Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR Overview
The Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR, like the simultaneously announced F300EXR, is based around a newly developed 12.0 effective megapixel, 1/2-inch Super CCD EXR image sensor. This chip is coupled to a Fujinon-branded 5x optical zoom lens. The latest generation of Super CCD EXR chip retains the 45-degree octagonal pixel array that's the hallmark of Super CCD sensors, as well as the rearranged Color Filter Array from past EXR sensors, but with one significant addition that promises significantly improved autofocus speed. Previous Super CCD sensors offered benefits in terms of resolution on the horizontal and vertical axes, while EXR sensors improved green channel resolution (to which the human eye is most sensitive), albeit at the expense of red and blue channel resolution, and also offered more effective pixel binning (for improved sensitivity at reduced resolution), plus the ability to read out half the pixels during exposure (for increased dynamic range). The camera can automatically select the best mode of operation -- favoring the best resolution, dynamic range, or signal/noise ratio -- via its EXR Auto mode. The new generation Super CCD EXR chip retains all of these advantages, but also adds on-sensor phase detection autofocus pixels, allowing the same speedy focusing technique that's prevelant in the world of digital SLRs, rather than the typically slower contrast detection autofocus that's been used in compact digital cameras to date.
Phase detection is faster because it allows the camera to determine not only whether the image is in focus, but if not, to immediately determine the direction and amount of focus adjustment that is needed. Contrast detection requires the camera to repeatedly make small adustments to the focus, followed by measurements to see if the focus area has gained or lost sharpness since the previous measurement -- a much slower process even in the latest cameras, albeit noticeably swifter than in compact cameras from a few years back. The Fuji Z800EXR can still fall back to using contrast detection autofocus in certain situations such as low-light shooting, where the reduced speed is worthwhile for increased accuracy, and this decision is made automatically depending on the subject. When phase detection AF is in use, the FinePix Z800EXR is said to offer the ability to lock focus in just 0.158 seconds (manufacturer spec), which if accurate is respectable even by DSLR standards, and extremely fast for a compact camera, where autofocus shutter lag is often in the region of half a second or more (although the best current contrast detection cameras can manage sub-quarter second times). The Z800EXR's contrast detection autofocusing system offers single point or multi-point modes, and includes a touch-point function. (We're not currently clear on specifics of the phase detection system as regards focus points, nor specific details on the design and how it's been achieved.)
Maximum image resolution is 4,000 x 3,000 pixels in the camera's native 4:3 aspect ratio, and both 3:2 and 16:9 aspect ratio modes are also available. The Z800EXR's lens offers actual focal lengths ranging from 6.4 to 32.0mm, equivalent to 35 to 175mm on a 35mm camera - a rather tight wide angle to a useful telephoto. The Fuji Z800EXR has a two-step aperture, offering either F3.9 or F6.4 at wide angle, and either F4.7 or F8.0 at telephoto. Minimum focusing distance is ordinarily 2.0 feet at wide angle or 3.3 feet at telephoto, but drops to just 3.5 inches in Macro mode at wide angle, or 1.3 feet at telephoto. There's no true optical viewfinder on this model, with all interaction taking place on a 3.5-inch touchpanel wide-screen LCD display with 460,000 dot resolution, and this display provides 100% frame coverage. The touch panel interface has been revamped, and now automatically rotates a GUI that rotates when the camera is turned on its side, as well as a dual-image display function that allows multiple images to be viewed on screen at once.
The FinePix Z800EXR offers ISO-equivalent sensitivity ranging from 100 to 1,600, but can raise the maximum to 3,200 equivalent at a reduced resolution. Exposures are determined using 256-zone multiple metering, and shooting modes include Program and fifteen scene modes that allow a modicum of control over the look of images. Shutter speeds range from 1/1,000 to 4 seconds. Burst shooting is possible at up to 1.6 frames per second, with a burst depth of five shots. The FinePix Z800EXR includes true mechanical (CCD shift-type) image stabilization to combat blur from camera shake, and the design now includes a new gyroscope which allows a couple of improvements. Firstly, the camera can now detect and correct for not only short, quick vibrations, but also for the bigger, slower movements that typically prove challenging for many image stabilization mechanisms. The sensor-shift stabilization also now works during movie capture, rather than falling back to a less effective digital image stabilization technique for videos.
Seven white balance modes are available, including automatic or six presets; manual white balance is not possible on this camera. The Fuji Z800EXR's built-in six-mode flash has a range of 1.0 to 12.8 feet at wide angle, or 1.3 to 10.5 feet at telephoto, which can be reduced to a range of one to 2.6 feet in macro mode. A two- or ten-second self timer is available to allow the photographer to get into the photo, or to reduce blur when shooting on a tripod. There's also Couple, Group and Pet timer functions based on the camera's face detection capability. Other unusual features include a Facebook / YouTube uploader function that works with the bundled FinePix Studio software, a face recognition function capable of identifying up to eight specific individuals, and a motion panorama function (also called sweep panorama by some manufacturers), which captures 180, 240, or 360-degree panoramas by pressing the shutter button while panning across the subject.
As well as JPEG-format still images, the Fuji Z800EXR can capture Motion JPEG-compressed AVI video with monaural audio. Movie resolutions include high-definition 720p (1,280 x 720 pixels) at 24 frames per second, as well as both VGA (640 x 480 pixels) with a rate of 30 frames per second. The Fuji FinePix Z800EXR stores its data in 30MB of built-in memory, or on Secure Digital cards, including SDHC types, but not the latest generation of SDXC card.. Connectivity includes USB 2.0 High Speed data, and high-definition video output (type unspecified). Power comes from a proprietary NP-45A lithium-ion battery,with battery life rated at 170 frames on a charge.
The Fuji FinePix Z800EXR ships in matte black, deep red, shell pink, and gold body colors, from late August 2010, priced at around $230.