Fujifilm FinePix HS10 review

An ideal travelling camera should in my opinion, be a jack of all trades, compact, all in one unit, with few extras that add to the weight and can get easily lost, and bridge cameras fit this bill quite nicely…..

Fujifilm America announces its most impressive line of high speed, high performance D-SLR-styled digital cameras with the introduction of the Fujifilm FinePix HS10. Serious photographers seeking the versatility and performance of a D-SLR system without the bulk or expense now have the perfect solution in the shape of the new Fujifilm FinePix HS10. The latest addition to Fujifilm’s award-winning range of big zoom ‘bridge’ cameras offers an unprecedented feature set that combines a powerful Fujinon 30x (24-720mm equivalent) manual optical zoom lens with sophisticated photographic controls, advanced functionality and D-SLR-like handling in a single compact, affordable unit.
Each to their own of course, I’m sure there are many who would never go back from an SLR, and thats fine, I have never gone down that route…..yet!, and like the lightweight medium sized single package, with fixed manual zoom long lenses which keep out the dust, dirt and sand.
With a range that would require at least two or three bulky lenses on an SLR to capture the same zoom capabilities, the FinePix HS10’s built-in Fujinon 30x Wide-Telephoto zoom lens encompasses nearly every photographic requirement in a single compact unit. Furthermore, because the lens and body on the Fujifilm FinePix HS10 are built as a closed unit, it eliminates the possibility of dust on the image sensor. The twist-barrel manual zoom control enables the photographer to make precision adjustments, and zooming is faster and more accurate than comparable powered zoom lenses in the same class of camera. The class-leading Fujinon 30x optical zoom covers a uniquely versatile 24-720mm (equivalent on a 35mm camera) range from true wide-angle to ultra telephoto.
It features all the top-end bells and whistles you’d expect: raw shooting, an electronic viewfinder that knows when you’re looking in it, and sensor-shifting image stabilisation, as well as the usual digital stabilisation and high ISO jiggery-pokery. It even borrows low-light cleverness from Fuji’s EXR cameras, automatically combining multiple snaps at different settings to come up with one, optimised final shot. Clever, but not magic.
There’s a strip of buttons to the left of the screen for ISO speed, white balance, metering mode, focus mode and focus area, and adjusting them simply involves holding down the button and turning the command dial. There are lots of other options in the menu, but it’s not the easiest to navigate. RAW mode is buried in the Setup menu rather than located alongside the JPEG compression option.
There’s an accessory shoe for an external flash, although the lack of TTL flash support means the flashgun’s power must be set manually. The 3in screen tilts up and down, while a sensor switches to the electronic viewfinder as soon as the camera is raised to your eye.
Videos are captured at 1080p, or in slow-motion video at reduced resolutions at up to 1,000fps for 1/33x playback. Slow-motion video is great fun but the 1080p mode was disappointing. Details were crisp but low-light footage was under-exposed, optical stabilisation failed to keep telephoto shots steady and autofocus and aperture adjustments spoiled the otherwise high-quality soundtrack.
Utilizing Back Side Illuminated CMOS sensor technology capture married to class-leading Fujinon optical design, the FinePix HS10’s unique mix of advanced technologies brings several new features designed to make achieving professional-looking pictures easier than ever to the FinePix range,” said David Troy, marketing manager, Consumer Digital Cameras, Electronic Imaging Division, Fujifilm North America Corporation, “and all the while maintaining Fujifilm’s legendary image quality and low-light shooting performance.
Capturing action with the Fujifilm FinePix HS10 is so easy it feels like cheating. Whether you’re shooting stills or movie clips, the FinePix HS10’s cutting-edge sensor and processing technologies open up a range of high speed capture modes and unique shooting possibilities. While shooting sports action or wildlife, or simply trying to keep up with fast-moving children, the Fujifilm FinePix HS10 will give users an edge with up to 10 frames-per-second of high speed continuous shooting, at the maximum 10-Megapixel setting. The Fujifilm HS10’s unique Best Frame Capture Mode means users don’t need the reactions of a pro sports photographer to get professional results either; in this mode the camera continuously records images from the moment the focus is activated, then saves up to seven shots captured before the shutter button is released.
Fortunately, photo quality was much better. Focus was reasonably sharp throughout the zoom range which, for a 30x zoom lens, is a remarkable achievement. It didn’t excel at most focal lengths, but took a clear lead at the 720mm telephoto position, allowing us to take breathtaking photos of the moon’s craters.
Triple Image Stabilization combines a mechanically stabilized CMOS sensor with high ISO sensitivities and advanced multi-frame digital stabilization for total anti-blur protection. Together these technologies reduce the blurring effect of both handshake and subject movement to provide sharp, clean and clear results even at the longest zoom settings or in the most challenging lighting conditions.
Thanks to the modest-resolution back-illuminated sensor, noise was low at ISO 1600, helping to capture sharp telephoto shots in overcast weather. Performance was a little slow, though, taking 2.8 seconds between shots and rising to 11 seconds with the flash at full power.
But the absolute best part of the HS10 is the quality of the photos it takes. I’ve never used a camera before that performed so well in low light without a flash, and shots take I took after sundown in Venice look completely clear and have no fuzzy grain in them. Indoors or outdoors, the HS10 performed outstandingly well, and I almost never had to resort to using the flash except in the dead of night. The anti-jitter image stabilization features work well too, letting you grab a quick pic even while you’re on the move.
With the introduction of the HS10 (and HS11), Fuji seems to be trying to build the ultimate bridge camera – that mythical all-in-one imaging device that camera designers have aspired to since the first photographers composed their static images upside down, under a dark hood, behind a very slow and remarkably heavy wooden view camera. The HS10 is designed to be the sophisticated, easily portable, feature-rich, optically well-endowed general-use photographic tool that those old time photographers (and those who followed them) dreamed about.

