on December 9, 2011
As with many reviewers, when I buy something from Amazon I am really hoping to like it. I have now tried several cameras in the compact superzoom lines including the Panasonic DMC-ZS9 (the stereo version of the ZS8) and the Canon Hx230HS. I have been looking for a camera to supplement my Canon T1i SLR when I just don't want to pack around the larger frame. I would consider myself an amateur photographer. I understand the use of aperture sizes, etc.
The good about the camera is that for 4x6 or maybe 5x7 print sizes you will probably be pretty happy with this camera. However, once you zoom to full size of the photos in "large" size they picture becomes rather grainy. Zoom in on an eye with my SLR and you see an eye, zoom in on an eye with these cameras and you lose almost any detail rather quickly. This is important to me as I like to do some touch-ups and eyes are kind of important when it comes to people.
I also noticed that pictures of my daughter, unless she was completely still, would look out of focus. I am not sure if this was a problem with this camera or if it simply does not have a very fast auto focus. Unfortunately, I am usually using the portable camera in less than optimal lighting so jumping up to a faster shutter speed is not always ideal.
As for the "EXR" system it is not overly clear even after reading the manual on just how it works. I know that when I was taking pictures inside my house at only about 6-10' from the subject it was bumping up the ISO to 800-1600 and I was not shooting in that low of light. The pictures turned out okay but once again you would see the blurring. I almost thing the EXR simply blurred the photos a bit to reduce the noise that is naturally created at high level ISO settings.
As for ease of use, I liked that there was a video mode button (by the way video was middle of the road - again lacked an ability to adjust to focal changes with any level of speed meaning focus to blurry back to focused) and the tilted control wheel was okay. I did not like that the flash pops up every time you turn the camera on it is in an area where I normally place my finger. Had I kept the camera I might have gotten over this. What I really did not like was the menu system. Setting up the ability to take continuous shots or performing bracketing takes too many steps and seems cumbersome. They have a special mode for low light shooting which is great to have but you first have to go to the special modes wheel selection, scroll through roughly 20 modes, and then select the option. Now you are ready to shoot. Unless you want to try the professional low light which requires that you go to the advanced setting on the wheel, then scroll through to professional low light and you are then ready for high dynamic range shooting. This is supposed to be a point and shoot camera. Even setting up continuous shooting requires (for some reason I could not tell you) that you set the number of frames per second and then the maximum burst size. Why not just have a continuous shooting selection on the wheel (many manufacturers do) and you hold the button at it takes pictures at your currently selected size at whatever frame rate that may be?
In the end, when I am out with my friends and just want to get some fun group shots or pictures of my family, I don't want to spend a bunch of time fiddling with menus. Fujifilm seems to believe that people like menu options and moving through them. Some of the photos came out pretty good but some barely looked better than what I might get from a smartphone cell camera. Finally, as compared to other cameras of this size it seemed rather heavy.
If you are not used to SLR maybe this is a great camera. But from what I am seeing, cameras at this price point with their small sensor sizes (regardless of MP resolution) just do not put out fine details under any level of examination. So, I will keep looking.
on March 1, 2012
It's not perfect. But, if you're willing to work around all it's issues, it's a (very, very.... very rough) gem. It gets:
4 stars for "feel",
4 starts for "value",
4 stars for "features",
3 stars for "handling", and
2 or 3 stars for "image quality", depending on which of the many modes you're using.
The F505 EXR is solidly built and feels nice in the hand - it's quick to start, shot-to-shot (even RAW) is excellent, overall when shooting it leaves you with a favorable impression. The amount of control it allows the user and the plethora of options available buried in the menu system sets this camera apart; if you can do it with a digital camera, it's probably in there somewhere. The downside to that is the complexity of the interface - there's some learnin' to be done if you want to be effective with this camera. Battery life has been acceptable; about 300 shots.
