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Fujifilm FinePix HS20 EXR Ultra Zoom Review

Fujifilm FinePix HS20 EXR Ultra Zoom Review - Joshua Waller reviews the new Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR - Fujifilm's update to the HS10 features a 16 megapixel CMOS sensor.

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Category : Compact Cameras
Product : Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR
Price : £139
Rating :
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Fujifilm FinePix F550EXR

The Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR is the 16.2 megapixel update to the 10 megapixel HS10EXR, and features the same 30x optical zoom lens, 3 inch swivel screen, manual controls, RAW support, Full HD video, and updates the styling slightly.

Fujifilm FinePix F550EXR

Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR Features

The camera features a 16 megapixel Back-lit EXR CMOS sensor, for high speed shooting, and Full HD video recording, as well as a massive 30x optical zoom lens, going from the equivalent of 24mm to 720mm telephoto. On the back is a large 3.0-inch LCD Monitor, with swivel screen, and a high resolution of 460k dots, there's also an electronic viewfinder with diopter adjustment.

The camera aims to increase the success of shots with a CMOS Shift sensor, and offers High-Speed AF to help make sure images are correctly focused. Fujifilm FinePix cameras are also some of the only cameras available with Super Intelligent Flash - this is designed to give you two shots, one with flash, and one without, so that you can choose the best after taking the photo.

Film Simulation Mode gives you the choice of Velvia, Provia, and Astia, as well as black and white and sepia - to recreate the original look of film. Although without the original grain of film.

There are advanced shooting modes such as: Pro Focus / Pro Low Light - these combine a number of shots to produce either an out of focus background with Pro Focus, or low noise night shots using the Pro Low Light mode. Motion Panorama 360 / 180 / 120 degrees is included where you press the shutter release button and turn the camera around, the camera will then stitch the photos together in the camera so that you don't have to stitch the photos together on a computer.

You'll also be pleasantly surprised to find the camera has a built in electronic horizon level, a 1cm super macro mode, and RAW+JPEG support, as well as full manual controls.


Fujifilm FinePix F550EXR

Key Features
  • 16 megapixel Back-lit EXR CMOS sensor
  • Fujinon 30x (24-720mm) Zoom Lens
  • 3.0-inch LCD Monitor, swivel screen, 460k dots
  • ISO100 - ISO3200, ISO6400 at 8mp, ISO12800 at 4mp
  • Full HD video, 30fps, with stereo sound
  • High speed video 320/160/80fps
  • CMOS Shift I.S.
  • Advanced Anti Blur
  • High-Speed AF
  • Super Intelligent Flash
  • Film Simulation Mode
  • Scenes / Pro shooting modes: Pro Focus / Pro Low Light
  • Motion Panorama 360/180/120
  • Electronic horizon level
  • 1cm Super Macro mode
  • Pop-up flash (manual)
  • RAW+JPEG mode, Manual controls

Fujifilm FinePix F550EXR

Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR Handling

The Fujifilm FinePix HS20 follows on in a long line of "bridge style" or "ultra zoom" cameras from Fujifilm, and strongly resembles a Digital SLR in design, except instead of a removable lens, there is a large ultra zoom lens. The camera has some quite keen followers - who remembers the S200EXR, or S100fs for example?

The sensor, and optical zoom may change, but the general design stays the same. This must mean the design is tried and tested, and works well? I certainly thought so, although with compact cameras ever increasing zoom, and Digital SLRs ever decreasing size, with the additional challenge from mirrorless cameras, I sometimes thought the HS20EXR seemed a little too big at times to carry around with me at all times. The camera is also solidly built and this adds to the weight of the camera, feeling quite heavy at times.

Improved rubber thumb grip on the back, red ring around the lens, and EXR logo on the front of the camera. SLR styling gives two strap loops and a full size neck strap is included in the box. There is also a side accessible memory card slot.

The dominant feature on the back of the camera is the large 3 inch swivel screen, and this made composing shots at more awkward angles easier, but is not as versatile as screens that tilt out sideways. Underneath there is the usual metal tripod mount, and access to the 4 AA batteries.


Fujifilm FinePix F550EXR

The HS20 is roughly the size of a Digital SLR camera with kit zoom lens, so any compact DSLR case should also fit the camera. The camera gives easy access to the memory card on the side.

