Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR Review

July 11, 2011 | Matt Grayson | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


Fujifilm's range of cameras is very distinct in the way that it has a stylish series, a performance range and long zoom range. So what happens when performance is put into the stylish range? The new Finepix Z900EXR, that's what. Sporting a 16 megapixel back-illuminated (BSI) EXR-CMOS sensor, 5x optical zoom, 3.5 inch touch screen, sensor shift image stabilisation, top ISO6400 sensitivity, 1600% dynamic range and up to 12 frames per second continuous shooting, on paper the Z900EXR seems to be a camera that's too good to be true. The Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR costs £199.99 / $279.95 and is available in pink, black, red or blue.

Ease of Use

Speaking of which, there's a saying that if something is too good to be true then it probably is. So why do we have the Z900EXR sitting in front of us? What are its faults? The specification looks extremely impressive. Without touching it, from the front it looks like the lower specification Z series of cameras. The lens sits in the top left of the camera with a large plate of metal sliding over it to protect it and to also power the camera on or off. After we'd picked up the Z900EXR, we quickly changed our minds. The review model we tested was the black version which has a powder coating and the mottled effect found on some makes of DSLR. It gives the camera a rough touch which is refreshing in a market of super smooth cameras on every shelf.

On the Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR's top plate, there's only the shutter release with the zoom switch wrapped around it and a direct video record button for those candid moments so you don't have to go into menus and switch on the video mode first. The Z900EXR records video in the H.264 format and you can tag videos in camera for easy upload to YouTube. Something that the younger generation may prefer but that's not to say that it's off limits to anyone else. The underlying specification looks more than enough to satisfy photographers that are looking for something more in their camera.

Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR
Front Rear

Take, for example, the BSI EXR-CMOS sensor: BSI stands for Back Side Illuminated which means that all the circuitry that normally surrounds each pixel has been placed on the back of the sensor. This technique exposes the full sensor to light meaning that it's more responsive in low light situations and a lower ISO can therefore be used. The back of the sensor isn't actually illuminated, the sensor gets it's name from when it's fitted to the camera. Because the circuitry is on the back, it looks as though the sensor is fitted backwards so the back side gets illuminated by light from the lens.

EXR is a new processor and sensor system designed to increase the resolution, produce better colours, lower noise and be an all round good egg. It's certainly shown a lot of promise in the past with the cameras that have been fitted with it. For those of you that aren't photographically astute, there are two types of  that are frequently used in digital cameras. The traditional variety is the CCD (Charge Coupled Device) offering a sharp image but has a higher fuel consumption than CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) which gives a slightly softer result but is more efficient. Fujifilm have opted for the CMOS in the Z900EXR believing that it works better with the EXR processor.

Thanks to the 5x optical zoom of the Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR being internal, the body of the camera is very slim. It makes the camera easily pocketable and of course should a child get hold of it, there's no chance of them breaking the zoom barrel. Fuji have introduced a new button to the Z900EXR called the Home button. All it does is take you back to the shooting screen wherever you are in the camera's systems. It can be useful if you're in the deeper parts of the set up menu and you're unsure how to get out without inadvertently setting a mode that you don't want but we found it most useful for coming out of the playback menu. All other buttons and functions save for the two on the top of the camera have been placed on the touch screen which we think is a neater idea. After all, why have a touch screen and surround it with buttons?

Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR
Front Touch-screen

The build quality of the Z900EXR is very good. The camera feels solid to hold and the large plate that covers the lens will provide exceptional protection. We like the DSLR style coating to the case and the only thing we're disappointed in is on the bottom. The camera has a plastic tripod bush and the battery door is quite flimsy. Generally, higher specification cameras have a metal tripod bush and it's kind of like a status symbol with manufacturers. With regards to the battery door, it's not that problematic but it's not the easiest door to open and that gives us concern with long time usage.

Fujifilm have changed the way that their menus work these days. Before, it was a simple set up of shooting menu and set up menu with a separate playback menu in that mode. While it's technically the same at its base elements, the structure of it has changed so it seems more difficult to operate. The modes are now found by pressing the mode icon on the screen in the top left corner. This menu remains in the top left regardless of the orientation although other modes will take different places when the camera is vertical. This menu is where you'll choose whether you want the camera in auto, scene recognition, EXR, touch & shoot, scenes, natural & flash or motion panorama.

Recently Fujifilm released a new panoramic mode that allowed much easier alignment and stitching of pictures to create panoramas but it still wasn't as easy as the Sony Sweep Panorama. Motion Panorama is Fujifilm's answer to Sweep Panorama. It takes a series of images while you move the camera in the direction you want to record. It also features a yellow line to keep you aligned. The menu is still easy to use though, it's just evolved to a more advanced state of the extremely simple menu systems that they became famous for a few years ago.

Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

Looking in the playback menu, there's a lot to look at. The picture is in the centre of the touch screen with ten buttons down the sides of the picture in 2 groups of 5. From this point it's possible to favourite your pictures by giving them a star rating, search for pictures using date, face recognition information (faces have to have been registered in the camera database before this will work), favourites, scene mode, type of data or by upload mark (YouTube or Facebook).

