Fujifilm FinePix HS10 Review
The new Fujifilm Finepix HS10 features one of the longest zoom lenses currently available on a point-and-shoot digital camera – a whopping 30x optic that goes from the 35mm equivalent of a 24mm true wide-angle to the equivalent of a 720mm super-telephoto.
Big zoom lenses are certainly hot now, and we’ve come a long way from the 2.3x Voigtlander Zoomar (introduced in 1959). It was the first commercially available zoom lens for still cameras, and it was expensive, heavy, and slow. Still, it was a big hit with photographers.
Stepping back into the present, the HS10 features a 30x zoom for those who want to really reach out, it saves RAW image files for those who want a digital negative, and it has a hot shoe for those who want to mount a separate flash unit. Users can opt for fully automatic exposure or fully manual exposure and everything in between, including a short but useful selection of scene modes, and finally (if all that wasn’t enough) the HS10 is powered by relatively cheap and universally available AA batteries.
The super versatile HS10 aims to please, and it will truly do just about anything you might possibly want it to do photographically. Unfortunately, it won’t always do it quickly, smoothly, or with grace.
BUILD AND DESIGN
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.
The FinePix HS10 is an attractive, relatively compact, slightly chunky digicam that looks and handles rather like a scaled down DSLR – until its big 30x zoom comes telescoping out of the lens housing. This digicam was designed to span the gap between point-and-shoot consumer digicams and entry-level digital SLRs – and in many ways the engineers at Fuji have succeeded in creating the ultimate all-in-one imaging device.
What’s particularly interesting here is that the HS10 is a radical departure from Fuji’s traditional line of Super CCD sensor driven digicams – the new BSI-CMOS sensor allows not only for faster processing, but also permits the incorporation of a number of features (1080p HDVT video at 1920 x 1080 at 30 fps and several high-speed movie options ranging from 60 fps to 1000 fps) that would have challenged the old Super CCD sensors that have graced Fuji digicams since the dawn of the digital age. The HS10 is robustly constructed, fit and finish are impressive, and the camera is tough enough to go just about anywhere.
Ergonomics and Controls
The HS10 has all the bells and whistles users have come to expect from high-end prosumer long-zoom digicams, but it also provides an impressive level of creative flexibility. In hand, the HS10’s deep hand grip nicely balances the camera for right-handed shooters.
All controls are logically placed and easy to access, but the HS10’s overly complex control array would give a rocket scientist a headache – this camera’s user interface is complicated and most users won’t experience a comforting sense of déjà vu while getting used to where everything is and how everything works.
The HS10 is powered up and down by a tabbed back-and-forth switch surrounding the shutter release button – this switch has a solid tactile feel and the two click stops inspire confidence, but it is easy to forget to turn the camera off when you put it away. Basic camera operation won’t be a problem once the familiarization process is completed.
While the HS10’s button, dial, and knob quotient is very high, more advanced users will appreciate having external controls for all commonly accessed features/functions. Many shooters (I’m one of them) like external controls better than menus and don’t resort to the menu unless absolutely necessary.
Menus and Modes
The HS10’s two tab menu system is logical, but it is neither simple nor easily navigated – this is a versatile and feature-rich digicam with lots of options and almost unlimited user input, so it stands to reason that the menus would be more complex than they would be with a more traditional point-and-shoot. The large, fairly bright 3.0-inch LCD and reasonable font size make reading the menus easy.
- Auto: Point-and-shoot mode with very limited user input. In Auto mode the camera selects the aperture and shutter speed, sensitivity (ISO), and white balance.
- SR Auto: Scene Recognition Auto Selector automatically selects the most appropriate scene mode for the shooting situation.
- ADV: There are three Advanced Scene Modes – Pro Low-Light, Multi Motion and Motion Remover. The Pro Low-Light option captures four images in sequence and combines them into one image with reduced noise. The other two advanced scene modes limit image resolution to 5 megapixels and have very narrow applications.
- SP1/SP2: Scene Modes including – Portrait, Portrait Enhancer, Landscape, Sport, Night, Night (Tripod), Fireworks, Sunset, Snow, Beach, Flower, Text, Natural Light, Natural Light with Flash, and Party.
- Program: Auto exposure with user input.
- Aperture Priority: The user chooses the aperture and the camera selects an appropriate shutter speed
- Shutter Priority: The user chooses the shutter speed and the camera selects an appropriate aperture.
- Manual Exposure: The user chooses all exposure parameters.
- Custom: A programmable mode dial position
- Movie: Records 1080p HDVT video at 1920 x 1080 at 30 fps and several high-speed movie options ranging from 60 fps to 1000 fps.
