Fujifilm announced the FinePix S200EXR in late July as the successor to their FinePix S100FS ultrazoom, a camera that got generally good reviews from folks who shot it. It's always tough to replace a proven winner, since expectations and the performance bar will be raised with the new model, but Fuji appears to be on track to meet those heightened expectations. The FinePix S200EXR incorporates technology that appeared earlier this year in Fuji's F200EXR, another camera that gets generally good reviews for image quality and low light performance.
Super CCD EXR sensor technology
In an ultrazoom category that features a host of competitors packing 12 megapixel resolution on 1/2.3" sensors, this Fuji comes to the plate with the same resolution on a larger Super CCD EXR 1/1.6" sensor. Size alone should give the S200EXR a noise advantage on the other guys as the ISO sensitivities rise, but Fuji views the integration of the new Super CCD EXR sensor and the EXR processor as a fusion of evolutionary technologies that allow the S200EXR to capture images as the eye sees them.
The FinePix S200EXR is a feature-rich camera and we've barely scratched the surface with brief shoots last night and today about midday, principally using the aperture priority mode I'm fond of. Suffice it to say image quality looks very good under a range of lighting conditions (including some really horrible harsh noontime sun today). While the camera is not very quick to power up, once ready to go autofocus acquisition times have been OK and shutter lag is good.
The camera is large, about the size of the smaller entry-level DSLRs, and ergonomics are good. It can shoot in RAW, JPEG, or combination RAW and JPEG. The zoom lens is manual and I was surprised to find the video component has a relatively mundane 640x480 frame size. With most manufacturers falling over themselves to get HD of one sort or another into their products I would have expected Fuji to follow suit. But if the still image quality pans out along the lines suggested in Fuji's ad copy, movies will be the last thing anybody will be buying this camera for.
Additional Sample Images
Coming up next
There's a lot of shooting and experimentation with this camera's many features ahead before the final verdict can be rendered on the FinePix S200EXR, but initial results are promising. Stay tuned for the complete review of what has proved to be an interesting camera so far.