Fujifilm has clearly attempted to repeat the success of the F70 EXR without altering too many of the fundamentals and, in most places, they’ve been successful in doing so. There’s certainly more features and better specs to entice the user but in the image quality section it falls critically short. The end quality isn’t terrible by any standards but there are a few sections where the camera misses the mark. In what may be an effort to reduce the appearance of noise the pixel smoothing has been increased to try and provide better colour quality, but has only managed to make the images appear cartoonish in terms of contrast. Instead of having a healthy graduation between shades they tend to be more solid, reducing the amount of depth in the image.
As mentioned in the features section the focus also tends to be a touch sluggish, most likely down to the long zoom, making it tricky to catch sharp action shots. Couple this with the slow startup time, which is around five seconds, and it’s not always possible to catch quick snaps. Between shots the F80 EXR doesn’t delay too much, although after five or six in succession does start to slow, but even when employing the EXR mode there’s not an unacceptable amount of time before another shot can be taken.
In low light, as can be expected with a camera that has up to 12800 ISO available, there doesn’t seem to be too many issues with taking an image indoors under artificial lighting. In reality the 12800 setting isn’t really usable, losing most of the contrast, detail and tone in the images, but the likes of ISO 6400 and 3200 are far better especially when using the EXR setting. Images are impressively sharp under trying conditions when EXR is on, and manages to successfully balance dynamic range without sacrificing too much detail. It’s a shame that the pixel smoothing is so aggressive or the F80EXR would have surpassed it’s predecessor.
There are parts of the F80EXR to be marvelled at, mostly down to the excellent EXR chip and feature set. It does perform well in low light, but there are some downsides such as sluggish focus and overly aggressive pixel smoothing. The F80 EXR is certainly decent, but not quite as good as it could have been.
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