02/10/2012 11:58 | By Rob Clymo, contributor, MSN Tech & Gadgets

Fujifilm FinePix F800EXR review

We take a look at Fuji's low-cost feature-packed travel zoom.

Fujifilm FinePix F800EXR review. Image Fuji

What is it?
A low-cost feature-packed travel zoom that promises sprightly performance, high quality photos and movies plus wireless image transfer.

What's great
Lots of features for the money, with a 20x optical zoom, stress-free wireless image transfer capability and a wealth of creative tools.

What's not
Styling and available colour schemes might not be to all tastes and lower price means some corner cutting on the build quality side of things.

The bottom line
If you're looking for an easy-to-use, able-bodied travel compact that has a beefy collection of tools on-board then the F800EXR is hard to fault considering its bargain-basement price.

The Fujifilm FinePix F800EXR is going to be a very appealing proposition to people who need to keep a keen eye on how much they spend on their next compact camera. With a ballpark price of around the £300 mark, the camera comes complete with slightly quirky styling and some brash colour options (Champagne Gold or Red, alongside more conservative silver and black) plus a whole arsenal of features offering plenty of do-it-all versatility. A Fujinon 20x optical zoom lens proves very capable and there's a neat innovative Double Sliding Lens System that means it's relatively unobtrusive when you pop it back into your pocket too.

But there's even more picture power with the aid of the Intelligent Digital Zoom that doubles shooting capacity to 40x, which with the aid of the EXR Auto mode can be perfect for those who want great pictures but don't want to much in the way of 'hands-on' manual control. The F800EXR is zippy too, with a start-up time of around 1.5-seconds, while locking on to your subject can be achieved in as little as 0.16-seconds. We also loved the high-speed continuous shooting option that delivered 8fps at 16-megapixels, although this can also be trimmed back to shoot 11fps at 8-megapixels. Once captured, images are quickly saved too thanks to that full-of-beans EXR sensor.

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There's no doubt that the Fuji has been well thought out too, with a design that feels reasonably comfy in the hand and with features and controls that fall easily to the touch. On/Off, zoom lever, Fn button and a chunky mode dial are all nicely located, while the pop-up manual flash is stored down inside the top of the body until called upon. The non-slip grips around the camera also mean that it's easy to both control and handle when you're out and about, something that the F800EXR has clearly been designed for.

Picture transfer is also something that's becoming much easier thanks to a raft of Wi-Fi-enabled compacts doing the rounds and the Fuji is no exception. If you've got a smartphone or tablet then you can download a free Fujiflm Photo Receiver app and carry out a seamless transition from one device to another. There are also plenty of fun tools for adding location data and harnessing all your mobile devices with the F800EXRs capabilities, meaning it's certainly a compact that will be a hit with avid social networkers who want a bit more beef than just the camera on their smartphone.

A fine selection of creative filters are included for anyone with an artistic bent, but the Fuji also has plenty to keep those with more manual functionality in mind more than interested. The camera can shoot RAW, has a powerful manual exposure control, while the movie capacity of this camera proves to be very impressive indeed. A one-touch movie record button makes capturing the footage a cinch, while the movie scene recognition function means that the lens will optimise settings depending on conditions. Face Tracking AF also proves to be dependable and consistent too.

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The 3.0-inch LCD around the back proves the ideal place to showcase your work too, with 460,000-dots resolution and a 'Monitor Sunlight' mode that helps stave off the worst of the glare when you're on your travels. The screen also helps offer up great previews of the photo effects that are on offer here, such as the ever-popular Toy Camera, Miniature, High-Key and Dynamic Tone, to name but four. The Motion Panorama delivers some decent 360-degree shots too, while the super intelligent flash appears able to cope on its own in even the most awkward of surroundings. In fact, there's so much hiding inside the relatively small body of the F800EXR that you'll be discovering new tools and functions the more you use it.

Granted, the price tag means that build quality and the overall feel of this particular Fuji is a little compromised in places, but you really can't fault what it can do. Add to that an ever-eager performance and, ultimately, some cracking shots (both still and movie) and you've got an action-packed compact that is sure to make lots of new friends.

Fujifilm FinePix F800EXR is rated five stars out of five by MSN Tech & Gadgets

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