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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 24 September 2012
Colour Name: Black|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm writing this review having spent a month testing the camera alongside my other compacts, superzooms, mirrorless cameras and DSLRs (yes I collect too many cameras I admit). I make this point just because I want to emphasise that I have no brand loyalties (I own Fuji, Canon, Sony, Nikon, Panasonic and Olympus cameras/lenses) and am thinking about this camera's pros and cons in relation to others I have owned or used.

On paper this modestly sized Fuji should have stormed to the top of the superzoom leader board. I used to be a Fuji fan - using Velvia film stock and the venerable little f30 and f31 wonder cameras as DSLR emergency backups. Fuji can make some cracking cameras for sure. Is this one of them though?!

This model, the F660 EXR offers a 15X stabilised zoom lens, a 16MP equivalent EXR sensor, manual controls (but no raw mode), a decent 3 inch rear LCD, and a sack full of interesting features. However, Canon, Panasonic and Sony continue to lead sales figures of this kind of camera. The F660 EXR tries to please everybody - it goes wide (24mm), which is nice for landscapes and cityscapes, has reasonable telephoto reach (360mm) which is nice for wildlife/zoos/action shots of sports, etc., and has a lot of features, such as a lower resolution high ISO low light mode.

The thing is, there are already some very good superzooms out there (the Panasonic TZ series for example). Fuji's trump card here, they claim, is the EXR sensor technology, apparently leading to better colour fidelity and less high ISO noise. But are these claims true in practice? My testing of the camera has lead me to the following observations: Fuji's experience with film does seem to have helped them get some nice colours out of their digital cameras, and the F660 keeps up this trend, with punchy, vivid colours that are infinitely tweakable.

BUT, the lens sharpness is only so-so in comparison to other compact and bridge cameras I have experience with. One of the big attractions is the 24mm wide end, which beats some competitor superzooms, but unfortunately at 24mm the lens is not overly sharp. This is a problem, as the 24mm wide angle is one of the star features of this camera and people are likely to want to use it at this setting when they go on vacations, take landscape and cityscape shots, etc. For sure, it is not as sharp at wide angle as Panasonic superzooms I have owned and tried out, and most definitely not as sharp at 24mm as my trusty Panasonic LX3 compact. Paradoxically, at the long end of its focal length range the lens is actually pretty decent - so it's a nice little pocket camera for occasional action shots and zoo visits. Kudos to Fuji for this as many superzooms are very iffy at the long end.

High ISO shots benefit from the EXR technology and the option of reducing the resolution to 8MP, but they remain much more noisy than high ISO shots from micro four thirds, Sony NEX or DSLR cameras. This is what you would expect from a compact superzoom of course, but would-be purchasers do need to know that whatever claims Fuji are making about the technology in this camera, it is outclassed in low light by mirrorless cameras with larger sensors, such as the Panasonic G range, Olympus OM-D or E-P range and Sony NEX range. Of course those cameras are more expensive than this little Fuji. You are not going to want to take this camera beyond ISO 800 regularly if you are a pixel peeper or want to print large. This is common for superzooms but I point it out because Fuji make big claims about the EXR sensor technology and you need to cut through the hyperbole and appreciate that the camera is not a miracle worker.

So image quality is a mixed bag - at the 24mm wide end it disappoints, whereas the long end of the zoom is actually surprisingly good. Colour is nice, but resolution not great. High ISO is OK but not as ground-breaking as promotional material/claims would lead you to believe. For a superzoom its pretty good, but over ISO 800 don't expect to be able to print massive poster size prints without some post-processing to reduce noise, or else put up with noisy or mushy/soft images.

The biggest let down of all is video - the video from this camera is plain disappointing - noisy in low light and just lacking in resolution. Panasonic, Canon and Sony just do video better, even in compact superzooms. I don't think even the most positive reviewers here on Amazon UK could argue with that.

Taken together then the camera is what it is: a high value package that delivers plenty of bang for your buck - 24mm wide angle right up to serious telephoto zoom range, nice build quality, OK noise performance up to ISO 800. If you spend £100 or so more you will/can do better when it comes to wide angle lens performance, and video. Canon, Panasonic and Sony still lead the way in superzooms, but you pay more for the good models - they seem to have fitted better lenses to their rival models, and have worked out better processing to get the most out of their sensors.
So if this Fuji sits at the top end of your budget, and you are not looking for good quality HD video from a camera, go for it - it's well put together and will generally deliver pleasing results if you play to its strengths (avoid over ISO 800 if you want large prints and make careful use of the 24mm wide end of the lens). if your budget can stretch further and you value good HD video output and perhaps a crisper lens, I recommend looking at Panasonic's TZ range or the Sony HX range - you may pay a bit more but those cameras seem to be better superzooms in terms of image quality and video. It's a shame, as Fuji are doing some interesting things with their new mirrorless cameras, but this superzoom is not going to have rival manufacturers worried about losing market share.

