There’s not a massive amount to differentiate the F80 EXR from it’s predecessor, but that isn’t to say there’s anything wrong with sticking to an established formula. With plenty of curved edges the F80 EXR is certainly stylish at first glance, offering the occasional touch of silver over a single colour frame (red, black and silver can be chosen from). On closer inspection the body is a touch plasticy, with more of a sheen to the surface than is first apparent. A press on some parts of the casing reveals an amount of give, letting the shell flex slightly on particular sections.
The lens is the only real protrusion of note, with most of the buttons and dials sitting flush against the casing. The 3” LCD dominates the rear portion of the F80 EXR, with the Mode dial and D-pad parallel on the right side. A dimpled area, which acts as a grip of sorts, sits in between the two, and four buttons are dotted in the available spaces surrounding the controls. This gives the rear of the camera a slightly busy appearance, with few areas unoccupied by a button or dial of some description. The top panel is unfussy by comparison, holding only the shutter release, zoom and power button and only one side panel is occupied by the tiny USB and HDMI ports behind a substantial-feeling flap.
Overall the Fuji looks extremely stylish, concealing the impressive array of features housed within. The most significant is the EXR chip, which intelligently alters to cater for differing subjects. This allows for far less involvement from the user to take a decent shot, and alters how a shot is taken in lower light conditions. For example, the F80 EXR can take four images in rapid succession in a high sensitivity setting then combine them to form a single shot, reducing the amount of noise. Although the end result isn’t perfect by any means it allows the camera to be far more versatile in the majority of conditions.
For those willing to go off the beaten track slightly a Manual mode is available, giving the user a chaperoned version of the aperture and shutter speed controls. This tempers the amount of leeway available dependent on the focal length, so by being at full zoom a different set of values is available to when being at the widest angle. Although this doesn’t make for a DSLR-style experience it at least aids the user towards taking completely black images, although the lack of exposure preview when altering these settings makes the end result something of a mystery until the shot is taken.
The light meter along the base of the display does help matters somewhat, giving an indication of how well exposed the end result will be. The zoom itself is a feature of sorts, giving 10x magnification from a 27mm wide angle lens. This does put more impetus on the image stabilisation, which is a combination of mechanical and ISO-based. The results aren’t entirely successful, as the focus is still quite sluggish and images occasionally soft. One of the major additions the F80EXR offers over it’s predecessor is 720p HD video, which allows both the zoom and auto focus to operate when recording. Unfortunately this does lead to the lens movement being clearly audible on the recordings, virtually muting any live audio.