Menus: The Fujifilm FinePix HS20 menus are quite straightforward, with the main controls split into photo menus and setup menus. Although the availability of the options are dependant on the mode you are currently in. More advanced options such as: IS mode selection, Red-eye removal, and RAW options are available in the Setup menu, including the option to save the original image - this works when using red-eye removal, pro focus, or pro low-light modes.

Buttons on the left hand side give access to: ISO, AE, AF, AF-C-S-M, and WB. The HS20 is designed to be used with two hands, although you can use the camera one handed it is best to support the lens with your left hand. The HS20EXR does not feature the F / FinePix button, which may take some getting used to as other Fujifilm FinePix cameras feature this as standard, including pocket zooms such as the F550 EXR, and even the top of the range X100. (Instead you can use the buttons on the left hand side).

Fujifilm FinePix F550EXR

Battery Life: The CIPA rating is 400 shots, using Ni-Mh rechargeable batteries. We were able to take 350+ photos using 2000mAh Ni-Mh batteries, and longer battery life should be possible using higher rated rechargeable batteries.

Speed: We tested the Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR, and tested the camera with the Sony Cybershot HX7v, and Olympus SZ30MR, both 16mp backlit CMOS sensor cameras, taking 6 shots and using the average to ensure consistent results.


Fujifilm HS20EXR Sony HX7v
Olympus SZ30MR
Shutter Response* <0.05 <0.05 <0.05
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.20 0.20 0.20
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.20** 0.25 0.30
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 2.9
2.1s
1.8
Shot to Shot (without flash) 1.0 1.1s 1.5
Shot to Shot with Flash 2.0 3s 1.6
Continuous Shooting
(full resolution)
8fps (8), 11fps (16, 8mp) 10fps (10)
5fps (5), 20fps (70, 5mp)
Continuous Shooting (with flash) N/A N/A N/A
Continuous Shooting (RAW) 3fps (8 shots), 5fps (Medium) N/A N/A

The Fujifilm FinePix HS20 has a good number of options for continuous shooting: No. of frames: 4, 8, 16, 32. 8fps at full resolution (max 8 shots), 11fps at medium resolution (8mp), max 16 frames / or 32 frames at S (Small, 4mp). *when pre-focused. **after first focus.

Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR Performance

Here are a number of photos taken with the camera to demonstrate the performance of the camera taken under various lighting situations. Click the image to view full size images.



Portrait with flash, ISO400 Poppies (8mp)

The portrait photo looks good with little to no red-eye, although better results may have been possible by manually selecting a lower ISO.

ISO and Noise Performance:





ISO100 ISO200 ISO400 ISO800



ISO1600 ISO3200 ISO6400 (8mp) 12800 (4mp)
Velvia / Vivid ASTIA / SOFT B&W Sepia

Noise results at ISO100 are excellent, with low noise and smooth images. At ISO200 results are very good with low noise. ISO400 results are good with low noise. At ISO800 noise becomes more noticeable, but noise becomes noticeable with some chroma noise (coloured splotches of noise) appearing. At ISO1600, noise increases and chroma noise (yellows) starts appearing, with detail around edges being reduced. At ISO3200 noise increases again and appears quite high, with detail becoming even more blurred, with the noise starting to dominate the image. ISO6400 is only available at 8mp, and shows quite high noise, with low detail, but the results aren't much worse than ISO3200, most likely due to the smaller size image. Using ISO100-400 should be fine, with ISO800 and ISO1600 coming in useful at times, but I would say that if you want to use ISO3200 you would be better offer reducing the resolution to 8mp.



Wide-angle Mid-zoom


Full 30x optical zoom Thoresby Hall

The optical zoom provides a very good zoom range, offering an ultra wide angle view starting at 24mm equivalent, zooming all the way to 720mm equivalent.

The advanced option on the mode dial give you access to the panoramic, pro-focus, and pro-low-light modes. The Panoramic modes are: 360° Vertical 11520 x 1624 Horizontal 11520 x 1080, 180° Vertical 5760 x 1624 Horizontal 5760 x 1080, 120° Vertical 3840 x 1624 Horizontal 3840 x 1080.


Some more of the features are shown below, and the ability to save the original image is useful in case the features don't give you the results you were expecting.


Loggerheads Shooting into the light

Telephoto shot focused on a nearby object gives a good blur to the background. Pro night mode, combined shots, 8mp

Above you can see the "advanced mode" pro low light mode - this combines a number of shots for low / noise increased detail. Pro low light gives improved detail, and lower noise than a single shot and improves colour as well.



