The 12-megapixel Fujifilm FinePix F80EXR is a very interesting camera, and not just because of its EXR sensor. It also happens to be a well-made 10x compact superzoom with manual controls and a decent 720p movie mode. All of that makes the asking price of around £170 a rather pleasant surprise.
The F80EXR ticks all the boxes for a compact superzoom, with a 10x, 27-270mm wide-angle lens and a hi-def movie mode in which the autofocus and zoom can be used while you're shooting. There's an aperture-priority and manual mode for photographers who want to take more control, and Fujifilm exploits its photographic film brands to offer Provia, Velvia and Astia film-simulation modes, as well as black and white, and sepia.
The key feature of this camera, though, is its EXR sensor. This is a special Fujifilm design that can pair up pixels to provide extra sensitivity and lower noise at high ISOs, or increased dynamic range in high-contrast lighting. The drawback is that, in these modes, you get images with half the resolution -- 6 megapixels instead of 12. That's still a decent-enough size for most purposes, though.
A new face-detection system can now recognise individuals rather than faces in general, and the pet-detection mode -- no, honestly, we haven't been smoking anything -- waits for your furry friend to turn towards the camera before taking a picture.
The F80EXR uses 'multi-frame' technology to allow a 'pro focus' mode with blurred backgrounds, although this does require you to have the right subjects at the right distances. A 'pro low light' mode is also available for high-quality shots in very poor light.
But hold on a minute. You've got three different ways to shoot in low light. There's the standard ISO adjustment, the EXR high-sensitivity mode, and this pro-low-light mode too. Which are you supposed to use? Can't Fujifilm decide which one works best and ditch the rest?