The Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR camera offers a great touchscreen interface, fast autofocus, and excellent image stabilisation.

Among touchscreen point-and-shoot cameras, the Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR is one of the top options we've come across, thanks to an intuitive and easy-to-use interface, very fast autofocus, and some of the best in-camera editing and playback options we've ever seen.

Overall, the Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR is a joy to use, but a few drawbacks in its performance hold it back a bit: less-than-sharp images, poor overall video quality, and lackluster battery life. Nevertheless, the pros outweigh the cons, and we find a lot to like for the price.

Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR: Hardware and Design

The 12-megapixel Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR is slim and pocket sized, at 98.1x59x20.3mm. It weighs 141g with the battery and SD/SDHC memory card loaded, making it both thinner and lighter (though not by much) than the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX75. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX9 is the only touchscreen camera we've seen that's slimmer.

It packs a 5X optical-zoom lens, which doesn't extend from the front of the Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR camera when you zoom in; it's covered by a sliding faceplate when the camera is powered off. The 35mm-to-175mm zoom lens offers a maximum aperture value of F3.9 on the wide-angle end and 8.0 at full telephoto; we would have liked to see a bit of a wider-angle lens and aperture, but a 5X zoom is a good amount of optical versatility for a camera this skinny.

In design, the Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR is simple, with the only physical controls being a shoot/play mode toggle and a shutter button with a zoom control ring around it. And instead of a dedicated power button, you turn on the camera by either sliding the front panel that covers the lens down or pressing and holding the shoot/play mode toggle. On the side of the camera, a panel covers a mini-USB jack. The Z800EXR has no HDMI-out port, unlike both the Lumix DMC-FX75 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX9.

Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR: Shooting Modes and Features

Like the other cameras in Fujifilm's EXR line, the 12-megapixel Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR features Fujifilm's EXR Super CCD sensor, which allows the shooter a bit more manual control over a shot without having full manual controls. The three dedicated EXR modes can be set to optimize the sensor for high-resolution shots, high sensitivity in low-light situations, and wide dynamic range. Also, an EXR-driven Auto mode automatically selects between those three EXR-based modes.

While that's cool enough, the real draw with the Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR is its incredibly quick autofocus, coupled with very good image stabilization. Fujifilm touts it as the world's fastest autofocus lens, and I'm inclined to believe them, as this thing is quick. A gyro sensor purports to give you blur-free photos, and it does a pretty good job - while the Cyber-shot DSC-TX9 features some better anti-motion shooting modes (including modes that combine a number of shots to get you one perfect photo), the Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR's dual image-stabilization mode is very effective.

The Manual shooting mode allows you to adjust a number of settings, including the white balance, ISO, dynamic range, exposure, and autofocus. The automatic modes (including EXR Auto, Auto, Touch & Shoot, Natural Light, and Scene modes), on the other hand, give you control over ISO but not white balance, exposure, or dynamic range. You also get 15 different Scene modes, including "dog" and "cat" modes that detect up to 10 dogs or cats in a photo and optimize exposure settings accordingly.

Shooting modes include EXR Auto, Automatic, Touch & Shoot, Scene, Motion Panorama, Natural Light, Manual, and Movie. The Touch & Shoot mode is similar to the Lumix DMC-FX75's touch-and-focus option: You can touch anywhere on the screen to focus on that spot in the photo and immediately snap a picture. The Cyber-shot DSC-TX9 also has the touch-to-focus feature, but you can only focus and not shoot when you touch the screen. The Movie mode features HD recording, but only at 720p and 24 frames per second - not 1080i, like the Cyber-shot DSC-TX9.

While shot-to-shot shutter lag wasn't a problem on this camera - it's a barely-noticeable fraction of a second--turning the camera and taking a shot was a laggy process. Each time you slide the lens cover down or turn on the camera via the shoot/play mode toggle (you hold it down for a couple of seconds), the Fujifilm EXR logo appears. The logo stays on the screen for only about a second and a half, but it's still annoying if you're trying to take a quick photo. This will definitely cause you to miss some moments when attempting to power the camera on and snap a shot right away.

Shot-to-shot time, however, is very quick and can be made even quicker - via the option to cut out image playback (right after you take a photo) completely, so that you can just take shot after shot after shot. The Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR's continuous shooting mode tops out at 1.6 frames per second.

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