Steve's Conclusion

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Steve's SnapShot
fuji_f600exr_500.jpg
  • 16.1-megapixel Backside Illuminated CMOS imaging sensor
  • 15x optical zoom lens covers 24-360mm
  • Dual Core EXR image processor
  • 3.0-inch LCD with 461K pixels
  • EXR auto with 99 shooting patterns
  • Full HD video recording (1920x1080) with sound @ 30fps
  • 360° Motion Panorama
  • Pro Low-Light and Pro Focus modes
  • Sensor-shift image stabilization
  • Built-in GPS
  • Li-ion power source
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card slot
  • mini-HDMI output/AV out digital ports 

Pros
  • Excellent image quality
  • Good shooting performance
  • Always ready to record movies with one touch of a button
  • 1080p video recording is clear and smooth when in focus
  • Good high ISO performance up to 1600
  • Easy to see 3.0-inch LCD screen
  • Point-n-shoot with EXR auto
  • Full Manual control
  • GPS records location of images
Cons
  • Flash is a little weak with a max. range of only 10 feet at wide angle
  • Stereo mics pick up slightest breeze and lots of background noise
  • Higher ISO settings are unacceptable (3200-12800)
  • Advanced modes are easy but lack in image quality
  • Camera has problems keeping moving subjects in focus when shooting video
Timing Test Results
  • Power up to first image captured = 2.4 seconds
  • Shutter lag when prefocused  = less than 1/10 of a second
  • Shutter lag with autofocus = approx. 4/10 - 5/10 of a second
  • Shot to shot delay wo/flash =  1.24 seconds between frames
  • Shot to shot delay w/flash = 2.52 seconds
  • Continuous =  3.64fps @ (L) (8 frames)
  • Continuous =  8.89fps @ (S) (32 frames)
  • All tests were taken using a PNY Pro Class 10 (20MB/s) 8GB SDHC memory card, Program Mode, Flash off, ISO Auto and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise.
Bottom Line
The Fujifilm FinePix F600 EXR pushes the limits of a compact digicam with its advanced EXR system and powerful 15x zoom lens. It provides a fantastic set of features, great performance and excellent image quality in a body that fits in your pocket.
Pick This Up If...
...You are looking for a compact camera that you can easily carry and still have the versatility for any shooting situation.
Fuji's new FinePix F600EXR is a fully loaded compact digicam. Crammed into its petite body is a 16-Megapixel Backside Illuminated CMOS image sensor, Dual Core EXR processor, huge 15x optical zoom lens, 3.0-inch LCD and a dedicated video button for capturing full 1080p HD videos. Combining all of these great features with the camera's EXR Auto mode gives you one of the most capable point-n-shoot cameras available. It will not only pick the correct scene mode for you, but it will also choose a sensor mode and anti-blur mode for your current situation. If auto isn't for you, then you will be more than happy with every mode possible between Program and Manual, for little to total control. Either way, everyone will be able to find a shooting mode they like to use.

As one of Fuji's first cameras to sport the newer EXR CMOS imaging sensor, the F600EXR combines the quality of Fuji's EXR system with speed and quality of the back side illuminated sensor to produce outstanding image quality with amazing performance. The EXR Auto mode chooses between 3 sensor modes and 27 scene shooting modes based on your current shooting conditions. The addition of motion detection and anti-blur technology help assure you that your images are crisp all the time. This allows for anyone to capture the best possible images, even in the toughest situations. These features are paired with the Extra-Low Dispersion Glass lens to provide the best optics possible to complete the EXR system. 

This compact camera is very heavy and sturdy, giving you the confidence you use the camera without the fear of bumping and breaking it. With a small grip on the right side, it is easy to handle and operate with just one hand, or two if you prefer. However, the pinch technique will not work with the location of the pop-up flash. Only the dedicated video button is tricky to use without looking, as it sits on the bottom of the thumb grip; taking a little getting used to at first. Framing and viewing your images is accomplished on the 3.0-inch, 460,000 dot LCD screen. This large screen and high resolution allows you to see a great deal of detail both when you are shooting and when you are viewing your images. Featuring 11 levels of brightness, you will have no trouble seeing this screen in any lighting conditions.