Along with the camera, inside the box you'll find a rechargeable lithium ion battery, dedicated charger which comes with a 3 pin attachment that slides on to the charger. The lack of lead could reduce the amount of places that it can be plugged in due to its size and shape. There's also a USB lead and small wrist strap to prevent the camera from being dropped. In the software package there's a paper based quick start guide, warranty booklet and on the driver CD is MyFinePix Studio version 2.1 (Windows) and version 3.6 (Mac OS X). The full owners manual is also on the disc.

We only found a couple of things we thought were disagreeable as we used the Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR. The battery can be inserted either way round but will only work one way which can be tiresome if you have to take it out again to turn it round. The only other thing was that the camera can be slow to process pictures before it's ready to take another. As it processes, buttons will change colour as a response to touching them but they won't do anything which can get frustrating. If you're not in a rush, this will be fine though. Apart from that, the Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR is easy to use, fast enough in the AF, metering is agreeably accurate and it looks great.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 16 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5.5Mb.

Image quality on the Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR digital compact camera is very good in real life situations. What we mean is that for everyday use, you'll find that the Z900EXR gives cracking shots. We found that the metering, although good in most situations, did have trouble in complex light or with hard highlights and shadows in the frame. We tried using the dynamic range boost but it had little effect. We found that colours are recorded accurately in the Z900EXR. Primary colours such as red and green are rich and nicely saturated. We're suckers for a good blue sky and we loved how the Fujifilm produced pictures with blue sky in.


The sensitivity on the Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR ranges from ISO100 to ISO6400. We're pleased as punch with the low ISO results. ISO100 is very smooth with no colour noise showing through at all in dark areas and there's nice sharpness to fine edges. We found a small amount of salt and pepper noise poking through at ISO400 which messes around with fine edges slightly and this problem gets worse at the ISO800 setting. However, we'd normally expect to see colour noise coming through at this stage but we can't. Green blobs of colour do show through at the ISO1600 setting but it's tolerable. Image detail has broken down severely at ISO3200 and colour noise starts to invade the mid range tones being seen most where darker parts overlap lighter tones. At ISO6400, the camera reduces the resolution to reduce noise but so far the camera has produced much better results than other cameras with CCDs fitted. What reducing the resolution does is keeps the noise performance akin to what the lower ISO3200 setting does.

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)


ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)


ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

Focal Range

The Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR's 5x zoom lens provides a focal length of 28-140mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.




As we mentioned before, CMOS sensors aren't as sharp as CCD sensors. However, we found that pictures were sharp enough although loading the pictures into Adobe Photoshop CS4 and using the standard sharpening did bring out the detailed areas of photographs better.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations

We struggled to find any chromatic aberration on the pictures we took during the test which we are extremely pleased with. We found some on the macro test shot of the Compactflash card towards the edges of the frame but it's still a very good result.

Example 1 (100% Crop)


The Z900EXR has a close focusing performance of 9cm which isn't all that spectacular on paper. However taking a picture of a simple Compactflash card, we found that it filled the frame nicely. Centre sharpness is great although that sharpness does start to soften out at the edges.

Macro Shot

100% Crop


We found that in program mode with the ISO at a low setting to minimise noise, that the flash wouldn't compensate more to give a more balanced result. The only time it did this was in the natural light & flash mode in the program menu.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (28mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (140mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (140mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

We found that the red-eye reduction feature on the Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR eliminated most red-eye in the picture.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)

Red Eye Reduction

Red Eye Reduction (100% Crop)


It seems that the Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR has an amazing noise reduction facility that can really be seen when using the night shot mode for shooting at night versus the program mode. In program, the camera doesn't automatically add the right amount of noise reduction because it doesn't analyse the picture like it does in the scene modes. Because of this, even at ISO100 we got a lot of noise due to the long exposure but the night scene shot is much smoother. However, the night scene mode also underexposed the image by a large margin. It was dusk in our test and the camera has made it look like night.

Night - Program Mode

Night - Program Mode (100% Crop)


Night - Scene Mode

Night - Scene Mode (100% Crop)

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR camera, which were all taken using the 16 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 highest quality setting of 1920x1080 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 21 second movie is 35.7Mb in size.

Product Images

Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR

Front of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR

Front of the Camera / Turned On

Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR

Isometric View

Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR

Isometric View

Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR

Rear of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR

Rear of the Camera / Turned On

Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR

Rear of the Camera / Quick Menu

Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR

Rear of the Camera / Shooting Menu


Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR

Rear of the Camera / Shooting Mode Menu

Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR

Rear of the Camera / Playback Menu

Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR

Rear of the Camera / Setup Menu

Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR

Rear of the Camera / Image Search Menu

Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR

Rear of the Camera / Photobook Assist

Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR

Rear of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR

Top of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR

Side of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR

Side of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR

Front of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR

Memory Card Slot

Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR

Battery Compartment


It's a shame that there isn't a "Camera that looks like a budget model but performs like a prosumer" award because the Fujifilm Finepix Z900EXR is a strong contender. It looks a lot less than it delivers because of the unassuming exterior. The internal zoom is also a feature generally reserved for the point and shoot generation that simply want a camera to slip in and out of pockets and bags. Usually, a big zoom lens is an indicator of a high specification camera, although no-one really knows why.

