The three EXR shooting options located a couple of clicks away on the shooting mode dial include a High Resolution mode, a Dynamic Range Priority mode and a High ISO & Low Noise mode.
High Resolution mode employs the full 16-megapixel resolution of the sensor to deliver images ready for A3-sized printing when used in good light. Second is a Dynamic Range Priority mode that automatically shoots and combines two images with a single button press for better results in high-contrast situations. And third is a High ISO & Low Noise mode that offers greater sensitivity and improved results in low-light conditions. If you’re not sure which to use, the camera can be set to choose automatically.
With the notable exception of High Resolution EXR mode, the other two EXR and all three Advanced shooting modes can only be used at a maximum resolution of 8-megapixels. Nonetheless, all of the options work quite well – we had quite a lot of fun with the Panorama mode, while the High ISO & Low Noise EXR option also proved quite effective at delivering good results in low light.
If you can’t decide which of these three to use, there’s also an Auto option that will let the camera decide which one to use, even combining it with the correct Scene mode if necessary. We suspect that for many new owners, this is likely to be the default shooting setting.
The range of advanced shooting modes on offer is neatly complimented by the camera’s video capabilities, with the F550 able to record 1920 x 1080p Full HD video at 30 frames per second. Sound is recorded in stereo (although this can be changed to mono should you wish), with movie files saved in the H.264 format that’s more space efficient though less commonly supported than standard Motion-JPEG files.
To help give your images a bit more of a personal touch, it’s possible to select from a range of Film Simulation styles that are lifted straight from Fuji’s 35mm film back catalogue: Provia is the standard setting and offers neutral colours and tones, Velvia is great for landscapes with its saturated greens and blues and vivid tones, while Astia offers more muted tones and subdued colour making it the go-to option for portraits. Rounding things off are Black and White and Sepia options.
Helping to keep images sharp and free of camera-shake even at extended telephoto settings, the F550 uses a range of built-in image stabilisation technologies including sensor-shift. Meanwhile the back of the camera is adorned with a 3-inch, high-contrast 460k-dot LCD monitor that offers a noticeable improvement over standard 230k-dot screens so regularly seen on other compacts.