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Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR Review

The Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR bridge camera features a 42x optical zoom lens, manual controls, and SLR styling, but how does it perform?

| Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR in Compact Cameras

Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR Review: Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR (4)

The Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR features a 42x optical zoom lens equivalent to 24mm wide-angle zooming all the way to 1000mm at the telephoto end. A 16 megapixel EXR CMOS II sensor features hybrid auto focus, and optical image stabilisation is built in, as well as a 3inch vari-angle tilting screen. 

Fujifilm FinePix HS50 EXR Features

Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR Review: Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR (6)

The Fujifilm FinePix HS50 EXR features an impressive 42x optical zoom lens, with the lens starting at a wide 24mm equivalent zooming all the way to 1000mm equivalent at the telephoto end.

Included is Full HD video with stereo sound, a mic socket, and adjustable microphone level. High speed 11fps continuous shooting at full resolution. Manual controls, RAW shooting, P/A/S/M modes, manual focus with peaking and focus ring surrounding the lens. On top is a flash hot-shoe.

On the back is a 3inch (920k dot) tilting / swivelling screen to allow self portraits as well as tilting up and down for varied angles, and an EVF (920k dot) with eye-detection sensor to automatically switch to the EVF when the camera is held up to your eye.

Key Features 

  • 16mp 1/2inch EXR II CMOS sensor
  • 42x optical zoom lens, 24-1000mm equivalent, f/2.8 - f/5.6
  • Lens shift optical image stabilisation
  • 3inch 920k dot vari-angle screen
  • EVF 920k dot, with eye-detection sensor
  • Hybrid AF Sensor
  • Manual zoom barrel, RAW shooting
  • Full HD Video at 60fps, stereo sound
  • ISO100-12800 (6400 M, 12800 S)
  • 1cm macro mode
  • EXR: DR: Dynamic Range, HR: High Resolution, SN: Low Noise modes
  • Electronic level

Fujifilm FinePix HS50 EXR Handling

Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR Review: Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR (11)

The camera has a large rubberised grip with a deep recess for your fingers and on the rear is a good sized section of rubber grip for your thumb, as well as a large rubber ring around the lens to aid grip and zoom control. There’s another textured area on the left of the camera, however this is simply textured plastic and the plastic on the camera has a soft touch to it. On the same side as the main grip is the memory card slot, and underneath is the battery compartment. On top is exposure and drive buttons.

Surrounding the lens is a large manual zoom ring, and closer to the body is a focus ring, for manual focusing. A switch on the left of the camera lets you switch between manual, continuous and single focus, with the button in the middle letting you zoom in when using manual focus. If you hold the button you can switch between standard focus and focus peaking – the focus peaking mode has a neat bar at the bottom that shows you how much of the image is in focus, with a dot signifying optimum focus, and this aids focus. Unfortunately the focus ring and button do nothing else, unless you are in manual focus mode, it would have been clever if you could use the ring to change aperture or shutter in manual mode, instead the rear command wheel is used for this and you press the +/- exposure button to switch between aperture and shutter.

Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR Review: Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR (2)

Also on this side is the mic / USB / remote and HDMI sockets, as well as the manual pop up flash button.

Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR Review: Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR (3)

A small petal shaped lens hood is provided and the camera has a 58mm filter thread at the front, that does not rotate when the lens is zoomed in or focused.

A Q button gives quick access to options on the rear screen, and next to this is an Evf/LCD button, although the EVF also features an eye-detection sensor and dioptre adjustment. On the other side of the EVF is a dedicated video button that can be used in any mode, and easily reached by your thumb. AE/AF lock, 4-way controller with Fn, Flash, Macro, Timer, and middle Menu/OK, with display/back and playback buttons underneath. The fn button can be customised.

Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR Review: Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR (8)

The screen tilts and rotates and can be closed for protection, but is not a touch screen. Despite the plastic body the camera feels well built with good battery and memory compartment covers, although surprisingly for a relatively large camera, the tripod thread is plastic. There is one custom position on the mode dial.

Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR Review: Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR (14)

Menus – The menus are clearly laid out with the photo options in a set of red colour coded menus, setup menus in blue, with playback in green. In playback you can mark photos for upload to Facebook, Youtube and MyFinePix, and there are also a number of ways you can search for photos. Photo options include settings for colour, tone, sharpness, noise reduction, dynamic range, microphone level, as well as electronic level to name a few.

Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR Review: Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR (13)

Battery – A 7.2v 1260mAh (typical) rechargeable lithium-ion battery is included which is rated for 500 shots according to Fujifilm / CIPA testing.

