Full-featured snapper: Fujifilm FinePix E500 Zoom

This digital camera has a surprisingly full feature set for the cash, while catering for point-and-shoot photography.

Its oversized grip and compact dimensions make the E500 ergonomically easy (as long as you're righthanded) and it's blessed with a large, clear 2in LCD display. Hardware buttons have also been kept to a minimum. Fujifilm has sensibly added an "f button" for the most important settings, such as quality and speed, and thrown in a jogdial for quick use.

Frankly, we couldn't believe that a camera with full manual exposure, including shutter and aperture priority, plus options for a range of conditions, could have such a low price tag.

Images are taken on a generous 4.1Mp CCD and stored on supplied 16MB xD card. We found their sharpness to be much more assured than those taken using Fuji's SuperCCD technology, which can look a little unnatural.

There's also a 3.2x optical zoom. But you will probably have to pay for a rechargeable cell as the two standard AA batteries run flat too quickly. Movie playback is also only passable with a jerky 10 frames per second.

Macro shooting offers good detail, and we even got some great shots of fireworks at night with an ISO setting of 80. Add this to the detail and good colour palette, and you have a winner.

Price: $499 Vendor: Fujifilm Australia Phone: 1800 226 355 URL: www.fujifilm.com.au

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Spencer Dalziel

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