The HS10 features both an Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) and an LCD. The EVF’s 0.2-inch 200k FLCD monitor provides approximately 97% coverage and is bright, sharp, fluid, and dependably hue accurate. I really enjoyed using the EVF and the HS10’s old school style mechanical optical zoom to frame, compose, and capture images.
This is a very complex digicam and obviously lots of compromises had to be made. The HS10’s $500 introductory price tag does not make those compromises any easier to swallow.
One of the most onerous of those compromises, in my opinion, was the 230,000 pixel resolution of the HS10’s 3.0-inch tilting LCD. The HS10’s screen is bright, fairly sharp, fluid, and dependably hue accurate. I just finished testing the Nikon S8000, an ultra compact digicam with a 10x zoom and a 920,000 pixel LCD that goes for less than half what the HS10 costs.
Fuji cheaped out on the HS10’s LCD and the differences between the Nikon S8000’s LCD and HS10’s LCD couldn’t be more graphic. I love the idea of a camera with a 30x zoom, but I can assure you that it is not at all easy to use the HS10’s LCD to frame and compose an image with the lens fully extended. I used the EVF for framing and composition and the LCD for saved image review and menu navigation – making the LCD’s tilt capability (in my opinion) somewhat redundant.
Fujifilm FinePix HS10
Fujifilm HS10 Review
4.0 out of 5.0
Fujifilm FinePix HS10
by Dan Havlik and Stephanie Boozer
Review Date: 07/12/2010
There are some out there who may have thought the all-in-one superzoom cameras like the Fujifilm HS10 would have gone away by now. Indeed, as prices of digital SLRs have continued to come down, and smaller, compact point-and-shoots have been fitted with bigger built-in zooms, the era of the "chunky" bridge camera would seem to be on the wane. Unless, of course, your name is Fujifilm, a company which continues to offer compelling reasons why this category of camera is still alive and well.
Fuji's latest offering is the 10.3-megapixel FinePix HS10, a Swiss-Army-knife of a camera with a whopping 30x (24-720mm equivalent) optical twist-barrel manual zoom lens. Though it retails for a relatively spendy $500, the Fujifilm HS10 is packed with features including a back-side illuminated CMOS image sensor. If you are unfamiliar with back-side illuminated (BSI) sensors, they're designed with circuitry on the side of the chip not used for absorbing light. This, ostensibly, gives the pixels more room on the light sensitive side to collect light. The jury is still out on how effective this technology is for low-light shooting but more and more cameras contain BSI chips these days including, notably, the 5MP imager in the new iPhone 4.
To keep the Fujifilm HS10 steady during long zooms, the camera has sensor-shift image stabilization that compensates for handshake. The camera also has a Pro Low-Light mode which captures four nearly simultaneous shots and then combines them into one to reduce noise and blur in low light shots or in photos captured at long zooms. This is similar to technology that has already debuted on Sony's cameras. The Fujifilm HS10 also has a Motion Panorama mode -- similar to what Sony calls Sweep Panorama on its models -- which lets you capture a panoramic, stitched-together image in a single sweeping shot.
For sports and action photography, Fuji has added a high-speed, ten frames per second, continuous mode to the Fujifilm HS10 along with a Best Frame Capture Mode which records continuously from the instant focus is activated so you never miss a shot.
For video lovers, the Fujifilm HS10 can record full 1080p HD movies with stereo sound. The camera also has a mini HDMI port though like most manufacturers on the market, Fuji doesn't include an HDMI cable in the box. A high-speed movie modes lets you record up to 1,000 frames per second and then play the clips back in slow motion. We also like that the Fujifilm HS10 has an option to record still images simultaneously as JPEGs and RAW. Now that puts the pro in prosumer.
Though its designed to look like a digital SLR, the Fujifilm HS10 does not have a true optical viewfinder. There is, however, a small electronic viewfinder along with a 3-inch tilting LCD screen with 230,000 dots of resolution. A sensor detects when the user brings their eye toward or away from the electronic viewfinder and then automatically switches between the EVF and LCD screen as appropriate.
The Fujifilm HS10 uses four AA batteries which are inserted into the hand grip. As with most of Fuji's male-centric, prosumer models, it's available in one color only: black. The Fuji FinePix HS10 began shipping April 2010, priced at around US$500.
by Dan Havlik
If you don't want to make the leap to a digital SLR yet but desire DSLR features and performance, the Fujifilm FinePix HS10 is about as close to the real thing as you're going to get. It also does DSLRs one better by offering an extremely versatile 30x built-in optical zoom lens. Along with being able to get close to the action at a maximum 720mm equivalent focal length, the Fujifilm HS10 doesn't skimp on the wide-angle, letting you go out as far as 24mm (equivalent) for sweeping landscape photography.
