Fujifilm Finepix S200EXR bridge camera
Taking a long shot
Review Until recently, the Fujifilm Finepix S200EXR was the company’s flagship bridge camera with its clever extended dynamic range (EXR) noise handling, 12Mp CCD sensor and a 14.3x zoom lens that in 35mm terms translates to an all-purpose 30.5-436mm range.
Worth a shot? Fujifilm's Finepix S200EXR
While the company’s latest offering, the HS10, to be reviewed shortly, is raising a few eyebrows with its 30x zoom and HD video, it uses a 10.1Mp CMOS and is a rather different beast altogether. So, before the scramble for HD on still cameras obscures the capable S200EXR, a look at this camera’s features seems in order, especially as it can be picked up for a great price if you shop around.
To be honest, I wasn't expecting too much from this camera. I presumed it would be fairly inflexible and just take images effortlessly without me having to work too hard. Yet when I first picked it up, I was surprised by the level of control you get at your fingertips. Buttons for ISO, White Balance, AF shooting modes, metering, flash and even face recognition are all easily reached. Even though you can get started swiftly by choosing Auto, the S200EXR really is a camera that, if you’re keen to get the best out of it, deserves more serious exploration.
The Fujinon 14.3x optical zoom f=7.1-101.5mm lens delivers an excellent range with its manually operated barrel zoom. Unusually, the lens focus ring is to the rear, nearest the body and the zoom goes in the wrong direction. For me, twist left for wide and telephoto to the right, but this is reversed here. Given this is a non-interchangeable lens camera, this combination seems very capable for most things – most well-lit, outdoor sort of things, that is.
Of course, not all photogenic subjects lurk in dark moody places. In fact, where this camera shines is when the f/2.8-5.3 variable zoom is used at its furthest reach. A 436mm lens exceeds what most people will buy for their DSLR and so its not so bright f/5.3 is to be expected and will be limiting.
An electronic viewfinder offers an alternative to the LCD panel
With light being all-important at full zoom, the S200EXR is ideal for outdoors where most shooting will be done at this range. That said, another feature that really impressed were the two Macro modes, the most extreme getting to focus 1cm away from an object. Yes indeed, it really is a versatile lens.
It's worth looking at the EXIF on the telephoto shots; most of them appear to have been shot at ISO400, which never helps a small sensor. The light looked good though, so I'm not sure why it did that...
That telephoto lamppost shot is shaken too - there's a double edge on the highlights which gives it away.
If you want a simple way to find out the EXIF when browsing with Firefox, there's a neat AddOn called FxIF:
"Is that 12 Fuji Fantasy MP (ie, 6MP) or 12 Real MP?"
Are you referring to the earliest generations of SuperCCD whose "interpolated" resolutions were promoted as the real thing? That hasn't been the case for a good five years or more, as far as I am aware.
Re: Stay short
"These cameras are reasonable for the casual shooter, but just a waste of money for people who want a decent long lens for nature photography."
There does seem to be a steady parade of decent bird shots (of the feathered kind) produced by people with this camera and/or the S100FS, though. They claim that a big benefit of a bridge camera for bird photography is the relative silence compared to SLRs.