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In an era of small digicams this is a monster. The size of a DSLR, it weighs a little under 750g and, mounted into the front of the body, is its big, big feature… a 30x zoom that stretches from a 35 SLR equivalent of an enjoyably wide 24mm starting point way, way out to 720mm! Naturally, the zoom has manual operation.
In the hand the Fujifilm Finepix HS10 is well balanced, thanks to a prominent speed grip, convenient placement of power button, mode dial, four way jogger and command dial which, among other things, cycles through shutter speed and lens aperture settings when the camera is in aperture or shutter priority.
The mode dial is worth a look in detail: there are auto, Program AE, shutter and aperture priority well as manual exposure; then there are auto scene recognition, advanced mode, custom settings, motion panorama (similar to Sony’s shoot and stitch in-camera trick) and ‘scene position’ that provides entrée to scene modes like beach, portrait etc.
Added to the external controls is a weighty viewfinder menu, totalling 40 plus shooting options that range from tweaks to white balance, sharpness, face detection, flash, the level of the shutter sound, LCD brightness, image stabiliser and quite a bit more. I suggest you spend a day getting to know this menu!
At this point it becomes obvious that the HS10 is not for the raw beginner or occasional shooter. Its talents will test many a hardened, experienced photographer, added to which you need to deal with the 30x zoom… handheld photography at the 720mm equivalent is out of the question for most people, unless you twist the ISO setting to 1000 or above; even then you will face serious difficulties in focusing and framing.
A welcome feature is the tilt out and up rear LCD screen added to the turret viewfinder, useful for shooting in the bright outdoors. Unfortunately both possess a relatively low resolution of 230,000 pixels.
With such a long zoom a decent image stabiliser is essential and Fujifilm have chosen to install a more than capable dual image stabiliser that, in the main, acts to mechanically stabilise the CMOS sensor plus there are two options for digital stabilisation, which I would tend to avoid.
More: high speed shooting is also well served with tracking autofocus; in Best Frame Capture mode the camera continuously captures images from the moment you focus then saves up to seven shots before or after you press the shutter release.
On top of all this the HS10 can shoot Full HD 1920×1080 pixel movies at 30 fps with stereo sound, although the latter is of low capture quality.
Then there are the high speed movie modes that should set your sports heart a-racing. How about 240 fps? Or 1000 fps? Gotcha? The HS10 can shoot at these incredible speeds, although the image size is only 442×332 and 224×64 pixels respectively.
Even more incredible is the camera’s Motion Remover Mode where a rapid bracket of five frames is taken, then the group is analysed and combined in-camera to create a single sharp image — anything moving in the scene disappears. One use is to shoot crowded cityscapes and remove the crowds!
There’s a lot more in the camera: 10 million pixel image with a maximum size of 3648×2736 pixels, printable to a 31x24cm print; JPEG and RAW capture; in-camera movie trimming, an HDMI output; four AA battery compartment for alkalines or rechargeables.?
In optical terms the 30x Fujinon lens is quite remarkable with no sign of distortion at either end of the zoom. Let’s see other companies match this performance at this price point.
(insert Fishing boat)
Quality: I found the image quality to be well above average and the system well able to bring in excellent images in poor conditions. A good substitute for a DSLR.
Why you would buy it: the idea of a 30x zoom appeals; you like a mountain of controls.
Why you wouldn’t: you don’t have the skills or patience to cope with a long zoom; your photo needs are simple; the camera is too heavy or bulky for your needs.
Image Sensor: 10 million effective pixels.
Metering: Multi zones, averaging, spot.
Sensor Size: 11mm CMOS.
Lens: Fujinon f2.8-5.6/4.2-126mm (24-720mm as 35 SLR equivalent).
Shutter Speed: 30 to 1/4000 second.
Memory: SD/SDHC cards plus 46MB internal memory.
Image Sizes (pixels): 3648×2736, 3648×2432, 3648×2056, 2592×1944, 2592×1728, 2592×1440, 2048×1536, 2048×1360, 1920×1080. Movies (pixels): 1920×1080, 1280×720, 640×480, 320×240 at 30 fps. High speed: 1000 fps to 60 fps.
Viewfinders: Turret 5mm: (200,000 pixels); rear LCD Screen: 7.6cm LCD (230,000 pixels).
File Formats: RAW, JPEG, Motion JPEG, WAV.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 100 to 6400.
Interface: USB 2.0, AV, HDMI, DC.
Power: AA alkaline/lithium/NiMh, DC input.
Dimensions: 130.6×90.7×126 WHDmm.
Weight: 730 g (with batteries and card).
Price: Get a price on the Fujifilm FinePix HS10 at Amazon (currently 13% off)