So, to sum up:

PROs: 24mm wide angle, good build quality, nice colours,decent IQ up toISO 800 when EXR 8MP mode used, nothing else like it at this price point
CONS: 24mm wide angle setting is rather soft, the over-hyped EXR low light mode is not the miracle technology it is claimed to be, video is much worse than that from competitor models

This review is picking up a few 'unhelpful' votes - I presume from folks who have posted glowing reviews here or who have bought the camera and are delighted with it. I can understand that they have a different view but I'm not sure that they can honestly argue with my observations - is this camera genuinely good at 24mm, at high ISO, and is its video good? I'm willing to be persuaded otherwise but I notice that my observations gel with those of some of the major camera review web sites as well.
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Colour Name: Black|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is tough. I've spent a LOT of time experimenting with this camera and also comparing it with other compacts at similar prices. No one camera is brilliant at everything, of course. This, like all the others I tried, has strengths and weaknesses. Overall, I'd have no hesitation in recommending it. It will satisfy most people looking for a sub-£200 pocket snapper.

Strengths:

* large lcd
* wider than usual wide-angle (equivalent to 24mm on 35mm cameras)
* 15x optical zoom
* accurate focussing on small subjects, e.g. a bird feeder in a big space outside
* effective stabilisation
* fast in use
* produces sharp, colourful shots in most conditions
* generally intuitive menus (contradicting some other reviewers - I found the camera easy to use)
* cleverly switches the sensor to 8 megapixels in low light where noise is often a problem
* surprisingly effective 360-degree panorama mode

Weaknesses

* no viewfinder, but that's a common issue - the display was generally usable in bright light (use `sunlight' mode)
* zooming is almost TOO fast, making it hard to get the zoom level you want
* tends to over-expose at times, especially in EXR mode
* EXR mode sometimes produces over-warm images
* doesn't have as many tricks up its sleeve as some cameras, panorama being an exception
* video quality compares unfavourably with some other cameras, despite its HD claims
* there's a printed basic manual but the full manual is on CD, again in common with many cameras, sadly
* it's very easy to turn the mode dial by accident, especially when slipping the camera in/out of a pocket or case.

My conclusions are that, if movie capability is important, this isn't the camera for you. If, on the other hand, you want mainly to take high-quality stills, especially indoors, and value the wide angle, the F660EXR is an excellent camera at the price - just be sure to check the mode dial before each use and only use EXR mode in low light without flash.
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on 29 May 2012
I have owned this camera for about a week now. Previously owned a Canon Powershot SX220HS and a Panasonic TZ7. I must say the Fuji wins hands down! The EXR mode is fantastic. It reduces the resolution by half in order to boost the dynamic range or to reduce the noise. And it works a treat. For a compact the noise performance is very good, and even on a very sunny contrasty days plenty of detail is preserved in shadows and highlights. Plenty of manual settings available and the zoom is quick as lightning. Overall this camera performs very well, and handles like a dream. Very fast, logical and easy to live with! You may want to get a spare battery (got a genuine Fuji for about £10 inc delivery) as all that zooming and focusing does take it's toll on the battery (which did manage about 200 shots). Nothing will beat the performance of a decent digital SLR, but if carrying bulk around is not desirable this is as close as it gets!
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on 16 October 2012
Colour Name: Black|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
If your looking for a god value pocket sized digital camera then this might just be one to go for. I was particularly impressed with the build quality and sturdiness of this camera. It is surprisingly heavy, but the weight makes it more usable than light-weight cameras - the mass seems to steady the camera. The sharpness of images and realistic colours even in low light make this a really class act.

Fuji have built a fine reputation in digital cameras, quietly getting on with releasing some excellent cameras over the years. Lens quality and sensor quality are second to none.

The screen is a generous size and works in daylight too.

My only reservation was with the movies - I was underwhelmed with them. Better than on many smartphones, but still a little disappointing.

The recent price drop makes this a no-brainer choice for a quality stills digital camera.
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on 19 January 2013
I purchased this camera for £99! I know this is not that expensive as cameras go. I was a little unsure what to expect.

My Dad has the Fuji F200 EXR, the first camera to feature fuji's exr sensor technology. That camera was great for general every day use, assuming you know its limits as a compact camera....it's never going to compare to a DSLR or even a CSC; the sensor is just too small etc.

I am pleasantly surprised. The F660 surpasses the IQ of the F200 to me. In good light, the colours are rich and pictures are very sharp for such a small camera.
It handles higher iso within reason. As I say, don't expect it to perform anywhere near larger sensor cameras. Upto iso 800 it does really well.