The addition of GPS to the F600EXR is incredibly useful, not only for documenting where your images were taken, but also to help you find landmarks and return to your favorite places after you save them. In playback mode you can enter into a mode that acts as a GPS unit that shows you the location and distance of famous landmarks (a must on vacation). It also allows you to set your own locations so that you can find them once again.

Looking at our outdoor image samples, we see excellent overall image quality. Exposure and color are excellent, while the camera produced a clear, sharp image throughout as well. Even with our tricky museum shot, the camera outperformed most others with its clear light and shadows in the high dynamic image. Its image stabilization also works very well, giving us a sharp image using the full 15x zoom with no problems. The overall versatility from the 15x optical zoom (24-360mm, 35mm equivalent) is amazing. Providing you with vast landscapes and large group portraits at a close range on the wide end, while at the same time allowing you to get closer to a subject than most other compact digicams on the telephoto end, gives you the confidence that you will always be able to get the best shot.

Shooting indoors with the F600EXR produced similar results to our outdoor samples. We can see the same crystal clear images with excellent color exposure as outside. At ISO 100 the camera's slowest shutter speed was a little too fast shooting in aperture priority mode for a correct exposure, but was great after that. Throughout the ISO range, the camera excelled through ISO 1600, producing excellent results for the settings. ISO 800 and 1600 do show some noise and a slight lack of detail when you look at the images at 100%, but will still produce some excellent smaller prints. After ISO 1600, the higher ISO settings do not do very well and should not be used unless absolutely necessary. Assisting with you low-light shooting is Fuji's super-intelligent flash. It correctly lights your image, even at close range, while still allowing your background objects to be captured in their correct lighting as well. It is easy to forget this flash as it does not pop-up on its own, which could cause you to miss a candid shot or two. Overall the flash worked well as long as you are within the flash's effective range: approx. 10 feet at wide angle, 6.2 feet at telephoto.

Portrait photography with the F600EXR is fun and easy. With Face Detection, Face Recognition and an auto release that automatically releases the shutter when a face is detected, the camera gives you several ways to capture people with or without them being ready. Our sample portraits show a great exposure and color tone, while the super-intelligent flash was also able to illuminate the details of the background. Redness in the eyes was also non-existent while using the flash when a face was detected.

Thanks to the power of the EXR system, Fuji was able to add a few advanced shooting modes that you will not normally find on a digicam. All three use the camera's burst abilities to capture several shots that are combined in different ways to create different effects. Motion Panorama 360 captures a series of images that are combined to create an image that can cover a full 360° range. Pro Focus captures several images in order to blur the background behind your subject and Pro Low-Light mode uses several images that are combined to reduce noise and allow you to capture night shots without a tripod. While all of these modes work ok, they are no substitute to taking the time to capture these images correctly. Pro Focus was especially disappointing.   

Capturing videos with the F600EXR is as easy as hitting the dedicated video recording button, no matter what shooting mode you are in. It captures very nice video with stereo sound at the full 1080p HD video resolution, but it struggles with the continuous auto focus when you are recording a moving subject. Since most of the movies we record have a moving subject, it can get a little annoying. Other than that, the movies play back smoothly on the camera or on any HDTV with an optional HDMI cable. 

Powering this FinePix model is a 3.6V, 1000mAh rechargeable Li-Ion battery. While Fuji claims that the battery is capable of supplying 300 frames on a single charge, we had to recharge several times to complete our tests. This is not normal of Fuji's batteries and we may have gotten a bad battery so we cannot accurately report on the battery life; although the NP-50 battery has performed well in the past with other camera models we've tested. Also included with the camera is a portable quick charger that allows you to keep your battery and a spare charged and on hand at all times. As you'll read in a large majority of our reviews, a second battery pack is highly recommended if the budget allows.

Bottom Line - Fujifilm's FinePix F600EXR is definitely a powerful compact digicam. Featuring a Backside Illuminated 16-Megapixel CMOS image sensor, EXR dual core image processor, 15x optical zoom lens, sensor-shift image stabilization, EXR auto shooting and full 1080p HD video capture, this camera is capable of just about anything you can imagine. Outstanding image quality and performance back up the outstanding set of features making this camera well worth the $449.99 USD price tag.



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