Fuji FinePix F200EXR Review
Originally Posted: April 10, 2009
Last Updated: December 14, 2009
The Fuji FinePix F200EXR ($399) is a compact camera with a one-of-a-kind sensor. The SuperCCD EXR sensor found in the F200EXR allows the user to select what's most important in the photo they're taking: high resolution, high sensitivity and low noise, or wide dynamic range. Previous SuperCCD sensors have been better that the competition in terms of noise, and Fuji is looking to widen their lead in that area, while also improving dynamic range (which is never a strong point on compact cameras). I'll tell you more about the SuperCCD EXR later in the review.
The sensor isn't the only thing that's changed since the FinePix F100fd from last year. The F200EXR also features a larger LCD, manual controls, new film simulation modes, improved flash metering, and support for HD video output. Some things that haven't changed include its 5X, 28 - 140 mm lens, image stabilization, elaborate face detection system, and VGA movie mode.
Previous Fuji F-series developed a cult following for their low light shooting abilities. Will history repeat itself in 2009? Find out now in our review of the FInePix F200EXR!
What's in the Box?
The FinePix F200EXR has an average bundle. Inside the box, you'll find:
- The 12.0 effective Megapixel FinePix F200EXR digital camera
- NP-50 lithium-ion battery
- Battery charger
- Wrist strap
- USB + A/V cable
- CD-ROMs featuring FinePix software and camera manual
- 43 page basic manual (printed) + full manual on CD-ROM
Most cameras have built-in memory these days, and the FinePix F200EXR is no exception. It has 48MB of onboard memory, which is able to hold ten photos at the highest quality setting. That's not very many, so you'll want to buy a memory card right away. The camera supports SD, SDHC, and xD cards in its single slot, and I'd stick with the first two for maximum performance. Buying a 2GB, high speed card is what I'd recommend that most people start out with.
The F200EXR uses the same NP-50 lithium-ion battery as the FinePix F100fd that came before it. This battery holds 3.7 Wh of energy, which is average for this class. Here's how that translates into battery life:
All of the cameras on the above list are small, feature image stabilization and large LCDs, and generally have wide-angle lenses (the only one that doesn't is the Olympus). In this group, the FinePix F200EXR finds itself below average when it comes to battery life. That's too bad, since earlier F-series cameras used to be the best out there. Something else you can see in the table is that the F200's battery life is identical to that of its predecessor.
As with every other camera on the above list, the F200EXR uses a proprietary lithium-ion battery for power. This batteries tend to be expensive (a spare NP-50 will set you back at least $43), and you can't use an off-the-shelf battery in emergencies. That said, you won't find a camera this small that uses AAs.
When it's time to charge your battery, just pop into the included charger. The charger plugs directly into the wall, so there's no power cord to deal with. It takes approximately 150 minutes to fully charge the NP-50. By the way, this particular charger also works with the NP-45 battery, in case you have a Fuji camera that uses one of those.
As with all compact cameras, there's a built-in lens cover on the FinePix F200EXR, so there's no lens cap to deal with.
There are just a couple of accessories available for the FinePix F200EXR, with the most interesting being an underwater case. Here's the full list:
Unfortunately I couldn't find pricing (or availability) for the most interesting of those accessories. Even Fuji's own shopping site doesn't sell them -- at least, not yet.
FinePixViewer 3.6 for Mac
Fuji includes their FinePixViewer software with the F200EXR, which you can use to transfer photos from the camera to your computer. The Mac version is very basic, featuring things like slideshows, image rotating, resizing, and e-mailing. And that's about it. You'll probably want to use iPhoto instead.
FInePixViewer 5.4 for Windows
As is often the case, Windows users get a much better version of FinePixViewer. This one does everything the Mac version does, adding image editing and redeye reduction tools, not to mention a slicker interface.
The documentation situation has taken a turn for the worse on the FinePix F200EXR. Gone are the days of having a full, printed manual in the box. Now, Fuji only includes a basic manual, with the full manual in PDF format on a included CD-ROM. The quality of the manual itself is decent (it could certainly be more detailed) -- it's finding that information that's harder than it should be. As you might've guessed, help files for the included software is installed onto your computer.