17 April 2009

Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR Review

The Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR isn't your typical point-and-shoot digital camera. It offers a new Super CCD EXR sensor that boasts a higher dynamic range because of its unique design and capacity to change how it captures available light. With this new sensor technology, the FinePix F200EXR offers the casual photographer a serious point-and-shoot camera at a reasonable price.

With a 12 megapixel Super CCD EXR sensor, 3.0 inch/230,000 dot LCD monitor, and a five frames-per-second continuous shooting mode (for up to 12 images at 3 megapixels before the buffer memory gets full), the real crux of the F200EXR is its ability to use its unique image sensor in three different ways. These include the Fine Capture Mode that uses all 12 million pixels for an image; the Pixel Fusion Mode that combines two adjacent pixels or photodiodes together to increase the size and sensitivity of the photosites (for a total capture of 6 megapixels); and Dual Capture mode, which takes two simultaneous images at different exposures (both at 6 megapixels) and meshes them together to get an image with more dynamic range (a final 12 megapixel image).

The F200EXR also comes with a powerful Fujinon 5x optical zoom lens that offers a wide-to-telephoto range of 28-140mm; manual shooting that allows control over aperture, shutter speed, and exposure compensation; and five classic Fuji Film Simulation modes including Provia for natural tones, Velvia for vivid color reproduction, Astia for smooth tonalities, and black and white and sepia modes. The F200EXR also features sensor-shift image stabilization, Fuji's Face Detection 3.0, some helpful shooting presets like landscape and portrait, Dynamic Range Bracketing, and sensitivity up to an unprecedented ISO 12800.

Here are some of the most notable features of the F200EXR:

Super CCD EXR: The first Super CCD technology was introduced in 1999 to increase dynamic range and usable sensitivity of DSLRs, and it has trickled down over the years into the point-and-shoot market as well. The F200EXR moves this existing sensor technology further with its new three-way function. Super CCD EXR has three shooting options (plus a default EXR Auto option, which automatically judges the scene and chooses the best EXR mode).

When manually selecting an EXR mode for a particular shooting situation, you'll have three options. The first, Fine Capture/Resolution Priority mode, uses the entire 12 megapixel chip for already well-exposed scenes to produce images with the best possible details.

The Pixel Fusion/High Sensitivity Priority mode uses what is called "pixel binning," which reads two photodiodes as one pixel. In this case, two adjacent photosites are combined to create a larger sensor that totals 6 megapixels. The idea here is to use more area on the sensor to collect more light than the original 12 megapixel chip, allowing for cleaner high-ISO shots.

The last of the EXR technologies is Dual Capture/Dynamic Range Priority, which is supposed to provide a wider dynamic range by taking two simultaneous images at different exposures and combining each of these 6 megapixel exposures into one 12 megapixel image. The outcome is similar to stacking images at different exposures (not unlike the process used in high dynamic range, or HDR, photography), but the F200EXR is combining shots in-camera instead of later in post-processing.

Film Simulation: For those of you that have had the opportunity to shoot with Fujifilm's actual film stocks in the past, terms like Velvia should really strike a chord, especially with nature enthusiasts. With five total film simulation modes, you can get the classic Fujifilm looks that were once a staple in the heyday of film photography, giving you smooth tones and gradations or vivid and saturated colors.

Manual Shooting: You can set the aperture and shutter speed on the F200EXR, as well as the exposure compensation; including shutter speed options from 8 seconds to 1/1000th of a second, and an aperture range from f/3.3-9.0.

Face Detection 3.0: The F200EXR features FufiFilm's current face detection technology, which uses 360 degree recognition to detect faces, no matter what slant or angle they are on. This technology can also detect up to 10 different faces and features Fuji's Ultra High-Speed Detection, which is designed to lock onto faces in motion (great for finicky and impatient children).

