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Fujifilm S200EXR Review
Date: Oct 19, 2009
Category: Beginner to Serious Amateur
Photoxels Editor's Choice 2009 - Super Zoom
Wednesday, Sep 23, 2009 - Here's what I receive
in the box:
- FinePix S200EXR
- No memory card [Fujifilm sent me a 2GB SD memory card for the review]
- Li-ion NP-140 Rechargeable Battery 7.2V 1150mAh 7.8Wh
- Battery Charger BC-140 with Power Cord
- Shoulder Strap
- Lens Cap, Retaining String and Lens Cap Holder
- USB Cable and A/V Cable
- Documentation: Basic Manual
- Software CDs: Owner's Manual; Software for FinePix CZ Version
5.5b for Windows and Macintosh
The Fujifilm FinePix S200EXR represents itself as a DSLR alternative -- an all-in-one solution that provides the manual controls and functionality of a DSLR without the hassle and expense of investing in additional lenses and other accessories. As such, it comes fully loaded with features, including a 14.3x wide-angle optical zoom lens (30.5-436mm equiv.).
Though there are other super zoom digital cameras with even more zoom power than the Fujifilm S200EXR, none comes as close to the handling and feel of a DSLR. As if to leave all doubts behind, the S200EXR is designed to look, feel and handle like a DSLR -- and makes no excuse for being as big and heavy as one.
There are lots of buttons, one for almost every function you can think of. There is a Mode Dial, an ISO button, an exposure compensation button, a button to select metering mode, a drive button, a WB button, one to turn Face Detection on, and a Focus mode selector (Continuous-AF, Single-AF, Manual Focus) with a middle button which also serves as One-Touch AF and AF Area selector. Then there is this wonderful manual zoom ring.
|Manual Zoom Ring
|For this neat zoom effect, I use the relatively slow shutter speed of 1/20 sec.
while zooming from wide to tele during the image capture.
A couple of changes from the S100FS: the IS button on the S100FS has been switched to a WB button on the S200EXR. It's a good compromise as I guess most photographers would leave IS on at all times, except when using the camera on a tripod. Sepia color option was not available on the S100FS but is now available on the S200EXR. One improvement of the MENU is that it does not throw you out once you've selected an EXR option -- as it did on the S100FS.
We have an incredible amount of choice out there. We have compact ultra zoom digital cameras that are now pocketable; super zoom digital cameras smaller than the S200EXR; even entry-level DSLRs smaller and lighter than the S200EXR. At around $600, the Fujifilm S200EXR is close to entry-level DSLR territory (albeit with a shorter zoom lens). Also, the S200EXR bucks the trend toward smaller and lighter digital SLR (and DSLR-quality) cameras.
So, is the S200EXR a good alternative to a DSLR? And is it the best digital camera for you?
If you are a point-and-shoot digicam user and want to upgrade to DSLR handling, performance and image quality -- but do not think you'll ever buy additional lenses, and what you really want as far as a lens is concerned is a long zoom -- then the S200EXR may be what you're looking for. A Fujifilm S200EXR costs much less than a DSLR equipped with the equivalent long zoom lens.
If you are an inveterate DSLR user, want DSLR performance, image quality and super zoom coverage -- but don't want to lug your expensive pro digital camera and lens to family and social events -- then you may find the S200EXR comes closest to what you're used to in a digital camera.
The real differentiator that sets the Fujifilm S200EXR apart from its competitors is the Super CCD EXR image sensor (and accompanying Real Photo Processor EXR technology) which probably deserves an award for putting an end to blown highlights once and for all. You can use the Fujifilm S200EXR almost exclusively in
the EXR AUTO mode and consistently obtain great pictures. Remember though that, except for EXR - RESOLUTION PRIORITY, the other EXR modes save a 6M image.
- Higher resolution LCD and EVF for even easier and more precise manual AF.
- Wider angle starting focal length.
- AF Area: needs Spot AF metering; also, needs to apply to macro mode also.
- Photometry Selector Dial: too stiff; redesign for easier use.
- Faster Playback display. There is a slight lag after an image is displayed on screen before you can press the Menu button to access the Menu.
- Sleep mode: when the camera turns off to save power, should be able to wake up the camera when it goes into sleep mode.
The FinePixViewer software is one of my favorite
because all the information is contained in one
screen. Each image's filename is clearly visible
and you do not need to launch another window to
view the EXIF info. You can also do basic image
editing, re: auto adjust, manual adjust of brightness, saturation, hue, contrast, sharpness, sepia, B&W, correct red-eye.
The FinePixViewer included on the CD ROM can display RAW files but cannot edit them. According to the Owner's Manual, a new version that will allow editing of RAW files will apparently be available for download from Fujifilm's site November 2009. We are surprised that FinePixViewer reports our RAW files as 6M (2808 x 2108 pixels) and 25MB in size (the resolution seems like a mistake).
[ Fujifilm download site ]
A Basic Manual in how to setup and operate your camera is provided in print. The Owner's Manual is now on the CD, which means you can't carry it with you, but on the other hand it is easily searchable.
Buy the Fujifilm FinePix S200EXR if you want the best bridge super zoom available. You get a super zoom with image stabilization, manual zoom ring, very good image quality, and extended dynamic range that really works.