In full-auto mode it does a good job in daylight conditions. If the camera sticks to ISO 100, there's plenty of detail for quite aggressive cropping; the photos print well, showing good detail with a little saturation adjustment and sharpening. However, as is common these days, ISO ramps up far too rapidly; ISO 200 already starts to show some minor noise-reduction artifacts, but by ISO 800 JPEGs are plastic-y, showing a lot of blotchy chroma noise despite overly-aggressive noise reduction that blurs out too much of the detail. The images will still handle moderate cropping (around 50%) and are printable at 5X7; saturation needs to be punched up, though. ISO 1600 can't be printed bigger than 4X6 without noticeable artifacts.
Image stabilization is moderately effective; I'd estimate about 2 stops advantage - but with an F5.3 lens at 360mm equivalent it's just not enough, especially in low-light conditions. 16X zoom is for daylight conditions only, unless you actually like that "smeared, unrecognizable chaos" look....
Movie mode is quite decent; again in low-light and at longer focal lengths the camera struggles; there's a lot of trembling due to the IS working overtime. One issue not mentioned in the formal reviews is the sound the IS system makes - audible throughout the recordings as soft clicking noises.
Then there's the dreaded corners. It's best to avert your eyes, they get ugly. 24mm wide is worst, but it remains a problem throughout the zoom range - as others have noted, it seems worst in the left upper and right lower corners for some reason. In the center, pixel-level image quality is good; it's definitely not a camera for pixel peepers, though.
The EXR modes actually DO work, when used appropriately. The DR ("dynamic range") mode adds 1-2 stops, but does nothing good for fine detail; it's a tradeoff - better shadow and highlight rendition but 8 rather than 16 MP of detail. I've been using the SN ("signal-to-noise") EXR mode quite a bit indoors; again, at the expense of detail it reduces noise, making ISO 800 more tolerable/useable; you gain about 1 stop.
RAW mode eliminates the noise-reduction artifacts, but then you begin to see why noise reduction is necessary; vignetting is severe at 24mm but improves rapidly. What RAW does give you is more dynamic range (about 2 stops on-screen) and significantly more detail. The problem is finding a RAW developer.... Some say FujiFilm Inc. is slipping a bit; there's a lot of dross about quality problems, poor customer service so forth on the interweb forums. The software supplied with this camera - old/primitive/clunky stuff; 1990's programming, really - is not helping that perception. The fact that the in-the-box Silkypix RAW software version CANNOT OPEN THE F505's RAW FILES (Wha?? really??) - kinda cements that impression into place.
The updated Silkypix converter compatible with the F505 is available here: [...] - it clearly gives you an advantage in detail. Google's Picasa does develop the RAW files, but really doesn't do them justice - you lose wuite a bit of the dynamic range advantage. FastStone also develops the RAW files, but the results are identical to the JPEGs from the camera; not useful. Of note, Adobe ACR doesn't recognize the F505 RAW files, I have no idea why they're different from the F550's RAW files.
There's a lot more to say about this camera, but I don't think anyone wants a 5-page review. I'll sum up by saying I picked up the Fuji F505 EXR more out of curiosity; it was cheap and it ticked all my important boxes - manual controls, RAW capability, 24mm equivalent wide with a useful long zoom, mechanical image stabilization and a low-light mode that looked quite promising. I can't cart my dSLRs around all the time and I just want some pics of the kids, so they're overkill. As is true of all compact super-zoom cameras, the F505 EXR is a mixed bag - I am willing to put up with a bit of noise and corner softness when I'm out and about with my family. Image quality isn't fantastic, but it's quite acceptable (under certain conditions); as a pocket camera it's versatility gives it an edge.
on November 24, 2011
If you need a simple point and shoot with some decent user friendly features then this camera will probably be OK. With adequate light this camera will produce decent photos for 4x6 prints and Facebook. My cameras of choice are all DLSR's. But lugging a camera bag is not always convenient or prudent so a small point and shoot with advanced features for portability was what prompted me to try this model. On paper the F505 looked like a winner. Once it arrived the love affair quickly fizzled. Here are the main problems that prompted a return of this camera.
