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on May 12, 2010
I've received this camera for several weeks, and I've done various testing under different environments.

Pros:
First off, this camera has a tremendous improvement for noise control using the EXR SN or Pro low light mode in a low light environment, better than my previous DC Fujifilm F50fd and other DCs I've seen, at least at this price range. On top of that, the 'Super Intelligence Flash' mode is awesome. It controls the level of flash for a given exposure to produce beautifully balanced flash illumination across the foreground and background, suitable for shooting macro and close-up portrait. Besides, this camera includes M-Mode (full manual) and P-Mode (P & Aperture priority mode) which gives you complete control especially when shooting night scene with tripod. To me, the manual mode is a good stuff, and it's better than most of the DCs out there I've seen. Wide angle and 270mm zoom is another big plus. HD movie is a basic requirement nowadays, I will just skip it.

Cons:
- The camera might be a bit heavy to some of you. To me, I am still okay with it.
- I needed to play around with it until finding the best setting to shoot. You do not want to fully rely on its Auto mode. In the beginning, I saw sharpness issue, and some pictures were even getting a bit hazy.

In conclusion, the price is reasonable for all these features, at least they fit what I need.

Here are the setting I'd use in many situations:
Picture mode: Vivid or Soft mode.
Metering: average
P mode for high res pictures (most of the time)
EXR SN in low light situation
EXR DR for landscape in daytime

- In daytime, I found no issue with EXR, auto and P mode, but I don't like/use EXR auto mode that often since I shoot 12M photos with P mode, except for DR mode shooting landscape and building.
- In most cases, I'd prefer to use P-mode with ISO100 or 200 with slow synchro flash, the intelligent flash mode is smart enough to balance the flash illumination for you. Besides, this mode can also allow you to shoot high resolution picture, hence, the noise will be less noticeable after resizing the pictures.
- In the low light area without any moving objects, use EXR SN Mode, then ISO200 with flash. Or, use Pro low light mode if you do not want to use flashlight.
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on June 7, 2011
Got this camera to replace our old vaunted Fuji F30 that had reached the end of it's life at after some ungentle treatment in my wife's hands. (Actually the concrete did most of the damage shortly after the camera left my wife's hands.) What I was looking for is a point and shoot with decent performance in low light. Most any camera can take decent photos in bright light, so low light indoor shots is the true test. While a long range zoom is nice, I also value a wide angle lens even more. Decent video quality also comes in handy when for when she wants to shoot some video and doesn't have a camcorder.

For the most part, this camera met my expectations. It's a little bigger than I was hoping it would be, but that's the price for having such a powerful zoom lens. It's no bigger than other cameras with similar zoom lenses and not obnoxiously big, just a little bigger than many of the newer camera with shorter range zooms. I really like how wide the view is when zoomed out all the way. Very useful for group and indoor shots. Battery life seems good. The rear screen is nice and big but the resolution is somewhat low. The face detection and especially the automatic red eye removal are very cool and work pretty well. One less thing to fix in post processing.

I did have some pretty big issues with the camera when I first got it though. When I got it, I put it in EXR mode, gave it to my wife and let her shoot with it for about a month. I tried it out myself a few times too and was a little concerned at how noisy the pictures were on the screen. I figured it was just because of the poor screen resolution though and assumed they'd look better once I got them onto the PC. When I finally got around to loading them onto the PC, I was astonished to find that other than a couple of outdoor shots, every image taken with the camera was absolutely terrible. Tons of noise and massive noise reduction left the images looking like watercolors. Maybe some people like pictures like this but to me they were useless. I really wished I had noticed this sooner before ending up with so many useless images.

Upon reviewing the image, I noticed that the camera defaults to ISO 800 for all flash shots. This worked out fine on the F30 which could handle such high ISO nicely, but on the F80 the camera is passing checks that the sensor can't deliver. I tried one of the EXR settings for low light and it made things even worse bumping the ISO up to 1600. If the camera could deliver at those sensitivities, that would be one thing, but it clearly can't. I can absolutely see why people are so disappointed with this camera when shooting at the default settings. I think Fuji really shot themselves in the foot by giving the camera default settings that lead to very poor image quality. I should point out that most other point and shoot cameras don't get very good results at ISO 800 either, but to make it a default for all flash pictures seems to be a very bad idea. They should really just have it on the camera as an option for people to use when they have no other choice and set the max default ISO at something that delivers decent results.

