The F770 is a rather svelte camera, despite the overarching reach of the 20x optical zoom packed inside. There's a small bump over the lens element, and the front of the optic protrudes slightly from the camera body, but it's still small enough overall to slip into a pocket or small bag for travelling purposes.
In terms of texture, it's a smooth and refined feel to the plastic exterior that coats the body. It won't slip out of the hand because of the texture, as well as the front finger and rear thumb grip.
Shooting modes are plentiful on this camera, with full automatic sitting comfortably alongside PASM control. There's also a couple of Fujifilm-specific options, such as EXR mode, which optimises the image according to a number of user-selectable controls; resolution priority, high ISO and low noise, as well as dynamic range priority.
Within the Advanced option on the mode dial, users can select from 360-degree panorama, pro focus (which sharpens the foreground and blurs the background), low-light, multiple-exposure or 3D photo mode.
A small pop-up flash sits on the side, and can be flicked up using the dedicated button underneath. There's also a GPS module included with this camera, and can be switched on or off from the menu system. The GPS locks onto a target within 20 seconds when in an area with a clear view of the sky.
Video recording is available at full HD at 30fps. Options for 80fps, 160fps and 320fps shooting open up as you decrease the resolution of the video. The positioning of the video button is a little awkward, as you need to physically move your thumb or finger from the camera in order to press it firmly.
Being a Fuji camera, it offers a range of picture modes that simulate the effect of film stock, such as Velvia for vivid colours, Astia for a soft effect and the more standard black-and-white and sepia modes.
Connectivity is provided via mini USB and HDMI-out ports to the side.
|Canon PowerShot SX260||Sony Cyber-shot HX20V||Panasonic Lumix TZ30||Fujifilm FinePix F770|
|12.1-megapixel high-sensitivity CMOS sensor||18.2-megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor||14.1-megapixel high-sensitivity MOS sensor||16-megapixel CMOS sensor|
|GPS built in||GPS built in||GPS built in||GPS built in|
|20x optical zoom||20x optical zoom||20x optical zoom||20x optical zoom|
|3-inch, 461,000-dot LCD||3-inch, 921,000-dot LCD||3-inch, 460,000-dot LCD||3-inch, 460,000-dot LCD|
|25mm wide-angle lens||25mm wide-angle lens||24mm wide-angle lens||25mm wide-angle lens|
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
The continuous shooting options include a regular burst mode, plus an automatic exposure bracket as well as a best frame-capture bracketing mode. When shooting JPEG, you also get the options of a film-simulation bracket and a dynamic-range bracket. Autofocusing is reasonably fast in bright, outdoor situations, but sometimes the camera struggles to find focus in dim or low-light situations. Fujifilm rates the battery at 300 shots.
Overall, the F770 delivers images that are acceptable, but nothing spectacular for a camera of this class. There's some pronounced noise issues on photos at low ISO levels, with things only getting worse as the sensitivity increases.
Colour and saturation is particularly punchy, even on the more standard film-emulation settings found on the camera. Looking at the RAW files presents quite a different picture, as the colour rendition is much more muted and natural in appearance. Many of the noise and over-processing issues in the camera shooting JPEG files can be alleviated by choosing RAW.
A comparison of the RAW and JPEG capabilities of the F770, with 100 per cent crops inset.
We found that the camera does shoot at a lower resolution for its RAW images, outputting images at 3248x2436, rather than the full 4608x3456 when it shoots JPEG.
An example of the panorama mode on a 180-degree axis. Like most panoramic modes, it doesn't cope all that well with moving subjects. Click for a larger image.
Elsewhere, the lens does a good job of keeping most chromatic aberrations at bay. While there's some evidence of fringing, it's not pronounced enough to present a problem, unless you want to make enlargements. Images taken at the full extent of the optical zoom are relatively sharp, though they do display some evidence of over-processing. If you are looking to shoot macro photos, this camera does that particularly well.
Like many compact cameras, the F770 doesn't excel at high ISO performance. Even at a sensitivity of ISO 100, there's evidence of over-processing, and things deteriorate further as the sensitivity climbs. There is a dedicated low-light mode, which does improve the noise issues when shooting at night.
A shot taken at ISO 1600 with 100 per cent crop inset.
The image stabilisation when zoomed in is very twitchy, and the footage appears to wobble quite substantially. Audio quality is adequate.
Exposure: 1/40, f/4, ISO 100
Exposure: 1/850, f/4, ISO 100
Exposure: 1/38, f/4, ISO 500
Exposure: 1/50, f/4, ISO 3200, low-light mode
While it doesn't perform as well as some of the other travel cameras in its class, the F770 EXR is great for macro shooters who want a long optical zoom and a GPS module. Unfortunately, if you shoot in JPEG exclusively, you just won't get the best out of this camera, and there's some pronounced noise and over-processing issues even at lower sensitivities. If you can live with these issues, and want a feature-laden travel camera, the F770 is a decent choice.