Fuji FinePix F300EXR Review
Originally Posted: November 12, 2010
Last Updated: July 5, 2011
The FinePix F300EXR ($329) is the latest in Fuji's series of compact, high sensitivity cameras. Over the years, the camera's have stayed the same size, with the lenses getting considerably longer with each revision. Just a few years ago, the FinePix F60fd had a 3X zoom lens -- we're up to 15X now on the F300EXR. The lens isn't what makes the camera unique, though. Rather, it's the SuperCCD EXR sensor that sits behind it. This sensor can take pictures with high resolution, wide dynamic range, or high sensitivity / low noise (though not all at the same time). On past models, that's given the EXR-based cameras an edge over their competitors. We'll see if that holds true on this new model.
Other features on the F300EXR include a 3-inch, high resolution LCD, hybrid AF system, sensor-shift image stabilization, manual controls, 360 degree panorama recording, and a 720p movie mode. And did I mention the pet detection feature?
Should the FinePix F300EXR be making the competitors sweat a little bit? Find out now in our review!
What's in the Box?
The FinePix F300EXR has an average bundle. Inside the box, you'll find the following items:
- The 12.0 effective Megapixel FinePix F300EXR digital camera
- NP-50 lithium-ion rechargeable battery
- Battery charger
- Wrist strap
- USB cable
- A/V cable
- CD-ROM featuring MyFinePix Studio, FinePixViewer, RAW File Converter, and owner's manual
- 22 page basic manual (printed) + full manual (on CD-ROM)
As with most cameras these days, the FinePix F300EXR has memory built right into it, in lieu of having a memory card included in the box. The camera has 40MB worth of memory, which holds just eight photos at the highest quality setting. That means that you'll want to pick up an SD or SDHC card right away, unless you have one already. I'd recommend picking up a 2GB or 4GB card for use with the camera. While buying a high speed card is probably a good idea, you don't need to go overboard and get a Class 10 model.
The F300 uses Fuji's NP-50 rechargeable lithium ion battery for power. This battery contains 3.4 Wh of energy when fully charged, which is about average for a camera in this class. Here's how that translates into battery life:
Casio definitely spoils the party for everyone else, with their EX-FH100 having double the battery life of most of the other cameras on the list. In this group, the FinePix F300EXR finds itself about 12% below average.
All of these cameras use proprietary lithium-ion batteries. Just to let you know, a spare, Fuji brand battery will set you back at least $30. And, when your battery dies, you won't be able to grab something at the corner store to get you through the day. That's just how it is with compact cameras these days, though!
As with all compact cameras, the FinePix F300EXR has a built-in lens cover, so there's no clumsy lens cap to deal with.
There's just one accessory available for the FinePix F300EXR, and that's an AC adapter. Unfortunately, you have to buy two parts to make it work: the AC-5VX power adapter ($33), plus the CP-50 DC coupler (price unknown). Both of these accessories are quite difficult to find.
Fuji includes their MyFinePix Studio software with the FinePix F300EXR. This Windows-only product is a flashy-looking photo transfer, editing, and sharing application. After you've copied your photos over to your PC, you'll end up at the screen above, which has a "3D" thumbnail view. Here you can filter through your photos in a number of ways (people, events, location) and create "Smart Albums", like in iTunes. Here you can also view a slideshow, print or e-mail a photo, or upload them to YouTube or Facebook.
Editing a photo in MyFinePix Studio
The editing features are fairly basic. You can do an auto image enhancement, or adjust the brightness, contrast, and gamma manually. You can rotate or crop a photo, and remove redeye. There are also numerous special effects, including classics like grayscale and sepia.
FinePixViewer for Mac
Mac users get their own piece of software, but it's not really worth installing. FinePixViewer for Mac hasn't changed in several years,and it's basically limited to viewing, cropping, rotating, and placing text onto your photos. I'd recommend just using iPhoto instead.
The documentation for the F300EXR is split into two parts. In the box you'll find a thin but printed manual that goes over the basics. If you want more details, you'll unfortunately have to open up the full manual, which is in PDF format on an included CD-ROM. The manuals are slightly above average when it comes to user-friendliness, and just okay in the "depth" department. Documentation for the included software is installed onto your Mac or PC.