Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR Review

September 27, 2010 | Gavin Stoker | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The Fujifilm Finepix Z800EXR is a stylish new 12 megapixel compact camera with a 36-180mm, 5x zoom lens. Featuring Fujifilm’s next generation EXR technology with hybrid high-speed autofocus, the Z800 EXR switches between phase detection AF and contrast AF depending on subject and light levels, promising DSLR-like focusing speed. Other highlights of the Z800EXR include a next generation EXR sensor, improved image stabilisation system, high-resolution 3.5” touch-sensitive LCD screen, ISO levels of up to 1600 at full resolution, and 720p HD movies. The Fujifilm Finepix Z800EXR is available in matt black, red, gold or shell pink for $229.95 / £229.99.

Ease of Use

First impressions of the new slim-line 12 megapixel Z800EXR from Fujifilm, just 16.9mm in depth at its thinnest point, are good. The metal build pocket model has a gently undulating wave-like curve design and sliding faceplate mechanism that both protects the lens when slid shut and activates the camera when slid open. It looks and feels like it should cost more than its manufacturer's £199 asking price, and of course web pricing will be more affordable still.

An externally stacked image stabilized 5x optical zoom, equivalent to 35-175mm on a 35mm camera, is accessible with a twist of a lever on the top plate, but remains hidden within the body at all times to maintain the camera's sleek proportions. It's not often we get more than what we bargained (or paid) for, so in that respect the Z800EXR is a pleasant surprise from the off. For the fashion conscious it's available in the deceptively serious matt black we had in for review, or a more lascivious scarlet. But at the end of the day it's a point and shot snapper pure, but perhaps not quite so simple. For it includes much of the new technology showcased on the equally new F300EXR model higher up the FinePix range. For that reason we'll be touching again on some aspects already covered in our review of that camera.

For the Z800EXR's proposed outlay meanwhile you also get a wow factor when you turn the camera over. Its entire backplate is given over to a 3.5-inch touch panel wide aspect ratio LCD screen. This means that the only physical controls on the camera are limited to the capture/playback button, shutter release button and zoom lever that ergonomically surrounds it. All are located on, and slightly set into, a narrow chrome strip that runs the length of the top plate and drops down at either side. The user interface is also dual direction, which means for example the direction of the menu button is switched depending on how the camera is being held. Basically the display can flip from horizontal to vertical format, at which point the camera takes on an iPhone-like air.

With the camera loaded with all the Fujifilm innovations we'd expect, including its manufacturer's proprietary triple use Super CCD EXR sensor, now in its second generation, operation is straightforward. That is, once you've familiarized yourself with where all the functions that would normally have readily identifiable physical controls are to be found in the new 'virtual' world. The audible 'dink' as you select each subsequent virtual button and feature can quickly become annoying, so it's good that the sound can be muted if so desired.

Canon PowerShot A2100 IS Canon PowerShot A2100 IS
Front Rear

For those not already up to speed re: the properties of Fujifilm's Super CCD EXR sensor meanwhile, it can be utilized in one of three ways by the photographer. There's a choice between shooting at full 12MP resolution in High Resolution (HR) mode, alternatively choosing wide Dynamic Range (DR) mode to achieve optimal balance between shadows and highlights, or Low Noise (SN) mode for shooting without flash in low light conditions. If you can't decide which is best for a chosen scene or subject, then leave the camera on scene-detecting EXR Automatic Mode and let it choose for itself. It appears to be the exact same 1/2-inch EXR chip utilized in the Z800EXR as in its F300EXR sibling.

The markets for each are subtly different however. This is illustrated by the fact that the innovation that is being flagged up on this model is a new Pet detection technology that can detect up to ten four legged friends in a scene. Good for dog shows perhaps, or recording a pack of wolves. We also get standard human Face Detection and Recognition functionality. Likely to get more use by those with families is an auto release mode also found on the F300EXR that fires the shutter when the camera detects the subject is looking directly at the lens. Fujifilm suggests this is ideal for photographing never-sit-still children and babies. HD movie capture makes an expected appearance, here at 720p resolution with mono sound, while for low light shooting up to ISO3200 equivalent is offered.

