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|ePHOTOzine member Adrian Wilson reviews the Fujifilm Finepix Z800EXR.|
The £199 Fujifilm Finepix Z800EXR is a compact that appears to be aimed straight at the smart phone user, with its user interface being entirely based on a graphical touch screen and with the ability to tag photos ready for upload to Facebook, and movies for Youtube. Amongst it myriad of features, it boasts 5x optical zoom and a 12Mp sensor, which clearly sets it apart from the smart phone market, yet it comes in a package that is smaller than many such phones – so small you almost forget you have it in your pocket!
Fujifilm Finepix Z800EXR: Features
The headline feature of the Fujifilm Finepix Z800EXR is the 460K dotted, 3.5 inch LCD touch-screen. This is the heart of the camera; virtually every function and setting is accessed via this screen. It is bright, intuitive and very fast to use, the icons on the menus taking you to the settings you want to change very quickly. Within 20 minutes of using the camera, you will be able to easily locate and try most of the different shooting modes, including full auto, a multitude of difference scene modes, panoramic mode and the 3 EXR modes.
The EXR modes are claimed to emulate the human eye, adapting to difference scene conditions. You can shoot in High Resolution (HR), Wide Dynamic Range (DR) or High Sensitivity/Low noise (SN) modes, these being ideal for bright days, contrasty scenes or low light, respectively. You can choose any of these, or select Auto EXR mode, where the camera will choose the correct mode based on the scene in front of it.
One useful mode is Touch and Shoot, where you frame your shot then just touch the screen where you want the camera to focus, which is useful for off-centre focal points such as a portrait in front of a landscape.
The Fujifilm Finepix Z800EXR has a new sensor with improved autofocus time, this is called Phase Detection AF and claims to be able to focus and shoot a shot within 0.158 seconds, far faster than other compacts, which could have annoyingly long shutter lags. In addition to this is there is a Contrast AF function, which the camera will use in low light scenes. In effect you get 2 autofocus systems, which the camera automatically selects for you using its new Hybrid Auto Focus System.
The 5x optical zoom is not massive, but when you consider the size of the camera, it’s quite impressive. At full zoom, you can easily have someone’s face fill the frame from a comfortable shooting distance.
The Dual Image Stabiliser helps to keep the images sharp at all zoom settings. There are also face detection features on board, with optional red-eye reduction.
The design of the camera is very cool and available in either black or red.
Fujifilm Finepix Z800EXR: Handling
With all but the zoom and shutter controls being taken care of on the touch-screen, there are no buttons to worry about, so its handling is just down to how comfortable you are at using the large touch screen.
The screen is effectively the entire rear of the camera, so you need to hold the camera around the edges when framing and taking a shot – very strange at first if you’re used to a DSLR, but it doesn’t take long to get used to. One thing to look out for are stray fingers appearing on the top left of your shots though, however the flash is in the middle of the camera so you’re unlikely to obscure that with stray fingers.
When taking a shot, it is impressively quick for a compact point and shoot camera; the camera adjusts its exposure in no time when moving the camera from a dark to light scene.
If you want to change shooting modes, a quick tap in the top left corner instantly brings up a menu with 8 options on, each of these has a submenu, and that’s as far as you need to go to select a new mode.
Fujifilm Finepix Z800EXR: Performance
The exposure settings are all taken care of in camera – you can’t choose your own aperture or shutter speed settings. However, some modes, such as Manual, do allow Exposure Compensation if needed. Most modes have Auto ISO, where the camera selects the best film speed for the shot, though this can be overridden in Manual mode if you like. The highest ISO setting is 3200.
The detail in the darker areas when using the camera in bright sunshine was impressive, while still retaining rich blue skies; they almost look like very well processed composites of several images. The compromise here is that the contrast in some shots is quite low – quite washed out in some cases. However, many cameras would leave you with a completely burned out, featureless white sky; I’d definitely prefer to see blue.
Shooting into the sun was a bit less predictable; it really depends on where you place the sun in the frame. If it’s on the edge of the scene, it seems to perform better than in the middle as shown here.
Focusing is fast for a compact, and it is very quick to pick out a face when you have Face detection mode switched on. Once it has the face in sight, it will lock on to it while you hold the shutter button half way down. The Touch and Shoot mode is a bit slower to act, but considering it doesn’t know where it is focussing until you touch the screen, its reaction time is pretty good.
|Fujifilm Finepix Z800EXR Performance: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.|
|Bright day sky and dark detail.||High contrast scene.|
|(Above) Shooting into sun well.
(Left) Shooting into sun poorly.
ISO and noise performance
If we look at this outdoor contrasty scene, dark shadowy grass, bright sky and some well lit leaves, we get an indication of the noise performance at each ISO. The noise at lower ISO settings is negligible on a bright shot, ISO100 and 200 being incredibly smooth. ISO400 starts to show a bit of noise in the darker areas and 800 gets grainer still, though both appear pretty good in the lighter areas. When we get to ISO1600 we start to see noisy textures in the bright areas though and at 3200 it’s about the same; however both are very noisy in the darker areas at these high ISO settings.
