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 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.
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
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 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.
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).
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.
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo
Shot to Shot (without flash)
Shot to Shot with Flash
8fps (8), 11fps (16, 8mp)
5fps (5), 20fps (70, 5mp)
Continuous Shooting (with flash)
Continuous Shooting (RAW)
3fps (8 shots), 5fps (Medium)
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
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:
Velvia / Vivid
ASTIA / SOFT
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.
Full 30x optical zoom
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.
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.
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 focusing is possible with the subject 1cm away from the front of the lens, this produces good macro photos, as can be seen above.
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