Add in a slew of automated features including a low-light shooting mode which combines four shots into one to reduce blur and noise; a back-side illuminated CMOS sensor designed to absorb more light and reduce image noise; a panoramic motion mode that automatically stitches images together; and full 1080p HD movie mode with stereo sound, and you've got a camera with more features than you'll likely know what to do with. But oh what fun you'll have trying them all out!
Look and Feel. The all-black Fujifilm FinePix HS10 looks so much like a digital SLR, you'll do a double take the first time you see it. With a comfortable rubberized handgrip and a quiet manual twist-barrel zoom lens sporting a comfy ribbed focus ring (also rubberized), Fuji does it's best to make this all-in-one superzoomer look and feel semi-professional. But like a DSLR, this isn't a camera you'll be able to slip into a coat pocket and take out for a day of shooting.
Dimensions are 5.1 x 3.6 x 5.0 inches (131 x 91 x 126mm) and weight is 25 ounces (709 grams) with a card and batteries, which is about on par to small DSLRs such as the Nikon D3000. Like most entry-level DSLRs, the Fujifilm HS10's body is mostly polycarbonate, though it feels solid with good heft and balance in your hand. The main things that tell you this isn't a digital SLR are the slight curving on the sides of the camera body and the "30x Super Wide" badge on the front which indicates this is an all-in-one camera with some serious focal length.
Controls. Controls on the Fujifilm FinePix HS10 are plentiful and well-labeled. Most important is the big silver metallic shutter button on top of the handgrip which is surrounded by the on/off ring. This is very similar to how many SLRs work, so it's familiar. Though you'd think the lack of a motorized zoom would speed up the power-on cycle, it still takes a fairly long time from power-up to the first shot, about 2.5 seconds in our lab tests. As befitting a camera that has nearly a dozen significant features, the Fujifilm HS10 has nearly a dozen small raised buttons controlling everything from ISO to burst shooting options.
The Fujifilm HS10's knurled mode dial tilts back slightly so you don't have to look over the camera to determine which shooting mode it's in. And with the Fujifilm HS10 there are plenty of shooting modes along with a range of camera adjustments -- Finepix Color options, Dynamic Range adjustments etc.--- you make on the LCD screen after hitting the menu button. There's a lot to figure out here, which is why it's so frustrating that camera manufacturers don't seem to offer paper versions of manuals anymore for anything other than digital SLRs. With the Fujifilm HS10 you have grab a PDF of the manual off a CD and view it on your computer. Not great for figuring out this camera's impressive functionality on the fly.
Next to the marked mode dial, there's a black command dial that helps you adjust some of the camera's various functions such as aperture or shutter speed in the PASM manual modes. To start shooting video, just press the red button on back of the camera and wait a second for the Fujifilm HS10 to switch into movie mode before automatic recording begins. (It would have been nice if this mode switch was just a bit quicker.) Press it again to stop recording. To access the pop-up flash, just hit a button on the side of the Fujifilm HS10 and it's good to go.
The Fujifilm HS10 defaults to a mode called EVF/LCD Auto Switch which uses a sensor to detect when you bring your eye towards or away from the electronic viewfinder. This will automatically switch between the EVF and LCD Screens for viewing and composing images as appropriate. I actually really disliked this auto switch set-up -- more about this later -- and recommend turning it off in the menus. Once it's off, you can switch between the EVF or the LCD just by pressing the EVF/LCD button next to the electronic viewfinder.
Lens. The lens on Fujifilm FinePix HS10 is a beaut. With 30x capability, the lens offers actual focal lengths ranging from 4.2 to 126mm, equivalent to 24 to 720mm on a 35mm camera. For some perspective on this, picture the giant lenses you see professional photographers using on the sidelines of football games and more than double their maximum focal length.
Fuji is not alone in offering an all-in-one camera with a 30x superzoom. Olympus also released its SP-800UZ which has a 30x zoom but compared to the Fujifilm HS10, that lens has more on the telephoto end and less on the wide-angle, with a 35mm equivalent focal length of 28 to 840mm. Personally I prefer having the 24mm wide option on the Fujifilm HS10 since it makes the camera great for capturing landscapes, cityscapes and sprawling scenery when you're traveling. (Not to mention, massive group shots such as at a family or high school reunions.)
The Fuji HS10 offers 1/3EV aperture steps in a range of f/2.8 to f/11 at the wide-angle, and f/5.6 to f/11 at the telephoto end. And, of course, this is what separates the Fujifilm HS10's lens from the 70-200mm and 400mm behemoths you see on the sidelines of sporting events. Those lenses offer a constant aperture of f/2.8 which is great for shooting in low-light or when isolating a player in sharp focus while blurring out the background.
