The F70EXR also features Fuji’s new high speed EXR processor, and performs well despite its technical complexity. It starts up in just under three seconds, which is a little on the slow side, although it shuts down again in just under two seconds. In single-shot mode it has a shot-to-shot time of approximately 1.3 seconds, which is nice and quick, however at full resolution it can only keep this up for five shots before slowing down to approximately 2.2 seconds, which is still not too shabby. In EXR mode it can maintain 1.3 seconds. The F70EXR doesn’t have a standard unlimited continuous shooting mode, only a choice of first-three or last-three, shooting at 2fps.
The autofocus system is fast and accurate, and as you might expect from a camera like this it’s generally very good in low light. It has a good bright AF assist lamp which I think may be partially ultraviolet, since it looks even brighter on the monitor than it does to the eye, and seems to work reliably at a range of around five metres, which is much further than seems possible.
The lens is also of extremely high quality. It does suffer from some slight barrel distortion at wide angle, although I’ve seen worse, and the corner-to-corner sharpness is excellent. The overall level of detail recorded at maximum resolution is extremely high right across the image, and is certainly better than many other 10MP cameras I’ve tested.
As well as its fancy low-light technology, the F70EXR also has three film simulation modes, which are meant to mimic the tonal balance and appearance of Fuji’s famous film products, Provia, Velvia and Astia. I’m afraid I was always a Kodachrome man myself, so I really can’t say if the simulations appear accurate, but there is a distinct difference between the three settings, and the Velvia setting is excellent for bright, colourful subjects.
The images produced in EXR mode are excellent in spite of their lower resolution. In DR mode the dynamic range is visibly broader than a conventional camera, and especially good on shadow detail. The high ISO results in SN mode are also excellent, with very low noise and excellent colour rendition, producing printable results even at 1600 ISO. All in all an excellent result from a camera that will surely become the new benchmark for low-light, high-ISO performance.
The Fujifilm FinePix F70EXR is a stunningly versatile camera, a pocket-sized superzoom that can take superb pictures in any lighting conditions, and is better in low light than anything else in its class. It is well made, handles well, is easy to use, and even offers some creative manual settings. In a market crowded with near-identical long-zoom compacts the F70 stands out as something a bit special.