The F200 is the first camera to use Fujifilm’s new Super CCD EXR sensor, which could prove to be as big a breakthrough for the company as the original Super CCD. The sensor has 12 million light sensors, but they have three different modes of operation depending on the type of shot being taken. In normal lighting conditions the sensor operates as a conventional 12-megapixel CCD, capturing lots of fine detail.
However in low-light situations it switches to a High ISO/Low Noise mode, in which adjacent pairs of photocells combine their output to produce effectively a 6-megapixel sensor with double the light sensitivity. This practice, known as “pixel binning”, has been around for a long time, but Fuji has combined it with a new mosaic colour filter designed so that adjacent photocell pairs share the same colour, which should result in better colour reproduction in pixel binned shots. In high-contrast situations the sensor splits, capturing two images simultaneously at different sensitivity settings. These are combined in the camera to produce a single image with greater dynamic range. These three different sensor modes can be manually selected in EXR mode, or can be chosen automatically by the camera’s exposure system.
Apart from its fancy new sensor the F200 has much the same features and options as the F100fd. It has a shooting mode dial with eight positions, including the aforementioned EXR mode, a program auto mode, a simple auto mode, two natural light modes, a scene mode with 15 scene programs, a video mode and a limited manual exposure mode, which offers a full range of shutter speeds from 8 seconds to 1/1000th of a second, but only a choice of minimum or maximum aperture. The movie mode offers VGA resolution at 30fps with mono audio. As is usually the case the zoom lens cannot be used while recording.
Despite the size of the camera’s body the controls are quite small and fiddly, and the light-grey-on-dark-grey labelling can be a bit hard to make out in dim light. The zoom control is an easy-to-use rotary bezel around the shutter button, and although the zoom action is stepped it has 14 increments between minimum and maximum, allowing reasonably accurate framing. Other control options are also a concern. Fuji’s double menu system started off as a good idea, but has become more and more confusing over the years, with options split seemingly arbitrarily between the main menu and the function menu. The F200 is a prime example, mostly because the menu options change drastically depending on the shooting mode.