Super Intelligent Flash: Found in the Auto mode, this feature automatically determines the amount of flash and proper ISO setting to produce images with better detail and lighting. In practice, the system gave my flash images nice detail and a natural look without introducing too much fill into the frame.

Scene Positions: The F200EXR features several situation-specific preset shooting modes. Some of these include: Portrait, Portrait Enhancer to automatically adjust skin tones, Sport for adjusting the shutter speed to take action shots; all in all, a grand total of 17 different scene settings.

Styling and Build Quality
After first unwrapping the F200EXR from the box, I appreciated its design right away. It sports a more traditional boxy construction and a concave curvature along the length of the camera. It measures 3.8 by 2.3 by 0.9 inches and weighs 6.8 ounces with the battery and memory card.

The build quality of the camera when I first picked it up felt a bit plastic-like, but upon further inspection it appeared to have an aluminum body enclosure (though it felt a little loose when I first picked it up). After using the camera, I found the body and strength of its build quality better than my initial impressions.

The F200EXR is a solidly built camera with stylish trimming, traditional point-and-shoot dials, and a large retractable lens that makes it portable and compact.

Ergonomics and Interface
The design and layout of the F200EXR is similar to most other Fujifilm cameras I have operated, including a typical shutter and zoom lever, power button, selector button, playback button, and also a few buttons that helped me access features without searching through the menus.

This includes the Intelligent Face Detection/red-eye removal button, which helps the shooter get better focus and exposure for portraits, and the F-mode button, which is helpful for changing the F200EXR's camera settings. Depending on what mode you are shooting in, the F-mode control provides access to ISO speed, dynamic range settings, the image size and aspect ratio (4:3, 3:2, and 16:9), image quality (fine or normal), white balance, and the aforementioned film simulation modes.

The menu button provides access to the shooting mode, continuous shooting, AF modes with center, multi and continuous autofocus, image stabilization, power management, and to the set-up menu where you can fine tune things like sounds, digital zoom, and other settings.

The user interface is typical and intuitive, as with most point-and-shoots, and access to different functions is streamlined so the user can change settings quickly. As to the placement of buttons and controls, they seem practical and easy to access.

Another nice feature of the F200EXR is the large 230,000 dot LCD, offering up a nice way to frame up and playback images. This 3.0 inch LCD offers the usual functions like playback and changing settings as well as a Micro Thumbnail View that opens up a window with a 10x10 array thumbnail view that lets you easily navigate, view and select from up to 100 photos. This function is similar to a mosaic view on a digital photo frame.

The image playback on the LCD was able to show similar details on the 3.0 inch screen as on the computer. You can also zoom in on the pictures by using the zoom lever to view images in more detail.

The Super CCD EXR sensor alone is the F200EXR strongest selling point, and primary differentiator from the F100fd. With a broadened dynamic range that most digital compacts can't even touch, the technology behind the sensor is certainly innovative and worth trying for yourself. Today, Fujifilm and a few others are changing the way in which an image sensor is used in point-and-shoots, and it's an exciting time to be in the market with so many options available. As digital cameras have made leaps and bounds since the explosion in the late 90s, we are still making leaps and bounds today.

With a 12 megapixel 1/1.6-inch Super CCD EXR image sensor, flashy 3.0 inch LCD, and manual exposure control, the FinePix F200EXR could be accused of having too many bells and whistles. But in the field, Fujifilm's latest proves to be a capable camera with an array of attractive new features that are true assets to a photographer.


* Trail-blazing EXR sensor technology
* Dynamic range never seen before in this class
* Very little noise through ISO range
* Easy operation
* Film simulation modes work quite well


* No HD video capture
* Noisy operation
* Telephoto length images show distortion and soft edges
* Spotty image stabilization system

Related Article:

1 komentar:

r4 said...

It's a very fine a camera ever used before, The picture quality, and user friendly functions, Only one disadvantage of this camera is in aperture settings.But overall its really awesome camera.

Post a Comment