Another feature shared with the F300EXR, and unexpectedly so at this snapshot level, is phase detection auto focus (as on Sony's newest A33 and A55 DSLRs) for near instantaneous captures - Fujifilm says officially 0.158 second, equating to a blink of your eye - plus a new hybrid auto focus system to measure light and contrast. This chooses between phase detection auto focus, best suited to bright high contrast situations says Fujifilm, or contrast auto focus for dark, low light scenes. So with the Z800EXR you're getting DSLR-like technology in point and shoot compact clothing. Plus, there's a new 360° Motion Panorama Mode incorporated for sweeping landscapes, and also, in playback mode, there's a chance to rate your favourites by allocating stars to them. So, as noted, you're getting most of the new innovations introduced on the F300EXR for £130 less.

So, from the front the Z800EXR looks like a capable rival to take on the Sony T-series Cyber-shots of this world. Indeed we prefer the understated look of the Fujifilm, particularly in its black incarnation, the 'Z' logo dashingly cut into the background like the mark of Zorro.

Canon PowerShot A2100 IS Canon PowerShot A2100 IS
Front Top

Slide this portion of the faceplate down and with an audio 'sparkle' the camera is ready for action in around two seconds, internally lens automatically at its widest setting and attendant flashgun exposed to the world. It must be said that, as with its Cyber-shot rivals, it's easy to get a stray fingertip peeping into shot whilst you're still familiarizing yourself with the camera, because the lens is located top right of the face plate rather than more centrally placed. So when gripping it in both hands the inevitable happens. In terms of a grip, well there's no real concession to a grip at all, so it's good job there's a wrist strap provided in the box to prevent the Z800EXR flying out of your grasp if fingers are slippery.

The top plate meanwhile features just a built in mono microphone, button for alternating between capture and playback modes, plus a shutter release button encircled by the rocker switch for the 5x zoom.  It takes between two and three seconds to get from maximum 35mm equivalent wideangle setting to 175mm telephoto end, and the transition is jerky and staggered. There's also some mechanical noise, and, though this is not in our opinion as intrusive as on the F300EXR, here Fujifilm has chosen to nevertheless disable use of the optical zoom when shooting movies. The lens merely stays put at the point you left it when recording commenced which is a shame. Take a still image meanwhile and, with the camera locking onto target near instantly (but not quite), this is committed to memory in around two seconds. If we didn't know that both were using the same chip, we'd swear the performance of the Z800EXR feels faster than that of the F300EXR.

With a built in speaker on the left hand side of the camera - if viewed from the back - and combined USB and AV output port clever hidden beneath the almost seamless chrome strip to its right hand side (no mini HDMI output here, as on the F300EXR), it's the back of the camera where all the business takes place.

Canon PowerShot A2100 IS Canon PowerShot A2100 IS
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

When you first activate the camera and try a few exploratory plods there very rapidly appears to be an almost bewildering away of options floating about the screen, but bear with it and the Z800EXR slowly starts to reveal its riches, with 'home' and 'back' buttons to help users' navigation. Start with the toolbars either side of the main 4:3 ratio image and drill your way in.

Apart from the EXR modes, scene and regular auto mode there's access provided to Fujifilm's film simulation modes, as on the F300EXR and previous FinePix generations. The choice once again is between the well-saturated colours of 'Velvia' mode, the default natural-looking setting of 'Provia', black and white or sepia - but no soft and gentle 'Astia' for portraiture this time. Natural light and natural light with flash option also makes a re-appearance on a Fujifilm camera, and here we get a 'touch and shoot' option. Simply touch your subject when and where it appears on screen and the camera's shutter will fire. Very responsive the screen is too. Rather more sophisticated than your average sub-£200 model then.

The base of the Z800EXR features a centrally located screw thread for the attachment of a tripod and, to the side of this is a narrow compartment that pulls off the trick of housing both a slot for optional yet essential memory card plus supplied lithium ion rechargeable battery. Fujifilm says the life of the supplied NP-45A cell is just 170 shots, which is poor by any standards, and is one of the few black marks against this value for money model.

But we may be jumping the gun. We haven't yet come to image quality. So how does the Z800EXR measure up where it counts? Can this minnow take on the big boys?

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 12 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 4.5Mb.

As you'd expect, the performance from the Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR is much the same as that of the pricier Z800EXR, with the same pixel count from the same sensor. But whereas we were slightly disappointed with the mixed bag of results from what there was a £300+ camera, on a sub-£200 model any inconsistencies are much more forgivable.

So, although here we too get burnt out highlights with a tendency for the camera to overexpose rather than underexpose, purple pixel fringing, soft results and all the rest of it, we're not expecting quality to rival an enthusiast camera. For its price point then the Z800EXR puts on a showing that is certainly good enough. Colours are again natural rather than over the top. Minimal adjustment of brightness and contrast in Photoshop adds a bit more pep, as required.