So anyway, ISO settings are configurable and I tried them out at lower ISO levels. At ISO 200 I found that the camera is quite capable of taking some very good quality pictures. Actually noticeably better than other point and shoots that I compared it to. Yes, the lower ISO level cuts down on the flash range, but at least I can see on the review screen that the image didn't turn out for lack of flash range, rather than looking at a properly exposed image at ISO 800 that will reveal a ton of noise once I get it onto my PC. ISO 400 is acceptable but borderline. So I've set the ISO to 200 and luckily it stays at that setting so that my wife can use the camera without having to mess with the settings every time she uses it.

What I'd really like (and maybe it's in there, I'll comment on my review if I find it) is a setting for max ISO. That way I could set that and the camera would use it when it needs it but then go back to lower ISO when it doesn't such as for outdoor shots. My SLR has an auto ISO setting that works like this and it's very handy.

So there it is, it's a good camera but it's crippled by the default settings. If you have one and hate it, try lowering the ISO and you might find that it's actually a pretty nice camera. If you haven't purchased one yet, keep in mind that you'll have to play with the settings a bit to get decent quality pictures out of it.

Update 6/8/2011: Upon reviewing the manual, I found that it does have a setting for max ISO. ISO settings are specific to each camera mode so you have to set it for each mode on the dial plus each EXR mode separately. (Once you figure this out, it's actually kind of a nice arrangement.) Unfortunately the lowest max ISO setting is 400, which is still too high for this camera. If it only used that setting when it needs to, it might be fine, but the camera defaults to max ISO whenever the flash is used which is unacceptable. I've found that setting the ISO (not max ISO) to 200 and using the EXR mode for low light (which leads to 6 megapixel output) leads to very good quality pictures in most cases. Since the camera retains is settings for ISO and mode after being turned off and back on again, I think this should work out reasonably well.

I've lowered my rating to 2 stars because I think Fuji ruined a potentially great camera by putting in a high megapixel sensor and then added default settings that the camera can't support. Had they stuck with a lower megapixel sensor with good low light performance, they could have had an amazing camera. Instead they let their marketing department dictate technical specifications and ended up with a camera that requires lots of fiddling and testing to avoid very poor performance. When they ended up with is a very average camera made much worse by the default settings. Unless you are into photography want to spend time figuring out how to get decent performance out of this camera, I can't say that I would recommend it. Get a Canon or Panasonic instead and they'll work well right out of the box.
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on September 27, 2010
I bought this camera as an open box discount through Amazon for about $177, to replace my trusty F30.
I've been trying to get to know this camera and decide whether my photo quality has improved over the F30.

Disappointments:

1) the 'boot up' time is long, something like 7 seconds. You see a EXR splash screen during this time. If you see something happening and need to quickly take a picture, you might miss it. My F30 was ready to use faster.
2) No paper manual. The little booklet that is included has pages of the usual 'cover my behind' general safety warnings like ground your rooftop antenna, don't electrocute yourself in a bathtub, and don't cover the fan motor ventilation holes, all which have nothing to do with a camera. The useful information actually about the camera is very limited. Why not put the useless safety warnings on the CD and put the camera information on the booklet? In my opinion, this sort of penny pinching is really irritating. Scrolling through a 128 page PDF file on a disk is not a good way to learn how to use a new camera. You should be able to go out a few days with the manual and try different settings based on the manual and see how the camera responds. Bad move Fuji.
3) battery is 1000mAh, and doesn't seem to last very long on a charge. My F30 had a bigger battery that I could use for days on a charge, and the F30 charged in the camera with a plug in adaptor. The user manual describes (badly) several power modes but never mentions which of them gives you the most power savings (like 'clear display", which I'm guessing uses more power, but they don't really tell you how each setting effects power drain). There is a little flip open door on the corner of the camera that is a bit of a mystery. Apparently there is some battery shaped accessory that you can insert and run the camera off an external power supply, but why not just put in a power outlet for internal battery charging or outside power? Or document the little door thing better?
4) no optical viewfinder (which my old F700 had but the F30 was missing). This is really useful on super bright days.
5) natural light setting is not as useful as old F30. With the F30, if I put the camera on Natural Light, I could go in to a dimly lit restaurant or house and a high percentage of my shots would be usable. Those that were usable had low noise and smooth appearance, usually. With the F80, this setting produces noisier images. I'm still experimenting to try to get better results, but I really miss having a general setting that gave pretty good results without manually adjusting the dynamic range and maximum ISO. To be a great point and shoot, you really need one reliable setting that you can turn on quickly and get to work when circumstances don't allow a lot of futzing around.
6) No "museum mode". The F30 had this useful setting that let you quickly suppress all sounds and flash, for times when you don't want to disturb others or make others aware that you are doing photography. The F80 lets you accomplish exactly the same thing, but in more steps and futzing around.
7) The manual (the 128 page PDF file on the disk) just does not provide enough information on when you would actually use some of the features, when they are most appropriate. I wish they had a one page cheat sheet with recommended settings for various situations, that could fit in a wallet or camera case, like when shooting in P mode is advantageous, etc., or the image degradation at 12 MP versus at 5MP (5MP settings actually improve image quality in some of the modes because of the way that pixels are combined for dynamic range). I'm still trying to figure optimum settings, but I wish they had some advice based on real world experiments that would show the optimum settings.
8) purple fringing in super contrast conditions (like shooting inside a room, and having a bright window in the scene). But in normal scenes, it isn't often a problem.