Consistent with the outdoor shots, the lower ISO settings are relatively noise free, the higher ones are very noisy.
|Fujifilm Finepix Z800EXR Outdoor ISO speed test: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.|
|Fujifilm Finepix Z800EXR Test chart ISO speed test: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.|
The white-balance test shows how the Fujifilm Finepix Z800EXR performs in Auto White Blance (AWB) mode for both fluorescent and tungsten light scenarios, and also the tungsten and fluorescent settings work for their respective settings.
The AWB white balance for fluorescent is very accurate, no real obvious casts, just a very pure, bright white look to the whites. On the fluorescent setting however, there is a warmer, more cream hue to the whites. This shows on the colours too – the blue vase looking quite different between the 2 settings.
For tungsten, the AWB leaves the whites looking very warm again – an almost orange tint to them. However, the tungsten white balance setting gives us some really nice, bright, cast-free whites.
So selecting AWB worked really well for fluorescent, but not so well for tungsten, yet the fluorescent preset gave us a warm hue. This is something to look out for when shooting.
Buffer read/write times
Writing to the card is fast, as soon as you have taken a shot, you can hit the shutter again and it is ready to go for another. When shooting a panoramic, this does slow things down, but this is only because it has taken a huge amount of shots and is writing and stitching at the same time.
Integral flash/flash modes
The flash modes are the standard ones. Flash off, flash forced on, auto flash with red-eye reduction and slow synch flash. The flash is very small, but manages to fill areas close to it very well.
The battery is tiny, smaller than most phone batteries, but in normal non-flash use, its 170 shots will easily last you for a day out. One thing I did notice was that the lens hood can slip open in your pocket without you knowing, this will eat in to your battery life so be wary of that.
The lenses on previous EXR models have been prone to flare, and the Fujifilm Finepix Z800EXR has inherited this issue. It’s also not the best lens for landscapes and getting detail in far off objects. Also, the flash is sympathetic when shooting macro. Throughout all the tests, there was no real barrel or pincushion distortion apparent.
Fujifilm Finepix Z800EXR: Verdict
The Fujifilm Finepix Z800EXR is definitely a pleasure to use due to the fast operation speed and the ease of use of the user interface – this was by far the biggest strength. It fits in just about any pocket with ease, looks the business and has a smart phone like interface to wow your friends with when playing back the photos. Also, for the casual user who would typically purchase this, the image quality is more than adequate in many situations.
If you’re into landscapes or being very creative, then this is probably not the camera for you as its performance isn’t aimed at that market.
Fujifilm Finepix Z800EXR: Pros
Fast to use – fast focus, exposure and card write times
Very small and portable
User interface is intuitive
EXR exposure modes work really well
Fujifilm Finepix Z800EXR: Cons
Not so great for landscapes and things far away
Lens tends to flare
Some scenes can appear washed out and lacking contrast
Lots of noise at ISO800 and above
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Fujifilm Finepix Z800EXR: Specification
|What comes in the box||Li-ion battery NP-45A, Battery charger BC-45W, Hand strap, USB cable for the Fujifilm Finepix Z800EXR and CD-ROM|
|Lens||5x optical zoom: 6.4-32mm f/3.9-4.7 (equivalent to 35-175mm on a 35mm camera)|
|Max. Image size||4000 x 3000|
|LCD monitor size||3.5-inch Touch-Screen, TFT Colour LCD monitor, Approx. 460,000dots,(Approx. 100% coverage)|
|Focusing modes||Single AF, Continuous AF (when scene recognition and Movie) Center fixed, Auto area, Place of touch (Touch & Shoot mode)|
|ISO sensitivity||ISO100 - ISO3200|
|Metering system||Programmed AE|
|Metering modes||EXR Auto, Auto, Touch & Shoot, Scene Position, Natural Light, Natural Light & with Flash, Manual, Movie SP: Portrait, Portrait Enhancer, Landscape, Sport, Night, Night (Tripod), Fireworks, Sunset, Snow, Beach, Party, Flower, Text, Dog, Cat|
|White-balance||Auto, Fine, Shade, Incandescent light, Fluorescent light 1(Daylight), Fluorescent light 2(Warm White), Fluorescent light 3 (Cool White)|
|Exposure compensation||+/- 2EV|
|Shutter speed range||Auto : 1/4sec. to 1/1000sec. All modes : 4sec. to 1/1000sec. with mechanical shutter|
|Anti-shake mode||CCD-shift image stabilisation|
|Movie mode||1280 (1280 x 720: HD), 24 frames/sec., 640 (640 x 480: VGA), 30 frames/sec. with monaural sound •* Zoom function cannot be used during movie recording.|
|Media type||SD / SDHC|
|Power||Rechargeable battery NP-45A (Li-ion)|
|Size (wxdxl)||98.1(W) x 59.0(H) x 20.3(D) mm|
|Weight (with battery)||141g|
The Fujifilm Finepix Z800EXR costs £184.00 and is available from Warehouse Express here:
Fuji Finepix Z800EXR