Fujifilm FinePix F770 EXR £329.99
28th Sep 2012 | 12:15
The stylish travel zoom that's big on features, small on price
Bucking the manufacturer's recent trend for adding subtly tweaked compacts to the burgeoning travel zoom area of the camera market, Fuji has instead gone for a complete design overhaul with the FinePix F770 EXR - its latest addition to the popular F-series.
Boasting far more than just a few small enhancements and updates, the new model boasts a very sophisticated feature-set, headlined by a 20x optical zoom lens that offers an equivalent focal range of 25-500mm on a 35mm camera.
As well as bettering the 15x zoom offering found on its predecessor - the Fuji F600 EXR - this move brings the new Fuji F770 EXR into line with its direct competitors: the likes of the Canon SX260 HS and Panasonic Lumix TZ30, for instance.
Additional noteworthy features include Fuji's latest 16MP EXR back-side Illuminated CMOS sensor, Full HD (1080p) movie recording capability with high speed movie capture at 320fps and raw file capture, plus built-in GPS functionality and fast 11fps continuous shooting (8MP) - with more besides.
The powerful performance that the Fuji FinePix F770 EXR promises is made all the more appealing when you factor in its price tag. With a launch price of £329.99 in the UK and $479.99 in the US, and a street price of around £299/$330, Fuji looks to have come up with a competitively priced camera that offers a number of advantages over its rivals.
Build quality and handling
With little difference between the Fuji F770 EXR's overall shape compared to the older F600 EXR that it replaces, Fuji seems to have stuck with its tried-and-tested design, saving the bigger changes for the internal components and features, instead.
A few subtle tweaks to the Fuji FinePix F770 EXR's profile include an enhanced front grip that provides a secure and comfortable grasp on the camera, coupled with an all-over soft-touch rubber finish that further augments this feature.
Available in understated black or more striking red, white or blue, the Fuji F770 EXR is slim and stylish, with a well-designed interface that keeps its operation blissfully simple.
Like its predecessors, the F770 EXR boasts a well-stocked mode dial that's mounted on a slant, abutting the top and back panels of the camera. Falling neatly under the thumb, the dial is a very welcome feature that provides a far quicker and more intuitive way of working than menu-based systems tend to offer, dispensing with the need for multiple button presses and scrolling through menus to find the setting you want.
A dedicated movie button also gives fast access to the Fujifilm F770 EXR's Full HD movie recording feature, with softkey access to key functions provided by the scrolling four-way d-pad, plus Fuji's 'F' button offers a concise on-screen menu that presents you with additional important functions for fast tweaking on the fly.
Both the latter contracted 'F-mode' menu and the main menu system are clear, easy to read and logically laid out, with the number of options available for adjustment expanding or contracting according to the exposure mode you're working in at the time.
Stick to the automatic shooting modes and you'll have fewer options to change, while switching to any of the more advanced modes broadens the level of scope for manual control over settings.
In use, the Fuji FinePix F770 EXR compares favourably to the competition. It's quick to start up, and shot-to-shot times are about on a par with other cameras in this category. Switch to continuous shooting, however, and you can choose from 3, 5 or 8fps at full resolution, or if the action kicks it up a notch there's an 8MP 11fps setting available too.
Stick to shooting JPEGs at the slower speeds and you should be able to keep things moving, although if you're recording raw files, expect performance to slow down noticeably in this respect.
The AF system is responsive and largely accurate, with some inconsistencies only cropping up when the light begins to fail, but this can be remedied using the bright AF Assist lamp for photographing subjects at close quarters, and/or employing the flash for slightly more distant ones.
The usual Centre, Multi, Continuous and Tracking AF modes are present - the only additional one we would have liked to have seen is a customisable setting that enables you to pinpoint the focus area.
At low ISO sensitivities, images are sharp, faithfully coloured and pleasingly detailed, with the camera's built-in sensor-shift image stabilisation feature doing a decent job of counteracting camera shake when shooting at telephoto focal lengths and/or in low light.
Fuji's popular Film Simulation modes make a welcome appearance in the F770 EXR's feature-set, enabling scope for customising the look of your images in-camera. With many harking back to Fuji's 35mm film stock, it's possible to create some distinctive-looking shots without any PC-based post-processing.
The options include Standard, Velvia (more vibrant colours), Astia (a softer effect), Black and White and Sepia. Each imbues images with a unique aesthetic and adds to the camera's overall appeal in terms of the level of creativity it affords.
The Fuji FinePix F770 EXR's metering and Auto White Balance systems both produce favourable results with a respectable level of accuracy. The only area where image quality can be a little less impressive is when you start to push the sensitivity above ISO 400. ISO 800 shows a fair degree of noise and a general loss of sharpness and detail, with the effect worsening beyond this point.
