Lastly, there's an Advanced mode with a shoot-and-pan 360-degree panoramic option as well as Pro Low-light and Pro Focus choices. The Low-light mode snaps off several photos and then combines them into one lower-noise photo, while the Pro Focus creates a shallow depth of field by digitally blurring the background.
The F600EXR is pretty much on par with other cameras in its class in terms of shooting performance. What that means is that it can be a little slow to start up and shoot--about 2 seconds--and its shot-to-shot time is roughly the same (though some competing models recover about a second faster). That doesn't take into account any of the specialty modes that require extra processing, either. Use one of those and you'll be waiting a little longer to shoot again.
The same goes for continuous shooting. You can shoot up to 8 frames at about 3.4fps (at full resolution), but then you're left waiting while the camera saves those shots, a wait that can seem interminable depending on how urgently you want to shoot again. Most compacts have this burst-and-wait problem, but the F600EXR seemed to take longer than average. Lastly, shutter lag--the time from pressing the shutter release to capture--is good for the category at 0.4 second in bright conditions and 0.8 second in dim lighting. If you're considering this for regularly shooting fast-moving subjects like kids and pets, you might not be happy with its performance.
Like past F-series EXR models, the F600EXR is attractive and remarkably small for a camera with a 15x zoom and a 24mm ultrawide-angle lens. It feels very well constructed and is comfortable to use, too. The only gripe I had while testing was the position of the flash, which I frequently blocked with one or two of my fingers. The 3-inch high-res LCD is bright and fared well in sunny conditions, but it was mottled with noise in low light.
The camera's menu systems can be a little frustrating at first, but once you understand them, well, you might still get lost looking for a setting. For example, turning on the regular burst-shooting mode requires going into the main menu system, selecting it, backing out of that menu, and then entering a separate setup menu where you pick shooting speed and number of frames. Basically, you'll probably want to sit down with the full manual (a PDF on the bundled software disc or downloaded from Fujifilm's site) and get familiar with everything this camera can do before you even go out shooting in Auto mode.
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. Battery life is average for its class, and the battery must be removed from the camera for charging. Micro-USB/AV and Mini-HDMI ports are under a door on the right; a button on the left pops up the flash.
The F600EXR does have built-in GPS, which can be used for geotagging photos, but also has a cool augmented-reality feature in playback mode. Turn it on and you can move the camera around you and it will point out any nearby landmarks you might want to go shoot. Tilt the camera down and it gives you a radarlike display of the same landmarks. However, GPS was very slow to lock on to a satellite even out in the open and using it seems to kill the battery faster than other GPS-enabled cameras I've tested. That could be in part because the battery is very small, so if you plan to use this feature regularly, definitely buy an extra battery.
The Fujifilm FinePix F600EXR is a nice compact megazoom and I liked shooting with it. However, you'll have to be willing to really dig into its features and settings to get the best results.
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
|Time to first shot||Typical shot-to-shot time||Shutter lag (dim)||Shutter lag (typical)|
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
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