The F200 EXR isn't an overly demonstrative camera - it doesn't try to look retro, it doesn't shout about megapixels or have crazy design flourishes to distinguish it from last year's model - it just looks like a sensibly-styled compact camera. But we rather like that simplicity. And, when you look closer at the F200 you discover that the buttons and dials are nicely styled and well laid out.
In your hand
The FinePix F200 EXR fits nicely in the hand and puts the zoom lever and shutter button directly where you want them. The mode dial effectively acts as somewhere to rest your thumb but thankfully it's hard to move accidentally.
In use, the F200 EXR is very straightforward - if you simply want to point-and-shoot, you can do but, if you want to get a bit more involved in the process, all the key functions are easily accessed (an area that recent F-series Fujifilms haven't always handled well). On the whole, the camera is also very good at warning you when it's had to change other settings as a result of your choices (for instance, the lowest available ISO is dependant on the DRng setting), and usually resets the affected setting when you swap back.
The familiar modes, including Fujifilm's signature 'natural light and flash,' are here, but the big novelty is the EXR mode. This accesses the camera's three sensor modes, either in an automated or user-selected manner. Other than movies, we can think of few reasons to ever move the dial from this position.
The 'F ' button gives rapid access to all those settings that directly affect the appearance of the final image - ISO Sensitivity, Dynamic Range Expansion, White balance, Image size, Image Quality and, last but not least, Film Simulation mode.
In all this excitement about sensor technology you can easily lose track of the rest of the specifications. Which is a shame because, although it looks like it's just another 3X zoom camera, the F200 EXR has a 5X zoom lens. More importantly, is covers a 28-140mm equivalent range, offering wide-angle as well as reach.
The SD card slot and battery take up much of one side of the camera. The battery has a rating of 3.7 Wh (1000mAh at 3.7V), which is enough for 230 photos, according to CIPA standard tests. This is not particularly good for a camera of this class, which is a shame - battery life was another area in which the F30/F31fd excelled.