16mp Normal Shot DR EXR (8mp) Improved Dynamic Range

High speed shooting: shooting at 8mp, you can shoot at speeds up to 11 fps for upto 16 shots. Full resolution continuous shooting is available with shots being taken at 8fps. Image quality when using these high speed modes doesn't affect image quality negatively, apart from changing the image size when you increase the shooting speed.

White Balance:



Auto white balance - Incandescent light Incandescent preset - Incandescent light


Auto white balance - Fluorescent light Fluorescent preset - Fluorescent light

Auto white balance under tungsten lights gives a warm / yellow cast to images, and using the preset gives a more accurate colour rendition. Auto white balance under fluorescent light is very good with very natural / accurate looking colours, and using the preset gives the image a magenta / pink cast. Under the majority of situations, indoors or outdoors auto white balance produces good results.

Macro Performance: 



Macro watch Poppy field

Macro focusing is possible with the subject 1cm away from the front of the lens, this produces good macro photos, as can be seen above.

Video Mode


Fujifilm FinePix HS20 EXR Full HD Sample Video.

The video quality is good and there are a large number of options, including high speed video with upto 320 frames per second (at reduced resolution). Full HD video struggled at times focusing at full optical zoom, but was generally fine. The manual zoom ring made it difficult to zoom smoothly while recording, but with practise it should be possible.

Value for Money
The Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR is available for £329 - this prices it in the middle of the pack with the competition being the Nikon Coolpix P500 (£349, 36x optical zoom), Canon Powershot SX30 IS (£349, 35x optical zoom), Kodak Easyshare Max Z990 (£250, 30x optical zoom), Panasonic Lumix FZ100 (£350, 24x optical zoom), and FZ45 (£245), but perhaps the biggest competition is the previous model, the HS10EXR, priced at £220, with the main difference being the 10 megapixel sensor.

Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR Verdict

The Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR features a huge 30x optical zoom lens, a large 3inch screen, and full manual controls, as well as a high speed EXR CMOS sensor for high speed video and stills. The EXR sensor can dramatically improve dynamic range and produces good colour, although as is expected with small sensor cameras to get the best results you're best sticking to the lower ISO settings. The camera's body is well built with a good grip and lots of buttons and external controls, however some may find it a little large and unwieldy at times. The camera performs well and can be used to produce some impressive photos. Recommended.

The Fujifilm FinePix HS20 EXR has a massive feature set, with an impressive 30x optical zoom lens, and produces high quality images.
Fujifilm FinePix HS20 EXR Pros:
Full HD video, stereo sound and high speed video
High speed 8fps continuous shooting for 8 shots
Huge 30x optical zoom lens
Dynamic range expansion, low noise modes
Built in vibration reduction
Excellent 3inch swivel screen
Good grip and manual controls
Lens hood, and large strap provided
Electronic spirit level

Fujifilm FinePix HS20 EXR Cons:
Some purple fringing
Larger than many DSLRs
Unimpressed by the small electronic viewfinder

