Our third and final classic review, just to give you some ideas for Christmas, comes in the form of the Fujifilm FinePix F900EXR, originally reviewed in Issue 107!
The F900EXR sits at the top end of Fujifilm’s EXR range. The ‘EXR’ bit relates to a unique feature that has pride of place on the Mode dial. This mode helps define limits to settings such as resolution, noise, and detail to produce the best results possible.
The camera comes with some impressive technology stashed inside. This model in particular boasts the world’s fastest auto-focusing system, clocking in at 0.05sec. The blindingly fast focusing is all down to an Intelligent Hybrid AF system, meaning we could capture one-off moments without having to wait for the lens to readjust its focus.
The EXR-CMOS II sensor is back-illuminated and is useful for capturing details under poorly lit conditions. Outside in normal sunlight and images turned out looking crisp and colourful. The camera proved to be more than capable across all types of situations, from shooting close ups in Macro mode to capturing subjects from a great distance using its long 20x optical zoom lens. No situation proved too much for this camera, and with fully manual controls at hand we could tweak shutter speeds and aperture settings to take control over the desired amount of depth-of-field.
The EXR mode includes Resolution Priority, which maintains detail in images depending on the current conditions. There is a High ISO & Low Noise mode for better nighttime shots, and a D-Range Priority mode to prevent washout in highlight regions when shooting under bright conditions. Inside the Advanced mode we could take advantage of numerous artistic filters that include Partial Colour, Toy Camera, Miniature, Soft Focus, as well as High and Low Key effects, all for giving images an artistic flare. What’s more, Fujifilm can’t seem to let go of its old-school films, with Provia, Velvia and Astia styles available to tint and alter colour in an image.
The wide-angle to telephoto lens (25mm-500mm) tucks neatly inside its body and image quality runs throughout this focal range. This can even be expanded to 40x using the Intelligent Digital Zoom. What we soon discovered is that Fujifilm hasn’t skimped on this camera’s optical quality, which shows with images producing very little purple fringing in high-contrast scenes.
There were moments when we found ourselves lost within layer upon layer of menus. But when we forgot about the EXR and Advanced shoot modes and just used the camera in its normal Auto mode, we could capture some strikingly good exposures. The option to shoot in RAW or JPEG is a real bonus, as this opened the opportunity for editing and improving images in Adobe’s Camera Raw post-shoot.
With Wireless technology part of this model, linking up to social networks can be done using a smart phone. Images and videos could be transferred to a PC for safe keeping using FujiFilm’s PC AutoSave software, so long as a Wi-Fi connection is nearby.
Optical quality has always been a bit of a dividing line between DSLRs and compact cameras, but the F900EXR doesn’t shy away from optical showmanship. From a company with a deep-seeded history in photographic traditions, a solid lens construction and glass are to be expected, and this model delivered. The camera is a true outdoors model that will competently handle whatever situation you find yourself in. The rough-and-ready style is reflected in its thick and chunky design, and its RAW format means this will appeal to those of us looking to shoot for editing in Photoshop.