Customer Review

56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Full In-Depth Review Of The Fuji F900EXR, 18 May 2013
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This review is from: Fujifilm FinePix F900EXR Digital Camera - Black (16MP, 20x Optical Zoom) (discontinued by manufacturer) (Camera)
Those of you who are considering purchasing this camera and want to know how good, or not good this camera is in reality (not just on paper); this detailed, in-depth review of the Fuji F900EXR will hopefully give you the important key facts to help you decide. Having many years experience with Fuji cameras, such as the Fuji S2 Pro, S3 Pro, F31fd and the Fuji F200EXR you can be sure that I will leave no stone unturned in this review and will highlight the good, bad, but hopefully not the ugly concerning the F900EXR.

O.K. Let's kick off this review with looking at what's good about this camera:-

Overall build quality - The F900EXR has a really nice high quality feel to it, ergonomically it fits nicely into one's hand and it looks good. One thing to point out is that if you have very large hands this camera and its buttons may be too small for you, but for the most people like myself with average size hands, or people with small hands, this camera fits like a hand in a glove.

Hi-Resolution Monitor Screen - Put simply, it's lovely; images and video displayed on the camera's monitor screen have a real wow factor to them, with great colour, contrast and clarity; top marks here.

Customisable function buttons - A good and very usable feature: I set my `Fn' button for Quick ISO selection and the `E-Fn' for quick access to continues shoot, dynamic range, metering modes and white balance.

Wi-Fi Upload - I like its Wi-Fi ability to upload pictures directly to one's PC using one's wireless router; although setting this option up can be something a task in itself and you have to download a bit of software from the Fuji web site.

20 x Zoom - A good and very useful zoom range that in the 35mm film format equates to a range of 24mm to 500mm, more range than most people will ever need. The sensor-shift image stabilisation helps keep things steady to prevent camera shake, however at when zooming towards the maximum side you still need steady hands. It's not the best image stabilisation out there, but it does a reasonably good job.The 20x zoom maintains good clarity and sharpness throughout its range, which indicates good quality optics from Fuji.

Full HD Video - On the video side the full HD video produces good results, although not as good as a dedicated camcorder. I like the fact that that the speed of zooming in and out is controllable, if you turn the zoom control a bit it zooms slowly and if you turn it more, it zooms fast (very fast), however, there is nothing in between and more control over the zoom rate would be useful. The ability to zoom slowly does help one to frame your scene when taking pictures and that's a good point. Sound is recorded in stereo with the camera's internal microphones; there is however no option to plug in an external microphone to give better sound quality. For full HD video, I recommend using a Class 10, SDHC memory card, 16GB does the job nicely.

Dual-focus system - The dual-focus system using contrast and phase detection works really well, even in low light; focusing is quick and accurate. There is no manual focus option and I would have liked to have seen it included.

RAW - The fact that one can take RAW and Fine Jpeg images at the same time is really great, it's the best of both Worlds and is a key selling point for this camera. To see the results of what is achievable in RAW, I have posted 20 images for you to see and hopefully enjoy: click on the 'See all customer images' link on the top of the this product page (black colour camera model). The RAW converter software that comes with the camera is however somewhat limiting and a better option would be to use Adobe Lightroom to process your RAW images, or Photoshop CS6 if you can afford it.

EXR Modes - For me personally, the key selling point for this camera (besides RAW) is the EXR DR (Dynamic Range) mode: In this mode the Fuji sensor takes two pictures at the same time at different sensitivities and combines them to produce an image of far greater dynamic range than would otherwise be possible. The ability to take pictures in bright sunlight conditions without blowing out all the highlights in the image is simply amazing and the extra headroom that RAW provides enables one to produce images that are truly stunning and exceptional. All the 20 images ('See all customer images' link on the top of the this product page - black colour camera model) are taken in EXR DR mode and one can see the benefit for yourselves; quite simply it puts other compact cameras in the shade. In practice, DR set to 400% works best for me.

