Fuji’s latest travel compact camera is feature-packed and, at around £200, is affordable, too. Tim Coleman tests the FinePix F600EXR
Build and handling
Like all good compact cameras designed for travel, the Fuji FinePix F600EXR is very small, measuring just 103.5×62.5×32.6mm, with a minimum depth of 22.9mm. This means the camera slips comfortably into a trouser pocket. A leather-effect strip on the front of the body provides a good grip, and the position of the angled shooting-mode dial next to the thumb is spot on.
The size and layout of the F600EXR are virtually identical to its predecessor, with Fuji sticking to its simple and effective design. On the previous model, the flash automatically popped up on start-up, which was a minor frustration, but on the F600EXR there is a catch to release the pop-up flash.
Changing the focal range is a breeze thanks to the fast and responsive zoom. In cameras of this type I am usually concerned about the telephoto end of the lens, where any movements in handheld shooting are magnified. However, the F600EXR features continuous and shooting stabilisation, with each able to be combined with motion stabilisation. This makes a huge difference when activated, giving an approximate extra 2EV light of shake-free results. Given that 2EV in the ISO sensitivity range can mean the difference between shooting at ISO 200 and ISO 800, this is significant.
Although I like to keep manual control over a camera, there are situations when the EXR auto mode is preferable, and one example is in the telephoto settings. Only in this mode is ‘advanced anti-blur’ available, and this provides even better stabilisation for blur-free results.
As part of its travel-friendly make-up, the F600EXR offers GPS geotagging that displays latitude and longitude information. Furthermore, the name of the place and a landmark can be included. Landmark Navigator acts like a compass, and indicates where and how far landmarks and places of interest are in relation to the current position. This is a great tool to use if you are in an unfamiliar location. In built-up areas such as central London the signal is interrupted at times, so the information is not always available.
GPS is a great tool for the traveller, although it should come with a warning about the battery. A 300-shot battery life is quoted, but this is significantly reduced when GPS is activated. There is the option to deactivate the location search, have it activated when the camera is switched on or have it on permanently.
On one occasion I found that the battery was flat when I came to use it, without having taken a single shot, because the feature was permanently on. I found that activating the GPS when I was in a location I wanted to remember, and then deactivating it afterwards, was the best compromise. The tags can be used in conjunction with Google Maps and the included MyFinePix Studio software to plot a route of the journey.
Image: Such a wide focal range makes shooting a number of situations possible, which is good for getting in close to distant subjects