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

  Fujifilm FinePix HS50 Sony RX100
Shutter Response <0.05 0.0
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.2 0.3
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.2 0.3
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.3 2.2
Shot to Shot without Flash 1.1 0.9
Shot to Shot with Flash 1.1 2.1
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
10fps (6 shots) 7fps (speed priority mode, 15 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A 1.6s
Continuous Shooting - RAW 6fps (5 shots) 4fps (13 shots)

Shooting RAW limits some of the shooting options and continuous shooting speeds available (11fps available shooting JPEG, 6fps shooting RAW), as well as some of the settings available, such as dynamic range bracketing and film simulation bracketing which are only available when shooting JPEG.

Fujifilm FinePix HS50 EXR Performance

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

Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Colour is good with bright saturated colours and you can enhance these using one of the Fujifilm film modes, including Velvia for increased saturation and richness, or Astia for a softer effect. Flash performance is good with no signs of red-eye although it's worth keeping an eye on the (Auto) ISO setting as the camera often increases the ISO setting when using flash.

Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR Lens test images

Lens Performance - The lens shows low vignetting, purple fringing and chromatic aberration which is impressive considering the amount of zoom on offer. Macro performance is impressive with the camera focusing on subjects just 1cm away from the front of the lens. There is very little barrel distortion at the wide end, and little pincushion distortion at the telephoto end of the lens which is good. Lens flare is noticeable when shooting with the sun in the frame, however the provided lens hood helps avoid this occurring regularly. The camera provides good levels of detail, particularly at the wide-angle end of the lens, although detail noticeably drops when using the lens at the full telephoto end of the lens.

Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - ISO settings range from ISO100 to ISO3200, at full resolution with RAW available. At ISO6400 and ISO12800 RAW isn't available, and images are resized to 8 and 4 megapixels respectively. Noise is very low at ISO100, with a slight increase at ISO200. At ISO400 noise increases a little again, and detail drops a little. At ISO800 and ISO1600 noise increases again and detail suffers as a result, although images should still prove useful. At ISO3200 noise becomes strong and detail suffers noticeably. The ISO6400 results are decent and should provide useable images for use on the web. ISO12800 is best avoided.

Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well under Tungsten and Fluorescent lighting, with the Tungsten preset giving a slightly more natural result under Tungsten lighting. The fluorescent presets give a colour cast and it's best to stick to AWB.

Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR Review: Panoramic 2 | 1/450 sec | f/8.0 | 4.4 mm | ISO 200
Panoramic | 1/450 sec | f/8.0 | 4.4 mm | ISO 200
Panorama mode - Panoramic mode lets you choose 120/180/360 and 360 circular(?) with the camera auto stitching the image as you hold the shutter button and pan the camera around. 

Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR Other sample images

In normal shooting modes DR expansion can be set to 100, 200 and 400%. Using the EXR DR mode, this can also be set to 800 and 1600% with a noticeable improvement in dynamic range as can be seen in the examples above.

Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR Digital filters

Digital Filters - The camera has a number of options when set to advanced filter mode, with multiple exposure, pro low-light, pro focus, and filters including: toy camera, miniature, pop colour, high key, low key, dynamic tone, soft focus, and partial colour (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple). There are two scene positions on the dial so you can choose your favourite two.

Video - 1920x1080, 60fps, 1280x720, 60fps, 640x480, 30fps, 640x480 HS 120fps, 320x240 240fps, 320x112 240fps. It’s also possible to take photos while recording videos, and it takes a 16:9 aspect ratio photo (1920x1080 resolution). You can also adjust the microphone level. Using the optical zoom while recording can be difficult due to the stiff zoom ring, although mounting the camera on a tripod should help - there are additional examples on our ePHOTOzine YouTube channel.

Value For Money

The Fujifilm FinePix HS50 EXR is available for around £400, and is up against the Fujifilm X-S1 with 26x optical zoom lens around £400, Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 with 50x optical zoom lens, £295, the Nikon Coolpix P520 with 42x optical zoom lens, £349, the Canon Powershot SX50 with 50x optical zoom lens £349, and Olympus SP-820 with 40x optical zoom lens £279.

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 HS50 EXR Verdict

The Fujifilm FinePix HS50 EXR updates the HS30/35 and offers a longer 42x optical zoom lens with manual zoom control, and is quite large compared to the previous model, with other cameras offering 50x optical zoom lens, such as the Fujifilm FinePix SL1000, and Canon Powershot SX50. The DSLR styling gives the camera the look and feel of a DSLR, yet offers a much larger optical zoom than you would be able to get with a DSLR at a much smaller size, and offers a fairly rare set of features including a microphone socket and focus switch.
The HS50 offers rapid performance with high speed shooting (11fps full resolution when shooting JPEG), a tilting swivelling 3 inch screen, and a manual zoom control which is good for photos, but not so good for video. It has full manual controls, RAW shooting, flash hot-shoe, and a 16 megapixel EXR sensor which can help improve low light shots as well as dynamic range, although these give the best results at a much lower 8 megapixel resolution. If you don't want the bulk of carrying a DSLR with you, and want a large optical zoom, as well as full manual controls, then the HS50 EXR would make a good choice, particularly if you find yourself shooting in difficult lighting conditions, where the extended dynamic range and low light performance of the EXR sensor will be of benefit.

  Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR Review:
  The Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR offers a wealth of features and impressive dynamic range.

Fujifilm FinePix HS50 EXR Pros

EXR Dynamic range mode
Good battery life
Good colour reproduction
Tilting / Swivelling screen
Excellent macro performance
Full manual controls and RAW
Quick operation and focus
Can rate images out of 5 stars
Wide neck strap included

Fujifilm FinePix HS50 EXR Cons

Plastic tripod mount
Image quality at telephoto end
Difficult to zoom smoothly with manual zoom ring
Size difference / compared to previous model


Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR Specifications

Max Aperturef/2.8 - f/5.6
35mm equivalent24mm - 1000mm
Optical Zoom42x
Image Sensor
Pixels16Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeBack-lit CMOS EXR (B.S.I.)
Sensor Size1/2 inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution920k dots
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus1cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Multi
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Program Variable
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity100 - 12800
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting11fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS1080p 60fps, 720p 60fps
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLithium Ion
Battery Life (CIPA rating)500shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsLi-ion battery NP-W126, Battery charger BC-W126, Shoulder strap, USB cable, Lens hood, Lens cap and Lens cap cord, CD-ROM, Owner's manual

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Photographs taken using the Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR

Menorca October 26cSun's out buns out!.... ifBeautiful BlackbirdSultry with sunflowers....Springtime reclinerCoventry cathedralWhat a challengeDappled sunlightGolden UpskirtMYRTLEEnglish/Irish &#127801; rose....Paris viewChristmas CactusPost processing dilemmaHIBISCUS

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renoops Avatar
renoops 12 United Kingdom
17 Apr 2013 2:15PM
I have owned this camera for two weeks and have put it through its paces. Not wanting to carry around a bag of lenses for leisure photography I took a measured risk and bought this model. Result - no risk, happy shooting and the results I wanted. Living local to a nature reserve I have used the zoom lens to full advantage and have had a number 'twitchers' come up to me and ask me to compare with their shots. At one stage a fellow photographer asked me to take the same shots to compare results. Not wishing to name the other camera the results were in my favour. Indoor, portrait and landscape shots with more than satisfactory results for the price. Easy to handle, feels good in the hand and has all the modes I would wish to use. Clear and sharp images with realistic colour representation with ease of use I can recommend from my point of view.
kodachrome Avatar
kodachrome 12 789
17 Apr 2013 4:27PM
I have to admire Fuji, for their 'Bridge' cameras, the HS series seems to be developing into a great camera, I had an HS10 for a while and enjoyed using it. The crops show some obvious noise [may be 12mp would have been better], but not that intrusive. Why they never fitted the larger sensor from the XS-1 I don't know, but it would have been a good move. I guess they didn't want to tread on the X series cameras market share.
A good review, and what a zoom lens, good for the twitchers and aviation fans.
I think Fuji's strengths are in the EXR technology and the superb Jpeg colours they produce.

Hello Fuji, I'm waiting for a bridge camera with the HS50 size and design but with a full blown DSLR performance and APS-C CMOS sensor!! The XS-1 was too big and heavy.
RockBalany Avatar
17 Apr 2013 8:55PM

Quote:I have to admire Fuji, for their 'Bridge' cameras, the HS series seems to be developing into a great camera, I had an HS10 for a while and enjoyed using it. The crops show some obvious noise [may be 12mp would have been better], but not that intrusive. Why they never fitted the larger sensor from the XS-1 I don't know, but it would have been a good move. I guess they didn't want to tread on the X series cameras market share.
A good review, and what a zoom lens, good for the twitchers and aviation fans-s1.
I think Fuji's strengths are in the EXR technology and the superb Jpeg colours they produce.

Hello Fuji, I'm waiting for a bridge camera with the HS50 size and design but with a full blown DSLR performance and APS-C CMOS sensor!! The XS-1 was too big and heavy.

The reason why the X-S1 sensor was not used here is because it will reduce the focal length (zoom) equivalent of the lens. Sensor sizes and focal lengths are based on full frame sensor of 35mm. An APS-C sensor in entry-level and mid-level DSLRs has a 1.5X crop (Canon has 1.6X) of the full frame. Thus an 18-55mm lens of the full frame is true 18-55 mm focal length. When this same lens is used on 1.5X APS-C sized sensor, it becomes longer at 27-82.5mm.

If HS50 will use an APS-C sensor, its focal length would be very very short indeed.
kodachrome Avatar
kodachrome 12 789
18 Apr 2013 10:42AM
Thanks for explaining
dcash29 Avatar
dcash29 18 2.4k England
17 Sep 2013 12:39AM
One more item to add to the 'Cons'

No program symbol in the playback display

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