Pro Focus mode - A really great feature that nicely blurs the background while keeping the subject sharp; great for portrait shots and gives a nice professional touch to the image. Although one cannot take RAW images in this mode, one can in the `save data setup' menu select the option to save the original unprocessed JPEG image as well as the Pro Focus image. Note: Flash cannot be used in this mode.

Pro Low-Light mode - Another great feature that takes four pictures in rapid succession and produces a good detailed image with very low noise, very useful when working in low light conditions. As with the Pro Focus mode, one cannot take RAW images in this mode, however, one can in the `save data setup' menu select the option to save the original unprocessed JPEG image as well as the Pro Low-Light image. Flash cannot be used in this mode.

JPEG Images - The in-camera processing of its JPEGs is in fact very good; images have plenty of detail and image noise is kept under control, which is good news for those who want to stick with JPEGS rather than work with RAW images.

Image Display Zoom - In the menu, under `Screen Setup' one can set the image preview to zoom automatically to maximum after a picture is taken; this enables one to quickly check that the image is ok (in sharp focus and free of camera shake); there is however no quick option to delete the photo if its a dud, one has to go into the playback menu to do this.

O.K. Now let us look at what's not so good about this camera:-

EXR NR Mode - The EXR NR (Image Noise Reduction) mode which reduces the noise visible in an image at higher ISOs, performed below expectation, in fact it was hard to see any the difference at all. On my older model the Fuji F200EXR, this feature performed admirably and made a big improvement in image quality by reducing the noise in the image, the Fuji F900EXR is poor by comparison and that's why I give this product only four stars.

ISO & Noise - When it comes ISO / Noise level performance, the auto ISO setting of the camera; for example, when scene modes are selected, or when using auto ISO options; it is well controlled by the camera firmware and does not seem to go to unnecessary high ISO levels (which is good), however, the total pixels to sensor size ratio means that noise becomes a major issue above ISO 800 and it is best to keep within the range of ISO 100 to ISO 400 where possible. People have been miss sold the notion that more pixels gives better and more detailed images, however, putting more pixels on small sensors means that the individual pixels have to be smaller and therefore the light gathering area of each pixel is reduced and this leads to more noise in the image, which reduces the overall picture quality. In my view, if Fuji had made this camera a 12 mega pixel instead of 16 mega pixel, the images produced would have been significantly better and so would the results in EXR ND mode; unfortunately, people still want more pixels for their money.

Auto ISO - Although Auto ISO works very well, there is no indication of what the actual ISO that has been selected is, prior to taking a picture and one has to keep going into the playback menu to find out; this uses more of the Camera's display monitor and drains the battery more quickly.

When it comes to battery life, it's o.k. but nowhere near exceptional, so one will need to get a couple extra; they're not expensive and you can use either NP50A, or NP50 batteries. Fuji can do better here, their Fuji F31fd was known as the 24hr camera because one could take pictures all day long (over 400 images) and there will still be power left in its battery.

In conclusion:-

The F900EXR is a very nice camera, full of good useful features and produces nice images with plenty of detail and good colour and really shines in EXR DR mode and RAW enables one to get the maximum out of your images. The F900EXR is a good high-end compact camera and better than many I have looked at before making my purchase; it doesn't replace my SLRs, not by a long shot, but it is a good camera to have in your pocket for those unexpected photo opportunities.
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Comments

