The Fujifilm FinePix F80EXR offers a stylish compact body coupled with an EXR sensor and HD video recording. Let's see how good this FinePix shooter is.
Fujifilm FinePix F80EXR: Features and specs
The FinePix F80 EXR, as the name suggests, is equipped with Fuji's 1/2in Super CCD EXR 12Mp sensor which is claimed to produce better low light image quality than a normal CCD sensor found in most standard compact cameras. The FinePix F80 EXR uses a 10x optical zoom lens (27 - 270mm equivalent) and a CCD-shift dual image stabilization system.
The camera also comes with a 3in LCD TFT screen that supports up to 230k dots. HD video recording at 720p with optical zoom function during video recording is also supported. Like many current compacts, an HDMI port for connecting the camera to an HDTV is also present.
Fuji claims that the Super CCD EXR on the FinePix F80EXR provides superior picture quality by using 3-in-1 sensor combination of Fine Capture Technology (High Resolution), Pixel Fusion Technology (High Sensitivity & Low Noise), and Dual Capture Technology (Wide Dynamic Range). The camera uses colour filter array and image processing technology to reproduce balanced picture quality.
So there are four EXR shooting modes: EXR Auto to let the camera detect the scene automatically and switch to the scene it finds best suited, Resolution Priority for shooting detailed images, High ISO & Low Noise for minimal noise and D-range Priority for wide dynamic range.
Apart from these EXR modes, the rest of the shooting modes include Auto, Program, Manual, Movie, Pro Focus, Natural Light and Natural Light with Flash. The manual mode offers selecting different shutter speeds (8 to 1/2,000 seconds) and aperture range (F3.3 to F9.0 for wide angle shots and F5.6 to F16.0 for telephoto). There are a total of 18 pre-set scene modes as well, which includes dedicated scene modes for your pets.
The ISO Speed range starts from ISO100 to ISO 12800 and there are 9 different image sizes to choose from. It also has four different continuous shooting modes: Final 12, Top 12, Final 3 and Top 3. Metering options include Multi, Spot and Average while AF mode has Center, Multi and Continuous options. The FinePix F80 EXR also has face detection.
Fujifilm FinePix F80EXR: Design and usability
The body of the FinePix F80 EXR is quite compact despite sporting a 10x optical zoom lens inside. In terms of size, it sits next to the Nikon CoolPix S8000 among compact zoom cameras we have tested. The body has a gun-metal finish and there are four different colours - red, black, silver and pink - and we received the silver-coloured FinePix F80EXR which looks good but we personally think the black one will look more stylish. The shiny body does not attract as many scratches and smudges as we had expected and the build quality is solid.
The camera offered comfortable one-hand-shooting and we had no issues with the placement of the controls. The flash is positioned on the front right which makes it very easy to get blocked by fingers when it's fired.
The back of the camera has a large 3in LCD whose visibility outdoors is just average and right next to the LCD are mode dials and buttons for playback, function, 4-way navigation with centre select button, display/back and to activate face detection. The controls are well laid out and offer good tactile feedback.
The top of the camera has a power on/off button and shutter-release button with a zoom ring around it. The right side has an AV-out port and miniHDMI port covered by a plastic flap and a lanyard loop-hole just above. The left side of the camera is clean and the front has a flash, AF-assist lamp and a mic-hole just below the lens barrel. The bottom as usual has a battery compartment which houses a battery and an SD-card slot. There is a tripod mount as well.
In terms of controls and button placement, the FinePix F80EXR fared well but the rather complicated and cluttered menu-interface may take some getting used to. Even though we have seen and tested other Fujifilm cameras with this interface, the design could definitely do with a facelift, especially when compared to Canon cameras which always impress us with their simple and user-friendly design.
Fujifilm FinePix F80EXR: Speed
Our colleagues at PC World India put the Fujifilm FinePix F80EXR through its paces in their lab. Here's how it got on.
The FinePix F80 EXR started up at 2.6 seconds which is average. Focusing in extreme low light at times was a bit of a problem but it was reliable and as good as any other compact zoom camera. Zooming speed is not exactly the smoothest but is satisfactory. The camera responded well to most general operations and there was nothing much to complain.
Shutter lag with and without pre-focus were clocked at 0.15 seconds and 0.45 seconds respectively, which is good for a compact camera. Shot to shot time without flash was fairly fast at 2 seconds while this went up to around 2.5 seconds with flash on. The burst mode at full resolution is limited to 5 images which the camera shot at 1.6fps - less than satisfactory. There is a 23-shooting mode which shoots at 4.5fps but images are only 3Mp. If you're planning to use the FinePix F80 EXR for sports photography or for photographing your kids, it's not the best choice out there.
Fujifilm FinePix F80EXR: Lens
The 27mm Fujinon lens showed sharpness which is just above average and comparing to other compact zoom cameras such as the Panasonic TZ8, Samsung WB600 and Nikon CoolPix S8000, the FinePix F80EXR's captured images looked a bit softer. On the other hand, the image stabilisation worked effectively while shooting tele photos and in low lights.
There was noticeable barrel distortion at the lens' widest setting and purple fringes were just a tad visible, which is good enough for a compact. The macro performance, though, is slightly disappointing as we could not get closer than 5cm to the subject. Subjects within 10 feet range came out well-exposed using the built-in flash and red-eye issue was not present.
Fujifilm FinePix F80EXR: Image quality
The FinePix F80 EXR in general captured images with natural-looking colours. Details were generally good, although we wish they were a bit sharper; and when we viewed the images at full resolution on a monitor, the 12Mp images showed a little noise in darker areas, and the loss of detail was visible.
The white balance is quite accurate under different lighting conditions. As in many compact cameras, images tend to get bright areas over-exposed easily and the darker areas got easily underexposed. The Pro low light mode worked well for still images in low light and we particularly found the DR mode very effective and helpful to capture images with wide dynamic range, especially in critical lighting conditions.
Night shot at ISO200
Night shot at ISO1600
For night landscape shooting, the max shutter speed of 8 seconds (max) is also adequate. The camera showed good details in images till ISO 400 but with visible noise when viewing at actual size. More noise started to become visible from ISO 800 but images are still useable here. At ISO 1600, 3200, 6400 and 12800, the enormous amount of noise made the images unusable.
The High ISO & Low Noise mode worked pretty well in low light, capturing good details and minimal noise in our indoor shots but images were limited to 6Mp in this mode. The Pro Low Light mode produced photos with lesser noise in low light but this mostly worked well for still subjects and using a tripod.
Overall, the FinePix F80 EXR compact zoom camera despite its innovative EXR modes is a good camera that comes with more than the usual manual options and features, but overall image quality is nothing extraordinary.
Fujifilm FinePix F80EXR: Video
The 720p HD video recorded at 24fps looked smooth but lacked sharpness. Fortunately, optical zoom is available during video recording - a feature usually missed even in more expensive compact cameras. The video quality is average at best in terms of details, sharpness and noise reduction. The mono audio isn't very impressive either.
The zoom mechanism worked silently and auto focusing happened at satisfactory speed under different lightings. The video is recorded in MJpeg format in AVI container which consumes a whole lot space - a video close to the one and a half minute mark took up 233MB of memory card space.
The FinePix F80EXR's battery when fully charge lasted us for around 210 shots, which is good enough for casual use.
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