By >Daimaou - G.G-B
[Review] Fujifilm 300EXR a serious upgrade, but not a killer against other serious Point & Shoot
You may think that we love bashing Fujifilm, and my friends you are wrong. Sure we never been always “gentle” with the company, especially with their 3D W1, but we love the company’s recent commitment to improve things and to keep on working to bring innovation forwards like on their latest 3D W3 camera.
And today, while we must admit that we haven’t been blown away by their latest point & shoot the 300EXR, we have to stress that Fujifilm has done an amazing job in improving their latest model and even add some nice features that has been yet to come on their direct competitors.
Fujifilm FinePix 300EXR Specifications.
- 12 megapixel
- Full EXR modes, with EXR auto
- 15x Fujinon lens, 24mm – 360 mm equivalent
- New Hybrid Auto-Focus System (Contrast AF & Phase Detection AF)
- Full HD Photo and 720p HD Video
- 3.0” LCD
- CCD Shift Image Stabilization System with Gyro Sensor
- P/A/S/M Exposure Control
- Face Detection, Face Recognition
- Motion Panorama 360˚
You will be surprise, but we really like the touch and feel of the 300EXR, the camera is elegant, well design and build with high-end materials. By no means the 300EXR is a “Cheap” looking camera, and if we still prefer the Canon S90 and now S95 minimalistic design, the 300EXR comes just right behind it.
Ergonomic? Yep, the 300EXR is, with just one exception, a model in this area with perfectly place buttons, easy to understand and to manipulate. The 300EXR ergonomic is almost flawless (nothing is perfect anyway) if you are holding the camera with one hand and if you happen to be right-handed. Now despite the fact that I am left-handed, I never been uncomfortable using this camera or another cameras for that matter with my right hand. However! While we are all convince that the 300EXR has been pretty much well designed, we all agreed at the office that we use both our hands to hold a point and shoot, this to better stabilize the camera, something made quite difficult to do with Fujifilm “Always-On” pop-up flash.
Yep whatever you will do, whatever weather condition or lighting condition you will face, our camera flash will always be “Up” and ready to use… Sure this may sound trivial for some, but it actually really alter the way you handle the camera and has a nasty effect on your shots if you want to shoot something in rush and struggle with the way you will handle the camera.
Another great features that’s so far only available on the Fujifilm latest point and shoot and especially on the 300EXR, is its ultra fast and ultra precise AF (Auto Focus). No seriously this AF is as fast as most SLR equipped with professional lenses available nowadays on the market.
Thanks to the adaption of SLR Phase detection autofocus technology on Fujifilm Super CCD EXR censor structure, which has twice as much pixels as on a regular sensor, Fujfilm succeed to tweak the SLR Phase detection AF into its 300EXR and still provide accurate results.
Shooting fast moving object is now, thanks to Fufijilm Phase detection AF, on the 300EXR a real bliss and from now on you will never miss a single shot…
But, and yes there is a But. While Fujifilm succeed to offer a fast and accurate AF by compensating the lack of accuracy of the Phase Detection AF with their High density pixel Super EXR CCD and by manipulate the way the camera handle both, this clever and rather unusual “Subterfuge” only works in “perfect” conditions not too bright and not to dark neither, meaning that your Camera will have to also rely on the usual and slower Contrast AF if you are shooting in dark areas in order to assist the 300EXR Phase Detection AF. Personally, we did not see much change with AF speed and accuracy in low light condition, but this, of course, will depends on your setting and environment. Nevertheless, the 300EXR AF is fast and we really had pleasure with it!
Let’s Shoot in EXR Baby!
–Update : The entire set of pictures below has been Shot in EXR mode (in its different setting)–
Now its time for us to talk about the 300EXR photo quality. As we already know, the 300EXR AF is fast and accurate so, we never faced any problems while shooting picture and our focus was always right where we wanted it do be. However, our first shoots were not as impressive as we hoped for.
Back on the way home, we decided to shoot things around in Jiyugaoka, as well as in a near by Chinese restaurant. Compared to the S90 Canon that we also carry around, the Fujifilm 300EXR is just a pure disappointment. In Every single modes, ranging from M, P… and EXR, the 300EXR at ISO 400 was offering way more JPEG artifacts/noise than our Canon S90 at ISO800, making it almost unbearable if you start manipulating pictures on your PC and need to crop at your picture maximum resolution. Even if you are plugging your camera to a TV and want to enjoy your pictures with friends and family you will immediately see how “weak” compared to other competitors, the 300EXR is in low light.
Disappointed by the 300EXR result we where not really expectation things to change in better conditions, and for once we have been pleasantly surprised. Regardless of your setting, at ISO 100, the EXR tends to be a better shooter under the “perfect” sky. Even if at LOW ISO the 300EXR is still showing some JPEG artifacts on every-shot we made, the difference between bright and dark scenery is really like “Day & Night”. Seriously, the 300EXR is not capable to march Canon S90 in this area, but comes as a nice and acceptable replacement in such setting.
Fujifilm 300EXR 720p Video Mode.
Believe it or not, but nowadays, selling a Point & Shoot without a HD or Full HD Video mode is a marketing suicide and this regardless of the video output quality.
To be quite honest with you, there is no way on earth we will ever shoot video and being capable to share them to families or even watching them on TV after we seen how bad the result is. Jpeg artifacts on each and every sample we took where just unbearable, anyway, just check the video samples below and the few screenshot we have for you and we will let you be the judge on the 300EXR video quality.
Dispite of its low light result and unusable HD Video Mode, the Fujilim 300EXR is a good camera. Looking for an everyday compact shooter with a nice 15x optical Zoom, a fast AF and elegant body, the 300EXR is really worth checking. However if you are a bit more “Pixel” conscious, don’t car about your camera video or having a nice Optical Zoom… The 300EXR is no match even against Canon old S90 Sold now in Japan at the same price.