Good stuff, improvements, things that will make you happy:

1) the screen is really big and nice. A bit crowded with icons for all the gizmo info (which you can turn off) but nice to use.
2) the dynamic range settings are very useful. For landscape photos with bright light and heavy shadows, you can use up to 800% (provided you don't use one of the film simulations). But you have to turn that down to 100% for indoor/low light circumstances, or images will be pretty noisy.
3) control over maximum ISO is very useful, but not well explained in the manual.
4) zoom is pretty good, a nice range, and with the image stabilization, I've had some clear shots at maximum zoom without a support, in daylight.
5) auto rotate of photos in display mode. Improvement over my F30.
6) movie HD mode is pretty good.
7) face detection is pretty good
8) focus tracking (when turned on) is pretty good, but seems to eat the battery, so I usually leave it off.
9) the pro low light mode, where it takes 4 shots and combines them, is useful and works pretty well.
10) SD card instead of XD. I had no beef with the XD format, but it never caught on and the XD capacity never kept up with the SDHC. I'm glad they switched to the standard.
11) Fill flash often works better. Occasionally it give out some washed out near objects, but usually it produces a well blended and not very noticeable fill flash, better than older models.
12) Faster response (except at boot up, when you have to wait 7 seconds). The auto focus and exposure is faster, and the lag when you press the shutter is smaller, so you don't miss as many shots.

This camera is capable of quality existing light photography, but you have to spend more time setting things up and experimenting to get there. If you can limit the ISO to 800, the splotchiness and water-color smearing (in Natural Light setting) can be minimized. I'll probably get the broken shutter button on my old F30 repaired so I can still have a no-brainer low light camera on the ready, but I'll keep trying to fine tune the settings with the F80 to minimize the problems with some of the low light modes. This camera has taken some outstanding photos, but I still have a higher percentage of bad existing light photos, and I know that I'll have to experiment a lot more to find all the setting combinations that must be eliminated. In general, use this as a 5 MP camera and not a 12 MP camera, and you are halfway there to okay existing light photos. Turn off the expanded dynamic range stuff when shooting inside. Use the P mode with custom settings rather than some of the automatic settings.

I have a feeling that a firmware upgrade could improve the way this camera operates: they should really use the F30 and F31FD as the standard for existing light photos and provide a setting that gives equivalent point and shoot ease in difficult light.

It is a good camera but it really needs someone to publish a good optimization chart to show the best setting for various conditions.
_____________________
Update, 10-6-2010
_____________________

I've continued to experiment with lighting situations that gave older digital cameras a rough time, and tried to get better results under conditions that initially produced mediocre results.

1) for outdoor shooting with bright direct sunlight and a lot of deep shadows (example, our country road at noon with lots of shade under trees), the EXR DR mode with film type set to standard and dynamic range set to 800 produces good results with the resolution in the M (medium 6mp range). The bright areas and deep shadows retain detail.
You will also notice that it will do macro close up shots without manually selecting the macro flower icon (but this is not true in all modes).
2) Use the P for lots of other conditions and take advantage of the exposure compensation control. Set the DR to 400 for bright light with mixed medium range subjects, and maybe to 200 for people, and the ISO at 400 if you can get away with it or 800 if you are doing more telephoto and need the shutter speed forced faster.
3) low light with no flash, the P mode at DR 100 and M resolution with ISO 1600 sometimes gives better results than using N mode.
4) in P mode, I find setting the exposure compensation a half stop or third stop down reduced the overexposed look of some photos in blindingly bright sunlight.
5) the Pro Low Light mode that takes multiple exposures and combines them is actually pretty useful, especially if you have a monopod or some way to stabilize the camera in really low light. I've taken some photos after sunset that have beautiful detail and no noticeable noise. Also, some 'time lapse' ghost images of moving subjects, for fun.
6) the sunset SP mode in twilight, even if you are not photographing a sunset, can produce some saturated and well exposed low light shots, and I sometimes switch over to this mode in low light to see how the results compare to the natural light or P mode with DR at 100.

