January 23, 2012
- Compact design
- Lots of shooting modes
- RAW image shooting
- GPS quickly drains battery
- Slow shooting speeds
- Issues with noise & sharpness in photos
The Fujifilm FinePix F600EXR is a 16-megapixel compact megazoom with a specialized EXR image sensor, which is designed to improve low-light performance. It has a large 15x optical zoom in addition to RAW shooting, GPS geotagging and overall good image and video quality.
The design of the camera feels very sturdy and quite compact despite containing a huge 15x zoom and an ultrawide-angle lens. The whole thing measures 4.0 x 2.4 x 1.2-inches (whd) and weighs about 7.6-ounces. It was easy to hold in our hands, but we occasionally had our fingers blocking off the flash at times, so perhaps that's a design flaw. The backside of the camera has a four-way pad and a surrounding scroll wheel. There's also a dedicated video record and a playback button as well. The 3-inch LCD display also on the back looked quite good in our use, but it did not noticeable noise at times. Tilted at a 45-degree angle on the top is the mode dial, which is conveniently placed under a finger while holding it so it's very easy to access. The top is where the power button, zoom toggle and shutter release are located.
On the bottom right is where the battery and memory card slot is housed. There's also a door that covers the micro-USB and mini-HDMI ports for multimedia use. A button on the left side also activates the flash to pop-up.
The menu system the camera uses may confuse some users as it requires a little bit of searching. Some of the features are awkwardly placed and may seem mind-boggling, so you'll want to read through the camera's manual before you use it.
Fujifilm has built a GPS receiver into the camera, which allows you to geotag your photos as you take them. Once the GPS has a satellite connection, which seemed to take quite awhile, you can also use an augmented-reality function, which allows you to pan the camera around you and it will point out any noted landmarks that you may want to take snapshots of. With all GPS-enabled cameras, it did eat through battery power quite quickly when the GPS is enabled, so use these features sparingly.
There are many shooting options the Fujifilm FinePix F600EXR has to offer, including Auto and Program modes and 18 scene modes. There's also the usual modes like aperture and shutter priority as well as a full manual mode, which lets you take full control over the camera's settings. There are also several modes that take advantage of the EXR image sensor. These include High Resolution Priority, which improves the dynamic range in noisy or high-contrast shooting conditions, and a few other related priority modes. There is an Auto EXR mode that will automatically choose the EXR mode based upon your current shooting conditions.
In addition to that, there is also a Pro Low-light feature, which will take several images quickly and combine them into one with less noise. For panoramic fans, there is a 360-degree panoramic feature that worked quite well in our tests.
Some of the Fujifilm FinePix F600EXR's specifications include a 16-megapixel resolution, a 15x optical zoom, aperture range of f3.5-5.3, a focal length of 24-360mm (35mm equivalent) and both mechanical and digital image stabilization. Images can be shot in either JPEG or RAW formats at a maximum resolution of 4608 x 3456-pixels and videos are shot in H.264 AAC at a maximum of 1080p HD. Supported memory cards include SD, SDHC and SDXC.
In subjective image tests, the F600EXR performed well, but it isn't without flaws. The automatic modes do a good job of getting you to a good starting point, but to really get the best shots out of this camera, you'll need to tweak some settings on your own. We found colors to be well-represented, mostly because of the camera's dynamic range features. Our biggest complaint is the loss of sharpness at low ISO speeds (from 400 onward). Visible noise was also an issue starting at these low ISO speeds, which really shouldn't be happening.
Shooting speeds were a little on the slow side, especially if you're using a mode that requires after-shot image processing. Shot-to-shot times with just Program Auto mode was about 2-seconds. Shutter lag in low-light conditions was also quite noticeable, so for fast-moving subjects, this most likely isn't the camera for you.
Video quality was average for a digital camera of this caliber. The zoom lens does work while recording video, but the lens motor is quite audible.