Although images shot at up to ISO 800 remain usable for average-sized prints, the top native settings are better suited for web output/smaller prints, and the top two expanded settings are best left alone.
But performance in this respect can be improved if you flick the mode dial round to EXR. This employs Fuji's innovative switchable sensor technology, whereby the camera analyses the situation and adjusts its settings to prioritise either dynamic range, high resolution or low-noise.
To do so it halves the resolution, but the sensor combines two pixels for every on-screen pixel to provide double the amount of image data and consequently improved results.
Image quality and resolution
As part of our image quality testing for the Fujifilm FinePix F770 EXR, we've shot our resolution chart.
If you view our crops of the resolution chart's central section at 100% (or Actual Pixels) you will see that, for example, at ISO 100 the Fujifilm FinePix F770 EXR is capable of resolving up to around 18 (line widths per picture height x100) in its highest quality JPEG files.
For a full explanation of what our resolution charts mean, and how to read them, check out our full explanation of our camera testing resolution charts.
Examining images of the chart taken at each sensitivity setting reveals the following resolution scores in line widths per picture height x100:
ISO 100, score: 18 (Click here to see the full resolution image)
ISO 200, score: 16 (Click here to see the full resolution image)
ISO 400, score: 12 (Click here to see the full resolution image)
ISO 800, score: 12 (Click here to see the full resolution image)
ISO 1600, score: 12 (Click here to see the full resolution image)
ISO 3200, score: n/a (Click here to see the full resolution image)
Noise and dynamic range
We shoot a specially designed chart in carefully controlled conditions and the resulting images are analysed using DXO Analyzer software to generate the data to produce the graphs below.
A high signal to noise ratio (SNR) indicates a cleaner and better quality image.
For more more details on how to interpret our test data, check out our full explanation of our noise and dynamic range tests.
Signal to noise ratio
These results show that the JPEG files from the Fuji FinePix F770 EXR have a lower signal to noise ratio than those from the Fuji FinePix F600 EXR, Canon PowerShot SX260 HS and Panasonic Lumix TZ-30 at almost every sensitivity, with results closest in quality to the Fuji F600 EXR.
Again, the Fuji FinePix F770 EXR shows less dynamic range in its JPEG images than the Fuji FinePix F600 EXR, Canon PowerShot SX260 HS and Panasonic Lumix TZ-30. The difference is most pronounced with the Canon and Panasonic, while the Fuji F600 EXR's images are the most similar, although still better.
Creating frame-filling shots of smaller subjects is easy with the Fuji F770 EXR's Macro AF mode.
Even in Standard colour mode, the Fujifilm FinePix F770 EXR is capable of capturing accurate colours with plenty of punch.
Although the smaller sensor means you won't get the same shallow depth-of-field effects as you would with a DSLR, at f/3.5 it is possible to render the background slightly out of focus, helping to draw attention to your nearest subject.
The Fuji F770 EXR and its 20x optical zoom lens combine to produce shots that are pleasingly detailed and sharp across the frame - particularly when shooting at the wide angle end of the focal range.
Switching to the camera's Velvia Film Simulation mode helps to bring out vibrant hues and increase the impact of colourful scenes.
The Fuji F770 EXR's 20x optical zoom lens covers a very versatile focal range that's ideal for photographing both wide scenes and distant subjects.
The Fujifilm F770 EXR's big zoom lens makes getting closer to distant subjects an easy task: it's ideal for homing in on details and shooting candid portraits or wildlife, for instance, without disturbing your subject.
Sensitivity and noise
Full ISO image, see the cropped (100%) versions below.
The Fujifilm FinePix F770 EXR is a fully-featured travel zoom compact camera with a lot to offer the intrepid globe-trotting photographer.
With a versatile 20x optical zoom lens, built-in GPS, raw image capture, Full HD movie recording and 'shoot and sweep' panorama mode - to name a select few - you couldn't ask for much more from a camera in this category, particularly when you factor in its pretty competitive price tag.
The build quality of this camera is excellent; likewise the number of high-end features it has to offer, all for a very reasonable price.
Image quality at higher ISO sensitivities shows room for improvement and the GPS system puts a real strain on battery life.
There's plenty to love about the Fuji F770 EXR and - with just a few caveats that we experienced during our testing period - overall, this well made, pocket-sized powerhouse leaves a very favourable impression.
On top of some excellent high-end features and full manual control, there's a great selection of automatic options and Fuji's versatile EXR sensor technology to boot. Suffice to say this is a very capable little camera that's well worth adding to your shortlist if a big zoom lens and a smaller price tag are among your top priorities.