I think the people who returned their cameras after being disappointed didn't take time to do enough experiments. I still wish the N mode in this camera was more like the F30's N mode, but I think I can get similar results or better if I take the time to set things up.

I bought 4 extra NP50 batteries and have decided to just be prepared for the inevitable. The face detection should be turned off when there are no faces, to save battery, but you can find generic NP50 batteries for about $4 that seem to work okay, and it is just essential to keep a couple extras charged up and in your pocket if you are shooting for a while. If you need your camera at the ready, you will have to leave it on with the lens out because the boot up time is painfully long and you will miss shots. I hope they improve on this in the future but I'm liking this camera more as I get more familiar with it. I would give it 5 stars if the battery was more substantial, the boot up time was shorter, and the natural light setting was a bit more like the F30 or F31fd. But remember that this camera can do things that the older ones could not do, and the optical zoom is much greater. Get the camera and get extra batteries and a monopod.
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on March 3, 2013
I've tested many compact cameras before, and own several ones. For some reasons, I have a slight preference for the Fujis F series despite their shortcomings. It has to do with their colors and the camera look.

So, what about this one?
It packs nice features: zoom, stabilisation, great handling, quick reactivity, nice look, nice weight.
From the average user (by that, I mean someone who does not print or just regular print, and take event/travel pics for internet sharing), it's a decent camera. Truly. It does the job. No complaint.

However, that's where the best can be said about it.
Because the main problem with the camera is image quality, in particular with the noises. The image is noisy, even by daylight.
The image is a tad soft too, lacks a bit sharpness.

It's a shame, because I like the color treatment. Fuji's has a way to treat color that makes their pic look nice. Not the oversaturated approach of Sony's, or the warmth of Canon, or the coldness of a Panasonic.... Fuji's colors have their own identity.

There are better camera out there, and the choice of this one will depend mainly on its price given its shortcomings.

So, if you're not picky, this is a decent camera to buy that will satisfy 90% of your needs if you can get a great price.
And if you care about image quality, if you're into photography, if you're planning to share pics on an HDTV.... just move away.
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on June 9, 2010
Just got this camera and am definitely happy with the purchase. The camera is pretty much the same size as my previous camera (Canon SD800IS that got stepped on), but with much better zoom, LCD, and overall photo-processing-prowess.

I love that the focus of the camera is to make the best shot possible, and not necessarily go for maximum resolution. This means that if you leave it in "easy" mode, it will often reduce the pixels by half (giving you a 6MB picture) in order to process the image (and use neighboring pixels, and multiple shots, to get the best image). This necessarily leaves you with a "softer" picture than full resolution, but the picture looks better. It's a tradeoff, but as I indicated above, I'm happy to give up pixels to get a consistently nicer looking picture.

The "easy" mode does a fantastic job of identifying the situation and figuring out the best way to take that picture. For example, if you take pictures of people/objects next to a bright window, the camera knows how to do that automatically -- just push the button -- the picture will look great! If you take a picture in a dark room, it figures out how much flash power to use and doesn't have any bright spots. It goes into macro mode automatically, it knows when you're doing a landscape shot, etc...

It also has face recognition and it attempts to remove redeye from the image. In most of my shots, it has worked great, but not all (but I can remove the redeye myself if needed).

I've only had the camera for a day so I haven't even begun looking at the manual yet. And my initial excitement may wear off, but I certainly feel this was the right camera for me.
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on July 23, 2010
I have been following news about Fujifilm's Super CCD EXR based digital cameras since they introduced F200EXR while ago did not end up buying because of its high pricing. I recently decided to get F80EXR.

Since I'm not looking for quality of SLR from this class of camera, most important aspect of it is being able to take decent picture in most of situations. And I feel this camera is very good at doing that. EXR Auto mode would take care of most of phototaking scenes, that is high dynamic range in bright places, and noise reduction in darker place. For instance, when I take picture of my dog in shade, I could take picture that shows great contrast of bright sunshine and my dog, without sacrifice of clarity of both. I also like taking picture of night scenes, and it takes satisfying picture as well.

There are two additional special feature modes; Pro Focus Mode and Pro Low-light Mode. Pro Focus mode takes two pictures in succession to combine them to create blurred background, much like effects you'd get when you take picture with SLR. There are often unnatural artifact being produced during the process, but I found it quite fun to try to go for composition that "works right." Probably application of this is limited, but it's fun gimmick to play with. Pro Low-light mode, however, I found it useful. This mode takes four pictures and then combine them to create low noise picture at high sensitivity. Utilizing this, it created quite acceptable result even at ISO1600 sensitivity. Both of those features has limitation that the subject needs to be static, but they are nice features that broadens usability of the camera.