FEATURES
HANDLING
PERFORMANCE
VALUE
OVERALL

Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR Specification


Price £339
Contact www.fujifilm.co.uk
Lens Fujinon 30x optical zoom lens, F2.8-F11 (Wide) F5.6-F11 (Telephoto) 1/3EV step
f=4.2 - 126mm, equivalent to 24-720mm on a 35mm camera
Resolution 16.0 megapixels
Sensor size 1/2-inch
Sensor type CMOS EXR with primary color filter
Max. Image size 4608 x 3456
Aspect ratio L : (4:3) 4608 x 3456 / (3:2) 4608 x 3072 / (16:9) 4608 x 2592
Monitor 3.0-inch, approx. 460,000 dots, TFT color LCD monitor, approx. 100% coverage
EVF 0.2-inch., approx. 200,000 dots, color LCD viewfinder approx. 97% coverage
Shutter speed (Auto mode) 1/4sec. to 1/4000sec., (All other modes) 30sec. to 1/4000sec. (combined mechanical and electronic shutter)
Focusing system TTL contrast AF, AF assist illuminator available
Focusing modes Mode: Single AF / Continuous AF (EXR AUTO, Movie), Manual AF, AF frame Selection: Center, Multi, Tracking
Focus distance Normal: Wide : Approx. 50cm / 1.6ft. to infinity, Telephoto : Approx. 3.0m / 9.8ft. to infinity, Macro: Wide : Approx. 10cm - 3.0m / 0.3ft. - 9.8ft.,Telephoto : Approx. 2.0m - 5.0m / 6.5ft. - 16.4ft. Super Macro: Approx. 1.0cm - 1.0m / 0.4in. - 3.2ft.
File types Still image: JPEG (Exif Ver 2.3)*3, RAW (RAF format), RAW+JPEG (Design rule for Camera File system compliant / DPOF-compatible), Movie: H.264 (MOV), Sound WAVE format, Stereo sound
ISO sensitivity Auto / Equivalent to ISO 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200 / 6400 / 12800 (Standard Output Sensitivity) * ISO6400 : M mode or lower, ISO12800 : S mode
Metering modes TTL 256-zones metering, Multi, Spot, Average
Exposure compensation -2.0EV - +2.0EV 1/3EV step, AE Bracketing : ±1 / 3EV,±2 / 3EV,±1EV
Continuous 8 frames (3 / 5 / 8 frames/sec.) full resolution, 11fps at 8 megapixels
Image stabilisation CMOS shift type image stabilizer
Movie mode 1920 x 1080 pixels / 1280 x 720 pixels / 640 x 480 pixels (30 frames / sec.) with stereo sound, optical zoom can be used., High Speed Movie (80 / 160 / 320 fps.)
Media type Internal memory (Approx. 20MB), SD / SDHC / SDXC(UHS-I) memory card
Interface USB 2.0 High-speed, HDMI (Type C) NTSC/PAL selectable
Power 4xAA type alkaline batteries (included) / 4xAA type Ni-MH rechargeable batteries (sold separately), Alkaline batteries : Approx. 350frames, Ni-MH rechargeable batteries : Approx. 400 frames, Lithium batteries : Approx. 700 frames
Box Contents Camera, 4x AA batteries, Shoulder strap, Lens cap, Lens hood, USB cable, A/V cable, Manual booklet, Warranty card, CD-ROM
Size 130.6 (W) x 90.7 (H) x 126.0 (D) mm
Weight Approx. 636g / 22.4oz. (excluding accessories, battery and memory card) Approx. 730g / 25.7oz. (including battery and memory card)

Explore More

Photographs taken using the Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR

Hummingbird 3Hummingbird 3Spike.UntitledUntitledUntitledUntitledUntitledUntitledRaptor 2UntitledUntitledUntitledRaptor
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Comments


Well illustrated review. It's a boon for camera addicts who are constantly looking for latest cameras with advanced features. Only feature which I'm allergic to is Ni-Mh batteries. Why can't Fuji consider the use of Li-ion batteries? Irrespective of this minus Fuji HS20EXR should be a sure winner - Raja.

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29 Jun 2011 8:36PM
Grin I have Just Purchased this Camera Have taken about 1000 Photo's in various modes, so far it has produced some impressive shots. I like the low light option,great tele lens(recommend a tripod)one good option is the ability to take a still shot while in video mode. Recommend Using Lithium or high power good rechargable batteries. overall a Very Good Medium priced Bridge Camera. I think this camera would give hours of enjoyment to the enthusiastic amateur. Well done Fuji.
29 Jun 2011 9:43PM
It's now been a month and a half since I have this camera. I am not happy at how some people bash this impressive camera. I have tested all the shooting modes and so far it gave me excellent results. The 30X zoom is very useful at wildlife photography especially birds. Moon shots? Oh how wonderful. You can almost feel the texture of the craters if you run your fingers over the picture of the moon. The recent total lunar eclipse gave me an opportunity to shoot 70+ photos of the different stages of the moon.
The use of AA batteries is a good idea. You can have two sets of NiMH batteries. While one set is used, the other set is charged or ready at hand. In my experience, a set of fully charged NiMH batteries, will last about 400 - 500 shots. Moreover, if you are out and have run out of battery power, it is a simple matter to go to a grocery and buy a set of AAs.

