Fuji’s latest travel compact camera is feature-packed and, at around £200, is affordable, too. Tim Coleman tests the FinePix F600EXR
The very wide construction of the lens results in curvilinear barrel distortion at wider focal lengths below 60mm (effective). Vignetting is obvious at the widest focal length, but is hardly noticeable at any other setting.
Likewise, with the same 16-million-pixel 6.4×4.8mm sensor as the F550EXR, there is no improvement in image quality over its predecessor, which means the F600EXR reaches the 22 marker on our resolution charts at ISO 100 and the 18 marker at ISO 3200. The extended ISO 6400 setting is at a reduced resolution and barely makes an impression on the resolution charts, although this is pretty much in line with the competition.
Luminance noise is quite noticeable at ISO 400, and by ISO 3200 it is very obvious, with patches of chroma noise in yellows, greens and magentas. In low-light conditions I found that although using the EXR auto modes gives a marginally more smudged result, the overall final image quality is much improved, with noise significantly reduced.
Despite this, as an all-purpose camera the F600EXR is one of the very best models available. Increasing the zoom range does compromise image quality a little, but a wide zoom is incredibly useful and provides the choice to capture from afar or fit in an entire scene from close up. Colours are more natural than many compact cameras that give an overly vivid colour rendition, although there is the option here to add some vibrancy using ‘Velvia’ in the film simulation.
Although using EXR auto mode doesn’t allow for exposure control, it is a very handy auto system. I found I could rely on it on many occasions to produce a good end result, regardless of what aperture was selected. In fact, sometimes it was preferable to making manual adjustments.
The EXR sensor has a unique method of processing information, and by combining neighbouring pixels the high resolution/high sensitivity (SN) and pro low-light settings deal with chroma noise that is more evident than when using the manual control, with a resulting smudging of detail.
Image: In this low-light scene, using the dedicated EXR setting proved better than controlling the exposure manually