Though sharpness was decent throughout the Fujifilm HS10's entire focal range -- particularly at the widest angle and for macro photos -- there was noticeable softness at the corners which isn't unusual for a camera in this class with such a long lens in a small package. Indeed, the Fujifilm HS10's lens was better than most in this respect. In lower light and when zoomed all the way to 720mm, you'll get only passable sharpness even with the Fujifilm HS10's stabilization system, which shifts the sensor to combat handshake. Though I thought the Fujifilm HS10's 10.3-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor did surprisingly well in keeping noise down at ISO 800 and 1,600, the camera's anti-noise processing smoothed out detail which added to image softness
Powerful Zoom. 30x is quite impressive.
On an overcast day in New York City, I was able to get fairly sharp images of passengers on a site-seeing boat in the Hudson River. Even though I was up on a bluff looking down on the boat with the Fujifilm HS10's lens racked out all the way to 30x (720mm equiv.), you can clearly identify the passengers in the shot and even what they're wearing. Thankfully there was enough light to shoot at ISO 100. (At ISO 1,600, there would've likely been a lot more blur from noise and in-camera smoothing software.)
Though the Fujifilm HS10 is relatively compact, when you manually extend the lens all the way to 720mm, it telescopes out to about five inches from the body, or about seven inches total. One nice touch is that the lens provides actual and 35mm equivalent focal lengths on the lens barrel as you zoom. And while I like that its a manual twist-barrel lens -- rather than a slow electronic zoomer -- quickly adjusting the zoom takes some practice and I'd recommend looking through the 0.2-inch, 200,000-dot electronic viewfinder rather than in live view on the 3-inch LCD screen on back. Composing close-ups is a lot easier with the EVF and it won't wash out in bright sunlight. Another zoom hazard is that your thumb tends to run into the flash housing, so it's best to keep your fingers on the underside of the lens and zoom in steps rather than all at once.
The Fujifilm HS10's lens also did surprisingly well for macro photos. (Some superzoom lenses suffer when trying to capture extreme close-ups.) Minimum focusing distance is ordinarily 1.6 feet at the wide-angle or 16.4 feet at the telephoto but it drops to just 0.3 feet in Macro mode at the wide-angle, or 6.5 feet at telephoto. Even better is the Fujifilm HS10's Super Macro mode which locks the lens at an unspecified focal length but allows focusing as close as 0.4 inches. I got wonderful close-ups of flower in Super Macro mode that rivaled shots I've captured with true macros lenses on DSLRs.
Modes. Modes abound on the feature-packed Fujifilm HS10 with presets for beginners; for prosumers looking to get creative; and for more experienced photographers who seek manual control. Of course there is the basic Auto mode -- red camera icon on the mode dial -- which does everything for you -- and Program which allows basic manual overrides such as ISO adjustment -- but there's also Fuji's SRAuto mode, which automatically analyzes a scene and picks the appropriate pre-set mode from a group that includes: Portrait, Landscape, Night, Macro, Night Portrait, Backlit Portrait and Auto.
Automated scene recognition modes have been around for a while and I recommend them for anyone who's in too much of a hurry to fiddle with the camera to choose the appropriate setting. Be forewarned though, they're not always accurate. In a couple of cases the Fuji HS10's SRAuto mode picked Macro when I was shooting a landscape photo. It also seemed to often default to just plain old Auto when it couldn't figure out a scene.
I don't like people or animals to be alerted when I'm taking a picture so I recommend the Fujifilm HS10's Silent Mode which you can set by holding down the DISP/BACK button on the rear of the camera for a few seconds or choosing it through the menu. It disables the camera's speaker, flash and AF assist/self-timer lamp. In the Adv. (Advanced) setting on the mode dial you're offered three interesting and useful sophisticated pre-sets: Pro Low-Light (mentioned earlier), Multi-Motion Capture, and Motion Remover.
Pro Low-Light mode
Use Pro Low-Light when you're shooting in mixed or low-light situations and want to shoot an image with less blur or image noise. The camera will automatically fire off four consecutive shots of your subject and then combine them through a stacking process into one. The resulting shot should be sharper and cleaner than just boosting ISO and trying to hold the Fujifilm HS10 steady in low light. On the downside, there can be an artificial, over-processed look to these images which is the same complaint I had about a similar mode on Sony's cameras. In addition, the HS10 doesn't seem to micro-align images as well as the Sonys, sometimes requiring multiple attempts to get a crisp shot. They also don't do well for action photos. If you're in a pinch though, Pro Low-Light mode can produce some unexpectedly good photos in bad lighting or when zooming in from great distances.