Still, we were very interested in the performance of the Fujifilm Finepix Z900EXR. The pictures we produced were very good with realistic colours and minimal noise. The zoom is only modest but using the camera, we never felt that it was lacking. The rest of the camera is built to a high standard and the only areas we didn't approve of were the battery that can be put in the compartment either way but will only work one way and the fact that the Z900EXR can't do anything else while it's processing pictures onto the memory card.

We feel that the Z900EXR is designed for a keen amateur that simply wants a camera for fitting into a bag or pocket but doesn't want to compromise on image quality. It's interesting to note (especially after using the night mode) that using a preset mode sets the Z900EXR up more for getting the best picture than simply placing it in Program.

That's not to say that only keen amateurs will benefit from the Fujifilm Finepix Z900EXR. Younger people will like the design and touch-screen technology while the tech-savvy will enjoy getting to grips with the EXR modes and explaining how the BSI sensor works to all their friends. If this sounds like you then you need to get the camera on your to-do list.

4.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4.5
Features 5
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 4.5
Value for money 4.5

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR from around the web.

ephotozine.com »

The Fujifilm FinePix Z900 EXR was released as part of Fujifilm's Spring collection of digital cameras in April 2011. It is available in red, blue, pink and black for £188.99.
Read the full review »

pocket-lint.com »

With its slide open and shoot faceplate, mainly metal build, internally stacked lens and glossy good looks, the svelte and pocket friendly Fujifilm FinePix Z900EXR logically follows on from last year’s very similar Z800EXR, a previous Hot Product here on Pocket-lint.
Read the full review »


Number of effective pixels
16 million pixels
CCD sensor
1/2-inch EXR CMOS with primary color filter
Storage media
Internal memory (Approx. 63MB). SD / SDHC / SDXC (UHS-I) memory card*2
File format
Still image JPEG (Exif Ver 2.3)*3 (Design rule for Camera File system compliant) movie H.264 (MOV)
Fujinon 5x optical zoom lens
Lens focal length
f=5.0 - 25.0 mm, equivalent to 28-140mm on a 35mm camera
Single AF / Continuous AF (EXR AUTO, Movie). TTL contrast AF. AF frame selection: Center / Auto area / Touch & Track (Touch & Track mode) / Portion of touch (Touch EXR Auto mode, Touch & Shoot mode)
Focus distance
Normal: Wide : Approx. 60cm to infinity / 2ft. to infinity / Telephoto : Approx. 1.0m to infinity / 3.3ft. to infinity Macro: Wide : Approx. 9cm - 80cm / 3.5in.- 2.6ft. / Telephoto : Approx. 20cm - 80cm / 7.9in. - 2.6ft.
Shutter speed
(Auto mode) 1/4sec. to 1/2000sec., (All other modes) 4sec. to 1/2000sec.
F3.9 / F6.2 (Wide) F4.9 / F8 (Telephoto)
Auto / Equivalent to ISO 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200 / 6400* (Standard Output Sensitivity) * ISO 6400 is effective in M or S modes.
Exposure modes
Programmed AE, Manual
White balance
Automatic scene recognition Preset Fine, Shade, Fluorescent light (Daylight), Fluorescent light (Warm White), Fluorescent light (Cool White), Incandescent light
LCD Monitor
3.5-inch wide, approx. 460,000 dots, TFT Color LCD monitor, Touch, approx. 100% coverage, aspect ratio 16:9
Approx. 10sec. / 2sec. delay, Couple Timer / Group Timer / Auto-shutter(dog, cat) / Auto release
Video Output
HDMI (Type C) NTSC/PAL selectable
Digital Interface
USB 2.0 High-speed
Power source
NP-45A Li-ion battery (included) / CP-45with AC power adapter AC-5VX (sold separately)
100.8(W) x 59.0(H) x 18.2(D) mm
Approx. 151g / 5.3 oz. (including battery and memory card)
Digital Zoom
Approx. 5x (up to approx. 25x , with 5x optical zoom)
Shooting modes
EXR mode (Auto / Resolution priority / High ISO & Low noise priority / Dynamic range priority), Auto, High-speed movie(80 / 160 / 320 fps.), Dynamic range, Face Detection, Auto red-eye removal, Touch & Shoot, Face recognition, Film simulation, Motion panorama360,Auto release, Natural Light, Natural light & with Flash, Program
Movie recording
1920 x 1080 pixels / 1280 x 720 pixels / 640 x 480 pixels (30 frames / sec.) with stereo sound. Optical zoom can be used.
Face Detection, Face recognition, Erase selected frames, Auto red-eye removal, Image search, Crop, Resize, Image rotate, Slide show, Multi-frame playback, Edit, Mark for upload, Photobook assist, Favorite, Panorama
Voice memo
WAVE format, Monaural sound

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