Sample photo of the moon
ItsMeJustG 3 1 3 England
3 Jul 2011 10:34PM
I used to have the S100fs, a direct predecessor to this model. Too many people bash the high end bridge cameras, but they can and do produce some brilliant results. They are ideal for those wanting DSLR features and decent quality zoom range but without the bulk and cost of separate lenses.
I have no experience of the HS20, but still being a member of Fuji's 'MyFinepix' site, I have seen that people are rating this camera highly.
The S100fs was known by its owners as 'The Legend'. Maybe this will carry the name forward.
Now available at around 300. Who can complain?
22 Jul 2011 7:02PM
A decent camera (for its class) with very good optical quality. Unfortunately the sensor is too small, so the 16 megapixels are a bit crowded. But, let's be honest - who wants a camera from this class, knows what to expect.
maxxie 6 1
25 Aug 2011 10:57AM
I have had my HS20 for over 2 weeks now,and have been very impressed with the features,and picture quality.
I have had several Fujis over the years,(S602,S7000,S9500,S9600,and previously a HS10),and without exception they all produced great colourful prints,even the 3MP S602.
I also own a Panasonic FZ100,which I bought to replace the HS10,which I found to be quite slow in use,although otherwise a classy bit of kit.
The FZ100 is a little marvel.quick to focus,with excellent colour,and shot to shot times,with some advanced features,and a great Leica lens.
But,at higher ISOs the picture quality was not as good as the HS10,and I missed the more robust feel of the Fuji.
So,I now have the HS20,which seems slightly quicker to use (apart from the initial start up),than the Panasonic,but feels more like a "proper" camera,and can still produce good A4 prints up to 800 ISO,and still has the superb lens of the HS10.
The EXR modes DO work well(I usually leave it on Auto),But I also add a bit of sharpening, in the Custom settings,also select"Vivid",and lower the noise reduction setting to "Off".
These settings then apply to all the other modes,apart from "Scene modes",or the "Auto" and EXR modes,but you do have many ways to adjust the style of pictures you take on your HS20.
When you have the Fuji a while,it does seem great value for money,and it can cope with nearly every photographic opportunity you'll experience,and some you've never thought of doing before!
The eyepiece,like most superzooms,is on the small size,(not as good as the older S9600)but the sharp rear screen on the HS20 seems actually bigger than the FZ100,although they're both supposed to be 3".
The rechargeable batteries do last well,though,and the focussing's quick,although at the extreme 30x zoom,it can struggle a bit ,very occassionally, on low contrast subjects,or in low light.
But what's new? Most telezooms seem to work the same,particularly at such extreme settings,but overall,the HS20 is a great camera,and Fuji deserves every success with it.
clg 2 3 South Africa
16 Nov 2011 5:56PM
I might purchase the HS20 tomorrow but am a bit weary after reading afew negative reviews. Should I purchase it?
20 Nov 2011 1:46PM
Now in my sixties and a full time carer,I don't get out that much and tend to spend a lot of time in my garden.
I started to watch the wildlife,more and more,over the last year, and the more I watched them, the more I was fascinated by them.
I thought If I get a nice camera, then I could capture some of their antics,and give myself a hobby at the same time.
I've had a random mixture of point and shoots in the past, but wanted something a little better,this time something I could learn with and not just press a button and hope for the best.
When I saw the HS20, the idea of the manual 30x zoom , the 11/fps and 16mp tempted me,and ticked all the boxes. So ignoring all the negative reviews on the forums, I bought one in July.

I've had my HS20 for about 4 months now and I have to say 'at first' I was not over impressed with it,but after trying all the various settings, and ready to accept it as just average ,I discovered the manual mode,and it was 'wow!!' one of those 'eureka moments'. now I could get the camera to see what I see, and not just some 'exposure compromise', like the camera sees when left in auto mode.
Ever since then I love this camera.luckily I've had none of the problems with overheating that some have had, and the focusing is just fine to me (wish it was quicker sometimes,but what can you do).
I think the 30x barrel zoom is just so powerful and versatile, and I've had some great images even at full zoom.
Take a look at my flickr page -
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonysturn/sets/72157627438645162/

If you have this camera or are thinking about buying one,believe me, take your time to get to know all the settings,(It's not a point and shoot it's a bridge camera)
And If possible learn manual mode,it's so worth the effort,then you like me will be overjoyed with this camera.

Tonysturn
BHSnapper 5 9 United Kingdom
13 May 2012 6:29PM
The HS20 really produces excellent results when the sensor is used properly - i.e. at it's 8 mp setting. The EXR effectively combines adjoining pixels to double their size and so reduce noise. The loss in resolution is not really noticeable unless you're looking to produce giant prints. I still have an old Nikon D100 with 6mp - and can get superb razor sharp images even at A3. I find using EXR on the low noise high ISO setting at 800 gives excellent low noise results.
If you really want massive prints and zero noise you need a full frame dSLR. With high grade non-zoom lenses and that's a totally different ball game!!

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