For what I use it for, slipping in my pocket for a day or night out where taking one of my other larger csc cameras would be impractical, it works very well indeed. The 15x zoom is great but the stableisation can't work miracles, you must hold still at the long end.

The video is ok, not the best though and I do know others have criticised the camera for this aspect. I don't really use it; I wanted it for stills.

A little knowledge of white balance and ev comp. etc is useful in getting the best from it but not essential. These parameters are there to adjust if you feel the need....as is bracketing.

All the usual scene modes are present but it doesnt perhaps have all the latest filters as the Panasonic and Sony Offerings do.

As i say, for me, it's a great camera and performs very well. I have an X100 on which I love the Super Intelligent Flash.....this has the same. It doesnt blow everything out but mixes with any ambient light to balance the flash output.

All in all, a great point and shoot. Great day shots, good low light within reason. Just don't expect performance beyond the limits of such a sensor and you won't be disappointed!
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on 7 June 2012
I nearly didn't buy this camera because the only review at the time said it came with the wrong adapter but very glad I took a risk on it. I bought mine from John Lewis - a bit more expensive but a well known, reputable company so I thought that if there was a problem they would have been helpful fixing it or refunding me if they couldn't fix the problem. I needn't have worried as so far the camera is working perfectly and is so much better than my previous old fuji, although the only digital camera I have ever had until now was bought about 6 years ago so I don't have much to compare it with.

I have only had my camera a few weeks so can't say how well it will last but so far so good. I can't believe how good it is for the price. It won't be as perfect as an expensive camera but for its type it is great. The zoom really impressed me. On my old camera I only used the zoom up to half way as anything more made the picture very out of focus or grainy but apart from at full zoom everything is clear when using the zoom.

This is the first camera I have had which doesn't have a view finder and nearly didn't buy it because of this. I was very worried that in sunshine I wouldn't be able to see the screen because I can't see a thing on my mobile phone's screen in bright sunlight and have to shoot without knowing what I am taking a picture of. I needn't have worried as even in bright sunshine I could still see well enough to have some idea of what I was shooting even though the detail wasn't quite as good as it would appear when filming indoors.

My only real criticism of this camera is that the video button is hard to press down so sometimes I think I have recorded something when I haven't and other times I think I have stopped recording but haven't. As long as you check on screen then it won't be too much of a problem. It is really handy to have a video button and also handy to be able to take still shots at the same time as filming a video though.
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on 18 April 2014
Good little camera especially if bought sub £100 as better than most if not all the cheap rivals at that price point
Not the quickest picture taker but great features excellent zoom and good picture quality make this a bargain
Battery life also excellent
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Colour Name: Black|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I really like this camera. Build quality is excellent with a solid metal housing and the camera feels really solid in hand and reassuring that it might stand up to a few knocks if necessary.

It packs a 15x optical zoom into a well-designed and attractive body. It packs a really good 1/2in 16-megapixal sensor into an unusual array which allows it to switch from 16mp to 8mp to reduce noise in low light.

The camera itself is very nice to use and it is clear that a lot of thought has gone into the positioning of the dials and buttons. Although I noticed the dial is prone to movement in the pocket so worth giving a quick check before you snap the shot.

The camera is quick to take a rapid series of shots however I noticed the time to power on is slower than my other camera's, requiring a 2 sec hold to power up.

Video is 1080p but in comparison to my Canon s95 that shoots 720p I found the quality to be on par with each other.

I found the shots to be well solid, well exposed with good colour tone. I would have liked the shots to `pop' more but to be honest opinion would be different one person to the next. There's a few creative filters thrown in and a panoramic mode which is great to see on this camera and sadly missing from some of my more `high-end' compacts. Low light was better than I expected in a camera in this class and price range which was another nice bonus.

Zoom works well and the camera is nice and quick to focus.

Overall the camera is a very solid everyday compact with generally good image quality. Although the menu can require one or two extra steps to find what you are looking for this camera represents good value for money. An all-round good buy for a simple, light, point and shoot.
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on 16 August 2012
This camera is amazing with a fantastic zoom lens and clear pictures even when using the telephoto. We brought it just before our trip to Disney and now have proof of the magical memories!! Its light and convenient to carry around, the only slight down side is that the dial for selecting different formats of shots moves round fairly easily. we purchased a case with an well fitting top and it sometimes knocks the dial round. Its just a case of checking to make sure its on the right setting. So thank you Amazon and thank you Fuji. Ever grateful Sandra xx
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on 26 December 2012
On first impression it seems to be an improvement on some of the previous EXR models, and for the most-part it is, although shots taken in low light conditions are not as good as I had hoped - especially when there is movement involved. I bought this camera to take photos of our new son, and given that he is quite a wriggler, the photos taken indoor thus far are somewhat disappointing. The 360 degree function is pretty good though, and the landscape shots I have taken are amazing.
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