Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR review: Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR

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MSRP: $399.99

The Good Excellent photo quality; lots of useful features; very good dynamic range and high ISO performance in EXR modes; takes SDHC and xD cards.

The Bad Basic Movie mode for its price; limited aperture settings; menu systems take some getting used to.

The Bottom Line Don't let its new sensor technology scare you off: the Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR is an excellent compact camera with shooting features for just about every type of user.

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8.0 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 9
  • Performance 7
  • Image quality 8

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
Price (MSRP) $379.95
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.

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