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Fujifilm makes three midseason camera replacements

Fujifilm is swapping out three models--one megazoom, one high-powered ultracompact, and one budget compact--just six months after they were announced.

Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR Fujifilm

Like failed sitcoms canceled halfway through a season, Fujifilm is giving the ax to three of its cameras from the first half of 2010. Fujifilm is replacing the FinePix Z700EXR, S1800, and JX250 that it announced February 1 with the Z800EXR, S2800HD, and JX280, respectively. I didn't review the three outgoing models, so I can't say if there was anything necessarily wrong with them. It seems Fujifilm just wanted to retool the models with some new features.

For example, the Z800EXR has a new version of the company's 12-megapixel Super CCD EXR sensor that has a high-speed hybrid autofocus system. Using both Contrast AF and Phase Detection AF, the camera is able to measure the amount of light or contrast in the scene and pick the AF system that will focus the fastest. Also added is improved image stabilization so there's less need to use higher ISOs when using the 5x zoom lens or in low-light conditions. Now it can take panorama shots at 180, 240, or 360 degrees with a sweep of the camera. It retains the prior versions full-metal body and 460K-pixel, 3.5-inch touch screen, too. The FinePix Z800EXR will be available in late August 2010 at a retail price of $229.95, which is really cheap.

The FinePix S2800HD Fujifilm

Fujifilm gives its FinePix S2800HD a resolution bump to 14 megapixels and gives it a Mini-HDMI port. It keeps the 18x 28-504mm-equivalent lens and 3-inch LCD and electronic viewfinder.

There's also a new Motion Panorama option where you line up crosshairs and the camera will automatically shoot and then stitch the shots together. I'm not sure I entirely understand that one, but it's there nonetheless.

The FinePix S2800HD is available in early September 2010 at a retail price of $259.95.

The FinePix JX280 Fujifilm

Lastly, there's the budget-friendly $149.95 JX280. Fujifilm didn't change it much from the previous model; it's a 14-megapixel ultracompact with a 28mm-equivalent wide-angle lens with a 5x zoom and 720p HD movie capture. Its only new feature appears to be the Motion Panorama that I attempted to describe earlier. Unfortunately, it only has digital image stabilization, which, generally speaking, is horrible when you're using a 5x zoom.