The Fujifilm FinePix F770EXR updates the F-series models, replacing the F600 along with its new siblings the F660 and F750 variants, and as such it is designed to be a traveller's camera companion capable of shooting almost any subject. But how does it perform? We find out.
Fujifilm FinePix F770EXR Review
Performance and Verdict
Fujifilm FinePix F770EXR Review – Performance
In day-to-day use, the F770 performs really well, powering on and off is quick, the recycle time between photos is fast too and so, the camera is as sleek a piece of hardware as you’d expect; there’s very little to complain about in general use.
However, the overly convoluted interface made things harder than it ought to use the camera, particularly when you remember today’s smartphone technology and touch screen interfaces can be such fun and simple to use; complex doesn’t always mean complex to use.
Getting the right shot or getting the camera set up to take the right shot can be a task itself, as it is not always immediately apparent what setting to use for what shot; even the EXR setting needs a little research (read the manual) to find out which mode might be best to use, as it’s not apparent on the camera out of the box.
In the EXR Auto mode, the F770 does a good job of choosing a setting for you, portraits for portraits and macro for macro subjects for example, but again you don’t know what effect the automatically selected EXR setting will have. Or perhaps its just a case of not worrying and letting the camera do its stuff?
Either way, reading the manual on the CD could be essential (though the basic manual is less illuminating) to get the most from this camera, but we all know, reading the manual is the last thing most people will want to do.
The scene modes can do a great job, and the foibles of the EXR settings aside, shooting with fully manual control I found I got the best from the camera where I sorted the EXR setting manually too, to suit the subject, and then the camera does as superb job.
And while the EXR modes provide a way to cope with very bright scenes, low light with low noise and helps ensure you get bags of detail, again just when to use all the EXR kit can be hit and miss at first.
The shutter and aperture adjustment are both nicely handled, via the rotating four-way jog control with a live exposure level indicator to help you get exposure as you’d like.
The F770’s lens is a cracker, its combination of 25mm wideangle and the 500mm full zoom capability encompasses more or less anything you can throw at it and provides crisp results without too much distortion.
I Iike the implementation of the F770’s sweep panorama feature, it worked well and with which you can also shoot 360-degree cylindrical images and you can also shoot (two-shot) 3D images to view on compatible PCs and viewers.
In terms of image quality however, it’s a fairly mixed bag. Anything above ISO 600 shows some slight noise, but not excessively so. Colour is well rendered with the Velvia film mode being my favourite; metering works well enough, the centre-weighted mode providing, arguably, the best balance across subjects.
Auto-focus and image stabilisation work together well too, on even fleeting subjects and with images that are clean and well exposed and the camera dealing well with subject blur but the piece de resistance for a camera such as this, is the JPEG + RAW capture mode allowing you to do even more with your images later in image editing software if you want to.
However, I was very worried about some odd blurring around the periphery of images shot at the 500mm end of the lens on some shots using the cameras wide dynamic range or DR mode as it combines two images. Any subject movement can compromise the images, such as swaying tree branches and the like. The lens at full zoom is soft at the edges as well, so this compounds any such issues if the subject you’re shooting has such movement problems.
In other EXR modes, the issues surrounding that blurring (due to the two shots) is ot such a problem and reveals the lens is capable of much more crisp results.
HD Video capture is good with booth 1080 and 720 settings at 30fps, the 20x zoom fully operational throughout with a reduced zooming speed to keep intrusive motor noise to a minimum although the focusing during shots requires a moment to get itself sorted, so that’s a tad slow. Video quality is very good if slightly on the noisy side but not distractingly so.
The Fuji FinepIx F770 is a great compact super zoom that’s ideal for the travel market into which it is pitched. It’s ore than able to handle most shots and the clever GPS options and the map-plotting software are great, certainly more interesting than other attempts from competitor’s systems.
Fujifilm FinePix F770EXR Review – Verdict
The Finepix F770 EXR looks great and is capable of some stunning results, be they still, video or panoramics; the camera is also an odd mix of contradictions packed full of clever kit that then takes a while to get to grips with.
The impressive sensor and processor mean technically, it’s able enough and operates quickly, but the menu systems and interface are too convoluted.
Getting up to speed and managing the menu systems are key to get most from this camera, but once you have got to grips with it, there’s plenty more kit to play and have fun with.
Manual settings provide the more advanced user control, hsame about the odd flash set up though. The 20x zoom, panorama mode, and GPS give it something more in the way of pizzaz, plus, it’s a remarkably small compact for a GPS-enabled camera witha 25-500mm zoom lens ensconced within.
In a camera market crowded with feature-packed compacts this camera’s convoluted and rather complex menu interface is frustrating, the best of this camera can be got at but it takes a little to much work for my liking.
Nevertheless, once set up and running and you know what it working the best for you, the Fuji FinePix F770 EXR will cope with just about anything you can throw at it, from holiday snaps, through safari snaps to stunning landscapes