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Fujifilm Finepix F80EXR review

Ben Pitt
16 Apr 2010
F80EXR in black
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
190
inc VAT

On paper it’s the perfect compact camera – and it comes close to delivering – but image quality is actually worse than its predecessor

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Specifications

1/2in 12.0-megapixel sensor, 10.0x zoom (27-270mm equivalent), 183g

Fujifilm’s F70EXR is the best point-and-shoot camera we’ve seen, with a 10x zoom, excellent image quality (particularly in low light), a compact design and a great price. Our one reservation was its lack of an HD video mode. The F80EXR is essentially the same model but with 720p HD video capture, which should make it the perfect compact camera.

Video quality proved to be good but not fantastic. Noise reduction suppressed fine details but still let some noise get through, even in sunlit shots. Still, detail levels were far better than in any VGA video mode – including the F70EXR’s – and automatic exposures were smooth. The M-JPEG compression produced huge files of around 3MB per second, although this helped keep the quality high.

Stereo audio is recorded at better-than-CD quality, but sadly, the camera doesn’t have the goods to back it up. Bass frequencies were boomy and a constant hiss was audible in quiet environments. Worst of all, the lens’ zoom and autofocus motors obliterated the soundtrack with whirrs and clicks. It’s best to disable continuous autofocus and leave the zoom at its wide-angle setting (which keeps everything largely in focus) while recording clips.

The extra buffer memory required for 720p video also means the camera can capture five shots in its 1.6fps continuous mode whereas the F70EXR could only manage three. Autofocus remains extremely quick, and in general use the camera feels responsive. There’s still an issue whereby we had to wait for a picture to be saved before we could access the menu, but if our memory serves us correctly, the delay is shorter this time around.

The other major difference between this camera and its predecessor is a move from 10 to 12 megapixels. To some people this will be seen as an improvement, but for us it’s the wrong decision. The key to the F70EXR’s superiority over other big-zoom compact cameras is its image quality in low light, and a major contributing factor to that is its relatively modest resolution.

The F80EXR’s photos are still better than those from rival cameras, thanks to its relatively large 1/2in sensor, its ability to halve its resolution either to avoid clipped highlights or to reduce noise, plus its Pro Low Light mode that merges four exposures for remarkably clean photos (see our F70EXR review for more details). However, because of the resolution increase, the advantage isn’t as big as it was with the F70EXR.

The negative tone of this review is more about the high standards we’ve come to expect from Fujifilm’s EXR range rather than how the F80EXR compares to its rivals. For all our complaints, it still manages to deliver respectable photo and video quality and an excellent set of features for casual snapping at a competitive price. However, the 720p video mode isn’t good enough to justify the dip in image quality. So unless HD video is a big priority then buy the F70EXR.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
CCD effective megapixels12.0 megapixels
CCD size1/2in
Viewfindernone
Viewfinder magnification, coverageN/A
LCD screen size3.0in
LCD screen resolution230,000 pixels
Articulated screenNo
Live viewYes
Optical zoom10.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent27-270mm
Image stabilisationoptical, sensor shift
Maximum image resolution4,000x3,000
Maximum movie resolution1280x720
Movie frame rate at max quality24fps
File formatsJPEG; AVI (M-JPEG)

Physical

Memory slotSDHC
Mermory supplied40MB internal
Battery typeLi-ion
Battery Life (tested)230 shots
ConnectivityUSB, AV, HDMI (Type D)
Body materialplastic
Lens mountN/A
Focal length multiplier5.4x
Kit lens model nameN/A
AccessoriesUSB and AV cables
Weight183g
Size59x99x28mm

Buying Information

Warrantyone-year RTB
Price£190
Supplierhttp://www.play.com
Detailswww.fujifilm.co.uk

Camera Controls

Exposure modesauto, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed8 to 1/2,000 seconds
Aperture rangef/3.3-9 (wide), f/5.6-16 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution)100 to 1600
Exposure compensation+/-2 EV
White balanceauto, 7 presets, manual
Additional image controlsdynamic range, film simulation
Manual focusNo
Closest macro focus5cm
Auto-focus modesmulti, centre, tracking, face detect
Metering modesmulti, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flashauto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modessingle, continuous, self-timer