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Fuji JX680 Preview

by Mike Tomkins
Posted 01/30/2013

Even entry-level cameras these days can offer a fair zoom range, a high-res sensor, and features like high-def video. Proof positive? The svelte, 20mm-thick Fujifilm FinePix JX680, which does all of the above on a pricetag of right around U$100.

The heart of the Fuji JX680 is a 1/2.3-inch type CCD image sensor with an effective resolution of 16 megapixels. Of course, it's not a CMOS chip, so you wouldn't expect amazing speed or sensitivity. The burst performance us underwhelming, at just 1.1 frames per second for three frames, while the standard sensitivity range of 100 to 1,600 equivalents is about par for the course, for a small-sensor CCD-based camera. (You can eke ISO 3,200 out of the chip, but you'll need to cut the resolution to just four megapixels to manage it.)

The sensor sits behind a Fujinon-branded 5x optical zoom lens, whose 35mm-equivalent focal lengths range from 26 to 130mm. That's everything from a fairly generous wide angle to a moderate telephoto, and not surprisingly there's no true mechanical image stabilization. Instead, you'll rely only on digital image stabilization, which simply trades off some noise to get a faster shutter speed, thus reducing the likelihood of blur. Maximum aperture starts from f/3.5 at the wide angle position, and falls to f/6.3 by the telephoto position. The lens is relatively simple, with just six elements in five groups.

On the rear panel is a 3.0-inch LCD monitor, whose resolution is 230,000 dots. That roughly equates to a 320 x 240 pixel array, with each pixel made up of separate red, green, and blue dots. A flash strobe on the front panel is manufacturer-rated for 20.6 feet (6.3m) at wide angle, or 11.4 feet (3.5m) at telephoto, using auto ISO sensitivity.

Exposure modes include Auto, Scene Recognition Auto, and Program, but as you'd expect there are no priority or manual modes. What there are -- and they're arguably more fun and useful for typical consumers -- are a selection of filter effects and multi-shot modes. These include the Pop Color, Toy Camera, Miniature, Partial Color, Soft Focus, and Cross Screen filters, plus a pseudo-3D mode, and a motion panorama function that captures the necessary shots as you sweep across your scene, then stitches them for you.

And as we've mentioned, you can also shoot high definition video. The Fuji FinePix JX680's video mode allows you to record HD (720p; 1,280 x 720 pixel) video at 30 frames per second. Sound is recorded with a built-in monaural microphone, and is disabled during zoom operation.

Images and movies are saved on Secure Digital cards, including the higher-capacity SDHC and SDXC types. Connectivity includes a USB 1.1 Full Speed data port -- much slower than the USB 2.0 High Speed ports on almost all modern cameras -- plus an NTSC/PAL standard-definition video output. There's no high-definition video connectivity though, so you'll want to check your modern HDTV still offers SD inputs.

Power comes from an NP-45A lithium ion rechargeable battery pack. Fujifilm says that the FinePix JX680 is capable of shooting 230 shots on a charge, to CIPA testing standards. The battery can be charged in-camera using the USB cable.

Available from March 2013, the Fujifilm JX680 is priced at US$100. The only available body colors in the US market will be black or red.