By >Daimaou - G.G-B
Fujifilm FinePix S200EXR… The Review
Even though we weren’t that impressed with the last Fujifilm camera we tested, we wanted to fully experience Fujifilm’s latest technology, EXR, and decided to give it a try with Fujifilm’s high-end FinePix S200EXR.
As you know I’ve never never been a “Bridge” fan. I’ve owned some and was always disappointed… I even said once that Bridges are for people who hate taking pictures… Well rest assured, my week with the FinePix S200EXR wasn’t that bad!
Fujifilm S200EXR Specs
- Fujinon 14.3x optical zoom lens, F2.8 (Wide) – F5.3 (Telephoto)
- 12-megapixel resolution
- 1/1.6-inch Super CCD EXR
- 3.0-inch LCD with 230,000 pixels
- ISO range of 100 to 3200 (with a 6400 and 12800 extended mode)
- Compact Flash and SD/SDHC support + Internal memory (Approx. 47MB)
- JPEG (Exif Ver. 2.2), CCD-RAW (RAW format), CCD-RAW+JPEG
When I first read about the FinePix S200EXR on the official press release and saw the press shots, I was intrigued and overall liked its body. However after holding it I was a bit disappointed… Nothing wrong with its design, but I expected it to be a bit better (why are ads and press photos always misleading), especially with the materials they used. The plastic looks cheap and for a camera that costs almost 60,000 Yen in Japan (€459) we expected something better, especially when both Canon and Sony have released better constructed Bridges.
The same applies for both the LCD and GUI. The overall GUI is old and needs polishing… I understand a nice GUI doesn’t make an average camera an amazing one, but since a lot of time may be spent with the GUI when setting up a camera, it should be nice. Another complaint is with Fujifilm’s choice of LCD. Colors are just fine but the resolution is too low when compared to other Bridges in the same category.
Let’s Shoot Baby
Like the real thing (a DSLR or SLR), the S200EXR features basic settings like the usual P, S, A, M, custom C1 & C2 and the obvious AUTO and EXR… Of course I tested the Manual and AUTO Modes, but most of the time I played with the EXR… Why? Because it gave me WAY better pictures with more dynamics than the other modes.
The S200EXR didn’t impress me much in both M, P and Auto Mode. The settings are clumsy, the camera is slow when shooting fast moving action and the results, once you find the perfect setting, lacks dynamic.
Dynamic, yep the lack of dynamics is what the EXR Mode tried to fix and Fujifilm really nailed it… They completely rethought the usual CCD structure (see below, and for more info on EXR Technology) by realigning the CCD structure to better capture images and provide more dynamics on each picture by giving more detail to each shot.
Guess what? It works pretty damn well!
Depending of your requirements Fujifilm has ERX Modes, HR (Resolution Priority), SR (High ISO & Low Noise) and DR (D-Range Priority)…
Of course you won’t get DSLR like photo quality with the S200EXR, photos are too grainy and visible color fringing is a common chromatic aberration too often visible. Despite the above mentioned limit, EXR Mode is pretty impressive. Once I discovered how better pictures came out with it I kept using it.
Another nice surprise was how it handled noise, even with hi-ISO in low light and with ISO 1600. Quality is very acceptable as you can see below. The S200EXR at ISO 1600 really impressed me and outperformed other cameras.
In the below gallery is a series of photos shot in EXR AUTO, then in P Mode at ISO 100. Hi-resolution untouched photo samples can be downloaded here:
At 60,000 Yen (€459), Fujifilm still has some work to do when it comes to the basic GUI, LCD resolution and construction. A Bridge is not my favorite kind of camera, however the addition of EXR Technology on the S200 really improves it… If you’re uncomfortable with using a DSLR, the S200EXR, thanks to Fujifilm EXR Technology, may gave you exactly what you’re looking for… Keep it on EXR Auto, play with one of its three settings, and you’ll be sure to get really nice shots…
Yes, the S200EXR has a video mode, but it’s not HD capable and well… Let’s say it’s more like a gadget rather than a useful feature.