DigitalCameraReview.com
Hands on, sample photos with the Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR
by David Rasnake -  3/5/2009

Fujifilm had several new products to show off publicly at this week's PMA show – most notably, the new FinePix F200EXR.

Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR

Using an innovative 12 megapixel Fuji Super CCD sensor, the F200EXR can take full-res shots, or can be set up to shoot 6 megapixel images that are either optimized for low noise at high ISOs or for maximum dynamic range.

Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR

Physically, the new camera bears a strong family resemblance to the F100fd. It's a little thicker than many compacts – and seems to be slightly thicker than its F100fd forerunner as well – but a lightweight composite body keeps the F200EXR manageable as a pocket camera.

Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR

There's a nice 5x Fujinon lens on the new model, and a very smooth looking 3.0 inch LCD out back. The camera's control arrangement is very similar to other F models, with most mode-specific shooting controls accessed via the camera's "F" quick-access button. Sensor-shift image stabilization joins the camera's high-ISO shooting capabilities, further improving the new model's low-light potential.

Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR

Another big story with the F200EXR is its full integration of Fuji's trademark film simulation modes from the company's previous SLR and ultrazoom efforts. Shooters looking to mimic the visuals of classic Fujifilm products like Velvia and Provia can now do it straight from a FinePix F model as well. We were reasonably pleased with the accuracy of Fuji's models in cameras like the S100FS, so hopefully we'll see the same kind of performance in this implementation.

But what everyone really wants to know at this point is whether Fuji has yet again revolutionized high-sensitivity shooting for small-sensor cameras (in the tradition of the original Super CCD models) with this latest effort. The new Super CCD EXR sensor that drives this camera was first unveiled as a tech announcement at last year's Photokina show, but the new imager tech is getting its first retail roll out in the F200EXR.

Shooting with one of Fuji's on-hand booth samples in the camera's Pixel Fusion low noise/high sensitivity capture mode, we fired off a couple of quick ISO 800 snaps from the show floor:

Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR

Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR

What little bit of shooting we could do with the camera at the booth doesn't tell us much about the new model's high-ISO performance: we'll need more time, a wider range of situations, and some controlled testing to determine that. But while the F200EXR's ISO 800 shots still show their share of the telltale softness that often marks high-sensitivity captures from small-sensor cameras, my eye was drawn more to the smoothness and subtle transitions of the dark areas in these captures.

Beyond that, we'll let you be the judge at this point. We're expecting a production-spec FinePix F200EXR review unit in the very near future, so we'll have a lot more to say on the subject shortly.