Tracked by 6 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 23 May 2013 10:19:41 BDT
Last edited by the author on 23 May 2013 10:20:27 BDT
V.Edwards says:
Thanks for the review. Just a query - have you tried taking any photos using the 8 megapixel settings? If so can you comment on the difference in image quality between 8 and 16 megapixels? I own the F550EXR and have found that taking photos on the reduced resolution actually produces better detail. Is this the case with the F900EXR? I'd like to know if it's worth upgrading. Thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 May 2013 00:24:39 BDT
Last edited by the author on 24 May 2013 00:29:55 BDT
Victor says:
On examination, I would say that the images at 8 megapixels do look better then that compared with 16 megapixels, with the best results obtained using EXR SN mode (High ISO & Low Noise). The high resolution (16 megapixel) mode produces good results at ISO 100 to ISO 200 (in good lighting conditions), but at ISO 400 and above the benefit is lost. Should you upgrade from the F550EXR? The F900EXR is a nice camera that takes decent photos; however; I suspect that image quality won't be significantly better than that produced by the F550EXR and so the things to consider are its features, such as the 20x Zoom, RAW images, full HD video, quicker dual focus system, wi-fi upload, high resolution monitor screen, etc. Hope this is of help to you.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 May 2013 18:00:14 BDT
Last edited by the author on 24 May 2013 18:00:49 BDT
V.Edwards says:
Thanks for your reply. I'm not interested in Wi-fi or video but the other features might be useful. I think I'll wait for some of the professional reviews before deciding. Not sure that the extra 5x zoom alone is worth upgrading for. Thanks again.

Posted on 25 Oct 2013 14:40:53 BDT
I'm sorry, I don't understand most of the technical terms. I am looking for a good camera for home life and family photos but I have 3 cats and want as small as possible a gap between pressing the button and the camera actually taking a picture. At the moment, my camera is very basic and takes about 8 seconds to take a photo, by then I have missed what I wanted to capture. As far as I've been able to figure out, I think the Nikon D3200 also sounds good but I can't see any info on how long that camera takes. Could you help me figure out which one is best for me please?

Thanks Emma

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Oct 2013 14:10:52 BDT
Victor says:
Hi Emma,

The photography that I believe you want to do is challenging to any photographer and most compacts are simply not up to the task. The Fuji F900EXR is a very capable high-end compact that has a quick start up and quick auto-focus and I can take a picture with it in under three seconds; that is from pressing the start-up button to taking the picture and simply using EXR AUTO mode which does most the thinking for you. However, if you can afford it and if one doesn't mind the larger size, the Nikon D3200 SLR camera with the 18-55mm VR kit lens is going to do a much better job and produce pictures of better image quality than a compact camera. If one is not technical, Just put the camera in `P' (Program) mode and let the camera make the decisions, or use its scene modes. Remember that an SLR with it's larger sensor will always beat a compact for image quality, however the downside it's larger and heavier than a compact. Remember a camera is essentially a tool and like any tool one has to learn how to use it to get the best out of it; if you know some who is into photography, ask that person for advice, or join a local photographic club; it does take a bit of effort, but the rewards of taking beautiful pictures are well worth it.

Posted on 2 Dec 2013 02:29:50 GMT
Last edited by the author on 2 Dec 2013 02:31:49 GMT
ruf says:
Dear Victor
I really appreciate that you took the time to compose these insightful review on the Fugi F900EXR. However, I am tormented between committing myself to this compact camera and Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ40. I have an entry level DSLR (Canon EOS 550D) and I want to have a compact camera for two reasons: 1) I want to leave behind a camera to my wife so that she could take pics of our kids or herself with the help of our boy! while I am away with the DSLR [and also she complained that I don't let her take my beloved camera away:) on occasions] and 2) I want to have a little camera which I can take out when I don't feel carrying the 550D with its accessories (lens, flash...). What I like about the Fugi F900 is the manual control and the raw file saving option (for post processing); however, I am not happy that the sensor is only 1/2'' and the fact that for those unfamiliar with Fujifilm's EXR sensors and manual control - getting the best results can require a little extra effort (which is a down side for my wife not me as she is electro/technophobic like most ladies-she wants to point and shoot! sorry ladies!). On the other hand we had a good result and experience with Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8/10 till I inadvertently compromised the display (completely out of use). The strongest aspect of the Panasonic camera was its picture quality and intelligent auto (a huge plus for my wife). Since we have a pleasant experience with Panasonic I find it hard to decided which one to go for (even with the DMC-TZ40's smaller sensor size (1/2.3''). I would greatly appreciate any suggestion you may have for me even throwing another competitor in the basket for consideration as long as it stays below the 300 euro/pound limit.
best regards
ruf