1.)The 15x zoom sounded great but has quite a bit of pincushion on the wide end and barrels on the long end. The long end also decrease the aperture and overall sharpness to the point the even a 4x6 picture would show the shortcomings.
2.)The F505 was unable to capture even moderate action with precision. If the subject was still then manual control could enable a low ISO and slow shutter for cleaner results. In any auto mode I could not get an acceptable shot that did not show serious problems at even a 50% zoom. Trails, blurs and soft edges permeated every moving kid shot regardless of lighting.
3.)The main selling point for me was that fact this unit advertised uncompressed RAW ability, great for HDR and other post-processing needs. Unfortunately the system only gives a 3/4 size RAW file (12mp versus the advertised 16mp). I could find no documentation to indicate if the Fuji raw files are compressed or otherwise processed but the size sure makes me question the file integrity. Also note that no Adobe product (even with the latest Dec. 2011 updates for RAW) will open the raw files produced by this model; nor will Photomatix, Portrait Professional, Tiffen Dfx 3 or any other common editing software I use. Even the included SILKYPIX raw converter software WILL NOT open the files produced by this camera and gives an unknown file format error (seriuosly Fuji, how lame is that!). This error appeared even after multiple updates recommended the MyFinepix software. Until the product content is updated by Fuji you will have to manually go to the fujifilmdotcom website to get the updated RAW software. The fujifilmusadotcom site does not even show the F505EXR in their product list at the time of this review. Your ONLY raw processing option for this model is using the downloaded SILKYPIX update for raw to TIFF conversion.
4.)Pictures have a VERY grainy appearance in medium to low light. The F505EXR really likes to crank up the ISO rather than use the built in flash. In any light the JPG files will also display a great amount of digital artifacts since the processing engine applies excessive sharpening to the image. As stated, this camera is decent for 4x6 or small online pics but not for anything larger.
5.)Slow startup, slow focus, slow shutter response and slow access to controls via a menu system. I admit to being spoiled by DSLR's that can turn on, focus and display a shot faster than the F505 can extend the lens and was prepared for that in a P&S camera. Unfotunately the slow focus and severe shutter lag simply caused too many missed shots and that I could not accept.
For any DSLR photographer looking at this model for a small pocket camera I would recommend looking elsewhere. I already have two HD-DLSR's and a HD video camera so I never even tried the video on the Fuji F505. After returning the F505 I ponied up the price difference and replaced it with a Canon S95. It only has 720 HD video capability but the stills and RAW functions were my emphasis and it has worked quite well in both those regards. In fact the S95 worked too well! My wife has "borrowed" the S95 long term so I finally ended up with a Canon G12 (which really suites me better due to the slightly larger relative size and easily accessed manual controls). Thanks for reading!
on March 26, 2012
I got this camera a few months back, the main reason I bought it is because my Fiancee is a performer and I wanted to record and take pictures during her shows, which is often in a dark lit room. The Camera in normal settings takes some beautiful pictures and I really liked the quality, but when we tried to use it for anything dark it just didn't work.
The camera advertising kept talking about how great of pictures it takes at night, but what I found was, is 1 out of every about 10 pictures would be usable. Most of them ended up being really blurry. I Tried just about every setting I could but it still wasn't reliable enough, but the biggest problem we had was with the video. When the room was darker the video was just go in and out of focus every 2 or 3 seconds, even if you were locked on your subject. It was extremely annoying and ruined some great video.
The last problem I had with the camera is the lens cover stopped closing all the way, so when you turned the camera off and the lens retracted you would have to physically push the lens cover closed to protect the lens. Sometimes I would forget this and end up with fingerprints or whatnot on the glass.
