Fujifilm FinePix J12 review
Great low-light performance, but others offer better value overall.
Review Date: 17 Jun 2009
Reviewed By: David Fearon
Price when reviewed: £60 (£69 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
The body of the J12 can best be described as a standard compact, falling midway in size between the likes of the Panasonic Lumix TZ6 and the super-wee Ixus 100 IS. Like the Casio Exilim, the J12 lacks both optical image stabilisation and a true wide-angle lens, being limited to 38mm fully wide, which is restrictive by modern standards.
Image quality is a mixed bag. Fujifilm was one of the first manufacturers to tout high ISO performance in its compacts, and this really shows with very impressive ISO 1600 shots that you could confidently put up on Flickr, although you'll soon see the limitations if you try to print them at A4. It doesn't approach the quality of a DSLR at high ISO.
On the downside, take it outside for normal shots and heavy processing plus sharpening lead to smearing and loss of detail. Dynamic range appears limited compared to the best too, with a definite lack of subtlety to shadow and highlight areas. In addition, auto white balance struggled in our straightforward outdoor scene test, producing an image with a distinct greenish colour cast. It isn't disastrous but it's noticeably poorer than the image-quality leaders this month.
The price reflects the J12's age and it may soon become hard to find - note the pink version is more readily available. It's a bargain at this level and won't disappoint the casual photographer. But the bottom line is it's worth getting a more recent model if you can afford it.
Author: David Fearon
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