The Fujifilm S200EXR is the latest edition of Fuji's popular SLR-styled range and boasts the company's latest EXR sensor, but will it tempt people away from the budget DSLRs?

Product Overview

Overall rating:

83%

Fujifilm FinePix S200EXR

Overall score:83%
Features:85%
Value:85%
Performance:75%
Image Quality:85%
Design:85%

Pros:

  • Image quality, EXR system and build quality, zoom range

Cons:

  • Manual focus ring, lack of wide angle on lens, EVF

Product:

Fujifilm FinePix S200EXR Review

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£430

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Fujifilm S200EXR Review

 

When the so-called DSLR-styled cameras first took hold in the digital market, they bridged the gap between the fairly simplistic compact camera and the then hefty-priced DSLR. The ‘bridge’ camera was just that, both in terms of functionality and price.

 

However, as DSLR prices have fallen and compacts have become more advanced, bridge cameras have felt a squeeze. And now with Micro Four Thirds cameras offering a similar concept, with the benefit of removable lenses, many would question this type of camera’s purpose.

 

FujiS200EXRlychee.JPG

 

Fujifilm S200EXR Review sample image – click for fullsize image

 

Fujifilm S200EXR review – Features

 

Fuji’s range of bridge cameras have always offered an almost DSLR-like level of creative control and this model is no exception. The S200 offers full manual shooting control, with both aperture and shutter priorities, as well as traditional barrel controlled zoom and manual focus if required.

 

The viewfinder is a 200k-dot electronic screen that can be used as an alternative to the 2.7in rear LCD screen for both composition and menu navigation. The camera boasts all the latest technology that we come to expect of any new ‘creative’ camera: face detection, optical image stabilisation, and movie functionality – though only at 640×480 and below, not HD. Its major unique selling point, however, is its sensor: this is Fuji’s EXR sensor, which offers a choice of three settings to optimise results.

 

Depending on the way the photosites on the sensor are used it can prioritise for high resolution, signal to noise, and dynamic range. These modes can be chosen from the menu or selected automatically by the camera. It’s worth noting however that, due to the way the sensor is used, both the signal to noise and dynamic range priority modes produce smaller images (6MP) as pixels are combined.

 

More info:

Fujifilm FinePix S200EXR – Design

Fujifilm FinePix S200EXR – Performance

Fujifilm FinePix S200EXR – Image Quality & Value for Money

Fujifilm FinePix S200EXR – Verdict

Fujifilm FinePix S200EXR – Specifications

 

 

Design

Fujifilm FinePix S200EXR review – Design

The S200 is designed to handle much like an SLR and both looks and feels very close to one in most respects, including weight. Some would argue this means there is no significant handling benefit over a standard DSLR, while others will like having everything in one place without needing to change lenses. Of course, should you want to progress to ultra-wideangle shots, extreme depth of field effects, or Macro you are more limited.

Handling and use is pretty decent, with a selection of shortcut buttons arranged across the body for quick access to some of the most used features. Unless you look for them, though, you may miss the white balance and burst mode buttons on the left-hand side of the body. One other niggle is the lack of an eye sensor below the viewfinder to automatically swap between LCD and EVF, as you may wish to use the EVF to compose but the LCD for reviewing and menu.

 FujiS200EXRraindrops.JPG

Fujifilm S200EXR Review sample image test – click for fullsize image

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Fujifilm FinePix S200EXR review pages:

Fujifilm FinePix S200EXR links from What Digital Camera.com

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Performance

Shooting with the S200 does take some adapting to, especially if you are used to DSLRs. This is not to say it’s bad, however; focusing is generally pretty swift with the exception of low-contrast scenes, and features an AF assist lamp for low-light situations. There is very little shutter lag, though there is a pause between taking the shot and it displaying on screen that leaves you with a black screen momentarily. There is a choice of single and continuous AF, plus face detection, all of which perform well. The manual focus option uses a ring on the lens barrel, however this still adjusts the focus electronically giving little real feedback and making it quite tricky to use.

