Fuji launches five new digicams, including record-breaking travel zoom


posted Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 11:27 AM EDT

Tired of aiming your camera, pressing the shutter button, and then finding out that your subject has already left the building before you got their photo? That's the problem Fuji aims to tackle with its latest compact travel zoom, the Fuji F900EXR. Thanks to the pairing of an EXR-CMOS II image sensor and an EXR Processor II CPU, the Fuji F900 is, says its maker, capable of providing the world's fastest autofocus speed. And once your subject's in focus, the F900 is said to be able to rattle off a quick burst of images at a swift 11 frames per second, improving your chances of finding a good shot in the mix.

The Fujifilm FinePix F900EXR includes phase-detection autofocus.

If that pairing sounds familiar, you're likely remembering the recently-announced Fuji HS50EXR, which shares the same sensor and processor. But where that camera has an SLR-like body, and a size and weight to match, the Fuji F900EXR has a body that's easily coat-pocket or purse-friendly. And while it's only got half the zoom reach of that camera, and it's lens isn't as bright, there's definitely something to be said for the fact that a smaller camera is more likely to be with you when you most need it.

Available from March 2013, the Fujifilm F900EXR is priced at US$400. Available body colors in the US market include black and indigo blue. More details in our Fuji F900EXR preview!

The F850EXR is similar, but uses standard contrast-detect AF, and lacks Wi-Fi.

If you're intrigued by the F900EXR, but you'd rather sacrifice a few features to save a little cash, the Fuji F850EXR aims to meet your need. It's closely-related to the company's flagship travel zoom, but with a number of key changes. Most notably, the F850EXR lacks its sibling's unusual hybrid phase detection autofocus system, which means that focusing will be rather slower. (But at a manufacturer-rated 0.21 seconds, not unduly so.) The Fuji F850 also drops the built-in Wi-Fi radio of its sibling from the design, so you'll need to use a cable or card reader to get at your photos and movies.

Enthusiasts will find the lack of a raw file format good reason to spend the extra to obtain the F900, but consumers and less-experienced photographers likely won't mind being limited to in-camera JPEGs. There's also a slight reduction in battery life, burst rates, and high-speed movie performance, while the body itself is slightly taller and lighter. For that, you'll save around US$100 over list pricing of the F900EXR, making the Fuji F850 around a quarter cheaper than its sibling.

Available from March 2013, the Fujifilm F850EXR is priced at US$300. The only available body color in the US market is black. Find out more in our Fuji F850EXR preview.

The FinePix S6800 has SLR-like styling and a speedy CMOS-based design.

With the FinePix S6800, Fujifilm takes the lens from last year's FinePix S4500, and places it in an altogether more capable camera. The key change that's allowed the Fuji S6800's improvements is a switch to a faster, more sensitive backside illuminated CMOS image sensor, where the earlier camera was CCD-based. That's allowed a dramatic increase in burst shooting and movie performance, and a worthwhile step forwards in sensitivity, despite a slight increase in resolution. Fujifilm has also increased the camera's LCD monitor resolution, and added support for high-speed UHS-I cards -- likely a necessity to take full advantage of the performance in other areas.

Available from March 2013, the Fujifilm S6800 is priced at US$250. Available body colors in the US market will include black, white, and red. Read our Fuji S6800 preview for more details.

The Fuji S4800 is quite a bit slower than the S6800, partly due to its sensor technology.

The Fuji S4800 is closely related to the S6800, but like last year's S4500, sticks with a slower, less sensitive, but also slightly less expensive CCD image sensor. Other differences from the S6800 include a lower resolution for the camera's LCD monitor, and the lack of support for high-speed UHS-I cards -- which wouldn't be necessary given the camera's significantly lesser performance than its sibling in terms of capture rate.

Available from March 2013, the Fujifilm S4800 is priced at US$230, only $20 less than the much more capable S6800. The only available body color in the US market will be black. If the savings is worth it for your purposes, read our Fuji S4800 preview.

The Fuji JX680 is an entry-level, pocket zoom.

Finally, we come to the Fuji JX680. Even entry-level cameras these days can offer a fair zoom range, a high-res sensor, and features like high-def video. Proof positive? The svelte, 20mm-thick JX680, which does all of the above on a pricetag of right around U$100.

Available from March 2013, the Fujifilm S4800 is priced at US$100. The only available body colors in the US market will be black or red. More details in our Fuji JX680 preview.