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Fujifilm FinePix HS30 EXR

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FinePix HS30 EXR

Rating: 4.5 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 5

Lowest Price: £229.98

Fujifilm is delighted to announce the launch of the FinePix HS30EXR, the latest in a long line of market-leading bridge cameras loved by photo enthusiasts all over the world. The HS range has become synonymous with versatility and optical quality among those photographers who don't want the lens-changing capability of a DSLR, but still want total control over their images.

The HS30EXR includes a number of key specification improvements over the HS20EXR model it replaces. The Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) has been greatly improved while a switch in power supply to a Lithium-ion rechargeable battery delivers up to 600 pictures per charge. These are just some of the changes that will ensure the HS30EXR keeps the Fujifilm name at the forefront of the bridge camera market in 2012.

ePHOTOzine Review

4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5
Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR Bridge Camera Review

Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR Ultra-Zoom Review

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

Added: 3rd May 2012 | Brand: Fujifilm

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User Reviews


At first sight this camera looks like a cheap entry level DSLR. So do many others - Panasonics, Canons, Nikons, etc. But, unlike many of it's contenders ( those are point-and-shoot DSLR lookalikes), it is essentially a set of DSLR - like functions (and more) minus DSLR image quality.
So how does it fare in it's own superzoom domain? It's backlit 16MP EXR CMOS sensor in tandem with camera's EXR image processor is capable of producing very sharp and reasonably clean images through all 30X zoom range. Colours of the image are traditionally good in Finepix series - this camera is no exception. Optics is decent, not much purple fringing, but geometrical distortions are quite obvious at both ends of zoom range - most pronounced on wide end. Despite absence of star looks, the ergonomics is good. Camera sits in hands tight, almost DSLR like. Manual lens zoom also adds to that DSLR feel and is quite practical - making it a great camera to learn how to run it's "big brothers" or to use as a second camera to the main DSLR set. Vertically tilted camera screen is clear, large and quite fast. Mock optical (digital) viewfinder wants as compared to the real thing, but is usable. Image in it may not quite match the final result though - so it's better use it when the main screen is difficult - like in bright sun.
Being overall very good camera, it suffers from over-complexity of the user interface created by less thoughtful EXR implementation.
The camera has huge array of well advanced but poorly balanced features. For the people who just want straight point-and-shoot capability it may be confusing. As every other similar camera it has full AUTO mode, P mode that provides more control and the unique EXR mode. All of them are automated, and there is no definite criteria which one to choose in every practical situation- even if one reads the manual (not supplied with the camera in printed form). While there's not much innovation in AUTO and P, and dizzying array of picture modes - i.e portrait, landscape, etc - EXR mode is pretty interesting one. Shooting in it I found it work more than satisfactory in broad daylight. Pictures come sharp, well-detailed , with good natural gamma. Especially good is DR variety of it - which extends dynamic range of the image. In difficult conditions AUTO EXR is better not to choose - as the camera starts to miss on guessing what the user wants - and the photographer will be much better off sticking with DR. In difficult conditions this camera needs an experienced hand to deal with it. However, with proper use of P and EXR manual modes, and proper moderation in zoom this camera is capable of taking very decent JPG images when many others simply give up. One of the features deserves special mention - as I find it simply stunning. In ADVANCED mode (yes, it has this one as well) camera can be set to PRO LOW -LIGHT setting. In it the camera takes four quick shots at high ISO and sort of stacks them together to get well illuminated, quite colourful and sharp, and considerably less noisy picture.
Speaking of image quality in general - this camera does not live up to its 16Mp promise. With a small sensor packed inside it pictures taken in 8Mp (and it is default for EXR modes) look actually better than 16Mp ones - maybe except ISO100 broad daylight shots.
All said above on image quality relates to JPG format. But camera also is capable of shooting RAW - RAF file format. This one is puzzling. To start with, because of very authentic FUJIfilm diamond pixel arrangement , many popular image management programs fail to open it. For example, LIghtroom 3. To get the image developed in it - the image must be converted to DNG first. It's relatively easy as latest version of DNG converter may be downloaded free from Adobe site. The best program to use with RAW would be RAW converter provided with the camera on CD. Some good - looking results can be achieved with Corel Paintshop PRO as well - which provides more instruments for photographer's creativity.
Considering camera's small sensor, benefits of large RAW image are rather doubtful. Unless absolutely unavoidable, camera better be left doing it's business in JPG format. It does it so well that you will be pressed hard to surpass it with your final result of RAW processing. For the ones who wish to experiment FujiFilm made a nice surprise with this camera - it is capable of taking RAW images in 8Mp too - which makes a viable alternative to large and messy 16Mp file.

Let me sum up:
This camera is great and provides excellent value for money for the one who cares to read the manual and has adequate level of expertise to understand it. It is NOT a camera for absolute beginners or people with professional ambitions. It is rather a happy holiday snapper and runabout option for experienced enthusiast. This camera is not perfect or easy, but it has great capacity and character - and therefore cannot appeal to everyone.

I like:
Good image quality(for 1/2' sensor), with great colours and dynamic range;
30x zoom (24mm to 720mm in 35mm film equivalent);
Solid ergonomics;
Decent optics;
Reasonable video;
3D capacity;
Articulating display;
Great battery life ;
Generous features.

I am not so fond of:
Camera's over-complexity;
Puzzling RAW images;
Some extra weight as compared to competitors.

Note: This is a second edition of my review with first one published on DPReview site about half a year ago.

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