Fuji Finepix F300 EXR Camera Review
The Fuji Finepix F300 EXR inherits the unique EXR technology introduced in the F200 EXR and extends it with built-in Phase-Detection autofocus right on the imaging sensor for ultra-fast focusing speed in a compact digital camera. The EXR sensor is designed to capture high-resolution, low-noise or high-dynamic-range images, depending on one of its three operating modes. Unlike the 12 megapixels high-resolution mode, the enhanced modes capture 6 megapixels images with up to 800% more dynamic range than normal cameras can in a single exposure.
Sporting a stabilized Fujinon 15X ultra-wide-angle optical zoom lens, equivalent to 24-360mm in 35mm terms, the F300 EXR has an almost complete set of manual exposure modes, a rarity among small cameras. Between all its features, the F300 EXR covers an ISO range from 100 to 12800, with ISO 3200 achievable at its maximum resolution of 12 megapixels. HD video recording is new to this Fuji EXR as well.
The Fuji Finepix F300 EXR's major features include:
- 12 Megapixels SuperCCD EXR sensor.
- 6 Megapixels high-dynamic-range mode.
- 6 Megapixels low-noise mode.
- 15X ultra-wide-angle optical zoom, equivalent to 24-360 in 35mm terms.
- CCD-shift image stabilization.
- Hybrid autofocus: Phase-Detection at central point, contrast detection everywhere.
- ISO 100 to 3200 at full-resolution, 6400 at 6 megapixels and 12800 at 3 megapixels.
- Auto ISO with a selectable maximum of 400, 800 or 1600.
- Automatic and manual dynamic-range, selectable between 100%, 200% or 400%
- Automatic dynamic-range expansion up to 800% in 6 megapixels high-dynamic-range mode.
- 1/2000-8s Shutter-speed range.
- Automatic, aperture-priority and manual exposure modes.
- Multi-segment, average, spot and face-detect metering.
- Exposure compensation -2..+2 stops in 1/3 EV increments.
- Automatic white-balance, preset white-balance and custom white-balance.
- Provia, Velvia, Astia, B&W and Sepia film-simulation modes.
- 1.5 FPS continuous shooting at 12 megapixels, keeps first or last 5 images.
- 4.5 FPS continuous shooting at 3 megapixels, keeps first or last 23 images.
- 2s or 10s self-timer.
- 1280x720 30 FPS HD movie-mode, up to 2 GB.
- Built-in flash with auto, forced-on, forced-off, red-eye and slow-synchro modes.
- 3” LCD 460K Pixels.
- Lithium-ion battery operated.
- Uses SD-HC memory.
Suitability - What is it good for?
The Fuji Finepix F300 EXR is one of the most versatile digital camera which falls into the Travel-Zoom category. These are compact models best suited for travel-photography due to their powerful optical zoom lenses. In the case of this digital camera, the lens is equivalent to a 24-360mm lens in 35mm terms. This is a 15X optical zoom which starts at an ultra-wide angle and reaches well into the telephoto category. The range of focal-lengths is suitable for nearly any type of subject, including architecture, landscape, portraits, street photography and some wild-life.
The triple-mode EXR sensor of the F300 gives it even more usability than most fixed-lens cameras:
- EXR-HR - High-Resolution mode produces images suitable for large prints up to 20" x 15".
- EXR-DR - Dynamic-Range mode for bright outdoor scenes when contrast often very high.
- EXR-SN - Low-Noise mode to produce smoother images in low-light and typical indoor scenes.
The full ISO range on this digital camera goes from 100 all the way to 12800. Only ISO 100 to 1600 are available at 12 megapixels. ISO 3200 & 6400 are available at a very useful 6 megapixels and 12800 is available at the sufficient-for-small prints resolution of 3 megapixels. Note that very few cameras other than SLRs can produce usable images above ISO 800, we report on that on page 2. A complex interaction between various features means that not all combinations of ISO, dynamic-range and modes are available, this is discussed in details a bit further in this review..
The Fuji F300 EXR is still one of the few fixed-lens digital cameras to feature expanded dynamic range. This is achieved via a special sensor design which allows to read half of the photosites partway during the exposure. This is similar to the taking of multiple exposures for merging images into an HDR image. The difference being is that the full exposure taken exposes for the darkest details. When the sensor is read in this way the dynamic range goes to 800%, which equals 3 extra stops, but image resolution drops to 6 megapixels because one half of the photosites are used to complement the other half. Outside of this mode, this digital camera can control dynamic range between 100% and 400% by using clever processing while producing a full 12 megapixels image. Specifically, the F300 can retain 2 more stops of highlight details than what is usually possible. The trade-off is that the extra dynamic range is obtained by boosting sensitivity, therefore, this approach tends to increase noise in darker parts of images.
The Fuji F300 EXR is capable of dealing with a wide variety of lighting situations in terms of both color and contrast. With its automatic, preset and manual WB options, colors can be accurately captured in any situation. Flexible metering options, including spot-metering, allow the photographer to control how the F300 deals with unevenly-lit scenes. The F300 is also equipped with several scene modes, divided into normal and advanced modes.. Among normal ones, the natural light and flash mode which takes two pictures of a scene, one with and one without flash, deserves a quick mention. This saves time when not being certain which outcome would be better.
There are three advanced scene-modes: Motion Parorama-360, Pro Low-Light and Pro-Focus. The Motion Panorama-360 produces a low-resolution panorama directly in the camera while the camera is being swept across up to 360° field-of-view. Pro Low-Light use 4 images to simulate higher ISO settings while keeping noise low. Pro-Focus combined a focused foreground image with an out-of-focus background one to simulate shallow-depth of field. To accomplish this while allowing for camera movements, the field-of-view is reduced, so ultra-wide-angle shooting is not possible.
This travel-zoom also captures 720p HD video using a dedicated button. It can capture up to 2 GB of video with sound. The optical zoom is also available during video-recording, which most such cameras do not allow.
This digital camera is also equipped with the latest in face-detection. Face-detection is now quite common, particularly among small cameras. The basic principle is that the camera tries to recognize faces and sets the focus and exposure accordingly. Both camera-facing and sideway-facing faces are recognized by Fuji's latest Face Detection. Fuji uses the face-detection during playback as well, so that the user can verify that it worked. In face-detect mode, the F300 EXR uses a special metering mode to keep faces well-exposed. The same face-detection system can also be used to remove red-eye during playback. The novelty is Face-Recognition which lets the Fuji tag images with people's name and ages. It seems to work with camera-facing faces quite well. All this, plus high-ISO capabilities, really emphasize the Fuji F300 suitability as a social photography camera.
Fuji F300 EXR Facts
|12 Megapixels Travel Zoom||ISO 100-3200|
|15X Ultra-Wide Optical Zoom||Shutter 1/2000-8s|
|Built-in Stabilization||Full manual controls|
|1.5 FPS Drive, 5 Images||Custom white-balance|
|1280x720 @ 24 FPS Video Recording||Spot-Metering|
|3" LCD 460K Pixels||Lithium-Ion Battery|
|Secure Digital High Capacity|
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