During Photokina, Fujifilm gave us the heads-up on a forthcoming Super CCD sensor with the potential to be a game changer for compact cameras. Building on that technology, today Fuji has launched the latest advanced compact camera in its near-legendary F series, the Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR.
Built around this specialized sensor and a 5x zoom lens, the F200EXR is Fuji's latest attempt to return to some of the low-light shooting dominance, in particular, that they enjoyed with cameras like the FinePix F31fd – a lofty goal in an age of 10 megapixel plus small-sensor cameras.
Advanced imaging technologies at its core
The F200EXR's headline feature is its 12 megapixel/1.6 inch Super CCD EXR sensor. Using this newly developed imager technology, the F200EXR provides three distinctly different capture modes. In Fine Capture mode, the F200EXR functions like a normal 12 megapixel camera. Pixel Fusion mode combines the output of two adjacent pixels, creating a sensor with six million larger photosites to increase sensitivity and "produce low-light shots of extraordinary quality with minimal noise and grain," according to Fuji.
Most interesting, though, may be the F200EXR's Dual Capture mode, in which the camera captures two 6 megapxiel images at different exposure levels and then combines then, producing an image in which both shadows and highlights are correctly exposed – even in high-contrast situations.
Building on this technology, the F200EXR offers several unique capture options, including dynamic range bracketing, a wide dynamic range shooting mode that claims to provide up to 800 percent expansion for reeling in more detail in both highlight and shadow areas, and high-sensitivity shooting to ISO 12,800. All of these technologies are manually selectable on the F200EXR, but with less experienced shooters in mind, the camera's SR Auto automatic scene recognition system will also select the most appropriate combination of settings – and even the best sensor capture mode – for a given situation.
Solid shooting hardware
While the emphasis with the F200EXR is on its unique sensor, Fuji hasn't neglected the rest of the camera's specs. As noted, the F200EXR gets a 5x Fujinon zoom lens, covering an equivalent range of 28-140mm. Sensor-shift image stabilization works in conjunction with the camera's high-sensitivity shooting modes to ensure sharp captures in low light, and there's a large 3.0 inch LCD for shot composition tasks.
The F200EXR also gets Fuji's latest Face Detection 3.0 technology, which provides fast tracking of up to ten faces at a time, automatically compensating for exposure and white balance and even removing red eyes in flash shots. Fuji's new Super Intelligent Flash system is also incorporated, providing more consistent flash exposures with fewer blown highlights – especially for close-ups and macro work.
Seventeen scene presets fill out the F200EXR's list of shooting options, but the camera also makes a nod to advanced shooters with program, aperture priority, and manual exposure-setting options. As with Fujifilm's advanced cameras, the F200EXR features the manufacturer's Film Simulation technology, which provides presets for emulating classic Fuji films including Provia and Velvia.
High-speed shooting is available at up to 1.4 FPS at full resolution, or at 5 FPS if you're willing to work with reduced capture sizes. Those concerned about both speed and compatibility will also be happy to note that the F200EXR sports a dual-type card slot that reads both SD/SDHC and xD-Picture Card memory types.
Pricing and availability
We've been eagerly awaiting Fuji's first EXR camera, and the implementation of this new technology has the potential, at least, to make this one of the most exciting small camera releases of the year. And details about the F200EXR's performance will be known soon enough: The camera is slated for retail release before the end of the month, with a suggested price of $399.95.
Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR Specifications
|Sensor||12.0 megapixel, 1/1.6" Fujifilm Super CCD EXR
|Zoom||5x (28-140mm) Fujinon zoom, f/3.3-5.1|
|LCD/Viewfinder||3.0", 230K-pixel TFT LCD|
|Sensitivity||ISO 100-3200 (ISO 6400-12800 at reduced resolution)
|Shutter Speed||8-1/1500 seconds
|Shooting Modes||Auto, Manual, Scene, Movie|
|Scene Presets||Natural Light, Natural Light with Flash, Portrait, Portrait Enhancer, Landscape, Sport, Night, Fireworks, Sunset, Snow, Beach, Underwater, Museum, Party, Flower, Text
|White Balance Settings||Auto, Fine, Shade, Fluorescent 1, Fluorescent 2, Fluorescent 3, Incandescent, Custom
|Metering Modes||Multi, Spot, Center-Weighted
|Focus Modes||Center AF, Multi AF, Area AF, Continuous AF, Macro
|Drive Modes||Normal, Top 3, Top 12, Final 3, Final 12, Continuous|
|Flash Modes||Auto, Forced On, Slow Synchro, Forced Off, Red-Eye Reduction, Slow Syncrho with Red-Eye Reduction|
|Self Timer Settings
||10 seconds, 2 seconds, Off
|Memory Formats||xD-Picture Card, SD, SDHC
|File Formats||JPEG, AVI, WAV
|Max. Image Size||4000x3000
|Max. Video Size
||640x480, 30 fps
|Zoom During Video||No|
|Connections|| USB 2.0, AV output, DC input
|Additional Features||Face Detection 3.0, Dual Image Stabilization, Continuous Shooting, Portrait Enhancer Mode, Dual Shot Mode, Slideshow|