I returned the camera and am going to try a new brand, we will see what happens. The camera was nice though in normal settings, just didn't work for what I needed it to.
on December 17, 2011
Fuji F505 is a nice and compact camera packed with tons of features. Its 15x optical zoom is great. The only set back is the video features. Even though it offers high resolution video recording but it can only playback with quicktime software. I tried to playback the video files with nero and window media player and it was totally distorted and useless for creating, editing home videos. In addition, the video quality is so poor when recording indoor. Although the price is competitive, I would not recommend this camera.
on November 1, 2013
I would charge the battery then put away. A few weeks later the battery was always dead. I just noticed when I went to turn it on after my last charge the power button was warm. Something in this camera does not shut of completely. I keep it and extra batteries in my pack for hiking. I just will keep the batteries out until use. Pain in the rear but a solution.
on December 18, 2014
i loved this camera when it worked but after about 8 months the lens shutter would not close leaving the lens exposed to dust and grime. once the lens cover failed to close it started causing problems in the overall functioning of the camera probably due to the senser showing the shutter was open 24/7 causing problems with battery usage, focus, and picture quality.
on March 11, 2013
Camera is ok, pop up flash gets in the way. They put it right where you would hold the camera. It lasted just about 9 months and then quit working. It turns on but no screen display. Fuji has been contacted but as yet, no response. Camera is still under warranty, should be interesting as to how they handle this.
on January 21, 2012
I am an amateur photographer specialized in compact cameras only. I have tested most major compacts:
Fuji F31fd, F40FD, F100FD, F80EXR, F505EXR; Panasonic TZ3, TZ5, LX3; Sony T100, DSC-55, W170; Canon SX100, SX210, 310HS, S90; cell phones Sony Ericsson W810i and Hazel.
There are not many professional reviews of this specific camera, but instead you'll find reviews of big brother, the F550EXR. Since it's the same camera with only major difference the GPS, RAW and some continuous shooting features, reviews for the F550EXR applies to the F505EXR.
I've had this camera for a month. I was interested in a camera producing high quality image with low noise and the ability of doing some DSLR bokeh effect with a good battery. The high-zoom, HD video were a nice little plus. I am not interested in RAW shooting. I do a little bit of post processing and I don't mind as long as the amount of time I spend on it is little.
Hence the choice of the F505 became natural given the Pro-focus mode and the reputation of the EXR mode and Fuji's sensor.
I view my photos on this excellent 15" laptop from ACER. I don't view them 100% size and I don't print. My photos are geared towards viewing on the net or computer screens. I won't cover the technical details as you can find them in the above reviews or on the web. My review will be more user centric.
B- FIRST, THE CONCLUSION:
It is a good camera overall with a slightly above average battery. But no more than that.
I paid $160 which included a 4GB memory card, which is good deal. More than $160, then the camera would be rated decent only. If you look for a cheap, versatile, good, long/travel zoom, this camera is a good bet.
IMPORTANT Note for RAW lovers: my unit was able to shoot RAW when not supposed to. So if it wasn't a bug, then you might want to buy the F505EXR instead of the F550EXR ;). This should save you about $50.
. The camera is snappy.
. Fast focus when there's enough light.
. Beautiful fashion looking in white.
. Wide angle, long zoom.
. Under the right conditions, camera produces very good images though soft and a bit noisy.
. Low distortion, low chroma, noise well controlled.
. HD + Stereo sound video recording.
. More than decent battery: should last a whole day of shooting if you don't use flash or zoom too much.
. Has the Fuji's 'Average metering', which is great for high contrast situation.
. Competitive price.
. Images tend to be soft requiring you to PP most of the time to get the best.
. Images tend to be noisy even at low ISO, despite being well-controlled.
. Colors are sometimes not accurate.
. Under low light condition (lounge bar, night club with flash...), image are often blurred despite anti-blurred technology. Hence the camera is a not good for party pics at night.
. Tendancy to blow the sky, overexpose. But based on previous experience, I'm sure that would be very minimal had I used the average metering, which I didn't, and which is great to reduce blown skies.
