Fuji F80EXR Review

by on July 13, 2010

in Fuji

The F80EXR is Fuji’s followup to the popular F70EXR, and is a 12-megapixel point and shoot camera with a 10x optical zoom.  The compact size and long reach of the F80EXR makes it a potentially attractive pocket camera.

To see if the F80EXR delivers in functionality and performance, read on.

Fuji F80EXR Key Features

  • 12 Megapixel CCD Sensor
  • Sensor Shift Image Stabilization
  • 10x Optical Zoom (27-270mm equivalent)
  • 3″ LCD (230,000 dot resolution)
  • 1280 x 720 Resolution Video at 24 fps
  • ISO 100-12800

Fuji F80EXR Handling, Ergonomics and Control

The Fuji F80EXR handles well, and has a nice design for the most part.  Because of the long 10x zoom lens, there is a slight bulge on the front of the camera, but it is otherwise a rectangular box with rounded off corners.

Along the right edge of the front of the camera is a small lip that provides a nice little grip when holding the camera with one hand.  This lip adds no more bulk to the camera, and is otherwise unnoticeable.

The one thing that’s a bit out of place on the F80EXR is a the flash, which is situated just beneath the shutter release and zoom rocker switch.  Because of this location near the right side of the camera, I found that the middle finger of my right hand could sometimes interfere with the camera’s flash – just something to keep in mind when taking flash images, and certainly not a deal killer.

On top of the F80EXR, you’ll find a power button and the aforementioned shutter release and zoom rocker combo.  The shutter button works well, with an obvious half-press click that allows you to focus and recompose as need.  Zooming is a speedy action even from wide angle to full tele positions.

On the back of the camera, Fuji has placed a nice mode dial near the top, which is easy to rotate with your thumb or forefinger.  The mode dial puts 8 modes at your fingertips, including: Auto, EXR, Program, Manual, Movie, Scene Position, Natural Light and Natural Light w/ Flash.

The EXR modes are supposed to help you get more out of the sensor, based on the scene at hand.  Resolution Priority gives you the most detail out of all 12 million pixels on the image sensor. High ISO & Low Noise is geared toward night shots, and cuts the resolution in half in an effort to minimize noise. D-Range Priority is supposed to expand the dynamic range of the camera and prevent blown highlights or too dark of shadow sections in contrasty scenes.  And, while the default EXR mode is set to Auto EXR, allowing the camera to choose what’s best, you can force any mode by pressing the Menu button while EXR is selected on the mode dial, and then making the selection of which mode you desire.

One of the more interesting functions on the F80EXR is the Pro Focus mode found under the Scene Position setting.  When set to Pro Focus, the camera will capture two images upon pressing the shutter and combine them to provide a single image with the main subject in focus and a blurred background.  It’s a surprisingly effective feature if you are shooting still subjects.  In addition to Pro Focus, the F80EXR offers a number of other “scene” modes, ranging from Portrait to Night to Fireworks to Sports, and several others.

The remainder of the F80EXR’s backside is made up mostly of the larger 3″ LCD monitor.  While it is nice to have the sizable screen real estate, it would have been nice to see a higher resolution display than the mediocre 230k dot resolution that is offered.

To the right of the LCD panel is the aforementioned mode dial and the remainder of the controls.  A 4-way control dial is the center piece of the F80EXR’s control scheme.  This dial serves as quick access to macro mode and flash toggles, as well as a delete button and timer settings.  A menu/ok button is found at the center of the 4-way controller.   These 4 buttons serve a dual purpose for navigating the camera’s menu system on the rear LCD, with confirmation of settings made by the menu/ok button.

Additional quick access buttons can be found for image preview, display info settings, face detection autofocus and Fuji’s F-mode, which brings up quick settings like ISO, film simulation and image size – although accessible options vary depending on the shooting mode.

The F80EXR functions about as good as you would expect from a compact point and shoot camera, although a “direct record” for video capture is an obvious feature missing from the controls.  The autofucus is quick, zoom is fast and smooth, and the settings are easily accessible.  As a result, the F80EXR turns out to be a very user-friendly camera.

Fuji F80EXR Image Quality

While the Fuji F80EXR offers a seemingly amazing sensitivity range of ISO 100-12800, you still have to keep your feet on the ground as you do with all other point and shoot cameras.

While I would have preferred to see the F80EXR skimp on the resolution for improved noise performance, Fuji deserves a bit of credit for staying away from the noisy 14MP sensors so common the the F80EXR’s competitors.  That said, even with the 3MP resolution at ISO 6400 and ISO 12800, these extreme settings are mostly useless and serve a bigger role as bullet points on the feature list than anything else.

ISO 800 is about the reasonably highest point you should go with the F80EXR.  Keep it at this point or below, and you can expect more than acceptable family album or web-sized images.  If you shoot in good light, you’ll get solid prints up to much larger sizes.

Below are a handful of images captured with the Fuji F80EXR.  Feel free to download any of these sample images for your personal inspection (not for republication).  You can get the original files by right-clicking on any of the images and choosing “Save link as…”


ISO 100


ISO 200


ISO 400


ISO 800


ISO 1600


ISO 3200


ISO 6400


ISO 12800


ISO 200


ISO 400

Fuji F80EXR Accessories

Fuji NP-50 Battery – The F80EXR comes with one of these rechargeable lithium-ion batteries; however, if you’re going to be away from power for an extended period, you can pick up spares.

Memory cards – I’ve used the basic Kingston SD cards in the F80EXR, which worked just fine. No need to go all out on fast memory cards with the F80EXR. Cheap cards from reputable brands will work just fine. The F80EXR is compatible with all SD and SDHC cards – but not SDXC cards.

Memory card reader – If you don’t own a memory card reader, they make transferring images to your computer a world faster. I highly recommend picking one up with the F80EXR. They’re cheap and big time saver. Lexar makes a good card reader for about $15.

Conclusions

All in all, I think the F80EXR is a great little compact camera.  If you are looking for a pocket camera with a competitive feature set, the F80EXR deserves a serious look.  It offers a basic approach to snapshots for those who don’t take things too seriously, while offering a number of more advanced features for those who like to experiment a bit more.  While not without its quirks, the F80EXR earns a high recommendation for the pocket camera that it is.

The Fuji F80EXR is available from Photography Bay’s trusted retail partner, B&H Photo, at the following link:

Fuji F80EXR at B&H Photo

By making your photography purchases at B&H Photo through these links, you are helping Photography Bay to continue bring quality camera tests, news and reviews. Thanks for your continued support.

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{ 2 comments }

1 Vin July 16, 2010 at 10:31 am

Thank you for a comprehensive review, especially the ISO pictures. Please include dimensions and weight in your reviews. I’ll go to B&H now to check on the F80EXR. I get my lenses and CF cards there.

2 Chris January 2, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Thank you for this little review for this nice little camera. I’m a little dissapointed in the dim light shots at night, the flash seems to angle down too much and not really at the subject, this could be a design issue or just my camera.

As for zoom, it’s great! I did some test shots, and on still objects zoomed in you’ll want the image stabalization off for a clearer picture.

Couple of tips – Change the image stabalization to 2 (shooting only) and you’ll save the battery life, tons! Also the auto mode sometimes doesn’t select the best settings, it tends to select a higher ISO value (more noise) I tend to leave mine around ISO 200, but much experimentation is still needed.

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