We'd have preferred a wider angle lens, say 28mm, on the Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR rather than its 35mm equivalent, which resulted in us having to take steps back from certain subjects to be able to fit them all into frame, and with most compacts now offering a wide lens as standard, perhaps this is something Fujifilm could revisit on the next generation model.

In terms of low light performance, once again here noise/grain starts to show itself in images taken at ISO 800, worsening, but not markedly, at ISO 1600 where detail is softening. At ISO 3200 shots are beginning to take on a more obvious painterly aspect, but even at this top selectable setting results are no worse than those seen at ISO 1600 on lesser compacts.


There are 8 ISO settings available on the Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)


ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)


ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)


Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft and ideally benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can't change the in-camera sharpening level.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)


Chromatic Aberrations

The Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR handled chromatic aberrations well during the review, with some purple fringing present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the example below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)


The Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 5cms away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop


The flash settings on the Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR are Auto, Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Slow Synchro, Red-eye Reduction Auto, Red-eye Reduction & Forced Flash and Red-eye Reduction & Slow Synchro. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Suppressed Flash - Wide Angle (35mm)

Forced Flash - Wide Angle (35mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Suppressed Flash - Telephoto (175mm)

Forced Flash - Telephoto (175mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Forced Flash setting or the Red-Eye Correction option caused any red-eye.

Forced Flash

Forced Flash (100% Crop)

Red-eye Reduction Auto

Red-eye Reduction Auto (100% Crop)

Night Shot

The Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR's maximum shutter speed is 4 seconds, which is fairly good news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 1/4 second at ISO 800. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Intelligent Sweep Panorama Mode

The Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR allows you to take panoramic images very easily, by 'sweeping' with the camera while keeping the shutter release depressed. The camera does all the processing and stitching, with he main catch being that the resulting image is of fairly low resolution.

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR camera, which were all taken using the 12 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample Movie & Video

This is a sample movie at the quality setting of 1280x720 at 24 frames per second. Please note that this 24 second movie is 73.9Mb in size.

Product Images

Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR

Front of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR

Front of the Camera / Lens Cover Opened

Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR

Isometric View

Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR

Isometric View

Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR

Isometric View

Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR

Isometric View

Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR

Rear of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR

Rear of the Camera / Turned On

Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR

Rear of the Camera


Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR

Rear of the Camera / Turned On

Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR

Top of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR

Bottom of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR

Side of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR

Side of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR

Memory Card Slot

Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR

Battery Compartment


The Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR in many ways seems too good to be true and transcends what we expect of a camera with this modest sub-£200 price tag. The large 3.5-inch screen is a real boon for composing and particularly reviewing shots, and makes the most of the camera's video capture facility. This and a 5x optical zoom ensure you have a few more framing and compositional choices than you might otherwise. Whether or not you feel the touch screen is a gimmick or actually aids use depends on your liking (or not) for touch screens. At least the polished surface copes well with disguising finger and thumbprints, so you won't feel constantly pressurized to wipe it clean.

Like its bigger sibling in the F300EXR, which features an equally solid outer shell, and which in many respects this is a pared down, simplified version of, stills picture quality is perhaps the weakest aspect of the Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR. That, and the period of familiarisation required to find all the regular features you'd hope for within the touch screen menus, along with the poor battery life lose it a star.

There's not a lot that's truly bad about the Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR however, and you could make far worse choices for the same price. While that's hardly a ringing endorsement, as we said at the outset here you are getting rather more than you've paid for, and in today's market that's a rare thing indeed.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 4
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 4
Value for money 5