FujiS200EXRlondonskyline.JPG

 

 Fujifilm S200EXR Review sample image – click for fullsize image

For continuous shooting the S200 offers a few options: a 1.6fps burst allows up to three Raw/Raw+JPEG files or six JPEG files to be captured, while a high speed 5fps is available for JPEG only and capable of up to 24 shots. Both of these can be set to record either the first or last of burst shots taken. The buffer does take some time to clear though; taking 1sec to write a JPEG, 5sec for a Raw, and 6sec for a Raw+JPEG.

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Fujifilm FinePix S200EXR review pages:

Fujifilm FinePix S200EXR links from What Digital Camera.com

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Image Quality & Value for Money

Fujifilm FinePix S200EXR review – Image Quality

Thanks to some rather hefty optics and quite an advanced sensor, image quality is very impressive. Colours appear bright and punchy on the whole, and detail is good. The S200 does boast an extensive ISO range, above what you would expect on even a mid-priced DSLR, with up to ISO 3200 in normal range, extendable to 12800 using smaller file sizes. Results are relatively noise-free up to 400 and usable up to 1600. However, settings of 3200 and over are best avoided unless absolutely necessary. White balance and metering both perform their tasks admirably, though the rear LCD screen can often be misleading for both – something the S200 has inherited from its predecessor, the S100. Under close examination up to 500% the JPEG files appear slightly softer and smoother than the Raw counterparts, showing signs of processing but, crucially, not over-processing.

FujiS200EXRlondoneye.JPG

 

Fujifilm S200EXR Review sample image test – click for fullsize image

Fujifilm S200EXR review – Value

Initially the price tag on the S200 may appear high, as it is more than some entry-level DSLR models. However, once you take into account the features on board, and particularly the lens, it becomes far more in line with the market. If you were searching out a bargain, you may consider the Olympus E-420 kit with a 14-42mm and 40-150mm lens (a total range of 28-300mm) for £50 less than the Fuji. However, to find a combination with a single lens that covers the distance, you could be paying the price of the S200 for the lens alone. Another main rival for this is likely to be the Panasonic Lumix G1 - a camera now retailing for just £460, albeit with a shorter zoom lens, but perhaps offering more flexibility and a smaller body.

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Fujifilm FinePix S200EXR review pages:

Fujifilm FinePix S200EXR links from What Digital Camera.com

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Verdict

Fujifilm FinePix S200EXRGiven the versatility of competing camera formats it would be easy to overlook this type of camera; however, the S200 does offer impressive performance for a comparatively reasonable price. The S200’s technology is very clever and it is possible to achieve some great-looking shots – a combination which I’m sure will appeal to many compact photographers looking to upgrade. In terms of real handling though, the S200 is no match for a full DSLR; the lack of proper manual focus, the fixed lens, and the EVF – a problem also shared by the new Micro Four Thirds cameras – all make a budget DSLR the preferred option for most. Money, however, is always an important consideration and with the S200’s focal length, it remains a considerably cheaper option, while still being able to deliver the results.

Full Specification

Weight:
820g (870g with battery and card)
Dimensions:
134.4×93.6x145mm

Power:
NP-140 Li-ion rechargeable battery
Connectivity:
USB2.0, AV out (Windows 7 compatible)

Memory Card:
SD, SDHC, 47MB internal storage
Metering System:
256-segment TTL: Multi, Spot, Average

ISO Range:
100-3200 (6400 and 12800 at reduced resolution)
White Balance:
Auto, seven presets including custom settings

Flash Modes:
Auto, Forced, Slow Synchro, Red eye removal
Exposure Modes:
Program, Aperture priority, Shutter priority, Manual, Auto, D-range priority, Film simulation bracket, Pro focus mode, Movie, Custom modes (x2)

File Formats:
JPEG, Raw, Raw+JPEG
Shutter Speeds:
1/4000-30secs

LCD:
2.7in 230,000dot
Sensor:
12 million pixel Super CCD EXR

Lens:
Fujinon 14.3x (30.5-436mm) f/2.8-5.3

  1. 1. Fujifilm S200EXR Review
  2. 2. Design
  3. 3. Performance
  4. 4. Image Quality & Value for Money
  5. 5. Verdict
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