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Box Photo

Contents of the retail package.

• Fujifilm FinePix F750EXR digital camera

• strap lug

• USB cable

• composite video cable

• Basic Manual

• software CD-ROM

• rechargeable battery

• wall socket adapter

The chrome lens barrel is quite a bit larger than most cameras of this size, and protrudes well away from the body when fully extended. Mechanical action is fast though not precise, and this is worsened by the finicky electronic zoom lever in front of the shutter release.

The rear plate is dominated by a 3.0-inch LCD monitor with a 460,000-dot resolution. The screen is of high quality, plenty bright enough for outdoor shooting and capable of an extremely wide viewing angle that's almost as useful as a swiveling panel. The plastic coating on top is prone to fingerprint smudging, but they wipe away clean with a cloth or shirt.

The flash arms pops up from the left side of the top panel via a mechanical release on the left side. In contrast to last year's F600, the bulb travels up and forward, leaving a space for the finger to rest even while the flash is in use. This is a relatively weak emitter, and recycle speed is on the slow side, but red-eye reduction and slow sync features are available.

Flash Photo

The concealed flash pops up and forward.

Both connectivity ports are housed underneath a plastic door on the right side of the camera. Here you'll find a miniHDMI port for output to an HDTV, as well as a multipurpose microUSB terminal for composite video or connectivity with a PC. Sadly it isn't possible to charge the battery via USB.

Image quality is actually quite strong, particularly for a travel zoom. We were amazed that the jump to 20x didn't negatively affect sharpness, as is often the case with new models. Colors are also very accurate, and noise reduction isn't bad.

For a 20x camera, we were impressed by the F750's sharpness in both our lab tests and sample shots. At wide and medium focal lengths, edges are fairly consistent. For the most part we saw results range between 2000 and 1300 MTF50s of detail, with less detail near the edge of the frame. As expected, scores were moderately worse at the maximum focal length, averaging around 800 MTF50s.

Despite the increase in optical zoom, the F750 is much sharper than last year's F600, and even gives the mighty Sony HX9V some competition.

Finally, one feature that distinguishes Fujifilm's lineup is EXR mode, which many fans have come to appreciate. Unfortunately, our tests could discern only the slightest improvement between EXR and non-EXR shots. In fact, scores only rose by less than 1%, which is frankly within our test's margin of error. More on how we test sharpness.

Science Section 3 Images_3

The most effective image stabilization methods, of the many included in the F750EXR, are the "+Motion" versions. That is, "Shooting+Motion" or, for stable framing, "Continuous+Motion." This setting provided a modest 13% improvement to detail in shots affected by movement. Certainly not the best we've seen, but it's worth leaving the feature turned on when shooting from the hand.

The F750EXR's rendition of color is very accurate. We recorded an error value of only 2.45, much better than the 3.00 average score. Bright reds, yellows, and blues are all reeled-in to darker shades, but other than that, most colors are nearly dead-on. Subjects should therefore appear more natural and true to life than they would with a less accurate model. More on how we test color.

NOTE: Because of the way computer monitors reproduce colors, the images above do not exactly match the originals found on the chart or in the captured images. The chart should be used to judge the relative color shift, not the absolute captured colors.

This score puts the F750EXR ahead of the F600EXR, and into contention with the Sony HX9V once again. Casio's respected EX-ZR100 and Panasonic's ZS20 are less accurate.

Color modes take the form of "Film Simulation" settings, which are modeled after Fujifilm's old lines of traditional film. "Provia," the standard setting, is also the most accurate, but there are other choices like the soft Astia film or the vivid Velvia brand, as well as a few others.

White balance performance is strictly average. As is the case with many cameras, compact or otherwise, the automatic balancing software shouldn't be relied on in any condition except broad daylight for accurate shots. Custom white balance is far more accurate, with near-perfect whites across the board, but only decent grays. When shooting with the F750EXR, try to white balance manually whenever possible.

Fujifilm's noise reduction software behaves in a way we consider ideal, that is, starts off slow and then proceeds evenly up the ISO scale. Noise levels, as a result, do not surpass 1.00% until ISO 400. The problem does become severe at the top of the sensitivity range, culminating in 2.17% noise at ISO 3200. Regrettably, due to the narrow f/3.5 lens, you'll spend most of your time indoors at ISO 1600 or above, and this can make everyday shooting feel more noisy than the camera is capable of.

The majority of artifacts are luminance noise, so high-ISO shots will take on a grainier quality than images captured with other cameras. Chroma noise, which results in color blots, is still noticeable but isn't quite as prevalent. More on how we test noise.