. Image quality not great under low light, either as image or video shoting mode.
. Pressing buttons are a bit hard in general and navigating menus a bit aren't that quick, especially at the beginning.
=> My conclusions concurs with most reviews on the web, for once. This is a good camera but requires the photographer to do PP. Nothing more, nothing less. If you can get for a bargain price and you don't mind doing PP, great great deal!
For shooting party pics in low light, I would not recommend it. The camera isn't great for these situations.
Nice fashion looking, especially it you have the white version. I had it and it looked gorgeous! GOod quality plastic feel combiend with some metallic parts. The metallic parts are prone to fingerprints, but they are quickly removed using a clean t-shirt to swipe them out. Fits in a shirt pocket. The desigh coloring/UI choice for the setup menus look a bit confusing. But one will get used to.
Feels a bit heavy but there's a nice discrete grip. The Mode Dial button is weirdly positionned, somewhat at 45 degree angle, I assume to be easily accessible to your thumb, but still, it was not easy to rotate it using my right thumb. I had to use 2 fingers. The movie record button is hard to press because of it's positionning, and when pressed, it immediately records the movie, which is annoying.
C.3- Viewing, screen:
Nice, but autorotate of pictures didn't work. Not sure if this was a generalized bug.
My unit had RAW shooting and some of the F550 continous shooting capability. Nice!
Again, not sure if this is generalized, but you can try since Amazon has a great return policy.
C.5- Image quality
Images are generally soft. Anti-blur tech' doesn't work well under low light or for party pics (in bars etc.). Many of my pics in bar, even with flash, were blurred. Never experienced that with other cameras.
Skies tend to be blown (like in most compacts) but this should be attenuated if you use FUji's excellent average metering. Colors might not be accurate by a notch under certain conditions. Under the right conditions, images are great but still soft. Distortion is low, which is great.
Under automated modes (EXR or the generic automated one), the camera was pushing the ISO very high (think 800 to 1600 ISO). Even if the image's noice is well controlled, especially under low light, this is still a bit frustrating for an advanced camera.
Great stereo sound.
Great video during day light. In low-light (bar-club), video is less great: one doesn't see much.
C.7- EXR, Pro-focus
They do work, but I don't care and I'm not a pixel pipper. The noises may defeat a bit the purpose.
Pro-focus creates the bokeh effect only under certain specific conditions and may push the ISO high, which creates noises again, though manageable...
Nice feature, but low quality image.
Powefully impressive with low distortion. It suffers from a bit noises and not very good anti-blur technology. So you'll have to learn to stay still when the zoom is at max range.
This isn't a terrible camera, but it's got enough annoyances and takes such marginal quality photos that I decided to give it to a family member and get something better for my travel camera.
First, as others have noted, the low light performance is not good at all. I suppose the internal algorithms just get confused, but it's hard to get a good exposure in low light, and colors seem a fair amount off from both the human eye and my other cameras. The autofocus seems to "hunt" more than other cameras too, including my old Canon Powershot and the Lumix (Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 10.1 MP Digital Camera with 3.8x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3.0-Inch LCD - Black) I got to replace it.
The image quality, even in normal light, is nothing special. The Lumix is quite a bit better, and this is certainly not in the same league as a DSLR. My Canon T3 is only 12 megapixel compared to 16 for this camera, and it takes much, much better shots.
This will do for casual photos, but I expect some of my travel photos to eventually end up in a book, so I need better quality than this camera seems to take. Other reviews say you can tweak this and that to get better quality, but I'm not willing to navigate the menus, because...
I found the interface to be pretty confusing. I eventually navigated through the menus to change the settings I needed, but it was unnecessarily complex and frustrating to do it. There's just no reason for a camera menu to have such a poorly designed user interface.
On the good side, it takes a lot of pictures on a charge, the zoom range is pretty good, and it's very compact. I like the auto lens cap, too. But that's not enough to balance the points I don't like about it.