The Fujifilm FinePix F80EXR is another in a group of point-and-shoots using a Super CCD EXR sensor that, simply speaking, is designed to improve dynamic range and low-light performance--two things many compact cameras are not so good at. It first appeared in the company's excellent F200EXR and the technology has since been used in several models including the F80EXR's predecessor. However, the 1/1.6-inch type Super CCD EXR in the F200EXR is larger than the 1/2-inch type in the F80EXR. That does make a difference, so if you're reading reviews of the F200EXR and are expecting identical results from the F80EXR, you're not going to get them. What you will get is an overall very good compact megazoom for its street price and size. It certainly has limitations, though, so you'll want to thoroughly consider your photo quality needs before buying.
|Key specs||Fujifilm FinePix F80EXR|
|Dimensions (WHD)||3.9 x 2.3 x 1.1 inches|
|Weight (with battery and media)||7.1 ounces|
|Megapixels, image sensor size, type||12 megapixels, 1/2-inch Super CCD EXR (6 megapixels in D-Range EXR and High ISO EXR modes)|
|LCD size, resolution/viewfinder||3-inch LCD, 230K dots/None|
|Lens (zoom, aperture, focal length)||10x, f3.3-5.6, 27-270mm(35mm equivalent)|
|File format (still/video)||JPEG/Motion JPEG (.AVI)|
|Highest resolution size (still/video)||4,000x3,000 pixels/1,280x720 at 24fps|
|Image stabilization type||Mechanical and digital|
|Battery type, CIPA rated life||Lithium ion rechargeable, 220 shots|
|Battery charged in camera||No; external charger supplied|
|Storage media||SD/SDHC memory cards|
|Bundled software||MyFinePix Studio (Windows only)|
The F80EXR is attractive and remarkably small for a camera with a 10x zoom and a 27mm-equivalent wide-angle lens. It feels very well constructed and is comfortable to use, too. The only issue I had while testing was the position of the flash, which I frequently blocked with one or two of my fingers. The 3-inch LCD on back is bright and fared well in sunny conditions, but it was mottled with color noise in low light. To the top right of the LCD is the Shooting Mode dial, which moves a little too freely, but is at least sunken into the body instead of sitting on top of it.
The camera's menu systems can be a little frustrating at first, but once you understand them, they're simple. Below the Mode dial is the F-mode button for bringing up a menu of shooting options specific to the mode you're in. All other general camera controls--shooting priority, light metering, AF mode, continuous options, and image stabilization--are under the main menu system, reached by pressing the Menu/OK button at the center of the directional pad. This main menu system is where you go for a secondary selection of setup settings, too, for things like date and time, LCD brightness, and to format memory cards. The directional pad is used for navigating menus in addition to changing exposure compensation, flash mode, timer options, turning on Macro mode, and deleting photos in playback. At the bottom of the control panel sits buttons for changing the information displayed onscreen and directly turning on and off face detection. Also, pressing and holding the Display button will put the camera in a Silent Mode that turns off the speaker, flash, and self-timer lamp; press and hold again and it turns them all back on.
The battery and card slot compartment is on the bottom right. The door covering it doesn't lock, but the door slides forward instead of off to the side, which seems to keep it from accidentally opening during use or when stored loose in a bag. The battery life is average for its class; the battery must be removed from the camera for charging. Micro-USB/AV and Micro-HDMI ports are under a door on the right.
|General shooting options||Fujifilm FinePix F80EXR|
|ISO sensitivity (full resolution)||Auto; 100; 200; 400; 800; 1,600|
|White balance||Auto, Fine, Shade, Fluorescent (Daylight), Fluorescent (Warm white), Fluorescent (Cool white), Incandescent, Manual|
|Recording modes||Programmed AE, Aperture Priority AE, Manual, Auto, EXR, Natural Light, Natural Light & with Flash, Scene, Movie|
|Focus modes||Multi AF, Continuous AF, Center AF, Tracking AF, Macro|
|Metering modes||Multi, Spot, Average|
|Color effects||Standard, Vivid, Soft, Black & White, Sepia|
|Burst mode shot limit (full resolution)||Five shots|
As for shooting options, the F80EXR has a lot to pick from. For starters, there are the namesake EXR modes. This consists of High Resolution Priority, D-Range Priority, High ISO & Low Noise Priority, and Auto EXR. Auto EXR is scene recognition that also recognizes which EXR Priority option to use. It's effective and reliable as long as you're OK with the reduced 6-megapixel resolution of the D-Range and High ISO & Low Noise Priority modes. It continues to be one of the best put-it-there-and-leave-it-there auto modes I've tested.
If you don't want to use the EXR, there's a regular Auto mode for more ordinary shooting that uses the camera's full 12-megapixel resolution--or lower if you want--as well as 18 scene modes to choose from. Included in the scene modes are Pro Low-light and Pro Focus options. The Low-light mode snaps off four shots and then combines them into one lower-noise photo while the Pro Focus creates a shallow depth of field by digitally blurring the background. (You can view results of both in the slideshow later in this review.) There's a Natural Light mode for low-light shooting without the flash and a Natural with Flash that takes two pictures, one using available light and one with flash.
A Program mode lets the camera handle shutter speed and aperture while you tweak everything else. This also has an aperture-priority option, but the settings are limited to two stops at each step of the zoom, achieved using a neutral density filter. For example, you get f3.3 and f9 at the lens' widest position and f5.6 and f16 when zoomed out. There is a Manual mode as well, but again apertures are limited. Shutter speeds are selectable from 8 seconds to 1/2,000 of a second. And for those who like experimenting with film types, Fujifilm modeled color options after three of its film types: Provia (standard color), Velvia (vivid color), and Astia (soft tones).
There is, of course, face detection--with or without auto red-eye correction--which features improved detection for up to 10 faces, upside down, slanted, and sideways, head on or profile. Face Recognition is included as well, letting you register the faces of up to eight people in the camera's memory; you simply line up their faces with some onscreen markings, snap a picture, and then add info like name, birthday, and a category, such as friend or family. The camera will then prioritize focus and exposure for registered people when detected in photos--up to four at the same time. For pet lovers, there's Dog and Cat Face Detection that, well, detects the faces of dogs or cats in frame. (However, it doesn't work on animals with black or long fur on their faces.) What's probably nicest about this feature is that there is a pet face detection shutter release, so when the camera is able to detect a dog or cat, it will automatically focus and shoot.