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Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR Bridge Camera Review

Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR Bridge Camera Review - We review the Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR bridge camera, with a 30x optical zoom lens and manual controls.

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Category : Compact Cameras
Product : Fujifilm FinePix HS30 EXR
Price : £499
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Fujifilm FinePix HS30 EXR

The Fujifilm FinePix HS30 EXR updates the Fujifilm FinePix HS20 EXR, and now uses a lithium-ion battery for up to 600 shots. Other improvements include an upgraded electronic viewfinder with 920k dots vs 200k dots on HS20.

Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR Features

Fujifilm FinePix HS30 EXR

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 swivel screen featuring 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 and a flash hot-shoe.

Fujifilm FinePix HS30 EXR

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 HS30EXR Handling

Fujifilm FinePix HS30 EXR

Handling
- The camera is solidly built and this adds to the weight of the camera, feeling quite heavy at times. There is a rubber thumb grip on the back as well as surrounding the front hand grip. 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 a plastic tripod socket that is slightly off centre. The electronic viewfinder is 920k, which is an improvement over the HS20EXR, however it's still quite small.

Fujifilm FinePix HS30 EXR

Menus – The Fujifilm FinePix HS30 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. It's worth noting that the Fujifilm X-S1 has an improved menu system, so hopefully this improved menu system will make it into the next version of this camera.

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.

Fujifilm FinePix HS30 EXR

Battery life - The camera's battery life is rated at 600 shots according to CIPA standard, we were able to take over 450 shots before the battery went flat. This is an improvement over the HS20, which had AA batteries, with the camera's battery life depending on the type of batteries used with the camera.

Fujifilm FinePix HS30 EXR
Fujifilm FinePix HS30 EXR

Speed – We tested each camera's performance at focusing, shutter response, shot-to-shot time, continuous shooting etc. and have posted the results below. To test this we took 6 or more shots and calculated the average, so that consistent results were produced.


Fujifilm HS30EXR Panasonic TZ25
Shutter Response <0.05 <0.05
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response
0.2 0.15
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.35 0.3
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.6 1.6
Shot to Shot (without flash) 0.8 0.6
Shot to Shot with Flash 1.7 1.2
Continuous Shooting (JPEG) 8fps (5 shots) 10fps (4 shots)
Continuous Shooting (JPEG 8 megapixels) 11fps (10 shots) N/A
Continuous AF Shooting (JPEG)
Continuous 3 megapixels
Continuous 2.5 megapixels
N/A 5fps (5 shots)
40fps (40 shots)
60fps (30 shots)
Continuous Shooting (with Flash) N/A 2fps (5 shots, 3m)
Continuous Shooting (RAW) 5fps (5 shots) N/A

Focus speed is good even when using the full zoom, and shutter response is very quick. Continuous shooting at full resolution is possible at 8fps, however the camera will only take 5 shots before slowing down in JPEG mode. RAW limits this to 5fps, with 4 of these shots being taken before slowdown.

Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review and product ratings.

Fujifilm FinePix HS30 EXR Sample Photos


Sample Photos - Colour reproduction is very pleasing with bright saturated colours, and flesh tones look good, with only a slight hint of red-eye in the photos. The camera can extend its dynamic range up to 1600% in the EXR DR mode, although images are taken at 8 megapixels.

Fujifilm FinePix HS30 EXR Lens test images


Lens test images - The camera certainly packs a lot of optical zoom, with a 24mm wide angle, zooming all the way to 720mm (35mm equivalent). This gives a lot of zoom, although at the telephoto end it's difficult to go from 20-30x slowly as a lot of this is crammed into the end of the lens. There is noticeable chromatic abberation at the telephoto end when using full zoom. There is some corner softness at the wide-angle end of the lens, although this soon goes when zooming in. The provided lens hood provides some protection from lens flare.

Using the standard macro mode, the best results were with the lens zoomed in 6.4x with the subject roughly 7cm from front of lens. In the super macro mode it's possible to focus on the very front element of the lens - including focusing on any dust that might be present! Although lighting something that close to the camera is likely to be an issue as the lens ring blocks most light.

Fujifilm FinePix HS30 EXR ISO test images


ISO Noise Performance - At ISO100 slight noise is visible, this increases at ISO200, and becomes quite a lot more noticeable at ISO400. At ISO800 detail and colour appear to suffer slightly. At ISO1600 noise increases and colour saturation drops again. At ISO3200 you get better results by switching to the EXR High ISO / Low noise mode - this reduces the resolution but results are much better, and the full resolution ISO3200 setting is best avoided. ISO6400 and ISO12800 are resized but results aren't great. There is a slight improvement in results compared to the HS20EXR.

Fujifilm FinePix HS30 EXR White-balance test images


White Balance Performance - This was a little disappointing, with the auto white balance (AWB) giving warm results under tungsten lighting. The tungsten preset gives slightly better results. AWB under fluorescent lighting was good, with the fluorescent preset giving a magenta cast. There are three different fluorescent presets available which can be chosen depending which best suits your lighting, however for best results the manual white balance is the best option.

