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Fujifilm FinePix S200EXR - Fujifilm FinePix S200EXR

By Cliff Smith

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

10

The EXR mode is interesting and fun to use. In EXR Auto mode the camera automatically detects the type of scene, choosing from portrait, night, macro, landscape, night portrait or back-lit portrait, and adjust the settings accordingly, but this can be manually overridden. There are three options, HR mode for maximum resolution, DR mode for enhanced dynamic range, and SN noise for improved low-light performance and low noise at high ISO settings. In the latter two modes the image size is reduced to six megapixels, which might seem like something of a disadvantage compared to all the 10, 12 or even 14 megapixel compacts out there, but it's not so long ago that I was using a six-megapixel DSLR for professional work. 6MP is perfectly adequate for A4 prints, and the gain in noise reduction and dynamic range is, in my opinion, worth the reduction in resolution. In DR mode the camera captures shadow and highlight detail that other cameras will miss, while in SN mode it can consistently produce usable images at 1600 ISO even at long exposure times.

Fujifilm FinePix S200EXR lens

The S200's other main feature, somewhat overshadowed by the clever sensor technology, is its film simulation mode. Fujifilm, as the company name suggests, is well known for its top-quality professional films, particularly Provia, Velvia and Astia. Provia is a standard film used for general photography, with a neutral colour balance and excellent fine detail, while Velvia is a popular choice for landscape and commercial photography thanks to its rich saturated colours. Astia is a softer film suitable for portrait photography. The S200 attempts to simulate these film types, as well as the usual sepia and monochrome, and as far as I can tell it succeeds admirably. The Velvia is particularly good, with superb colour saturation.

As well as these automatic settings the S200EXR offers a DSLR-like level of customisable control, with adjustable tone, colour, sharpness and noise reduction, as well as fine tuning for white balance. Custom setups can be saved and instantly recalled using two custom setting positions on the main mode dial.

Fujifilm FinePix S200EXR back

Another largely overlooked feature is the superb pop-up flash. It is on a long armature which raises it six centimetres above the lens, greatly reducing the incidence of red-eye in close-up portraits. It also has intelligent flash metering so that close-range subjects are not burned out, and flash output is nicely balanced with ambient light.

One feature that is notable by its absence is HD video recording, which is currently the fashionable must-have feature for new digital cameras. It does have VGA video at 30fps with mono audio recorded via an internal microphone, and of course the manual zoom can be used while recording. The video quality is very good, and the sound quality is better than I expected, although the microphone is non-directional and picks up sound from behind the camera just as loudly as from in front.

H Aryan

November 26, 2009, 9:07 pm

If only this camera either had an articulated LCD like it's predecessor or HD movie recording then I could ignore it's huge weight and size and easily choose it over Canon SX20 or Panasonic FZ35.

jopey

November 26, 2009, 10:35 pm

Is it me or does the jpeg compression in those pictures look really ugly? If you look at the 'centre sharpness' concrete wall test image, it's been smushed and it looks like it's made of rice cakes. Did they use the watercolour filter to remove the noise??

Frankf9d

November 26, 2009, 11:16 pm

"but but in the third shooting mode it also" (Page 1)


I was tempted to say, no ifs or buts in that review and score, then two come along at the same time.





Where's Simouth Harbour this trip ? all together now, We want Sidmouth harbour !





Another good review Cliff, the introduction with the overview of the market niche and products provided a good perspective.


@jopey, sorry, no, I didn't see the effect you refer to, maybe though if I stared at it long enough : - )

piesforyou

November 26, 2009, 11:55 pm

Looks amazing. This could suit me better than an entry level DSLR... hmmmmmmmmm!

joose

November 27, 2009, 12:42 am

@Cliff - Is this a worthwhile upgrade over the last camera? I finally managed to talk my boss into spending a few pennies on the last version this year after being stuck with a little compact for 2 years. Should I start my moaning to him for this one? In two years time he should break lol

Geoff Richards

November 27, 2009, 1:17 am

@joose. Haha. Typo fixed. Thanks

Klaus Nordby

November 27, 2009, 5:51 am

@Cliff, thanks for another fascinating review of a sexy camera! I read almost all your camera reviews -- but I have a big plea: would you please begin to post at least ONE downloadable original raw file from each camera you review? I don't ever shoot JPG, as I hate how all cameras maul and chew the data into a lossy mush, and I want to see how my raw converters handle handle the various sample files. Thanks!

Peter Hague

November 27, 2009, 11:47 pm

Nice one Cliff i have a Ricoh R7,Fuji S9600 and a Nikon D5000 cant afford one of these as well!!Great review its nice to read good reviews for non DSLR cameras.Is the work ever going to finish on the Cathedral.

LaszloCruz

November 28, 2009, 10:33 am

Nice review. I'm happy with my Sony Alpha A200 but before I got it I tried my sister's Finepix S9000 and Oh boy! It's such a good camera. I wonder why you didn't make a review of the Sony HX1 this year. It was awarded the best super zoom camera by the TIPA association.