Science Section 3 Images

Full resolution ISO sensitivities extend from 100 to 3200 and, at the cost of resolution, it's possible to boost ISO all the way up to 6400 or even 12800. That's well above average for a camera in this class.

Chromatic aberration is a rarity for this camera, in both our lab stills and real world shots. But when it rains, it pours. Shots at the maximum focal length aren't always polluted by fringing, but every once in awhile thick bands of incorrect light will border high contrast edges. These cases drag down the average.

Barrel distortion cannot be avoided in a lens of this type, however the effect is corrected in software long before the final image is output to you. As a result, we're awarding the maximum score here.

Video could be a major selling-point of this camera, thanks first of all to strong handling of moving objects. Although artifacting can be a problem in complex patterns, trailing is absent and the footage is very smooth overall. More on how CamcorderInfo tests motion.

Sharpness was not impressive in our test, however (and this is a big "however") that only applies to scenes in motion. Since our entire sharpness test moves, the F750EXR was only able to resolve 250 lw/ph horizontally and 300 vertically. But while the camera is still, these numbers jump to 650 and 400 respectively. Meaning that in practice, such as the sample above, video sharpness will probably be excellent. More on how CamcorderInfo tests video sharpness.

The results are much the same under low light. In our 60 lux video test, the F750 resolved 200 lw/ph horizontally and 300 vertically, and yet again these figures jumped up while the camera was still. This time, all the way to 700 and 400 lw/ph respectively.

One drawback is the camera's lack of sensitivity under low light. In order to resolve at least 50 IRE of image data, the sensor requires more than 45 lux of ambient illumination. We don't award any points at 45 lux or above, and although this result isn't totally surprising, we have seen at least a few compacts break the 45 lux barrier.

We like the handling of this compact and found the controls to be flexible and empowering in most situations. The menu interface sure could use an overhaul, but the fast processor keeps things from getting bogged down.

The F750EXR offers a fully automatic mode that takes most–but not all–of the thinking out of simple photography. We say "not all" because a few menu options still exist in Auto mode, and while professionals like us certainly appreciate the flexibility, we think novices may be scared off by the extra complexity.

The control layout on the rear panel is a very standard one. A circular directional pad, that doubles as a rotating dial, is flanked by four keys that control playback, video shooting, display options, and a quick menu called f-mode. Although menu design isn't perfect, navigating options was easy to get the hang of thanks to this arrangement.

Eighteen "Scene Position" settings are available, and they represent the standard lot you've come to expect. There are modes for sunsets, portraits, landscapes, sports, fireworks, and even a few dedicated settings for your dog or cat.

Fujifilm's menu layout is rather illegible at first, and we had to spend a few moments acclimating to it. Once that's done, you'll find the interface divided into two long lists, one for shooting and one for set-up. This is fine, we suppose, but does require a bit of scrolling to find that one option you're looking for. At least the software doesn't skimp on responsiveness. The processor is more than capable of handling this menu as fast as we could operate it, and this goes a long way toward easing the burden of a mediocre design.

There is also a button for "f-mode" at the lower right corner of the rear panel, this is a simplified quick menu for what Fujifilm thinks are the most commonly adjusted variables. We found ourselves rarely using it though.

The F750EXR ships with an unhelpful Basic Manual that we quickly put down in favor of the full manual contained on an included CD-ROM. This document offered more information, but we found it difficult to navigate and lacking some of the detail we needed.

Physical handling is aided by the unusual body design of the F750, which is distinguished by smooth curves and protrusions. On the front panel, a large lip with a rubberized accent gives the fingers plenty to latch onto and making one-handed shooting painless and comfortable.

Handling Photo 1

Balanced, painless shooting with one hand.

On the rear panel, a similar lip juts out from underneath the mode dial, which the thumb intuitively wraps around before coming to rest on another rubberized area. The buttons themselves are shaped along with the curves in the paneling, so there's no danger of accidental presses. This is one of the more comfortable compacts we've used lately.

Handling Photo 2

The thumb comes to rest beside a rounded area.

The control layout on the rear panel is a very standard one. A circular directional pad, that doubles as a rotating dial, is flanked by four keys that control playback, video shooting, display options, and a quick menu called f-mode. Although menu design isn't perfect, navigating options was easy to get the hang of thanks to this arrangement.

Buttons Photo 1

The combination directional / rotating dial, notice the shaped video button above.

The physical mode dial above makes swapping shooting methods simple and obvious, and the shutter release above that has solid tactility. A small Function button is nestled into the corner of the top plate, though we rarely used it.

