Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR review:

Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR

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Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR (Pink)

(Part #: 16082983)
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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Very fairly priced;. Large, high-quality LCD screen;. Solid metal build construction;. Fast and responsive.

The Bad Poor battery life (just 170 shots).

The Bottom Line The Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR camera is basically a pared-down version of the pricier F300EXR, with the same sensor, a slimmer body, more modest 5x zoom range and impressive 3.5-inch LCD touchscreen.

8.3 Overall

The Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR is the little brother of the pricier F300EXR, with which it shares many of Fujifilm's latest innovations. The Z800EXR, which costs just under £200, sports slender dimensions of 98 by 59 by 20mm that ensure it's easy to slip into any trouser pocket or handbag. At a weight of 158g with SD or SDHC memory card and rechargeable battery, you'll almost forget you're carrying it.

Big-screen star

If you're looking for visual wow-factor, the Z800EXR's rear screen has it in spades. It's 89mm (3.5 inches) in size, boasts a better-than-average 460k-dot resolution and stretches the entire width of the camera's back plate. Turn the camera on its end and the virtual buttons also flip 90 degrees, so you're never inconvenienced.

The Z800's 3.5-inch LCD touchscreen is a huge selling point and makes for easy previewing.

The Z800EXR is almost entirely devoid of physical controls, save for a top-plate auto/playback button, shutter release and zoom lever. The audible 'dink' as you select each on-screen icon can quickly become tiresome, however, so it's a good thing the sound can be muted with a silent mode.

The touchscreen takes some getting used to at first, simply because the dedicated physical controls that would normally provide shortcuts to key functions, such as activating the flash, aren't there. Instead, you have to navigate your way around the touchscreen menu. Not everything is where you'd expect, so it's fortunate Fujifilm has included 'home' and 'back' buttons at the edge of the screen for anyone who becomes hopelessly lost.

Stacked with features

The metal-build model, with a slide-open-and-shoot faceplate a la Sony Cyber-shot TX5, features a 5x internally stacked optical zoom equivalent to 35-175mm on a 35mm film camera. Thanks to the faceplate's gentle, undulating curve, it's easier to slide open and shut than Sony's flat models. Doing so also works to switch the camera on or off as a convenient time-saver. The lens remains hidden within the body at all times, adding to the Z800EXR's minimalist feel.

A curved body means the Z800's faceplate slides open and shut easily for swift snapping and prompt powering-down.

If that sounds tempting, there is a drawback. Such a huge dependence on the touchscreen, coupled with the camera's slender proportions, means battery life is pretty poor. Fujifilm admits the fully charged camera is good for just 170 shots. Ouch. Still, the camera does only cost a budget-friendly £199, which, given the Z800EXR's solid feel and designer looks, seems very fair indeed.

As the model's suffix suggests, the Z800EXR once again packs Fujifilm's innovative switchable Super CCD EXR sensor at its core, which Fujifilm insists can be utilised in three different ways. The camera appears to have exactly the same half-inch chip carried by the F300EXR. Once again, there's a choice between shooting at full 12-megapixel resolution in High Resolution (HR) mode, alternatively choosing wide Dynamic Range (DR) mode to achieve optimal balance between shadows and highlights, or Low Noise (SN) mode for shooting without flash in low-light conditions. If that sounds too taxing, the camera can be left on scene-detecting EXR Automatic Mode.

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