Falling into the compact ‘travel zoom’ category, by virtue of its retractable 15x optical zoom, the Fujifilm FinePix F600EXR comes with the further technological advantage of built-in GPS antenna, located in a hump above the lens. This affords the location tagging of images, as well as flagging up of local points of interest. Otherwise, looks would be its sales point: it’s one of the most lavishly styled compacts available, with glossy white, red or matt black finishes. See also Group test: what's the best compact camera?
The F600 is not just a pretty fascia, however: Fujifilm is making a big fuss about the 1/2in EXR sensor at the heart of this camera. First off, it’s backlit, which means there are no wires blocking the path of light from lens to sensor. Then, as with previous generations, a trio of EXR modes allow the sensor’s performance to be adjusted depending on what the photographer is trying to achieve. Visit Group test: what's the best digital camera?
You have a choice of full 16-megapixel shots, or the camera taking two lower resolution 8-megapixel images and combining them to reduce the appearance of noise/grain for low-light photography. The third option is increased dynamic range, again from the combination of two shots, one exposed for highlights the other for shadows, so detail in both is retained. If you can’t decide which is best when faced with a tricky exposure, a reliable Auto EXR option lets the camera choose.
New on this model is a motion-detection feature that automatically boosts settings such as ISO to help reduce blur when a subject’s on the go. It works well even if results aren’t pin sharp. The 360-degree panorama mode, which stitches together a single elongated image in a matter of seconds, is similarly effective, as long as the camera is panned slowly and steadily as it’s being captured.
The F600EXR triple-use sensor can be biased towards high resolution, better low-light results, or increased dynamic range
Unlike Sony’s Cyber-shot there’s no 3D panoramic option, but then Fujifilm already has a dedicated 3D camera in the FinePix W3. Add in 1,920 x 1,080 pixels video capture with stereo sound and the ability to record slow-motion clips if desired, and the FinePix F600EXR ticks most other boxes for the very latest technology, and for a reasonable asking price to boot.