FujiFilm – FinePix Z800EXR review

high-end compact digital camera
Photo of FujiFilm – FinePix Z800EXR

You don’t appear to be anybody in technology these days if your device doesn’t have a large LCD screen and preferably a response to finger gestures. Fujifilm’s FinePix Z800EXR mid-range compact certainly has the big screen, its 89mm widescreen display covering pretty much the whole of its back face, and responds to simple gestures, like a sweep to move from shot to shot when reviewing.

It doesn’t have multi-touch support, though, so you’re back to tapping + and – keys for zoom control. The touch screen is very responsive and the touch buttons down both sides have obvious functions and are easy to use.

The only physical buttons on the camera are the shutter release and one to switch between capture and review. There’s a sprung toggle around the shutter release, which controls the 5x optical zoom, and the camera is turned on by flicking down the full-width lens cover, in an Olympus kind of way.

The main photographic advances are the hybrid auto focus system and enhanced dual-image stabilisation. Hybrid auto-focus works with two different auto-focus systems: phase detection AF in bright, high contrast situations, with contrast AF for low-light scenes. The result is fast auto-focus across a wide range of different shooting environments, all working transparently.

Making good use of this is a 12-megapixel EXR sensor, designed to render a wide dynamic range. Even so, some of the artificially lit product shots we took with the FinePix Z800EXR came out pretty noisy. Bright sunlit shots were fine, as you’d expect, and the AF gave sharp as well as well-coloured renditions.

The new image stabilisation is based around a revised gyro design and should mean you don’t need to increase the ISO setting to 800 or even 1600 to get sharply focused images. The camera also includes a couple of extras which may prove useful for capturing specific subjects.

The 360-degree panorama mode takes repeated shots as you rotate around on the spot, capturing up to a full 360-degree panorama, though only certain laboratories may be able to handle prints of images taken this way. Then there’s face recognition, not only of human faces, but of those of cats and dogs. With animal face recognition turned on, the camera optimises images of feline and canine subjects and not on the backgrounds to such scenes.

Like most new still cameras, the FinePix Z800EXR can also take videos. While still images can be captured in full 1080 HD resolution, in video mode you can only go up to 720p.

Company: FujiFilm

Contact: 0844 553 2322

Although at first glance some of the features of the Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR can seem a bit gimmicky, they're aimed at the tasks many families want from a camera, and in making it easier to capture the shots that will mean a lot. The touch screen is easy to use and on-screen buttons are just as convenient as gestures.