Panoramic-180-DSCF2037 | 1/480 sec | f/6.4 | 5.8 mm | ISO 200
Panoramic 180 | 1/480 sec | f/6.4 | 5.8 mm | ISO 200

The camera has a number of panoramic modes, including 120, 180 and 360 degrees. The camera will automatically create the panoramic image while you turn the camera around.

Fujifilm FinePix HS30 EXR Digital filters


Digital Filters - Film simulation modes: Velvia, Provia, and Astia, as well as black and white and sepia.

Video - High speed modes are available at 80fps / 160fps / 320fps with the resolution decreasing as the frame rate increases. The manual zoom ring on the camera can make using optical zoom while recording difficult, as can be seen in the video below, and with such a large optical zoom the use of a tripod is recommended if you intend to use the full 30x optical zoom.


Value For Money

The Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR is available for £329 which makes it reasonable value for money, with alternatives available including the Nikon Coolpix P510 (42x zoom, GPS, £319), Fujifilm X-S1 (26x zoom, £519), Panasonic Lumix FZ48 (24x zoom, £240), Sony Cybershot HX100v (30x zoom, GPS, £379), Canon Powershot SX40 HS (35x zoom, £299), or for more alternatives have a look at our Top 10 Best Ultra Zoom Bridge Cameras. You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR Verdict

The Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR has a traditional styled body that closely resembles a Digital SLR, however the camera benefits from a large 30x optical zoom lens. The camera has full manual controls with RAW support and a flash hot-shoe it can quite easily be used like a Digital SLR, but is much cheaper than a Digital SLR with a super telephoto zoom lens. Images are good with slightly improved noise performance over the previous model, as well as an updated (and better resolution) electronic viewfinder, and the addition of a lithium ion battery improves battery life. If you are in the market for an ultra zoom bridge style camera then this camera is recommended especially if you've had one of the previous models, however there is little reason to upgrade from the HS20EXR if you already have it, in fact if you wanted to save money then the HS20EXR is currently £100 cheaper.

 
  The Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR is a camera with a lot of zoom capable of taking bright colourful photos.

Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR Pros

30x optical zoom lens
Tilting 3inch screen
EXR modes improve noise performance and dynamic range
Electronic level built in
Good grip and manual controls
Impressive macro performance
Improved battery life
Improved electronic viewfinder (although still quite small)


Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR Cons

Small electronic viewfinder
Tripod socket position could be better
High levels of chromatic abberation at full zoom

FEATURES
HANDLING
PERFORMANCE
VALUE FOR MONEY
VERDICT

Fujifilm FinePix HS30 EXR Specifications

ManufacturerFujifilm
Lens
Max Aperturef/2.8 - f/5.6
35mm equivalent24mm - 720mm
Optical Zoom30x
Image Sensor
CCD pixels16Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeBack-lit CMOS EXR (B.S.I.)
Sensor Size1/2 inch
Sensor Size (width)6.4mm
Sensor Size (height)4.8mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution460,000 dots
Touch ScreenNo
Focusing
Min Focus1cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Multi
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
Metering
  • Spot
  • M
  • TTL
ISO sensitivity100 - 12800
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
  • Outdoors/Daylight
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting11fps
Video
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080
  • 1280x720 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS30
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Interface
HDMIYes
USBUSB 2
Wi-FiNo
Storage
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLi-ion battery NP-W126
CIPA Rating600
Box Contents
Box ContentsLi-ion battery NP-W126, Battery charger BC-W126, Shoulder strap, USB cable, A/V cable, Lens cap and Lens cap cord, CD-ROM, Owner's manual, Lens hood
Dimensions
Weight687g
Width130.6mm
Height96.6mm
Depth126mm

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    Photographs taken using the Fujifilm FinePix HS30 EXR

    Impressions...Granddaughter & I on a visit to the ZooColourful marketWithout the cloudsFluffylamp fill cap and scratch pollish.im not lookingF1 car in the rain during modified live at SnettertonhelloMore to choose fromA once beautiful house just falling into decayGrenadesChocolate & Malteser CakeCafe Latte & Walnut CakeTerry's Chocolate Orange Cake
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    Comments


    20 Feb 2013 5:32PM
    Put a bigger sensor in there, and you'd really have something! 23mm x 15mm, for example.

    Join ePHOTOzine for free and remove these adverts.

    Atjous 1 Netherlands
    3 Apr 2013 9:05PM
    I own this camera... It has been one great experience so far!
    Feel free to pm me if you need more information!
    6 Nov 2013 5:57PM
    Who can believe these crap reviews? A lot of the example pictures are the same for different cameras!
    How do you get a dog with it's tongue hanging out with different cameras at the same time? Or a clock showing exactly the same time on multiple cameras?
    joshwa e2
    3 600 United Kingdom
    6 Nov 2013 10:45PM
    Hi osmodia,

    You can download the full size images if you want to check the EXIF data to confirm that it is taken with the camera.

    The clock you see in the pictures is often broken, ie. it always shows the same time.

    The dogs in the photos are often being taken for a walk or run, and dogs like to stick their tongues out when they've been running etc.

    Hope this helps,

    Josh

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