Buttons Photo 2

A decent shutter release, but that zoom lever could use an upgrade.

The rear plate is dominated by a 3.0-inch LCD monitor with a 460,000-dot resolution. The screen is of high quality, plenty bright enough for outdoor shooting and capable of an extremely wide viewing angle that's almost as useful as a swiveling panel. The plastic coating on top is prone to fingerprint smudging, but they wipe away clean with a cloth or shirt.

The most effective image stabilization methods, of the many included in the F750EXR, are the "+Motion" versions. That is, "Shooting+Motion" or, for stable framing, "Continuous+Motion." This setting provided a modest 13% improvement to detail in shots affected by movement. Certainly not the best we've seen, but it's worth leaving the feature turned on when shooting from the hand.

The F750EXR is equipped with full "PASM" shooting modes, plus a fully automatic mode, scene modes, "advanced" mode for options like panorama or low-light multiple exposure. There's also the famous EXR mode, which supposedly enhances image quality in a variety of fancy ways, though we could find few measurable differences.

Unlike it's cousin the F770EXR, the F750EXR doesn't have the ability to shoot images using lossless RAW encoding. Instead, nine resolutions of varying size and aspect ratio are available, and JPEG compression can be set to either Normal or Fine quality.

At full resolution, the F750 is somewhat fast, clocking in at almost exactly 3 frames per second. However the burst capacity is limited to only 3 consecutive shots. This restriction can be boosted to 12 frames, at 12 frames per second, though at the cost of resolution. Hardly a good trade, in our opinion.

Some additional continuous options are also available, including bracketing of exposure, film simulation (color modes), and dynamic range. There's also a setting called "Final 3," which allows you to hold a continuous exposure as long as you want, but only the last three shots are saved.

Self-timer options include 10-second and 2-second countdowns, plus an Auto Release option that snaps a shot as soon as a face is detected.

The F750 is feature-rich, and doesn't resort to ancillary extra features to earn that moniker. We appreciate the extensive controls, able hardware, and long list of shooting options. Video capabilities are also much better than many compacts.

Eighteen "Scene Position" settings are available, and they represent the standard lot you've come to expect. There are modes for sunsets, portraits, landscapes, sports, fireworks, and even a few dedicated settings for your dog or cat.

Most will want to record videos in Full HD 1080p at 30 frames per second, however Fujifilm has included a few other options, including 720p and 480p, both at 30 frames per second.

High-speed video is also supported by the F750. 480p videos may be shot at 80 frames per second, while low resolution videos may be captured at 160 or 320 frames per second. Find out how the performed in our video image quality test./r:link_to_content

Zoom

Optical zoom is unlocked while a recording is in progress, though the barrel's action is slowed to reduce mechanical noise. We always wish for an option to disable this preventative feature, but such is not the case for the F750EXR.

Focus

A menu option allows video focus to remain fixed or continuously update automatically throughout the video. Manual focus is not supported.

Even though our test results were a mixed bag, we had a good time shooting with the F750EXR, and found it to be a flexible, comfortable camera for everyday shooting in most lighting conditions. Although the body design is rounded and appears somewhat toy-ish compared to many other 2012 designs, this made the device easier to handle. And while the relatively extensive controls may intimidate newcomers, we took advantage of all this detail to achieve better shots than we would've using another compact.

EXR mode is a bit of a bust though. While this technology looks great on marketing materials, we could find only negligible differences between EXR and non-EXR images. On the other hand, at least those non-EXR shots turned out well. Perhaps this camera's most pleasant surprise was the absence of a disastrous transition from the F600's 15x to this model's 20x. Usually as lenses get longer we see image quality pay the price. Not so with the F750, sharpness actually increased.

Indoor shooting, sadly, is more challenging than it should've been, since the automatic ISO setting cannot meter into extended sensitivities like 6400 and 12800. Full manual control helps with this, but then of course "point-and-shoot" appeal of the camera takes a backseat.

At $350, we cannot yet advise you to purchase the F750EXR over better options like the Sony HX9V, especially considering that model's falling price. However, should you receive the F750 as a gift, or buy it at a discount, we don't think you'll be disappointed.

Meet the testers

Christopher Snow

Christopher Snow

Managing Editor

@BlameSnow

Chris was born and raised less than ten miles from our editorial office, and even graduated from nearby Merrimack College. He came to Reviewed after covering the telecom industry, and has been moonlighting as a Boston area dining critic since 2008.

See all of Christopher Snow's reviews

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