Reviews and Problems with Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR
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Fuji's HS30EXR is a compelling choice among the ultrazooms that crowd the market, can it outshine its predecessor?
19 November 2012
Conclusion: Though the Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR is a solid superzoom, we come away from this review a bit disappointed. When we heard the HS30 would stick with the same zoom ratio as its predecessor, we thought "perfect, they're going to work on image quality instead of just more and more zoom." Yet here we are again — one year later — talking about a camera we want to love, but don't. Despite a supposedly-new sensor, image quality remains less than remarkable.
Excerpt: FujiFilm continues to upgrade their popular HS-series of FinePix super-zooms, and for the first half of 2012 they've released two new models; the HS30EXR and HS25EXR . Both models carry over several of the awesome features users loved on the HS20EXR from last year; with some obvious upgrades. The HS30EXR is the new holder of the HS-series' top-of-the-line spot, with some impressive features to boot.
Summary: Fujifilm's FinePix HS30EXR is a capable megazoom for those who like the controls of an SLR, but not the expense and weight of one.
Pros: The Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR has a great design and feature set for those who like to do more than leave their camera in auto. It also has several shooting options to improve photo quality for difficult lighting.
Cons: Getting the best results from the HS30EXR can require a lot of effort and even then its photos might not be good enough for some.
Summary: The key is versatility and a mechanical 30X ultra-wide angle optical zoom lens covering 24-720mm more precisely than any of its peers is just the start. A high-speed EXR CMOS sensor capable of capturing 16 megapixels images at 8 FPS and recording 1080p HD videos pushes things further. The triple-mode EXR technology adds to this the ability to shoot low-noise images or up to 1600% the dynamic range of conventional sensors.
Pros: Mechanical ultra wide to super telephoto lens, Stellar dynamic range in EXR-DR mode, Low image noise in EXR-SN mode, Consistent sharpness except near ultra-wide, Low optical distortion, Impervious to chromatic aberrations, Good color response, Fast autofocus, Virtually no shutter-lag, Generally fast and responsive, Responsive manual focus ring, Eye-Start sensor, Very good ergonomics, Plenty of direct controls, Good build quality
Cons: Above average noise at full-resolution, Smudging of details at all ISO settings, Useless ISO 3200 and up, Strong edge softness at ultra-wide end of zoom, 1s Movie record delay, Shutter speed limit drops by 1 stop per ISO, Useless live-histogram, Not Exposure-Priority, Complex feature interactions, Poorly placed tripod mount, Waking up camera requires power cycling
Summary: The HS30EXR takes the superzoom formula and tweaks it into better shape than its predecessor. The 24-720mm manual zoom not only offers a significant range but the hands-on zoom ring makes it feel more DSLR-like than other superzoom cameras. Add to this the far superior electronic viewfinder that outclasses the competition and the rechargeable li-ion battery and the HS30 is on the right track.
Summary: The Fujifilm FinePix HS30 EXR is a 16 Megapixel super-zoom with a 30x stabilised lens, a high-resolution electronic viewfinder and a 3in flip-up screen.
It replaces the FinePix HS20 EXR which, on the surface, looks nearly identical and shares similar specifications, but there are a number of crucial differences.
First, there's a redesigned sensor offering improved low light performance.
Pros: Big, bright, high resolution EVF., LCD screen works well in bright light., Programmable Fn button., Face tracking AF for movies.
Cons: Manual Zoom not ideal for video., Big and heavy - similar to entry-level DSLR., Low light and stacking modes operate at half resolution.
Conclusion: No matter your consumer label, enthusiast, beginner or aspiring professional, you can’t go wrong with the Fujifilm Finepix HS30 EXR. It does everything you could need and more. It has an amazing focal range lens, good low light capabilities, a flip out screen, a DSLR likeness and great overall usability. And with a camera this useful, you can’t help but continue to use it. It’ll excel in almost all situations and there’s no need to fork out too many of the big dollars.