50: Build and handling
For a camera sat under a hundred pounds, the build feels quite good. There's no rattling or parts that can be twisted and despite a little play in the battery door, it feels good.

The tripod bush sits in the middle of the camera which is great as it means less movement when taking a picture.

The lower quality shows itself in the materials used for the mode dial and navigation pad. The plastic used is rough and feels flimsy. The ratchet on the mode dial has a click to it that sounds cheap and the navigation button clicks when pressed suggesting nothing is flush underneath.

Fujifilm must mean easy in Japanese as the menus have always been easy to navigate and this one is no different which is great if you're a newcomer to digital photography.

Fujifilm FinePix J50
The primaries are all saturated with priority given to landscape colours. I like the mono tones but the skin tone looks pale.

Fujifilm FinePix J50: Performance
If you look at other reviews on ePHOTOzine, you'll see a pattern emerging with how the colours are judged on the colour test chart. A JPEG file is usually interfered with by the processor. It'll boost certain colours, sharpen the image a bit and compress it.

The colours that are prioritised by the processor are the primary colours with blue and green having a higher importance over red. The reasoning behind this is that those colours help with landscapes. It's more likely you'll take a photograph with a landscape in it. Even if you photograph a person, it's likely a landscape is in the background.

Red is boosted more than I'm used to seeing on this camera, although blue and green are more saturated. The earthy tones look good and these can sometimes be overlooked. I think the skin tone tile is a bit pale and bordering more on bright pink. The mono tones have also come out really well.

The bright sunlight has caused the camera to stop down and unfortunately it's underexposed slightly. Even though I had doubts with the skin tone tile on the colour test chart, the skin looks balanced and realistic.

Fujifilm FinePix J50
The portrait image is under exposed possibly a compensation effort because of the bright day.
Fujifilm FinePix J50
Using flash has over exposed although the warmth that is programmed into portrait mode can be seen coming through.
Fujifilm FinePix J50
When compared to the portrait with flash shot, this one looks decidedly cooler.

Using flash would be unlikely on a day such as this but that doesn't mean the camera would over expose to the degree it has done. However, despite all this it looks balanced when compared to theportrait with flash in program mode. Here the image is bleached and has a slight blue cast.

The continuous shooting mode has only one setting called Top3 and this takes only three photographs in succession. Now the annoying thing is that it takes over ten seconds to take the pictures and process them which is really slow.

Shutter lag time gave constant results of 0.13sec which is just below the usual result of 0.08sec that I get with other cameras.

Fujifilm FinePix J50
A decent result but suffers from fringing and a shallow depth of field means the background goes out of focus.

The landscape shot is well exposed with nice colours on the grass although I feel the detail is only there because of the over sharpening.

Fringing is evident on the edges of the white bars where contrast is high and detail starts to dissipate towards the back of the image. It's to do with the wide aperture of f/3.2 that the camera has chosen. An aperture this wide narrows the focal plane throwing more out of focus. I mention this a lot in reviews because the camera overrides what it should do for what it thinks is best. Unfortunately that's not always the case with image quality. But then do you want to have to take a tripod with you? A narrower aperture of f/18 or f/22 means a longer exposure.

One of the scenes that interested me was the natural light mode. I was intrigued to see how it fared against regular program mode. I thought that maybe it would play down the colour boosts of the processor to give a less saturated look to the image.

Fujifilm FinePix J50
Natural light mode.
Fujifilm FinePix J50
Program mode.
Fujifilm FinePix J50
The macro image.

I shot some colourful ivy to see the difference and to be frank there isn't any. I can't see an ounce of difference between the two shots. This suggests to me that it's a wasted setting that could've been changed to the much better Fujifilmchrome film simulation.

The close focusing of the Fujifilm FinePix J50 is 5cm. It's not the best performer but you can get in relatively close to your subject and still get some decent detail. Adding a little sharpening afterwards helps as well.

Fujifilm FinePix J50: Focus and metering
If you like your camera to do everything for you then you've come to the right place as the J50 doesn't allow any changes to be made to the focusing or metering. Even the face detection comes on automatically. As the pioneers of the technology, I would've thought Fujifilm would've given access to face detection if only as something to be proud of.

Fujifilm FinePix J50: Noise test
Wise actions have been taken on the part of Fujifilm with the capping of sensitivity at ISO800. Noise is even showing at ISO100 which I'm quite surprised at especially with the progress of sensor technology that Fujifilm have been making over the past few weeks. Take into account that the sensor is very small and they've put 8Mp onto it.

At the lowest setting, detail is present and I like the colours of the petals. ISO200 sees a shift in sharpening with it becoming more intense on the edges of the flower petals. Detail starts to degrade from ISO400 which is the reason I'm glad it's capped at the next setting. The features listed on the Fujifilm website for this camera include a claim that low light images can be reproduced beautifully because of the low noise performance of the camera. I'm inclined to disagree with it as the images I got would not produce the types of images they're saying it will.

Fujifilm FinePix J50
The ISO100 test.
Fujifilm FinePix J50
The ISO200 test.
Fujifilm FinePix J50
The ISO400 test.
Fujifilm FinePix J50
The ISO800 test.

Fujifilm FinePix J50: Verdict
The features found on the J50 could be a bit more extensive even at this price point. Although it's easy to get swept away with new technology that a camera of this classification simply won't have.

Saying that I'm confused with why the film simulations are absent. That's something that's been put on cameras by Fujifilm for the past few years and I noticed it was gone straight away.

The dual format interests me as it could be spelling out Fujifilm's alliance to xD is starting to wane. If that's the case, anyone who's invested in it will be sorely disappointed. Luckily it's not a major format that a DSLR, for instance, would use. This means dropping it will leave minimal damage.

If you're in the mood for a happy snapping camera that will do pretty much everything for you then take a look at this one.

Fujifilm FinePix J50: Plus points
Easy to use
Good build quality
Good colour reproduction

Fujifilm FinePIx J50: Minus points
Suffers from noise at early stages
Certain scene modes make no difference to the image
Continuous shooting is really slow





The Fujifilm FinePix J50 costs around £94 and is available from Warehouse Express here.


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Photographs taken using the Fujifilm FinePix J50

Past it's BestLeicester MarketBlending inWhat a load of bullocksCosby, LeicestershireA Bald Patch [Reminds me of my other half]Flying HighBoats, CromerSpooky Old TreeLadies that LunchBreakfastTrianglesRaspberry Roulade

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