Overall, this camera has good balance of price and quality.
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on July 14, 2010
I bought the F80EXR after using a Fuji F10, a great 6 MP camera, for several years. I liked the idea of the wider angle 10X zoom lens of the F80, the 12 MP resolution and the potential of the EXR chip which offered many processing options. The spec seemed like a perfect upgrade of my older camera. And in fact it is slightly smaller (though pretty hefty) and slightly faster on start up and shot-to-shot. And the lens seems pretty good. But the photo quality, especially in low light is noticeably inferior to my F10. There is substantial noise (mottling) in poor lighting conditions which I could not improve much even with custom settings. The camera performs well outside in bright light, though the images tend to soften (slightly fuzzy edges) at full zoom.

Like most small point-and-shot cameras, there is no optical viewfinder. But the 3" LCD is bright and has adequate resolution for most shooting situations. Since I was already familiar with the Fuji menu system, I had no trouble accessing the many functions in the software. Those new to Fuji cameras may be in for a learning curve - but not an insurmountable one.

The F80EXR is one of the best cameras available at its price point. If shooting in low light conditions is not a priority for you or you can live with the slightly inferior image quality, I think you would be happy with the F80. As for me, I decided to opt for a Canon S90. The price is a little dear, but the images are exceptional (and slightly better than my old F10).
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on January 4, 2011
This little camera does a great job. If you're looking for a point-and-shoot camera this is a great choice. It does pretty darn good in lower light, the auto-focus and flash did a good job on the test shots I took at 12-15 feet in low light. The LCD screen looks crisp and clear, making it easy to frame and review your picture and see the menus.

The camera's "dog/cat face finder" works fairly well, but we haven't tried it on the alpacas to see if it works on them yet! Nonetheless, the main purpose of the camera was to take pictures of our show dogs and puppies. Our environment doesn't have the best lighting so the good low-light performance, flash, and decent focusing speed all combine to make this camera a good instrument for those tasks.

You can select from a variety of resolutions, so you should find the one you like. You can also select a low-light mode where it decreases the resolution of the image a bit so it can combine pixels to create a faster exposure in low-light. It's a nifty feature and works well and still produces good quality web and printable images.

Most people won't want to, but if you like to tinker with the settings a little, say, adjust ASA/ISO, shutter speed, or aperture you'll also like this camera. The camera generally does a good job of setting things up for you, but does give you control over these other settings if you want. I did 35mm film photography in my younger years and the settings made perfect sense to me, roughly paralleling a 35mm camera. The F-stop settings are somewhat limited (I typically have to choose between 4.5 and 11 or something like that), usually requiring you to tweak the ASA/ISO and shutter speed to get to where you want to go.

A minor annoyance is that it won't store very many images at the highest resolution setting - maybe 10 at the highest, but back the resolution down and you'll get 30 or so still very good quality images. You might want to go ahead and get an SD memory card if you like to keep hundreds of pictures on your camera.

Finally, it's not a "professional" level camera by any stretch, just a nice point-and-shoot with a few really good advanced features at a nice price. We're very happy with how this camera has performed so far.
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on March 28, 2011
The Fujifilm FinePix F80EXR 12MP Digital Camera was purchased to allow me to photograph my own photo library for a few websites I own.

I wasn't really confident of my purchase, but the reviews seemed very positive...

And they were positive reviews for a reason!

This little camera has surprised me with the clarity of the photos from such a small camera. The menu system is taking some time to get used to, but frequent review of the camera's manual is gradually bringing me up to speed.

The really nice part is that from the time I took the camera out of the box I have been able to take very acceptable photos... and as I learn more about this excellent little camera I get even better photos!

The macro feature was one of the most critical in my selection list... and it's been just what I have been looking for! Easy to setup and use, and I get great pictures from it!

I will continue to tell my friends and family about this fine little camera. I am very impressed and quite pleased with this purchase.

I simply don't have any 'cons' to report. I am that satisfied!

Hope that helps you out...
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on January 19, 2011
After using the camera for almost a year, a comparison with our old cannon A610 shows that this supposedly more advanced camera took on average worse quality photos. Anything taken indoors, under a lot of different lighting conditions, turned out grainy and with artifacts in lower light areas of the photo, and even the well lit areas were not particularly sharp. Customer service was unhelpful, saying that this was not marketed as a point and shoot, and was therefore not expected to take good pictures in auto mode. We sent it back in to the service department, to see if there was perhaps a defect in this particular camera, but not only did they say it was fine, they returned it MINUS THE BATTERY. I was very disappointed in both the camera and the experience with FUJI. I'm going back to Canon.
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