Fujifilm FinePix HS10 digital camera shooting modes :

The Fujifilm HS10 digital camera boasts several unique features and modes designed to expand shooting possibilities and to take the work out of creating genuinely eye-catching images.

• Motion Panorama Mode :
Captures an ultra-wide panoramic view in a single sweeping shot. As the camera pans across the scene (left/right or up/down), the FinePix HS10 captures a series of shots in rapid succession. The shots are then stitched in-camera to produce a seamless panorama.
• Motion Remover Mode :
Remove moving subjects from your shots. This mode captures 5 images of a scene in quick succession; the five images are then analyzed and combined in-camera to produce a single image where anything moving in the scene is removed.
• Multi-Motion Capture Mode :
Previously only possible with highly specialized equipment, this mode captures 5 images of a moving subject in rapid succession and combines them into a single composite image containing multiple sharply-captured views of the subject motion.
• Multi-Frame Image Stabilization :
Combines high and low ISO exposures of the scene being photographed to reduce blur caused by camera shake without significantly increasing image noise. The Fujifilm FinePix HS10 also sports the remarkable ‘Pro Low Light’ mode, first seen on the FinePix S200EXR and F70EXR, which combines several exposures into a single image for ultra-low noise output in low light.

Other useful additions include;

1.High speed continuous shooting at a rate of 10fps, 7 frames max, to make sure you capture that perfect moment when your shooting a moving object, perfect for capturing birds and animals which never seem to sit still.

2.Motion Remover Mode, which takes a series of 5 pictures and combines them into one and automatically removes anything that has moved, a cool thing to have when you want that special holiday snap and tourist’s keep walking into shot!

3.Multi-Motion Capture Mode, which takes 5 quick pictures of a moving object and combines them into a single composite image.

4.Motion Panorama Mode,  sweep left-right or up-down for that super panorama shot, all done in camera.

Pro Low Light mode, for ultra-low noise output in low light.

5.Ultra slow motion video capture, at up to 1000fps, admittedly this will not be in HD of course, but still a pretty cool feature to play with.

6.Super Macro, focuses down to 1cm-1.0m.

As well as a range of advanced automatic functions – including Fujifilm’s acclaimed SR Auto mode – and scene modes designed to produce perfect ‘point and shoot’ results, the Fujifilm HS10 sports a full complement of sophisticated manual and semi-automatic shooting modes and photographic controls. The extensive external controls give the more advanced photographer direct access to virtually every control they will need for uninterrupted shooting, and the body includes dedicated command buttons for quick and easy key functions such as ISO, white balance, focus and metering. The large command dial, manual focus ring, twist and zoom lens barrel, bright, clear electronic viewfinder, high quality tilting LCD screen and deep hand grip ensure the Fujifilm FinePix HS10 handles at least as well as a digital SLR, despite its compact dimensions. AA batteries (ships with alkaline) provide excellent performance (up to 300 shots with Alkaline batteries) combined with the convenience of a universally available format when shooting for extended periods away from main power.
The Fujifilm HS10 will be available in April 2010 at a retail price of $499.95. As soon as we receive a Fujifilm FinePix HS10 test sample, we will publish a photo gallery with high resolution pictures, followed by an extensive Fujifilm FinePix HS10 review.

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