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Dec 2013 15:25:04 GMT
Last edited by the author on 2 Dec 2013 15:26:07 GMT
Victor says:
Hi Ruf
The Panasionic Lumix DMC-TZ40 is comparable to the Fuji F900EXR and your dear wife would more likely feel at home in using it; however when it comes to picture quality the sensor size of both Panasonic and Fuji cameras is an issue. If I was buying a high-end compact now I would consider the Sony NEX3NL Interchangeable Lens Camera - Black (16-50mm Power Zoom Lens, 16.1MP) from Amazon, current price 289.99; it has an APS-C SLR sensor, so the images should be far superior to either the Fuji, or Panasonic; however, it's a bit larger than your average compact, but a lot more convenient than a normal sized SLR.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Dec 2013 23:44:55 GMT
ruf says:
Hi Victor.
Thanks for the advice. I am not fond of bridge cameras (i hate the EVF or at least I prefere live view if i can't have optical VF) and also I will probably not be happy with the kit lens (18-55mm) and you know what that means besides the bulk! I think I will go for the F900EXR. I appreciate your suggestion.
regards
ruf

Posted on 27 Dec 2013 17:15:47 GMT
grandmas says:
Victor,
Please let me know what I'm doing wrong. I bought the camera and it works well but whenever I take pictures of the grandkids and they move at all, that part of the picture is a total blur. I've tried every setting and can't figure out what I'm doing wrong!!
Thanks,
Kathy

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Dec 2013 22:35:48 GMT
Last edited by the author on 27 Dec 2013 22:56:25 GMT
Victor says:
Hi Kathy!

Photographing children can be tricky at the best of times and the reason why they come out blurred while the rest of the picture remains sharp is due to the slow shutter speed that the camera is using at the time. I assuming that you are taking pictures indoors and even using flash didn't work, that's because the camera normally selects a slow flash speed which is fine for most situations, but not for moving objects such as young children. The solution to your problem is to use a fast shutter speed with flash to freeze the movement and the good news is that the F900EXR is capable of doing it and here's what you need to do:-

Set the F900EXR as follows:-

1) Select Shutter Priority Mode, turn your rotary dial to `S' on the camera.

2) Press the Menu Button to access the Shooting Menu and set the ISO to `Auto 400'

3) Still in the Shooting Menu switch the Face Detection to `OFF' (the flash operation is quicker which is what you need).

4) Still in the Shooting Menu, access the Focus Mode option and select `Centre' focus operation.

Exit the menu screen and in the bottom left corner one should see the shutter speed displayed, if one cannot see it, press the `DISP' button and select `i' (Information On).

5) Rotate the Navigator wheel at the back of the camera and you will find you can now change the shutter speed, clockwise to increase and anti-clockwise to decrease. Adjust shutter speed so that it now displays 1000 (this is one thousandth of a second, the camera can go up to 2000 if so required).

6) Pop up the flash of the camera.

7) Before taking your pictures make sure that you are fully zoomed out (wide-angle setting) and don't get too close to your Grandkids (If you zoom in the pictures will be dark as the flash of the camera is not powerful enough due to the aperture difference; If you take pictures too close, focus becomes more critical and your chances of success is reduced).

8) When you take your pictures, press the shutter all the way so that it fires as soon as the camera achieves focus lock (normally one would press the shutter half way first to achieve focus lock before taking your picture, but your Grandchildren may have move before the picture is taken and so be out of focus; by pressing the shutter all the way reduces the time lag and increases your chance of success).

9) Enjoy seeing your lovely pictures of your Grandkids!

Outside, in good daylight, you don't need to use flash, set the shutter speed to 500 or higher to get great results.
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