If you follow camera sensor advancements, you've no doubt heard of the Fujifilm Super CCD EXR sensor that made its debut in the 12-megapixel compact FinePix F200EXR. (If you don't, click to read a basic explanation of the technology). Without getting bogged down in specifics, the sensor is designed to improve dynamic range and low-light performance--two things many point-and-shoot cameras are not so good at. It comes at the cost of resolution (half of it, to be precise), but the design pays off and delivers on both accounts. Plus, its other features and fairly simple usability make it an ideal choice for households with a variety of shooters.
|Key specs||Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR|
|Dimensions (WHD)||3.8 x 2.3 x 0.9 inches|
|Weight (with battery and media)||6.8 ounces|
|Megapixels, image sensor size, type||12 megapixels, 1/1.6-inch CCD (6 megapixels in EXR D-Range and High ISO modes)|
|LCD size, resolution/viewfinder||3-inch LCD, 230K dots/none|
|Lens (zoom, aperture, focal length)||5x, f3.3-5.1, 28-140mm (35mm equivalent)|
|File format (still/video)||JPEG/Motion JPEG|
|Highest resolution size (still/video)||4,000x3,000 pixels/640x480 at 30fps|
|Image stabilization type||Mechanical and electronic|
|Battery type, rated life||Lithium ion rechargeable, 230 shots|
Similar in design and control layout to the FinePix F60fd, the F200EXR is small without sacrificing comfort and it feels very well constructed. Up front is a lens with what are quickly becoming the standard specs for a compact in this class: 28mm wide-angle with a 5x zoom. The same can be said for the 3-inch LCD on back, which is bright and fine quality. To the top right of the LCD is the Shooting Mode dial, which moves a little too freely and would be better sunken into the body instead of sitting outside of it.
As for the menu systems, they can be a little frustrating at first, but once you understand them they're fairly 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, 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 menu of setup settings, too, for things like date and time, LCD brightness, and to format memory cards (SDHC and xD cards can be used in this model).
|General shooting options||Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR|
|ISO sensitivity (full resolution)||Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1,600, 3,200|
|White balance||Auto, Fine, Shade, Fluorescent (Daylight), Fluorescent (Warm white), Fluorescent (Cool white), Incandescent, Underwater, Manual|
|Recording modes||Auto, EXR, Natural Light, Natural Light & Flash, Scene Position, Program, Manual, Movie|
|Focus||Multi AF, Continuous AF, Center AF|
|Metering||Multi, Spot, Average|
|Color effects||Standard, Vivid, Soft, Black & White, Sepia|
|Burst mode shot limit (full resolution)||3 photos|
As for shooting options, the F200EXR has a lot to pick from. For starters, there's the namesake EXR mode. 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's certainly 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 as well as 15 scene modes to choose from. 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 f3.3 and f9 at the lens' widest position and f5.1 and f14 when zoomed out. Lastly, there's a Manual mode, but again aperture is limited to those four settings.
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. 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).
With all that's going on internally with the F200EXR, it's not shocking that it takes 2.7 seconds to go from off to first shot. Its shutter lag in bright conditions pushes the limit of acceptable at 0.5 second, but it never felt slow in use. Low-light results were very good, though, only taking 0.6 second from pressing the shutter to capture. Shot-to-shot time was a respectable 1.4 seconds without the flash and 2.5 seconds with the flash in use. The full-resolution burst mode is limited to three shots, grabbing them in 1 frame per second flat.
Using the full 12-megapixel resolution, detail and sharpness are good at ISO 100 and 200. Subjects start getting a more painterly look at ISO 400 from noise reduction and picked up some noticeable noise at ISO 800, but the results are still usable. ISO 1600 and 3200 aren't really usable except at small sizes, maybe. If you're going to shoot in low light, I highly suggest using the EXR mode. Though this lowers the resolution to 6 megapixels, the end result is better with accurate colors and good detail.
As for dynamic range, in our lab tests there was little discernable difference in photo quality using the EXR D-Range setting. However, in my real-world shooting the improvement in lowlights and highlights was noticeable, retaining detail, sharpness, and color despite shadows or glaring sunlight.
Without the Super CCD EXR sensor, the Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR is a very good 12-megapixel compact camera with a lot of shooting options. However, the extra flexibility of the sensor and the wide-angle 5x zoom lens pushes it beyond that, making it one of the best in its class. And with the price now hovering a little over $300, you're not paying more for the privilege.
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
|Time to first shot||Typical shot-to-shot time (flash)||Typical shot-to-shot time||Shutter lag (dim)||Shutter lag (typical)|
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
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