Model Name FinePix Z800EXR / Z808EXR
Number of effective pixels *1 12.0 million pixels
CCD sensor 1/2-inch Super CCD EXR
Storage media
  • Internal memory (Approx. 30MB)
  • SD memory card / SDHC memory card *2
File format
still image
JPEG (Exif Ver 2.3 *3)
AVI (Motion JPEG ) with sound
WAVE format, Monaural sound
(Design rule for Camera File system compliant)
Number of recorded pixels Still image:
L : (4:3) 4000 x 3000 / (16:9) 4000 x 2248
M : (4:3) 2816 x 2112 / (16:9) 2816 x 1584
S : (4:3) 2048 x 1536 / (16:9) 1920 x 1080
<Motion Panorama 360>
360° Vertical 7680 x 920 Horizontal 7680 x 616
240° Vertical 5120 x 920 Horizontal 5120 x 616
120° Vertical 2560 x 920 Horizontal 2560 x 616
Fujinon 5x optical zoom lens
focal length
f=6.4 - 32mm, equivalent to 35-175mm on a 35mm camera
F3.9(Wide) / F4.7(Telephoto)
Digital zoom L, M : Maximum approx 4x
S : Maximum approx 4.4x
Aperture F3.9 / F6.4(Wide) F4.7 / F8.0(Telephoto)
Focus distance
(from lens surface)
  • Wide : Approx. 60cm / 2ft. to infinity
  • Telephoto : Approx. 1m / 3.3ft. to infinity
  • Wide: Approx. 9cm - 80cm / 3.5in. - 2.6ft.
  • Telephoto: Approx. 40cm - 80cm / 1.3ft. - 2.6ft.
Sensitivity Auto / Equivalent to ISO 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200* (Standard Output Sensitivity)
  • * M mode or lower
Exposure control TTL 256-zones metering, Multi metering
Exposure mode Programmed AE / Manual
Shooting modes Portrait, Portrait enhancer,Landscape, Sport, Night, Night(Tripod), Fireworks, Sunset, Snow, Beach, Party, Flower, Text, Dog, Cat
Image stabilizer CCD-shift type
Face detection Yes
Exporsure compensation -2.0EV - +2.0EV 1/3EV step
Shutter speed Auto : 1/4sec. to 1/1000sec.
All modes : 4sec. to 1/1000sec.
with mechanical shutter
Continuous shooting Approx. 1.6frame/sec. max. 5frames
Auto bracketing -
Single AF / Continuous AF(when EXR Auto)
TTL contrast AF, Phase detection AF
AF frame selection
Center, Multi, Place of touch(Touch & Shoot mode)
White balance Auto, Fine, Shade, Incandescent light, Fluorescent light 1(Daylight), Fluorescent light 2(Warm White), Fluorescent light 3(Cool White)
Self-timer 10sec. / 2sec. delay / Couple Timer / Group Timer / Auto-shutter(dog, cat) / Auto release
Flash Auto flash (super i-flash)
Effective range : (ISO 800)
  • Wide : Approx. 30cm - 3.9m / 1ft. - 12.8 ft.
  • Telephoto : Approx. 40cm - 3.2m / 1.3ft. - 10.5ft.
  • Approx. 30cm - 80cm / 1ft. - 2.6ft.
Flash modes Red-eye removal OFF : Auto, Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Slow Synchro.
Red-eye removal ON : Red-eye Reduction Auto, Red-eye Reduction & Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Red-eye Reduction & Slow Synchro.
Hot shoe -
Electronic Viewfinder -
LCD monitor 3.5-inch Wide, TFT Color LCD monitor, Approx. 460,000dots,(Approx. 100% coverage), Aspect ratio 16:9
Movie recording 1280 (1280x720 : HD), 24frames/sec.
640 (640x480 : VGA), 30frames/sec.
with monaural sound
  • * Zoom function cannot be used during movie recording.
Shooting functions EXR mode(Auto / Resolution priority / High ISO & Low noise priority / Dynamic range priority), Dynamic range, Touch & Shoot, Face recognition, Face Detection, Auto red-eye removal, Film simulation, Dog / cat detection, Framing guideline, Motion panorama360, Auto release
Playback functions Face Detection, Face recognition, Auto red-eye removal, Image search, Crop, Resize, Image rotate, Slide show, Multi-frame playback (with Microthumbnail), Edit, Dual image display, Mark upload, Photobook assist, Favorites
Other functions PictBridge, Exif Print, PRINT Image Matching II, 31 Languages,Time difference,Silent mode,
Video output
Digital interface
USB 2.0 High-Speed
HD output
Power supply NP-45A Li-ion battery (included) / CP-45with AC power adapter AC-5VX (sold separately)
Dimensions 98.1(W) x 59.0(H) x 20.3(D) mm / 3.9(W) x 2.3(H) x 0.8(D) in. (Minimum thickness : 16.9mm / 0.7in)
Weight Approx. 141g / 5.0 oz. (excluding battery and memory card)
Approx. 158g / 5.6 oz. (including battery and memory card)
Operating Temperature 0°C - 40°C
Operating Humidity 10 - 85% (no condensation)
Guide to the number of available frames for battery operation Approx. 170frames
Accessories included Li-ion battery NP-45A
Battery charger BC-45W
Hand strap
USB cable for the FinePix Z800EXR
Optional accessories Li-ion battery NP-45/NP-45A
Battery charger BC-45W
DC coupler CP-45
AC power adapter AC-5VX
HD player HDP-L1

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