Customer Review

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I hoped for better., 26 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Fujifilm FinePix F900EXR Digital Camera - Blue (16MP, 20x Optical Zoom) (Electronics)
By most standards this is a good camera. It's just I thought it would be better than it turned out to be.

I bought this as an upgrade from my F600EXR as the new features made it look like it would be significantly better than my old camera.

There really isn't that much difference in image quality between the F600EXR and the F900EXR. I've tried dozens of side by side comparisons of images from the 2 cameras, using both jpeg and raw images. I turned off all the in camera processing I could find, and tried to keep the shots and any post shot processing as near the same as possible. Viewing the images at 100% I could barely see any improvement from the new camera and, in some cases, the old camera seemed to have more fine detail. I tried processing the images in different RAW converters but there was no difference found there. The images from this camera are still a long way off what you get from a DSLR. I have a Nikon D200 and viewed side by side, the F900 images look like they came from a pinhole camera. So the dream of a compact camera with DSLR image quality is still a long way off.

Overall the camera is very much like a number of previous Fuji models in size and look. The new functionality of the "Function Buttons" is much better as you can edit which things will display. As with previous EXR camera, the buttons and dials are very small and it's easy to hit the wrong one now and again. The menu system is typical of all of the Fuji compact cameras I've owned. It is awkward to use, has no sense of order to it and you tend to end up just scrolling through everything until you find what you are looking for. I know this will get better with time, but this is my 4th Fuji compact and nothing much has improved since the first one.

The flash seems odd to me. I normally expect flash mode to force a minimum shutter speed so you can capture motion. But this camera doesn't do that on most shooting modes. All you get is the shutter speed for the scene you are looking at. So in low light the shutter might be 1/4 second at F3.5 even when using the flash. You have to go to shutter priority or manual to be able to speed up the shutter. So in EXR mode, if you focus on a moving object in low light using flash there's no way I've found to increase the shutter speed so you can freeze the action. I will admit there may be things about the flash system which I have not understood, but this is not my first camera and I have looked hard to find some way of getting a reasonable shutter speed when using flash. I just haven't found it yet.

Movie mode works fine, but at full HD the file size is enormous. There are some slow motion modes which are just awful, and I found it best not to use the more extreme FPS modes.

The rear screen can be very hard to see in daylight. You can boost the screen brightness a bit, but it's still a challenge to get a good view in bright weather. It seems there are hundreds of symbols that can appear on the screen and my memory just doesn't run to remembering them all. I downloaded the manual onto my phone just in case I need to look something up.

Battery life is abysmal. I went out for a few hours in the country and had to change the battery twice in a four hour period. I had only taken just over 200 images with 3 batteries. There are several features of the camera which will suck power out of the battery if they are left switched on. The only saving grace is the batteries are fairly cheap to buy.

The battery compartment cover is very awkward to open until you get the knack. You have to press down on the cover just at the point where the hinge is and then drag it forward. If you just try to drag it forward like on other EXRs I have, you will get nowhere. Fuji has yet again put the card slot in the wrong place. They have it hard against the hinge side of the compartment. This makes it awkward to extract the card and you can easily drop it when removing it. If they had swapped the battery slot and card slot it would have been a lot easier.

I have not really looked at some features of the camera, as there are some which I would never use. Wireless file transfer and geo-tagging are things I have no interest in.

So in conclusion, the F900EXR is not a bad camera. I think my main problem is there is not much improvement over the F600EXR. I thought the F600EXR was the best compact I'd ever had when I first got it. I had hoped there would have been a significant improvement in the time between the two models. I have to report I don't think there has been any significant improvement in either image quality or with the user experience with the camera. If you are upgrading from a relatively recent camera you may be disappointed. You may not be so disappointed when upgrading from a much older model or if this is your first compact camera.

I think I would struggle to recommend this camera.
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