Noodles

November 29, 2009, 1:41 am

Ahh, the Fuji superzoom.. makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and takes me back to those early digital days where the sun always shined.. Ask many a professional what was their first "serious" foray into digital, and it's a good chance it was one of this camera's illustrious predecessors'. I worked my way through a S7000, S9500 and a E900 (like a S9500 in miniature) and loved every minute. I picked up a S5800 a few months ago in that big blue red and white supermarket chain for the bargain price of £75. I have absolutely no need for it, but nostalgia feels so good!

Ian Pullen

December 3, 2009, 11:38 pm

Thanks Cliff. Any comment on the smaller sensor compared to the 2/3 in the s100fs? Got the s100fs and chuffed to bits with it, is there enough between the two justify an upgrade?

Roberto Brandao

December 28, 2009, 1:57 am

Hi Cliff, Happy Holidays from Winter Springs, FL!!!


I am very inclined to get me a Fuji Finepix s200ESR or the older S9600... Could you help me make that decison by giving me your opinion whereas it is really worth the price difference?


Rgds, Roberto Brandao - aromatrading@juno.com

JKL

December 30, 2009, 8:28 pm

I have just bought a Fujifilm S200EXR on the strength of Cliff Smiths'review above.It came down to the S200EXR and the Panasonic FZ38. Please assure me that I have made the right choice. This was a once in 30years decision as I part retire my faithful Olympus OM1 and enter the spectre of the digital age. Funnily enough despite the wizzardry of the Fuji, it all harks back to basics, which could be done with a little trial and error on the OM1.Wonder if I or the S200EXR will be around in thirty years?

Biges

December 31, 2009, 3:30 pm

@JKL


Heh, a buyer's remorse :) I know it, I bought MP640 printer yesterday.


I'm sure you made the right choice after a careful consideration. The camera will be surely useful even after 30 years, but I think you will move to something better anyway. The technology is developing.

Geoff Richards

December 31, 2009, 4:41 pm

@JKL - I haven't used this camera myself, but a 10/10 Editor's Choice award from Cliff is certainly a good start; it takes a lot for a camera to score that highly. I suspect either model would've worked well for you but it sounds like the newer Fujifilm may just edge out the older Panasonic.





Welcome to The Digital Age. I'm sure you will enjoy it! :)

hamidreza heydari

January 1, 2010, 11:04 pm

i want a sample video by s200 exr please

hamidreza heydari

January 1, 2010, 11:11 pm

s200 or fz38 ????


i need video by s200

Philip Swan

January 6, 2010, 9:13 pm

The video quality is rather poor and the zoom is only useful if you intend to use another soundtrack because the focusing noise is picked up and is very intrusive. This is a wonderful camera but not for video.

Carlos

January 31, 2010, 4:34 pm

I currently own an s9600 which I bought after reading the review here to replace my s5600, which in turn replaced my first digital, a fuji a330 (I was 12 at the time!)





I noticed improvements in image quality with each transition, but I have studied some of the pictures I've taken with my s9600, and they are higher in quality than those produced by the s200EXR. Theres no doubt about it, the S9600 handles detail better when you compare the highest res on the two cameras.

Mr Ed

February 16, 2010, 5:00 am

hi, to buy the s200EXR or fz38 that is the question?





a bigger zoom of the fz38(is it worth it?) & hd vids or better sensor & all round quality of the 200exr??? hmmm anyone used both yet??? any thoughts on the trade off would be usefull here.

Gary Thompson

February 19, 2010, 12:43 am

Have just ordered the S200. Reason for choice over the FZ38, better IQ and I kind of see the extra weight as a positive.

Lori

March 21, 2010, 12:31 am

I am torn between this camera and the new Finepix HS10, coming out in april. Any thoughts on this?? I realize the price will be higher, but is the BSI CMOS going to be a better choice over the one in this S200??

zoli

March 23, 2010, 1:20 pm

@Lori,


I am not sure BSI CMOS is better than EXR, it's size is 1/2.3, while S200 has 1/1.6. The second is 70% bigger(!) sensor than that the HS10 has.


Also HS10 has 30x optical zoom, which I am not sure about the IQ, especially with that small sensor. Only thing I miss from S200 is the HD movie...


Regardless, I think this is the king of the compact now

saltski

March 29, 2010, 2:18 pm

On the strength of this review and the segment on Five's Gadget Show I bought this camera and am expecting delivery tomorrow. I've previously used a Fuji F30fd and S5500, both are excellent cameras and have assimilated me fully to fuji for cameras. This has what I'm looking for as an upgrade from the S5500 (now 5 years old) while I keep the F35 for compact size and underwater use, I also have compact Sony HD camcorder to make up for this cameras video failures. Thanks to TR for the good in depth review and great score, though video sample would be useful.

WilliamR

April 7, 2010, 3:19 pm

@JKL. Ah the OM1 truly was a great camera. I cut my teeth on this one. It was absolutely bulletproof, kept on working and when you got used to it, was incredibly (manually) flexible. My all-time favourite. I was working on a mine in the desert at the time using a Mamiya and Hasselblad, too. I think I'm going to have to get the S200EXR to replace my trusty S5000 which has just been lost/stolen.

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