Fuji F800EXR: Performance

by Howard Creech Reads (1,541)
Editor's Rating
8.40

TG Ratings Breakdown

    • Image/Video Quality
    • 8
    • Features
    • 9
    • Design / Ease of Use
    • 9
    • Performance
    • 8
    • Expandability
    • 8
    • Total Score:
    • 8.40
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Performance

The Fuji F800EXR provides a comprehensive selection of shooting modes including advanced shooting modes, which is very nice for users. Even nicer is the well designed processing and exposure system, one of the best processing and exposure systems I have used recntly. Users can set the exposure mode to full Manual or Shutter priority or Aperture priority and consistently rely on the Auto ISO (ISO 100 – 12,800 range – ISO 6400 and 12800 with boost), auto WB mode, the default TTL (spot and Manual metering are also available) metering system, and snappy AF performance to capture dependably very good to excellent images in a remarkably broad range of shooting scenarios.

Shooting Performance
The F800EXR provides numerous focus options, including Multi-area, Center, Tracking, Single, Continuous, and Face Detection AF.  I found the F800’s auto focus to be quick and reliably accurate in decent lighting, even when shooting at longer focal lengths.  However, the camera sometimes had difficulty finding focus in low light.  Shot to shot time is quite fast, about one second between pictures without the flash.  The F800’s diminutive multi-mode pop-up flash provides a minimal selection of artificial lighting options, including Auto, On, Off, Red-Eye Reduction, and Slow-sync.  Based on my very limited flash use, the F800’s flash recycle time is between 2 and 4 seconds. Maximum flash range (according to Fuji) is 3.7 meters – just over 12 feet. The F800EXR saves images and video to SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory media and 30MB of internal storage. The Fuji F800 EXR draws its juice from a proprietary Fuji Lithium-ion NP-50A rechargeable battery which is charged (2-3 hours) via the included wall type charger. Fuji claims the F800EXR is good for 300 exposures on a fully charged NP-50A battery and based on my experiences with the camera, that number is accurate.

Lens Performance
When the F800 EXR is powered up the zoom extends from the camera body automatically, and when the camera is powered down, the lens retracts and a built in iris-style lens cover closes to protect the front element. Zooming is fairly smooth and lens operation is relatively quiet. The F800 needs between 4 and 5 seconds to move the lens from the wide angle end of the zoom range to the maximum telephoto setting. The F800 EXR’s zoom is actually fairly sharp, better than I expected it to be, but the lens displays some minimal light fall-off and visible corner softness.  There’s no vignetting (dark corners) and  Chromatic Aberration (purple fringing) is visible in some high contrast shots, especially when shooting dark objects against a bright background, but overall CA is fairly well controlled. Barrel distortion (at the wide-angle end of the zoom range) is noticeably above average, but I didn’t see any pin cushion distortion.

Like its predecessor, the F800EXR is built around a very long 20x zoom.  The Fujinon f3.5-f5.3/4.6mm-92mm (28mm-500mm equivalent) zoom’s slow f3.5 maximum aperture already lets in 60% less light than an f2.8 maximum aperture – so clearly this camera is going to stumble a bit in poor lighting. The F800’s slow maximum aperture is one of those inevitable quality compromises that photographers often talk about.  A P&S digicam with a 28mm to 500mm (equivalent) zoom and an f2.8 maximum aperture would probably be at least twice the size (and weight) of the F800EXR and it certyainly would cost a lot more too. While the F800’s f3.5 maximum aperture may seem abysmally slow when compared to the Nikon P310’s f1.8 maximum aperture, that’s the price consumers must pay to have a truly pocketable camera with a 20x zoom. 

Wide angle, 28mm                                                         Telephoto, 500mm

Consistently capturing sharply focused pictures with a P&S camera, especially one with a long zoom, offers some unique optical engineering challenges. The F800EXR’s mechanical image stabilization system reduces blur by rapidly and precisely shifting the CMOS sensor to compensate for involuntary camera movement. Typically, image stabilization systems allow users to shoot at shutter speeds up to three EV slower than would have been possible without image stabilization  Since overcoming camera shake is a real challenge, especially at the telephoto end of that 20x zoom, Fuji also provides high ISO IS, which when combined with sensor shift IS ensures sharper images even when conditions are less than ideal.

Video Quality
The F800 EXR’s 1920x1080p @ 30fps HD movie mode produces properly exposed and color correct video clips that are remarkably similar to the video clips captured by its competitors.  The F800EXR’s video capability is especially impressive since you can use the 20x zoom while recording. Fuji recommends a class 4 (or higher) memory card for video.  The F800’s dedicated movie start/stop button allows photographers to become videographers and capture Full HD (1920x1080p) video at 30fps with stereo sound.

Image Quality
The F800EXR image files are optimized for bold bright hues and hard-edged but slightly flat contrast.  Reds are a little warm, blues are a bit brighter than they are in real life, and greens/yellows are a bit too vibrant.  Images generated by the F800 are consistently a tiny bit soft. Image quality is just a bit below average, but for enlargements up to 8×10 this little Fuji Travel zoom will do a fine job. As a veteran photographer I like Fuji’s color intensity (saturation) settings which correspond to a couple of venerable Fuji slide films – instead of vivid the F800 EXR offers a “Velvia” setting and the setting for standard saturation is listed as “Sensia” though neither setting actually produces images that evoke either of those slide films. 

ISO 100                                                                     ISO 200

ISO 400                                                                     ISO 800

ISO 1600                                                                   ISO 3200

ISO 6400                                                                   ISO 12,800

Additional Sample Images 


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