Multi-Motion Capture mode is more of a lark but no less interesting. It will capture a moving object -- such as a runner or a vehicle -- multiple times in a single image. Rotating the Fujifilm HS10's Command Dial will let you choose the shooting time: for slow-moving objects choose a longer interval. Motion Remover is for when you want to capture a cityscape without all the cars, buses, motorcycles and pedestrians in the foreground and background. In this mode, which also composites multiple images, moving objects magically disappear so you can shoot pristine architectural photos of the Louvre or the Pyramids of Giza without the hustle and bustle of human activity.
The SP1 and SP2 options on the mode dial are for the Fujifilm HS10's special scene pre-set modes. There are 15 of them: Natural + Flash (which is for backlit subjects: it take two photos one with and one without flash); Natural Light; Portrait; Portrait Enhancer (it gives you smooth skin effect for softer portraits); Landscape; Sport; Night; Night (Tripod); Fireworks; Sunset; Snow; Beach; Party; Flower; and Text. All 15 modes are available in both SP1 and SP2 but each position can be assigned a different scene setting if, for instance, you want to quickly switch between Portrait and Landscape.
Panorama. Not quite as good as some, the Fujifilm HS10 nonetheless makes a very wide panorama. This is 3840x720, but even wider images are possible. There is some doubling of elements in this shot, though a stand of leafy trees is indeed a challenge (note, though, that there was no wind).
The PANORAMA setting on the mode dial puts the Fujifilm HS10 into Motion Panorama mode which lets you capture an ultra-wide, stitched-together image in a single sweeping shot. Here you can select four panning directions: Right, Left, Up or Down. Press the shutter down and move the camera in the appropriate direction. Shooting ends automatically when your panorama is complete.
I loved this mode when it first appeared in a similar form on Sony's cameras, since its takes the pain out of trying to stitch together a panoramic shot on your own. Stitching wasn't as good as we've seen on Sony cameras, however. But they're good enough that I wish Sony or Fuji (or other manufacturers) would sell a panoramic frame to accommodate these ultra-wide shots. They'd certainly make a bundle.
Along with all those fancy "intelligent" camera modes, the Fuji H10 has those tried-and-true manual modes that more seasoned photographers like: Shutter Priority (S), Aperture Priority (A), and Full Manual (M).
Menu. Fuji's menu system is in drastic need of an update, especially for a camera with this many features. Though the Fujifilm HS10 has plenty of buttons for accessing basic functions, if you want to dive deeper you're going to be doing a lot of clicking and scrolling. It's a time-consuming process and a bit annoying but after a day or so of shooting you'll get used to it. In shooting mode, hitting the Fujifilm HS10's menu button calls up a two-tab layout with photography settings under the camera icon, and internal adjustments under the wrench/hammer icon.
Under the shooting settings table, you're given a plethora of options, some of which you can already access via the Fujifilm HS10's buttons. The fonts and icons Fuji uses for its menus haven't changed much in the last decade and they're also in need of an refresh, especially since the camera's 3-inch tilting LCD screen (230,000 dots of resolution) is a nice one.
On the Fujifilm HS10's Shooting Menu's first page (there are four!) options include adjusting ISO, image size, image quality, dynamic range (DR value options are confusingly listed as 100%, 200%, and 400% with the higher number designed for scenes with more contrast), and FinepixColor (standard, Fuji Chrome which boosts color, B&W, and Sepia).
The Shooting Menu's second page offers options for white balance fine-tuning, color, tone, sharpness, face detection, and movie quality. The third and four pages include adjustments for HS movie speed, normal or high speed movie, autoexposure bracketing, flash, external flash, high-speed shooting (10fps but only for 7 frame bursts), and custom settings.
When reviewing photos, the Fujifilm HS10's Playback menu offers options to erase images, run a slide show, red eye removal, protect, crop, resize, image rotate, copy, voice memo, and print. If you're playing back a movie, there are also options for movie trimming and movie join which lets you splice together two clips to make a longer one.
Set-up menu options for the Fujifilm HS10 include date/time, time difference, language, silent mode (on or off), reset, format, image display, frame numbering, operational volume, shutter volume, shutter sound, playback volume, LCD brightness, EVF/LCD mode (30 fps on the screen for improved battery life; 60 fps for better quality), EVF/LCD Auto switch (if on, viewfinder turns on when you put your eye to it) and Auto Power off. You can also adjust the Fujifilm HS10's image stabilization (IS) mode for either continuous or shooting only, red eye removal, autofocus (AF) illuminator, AE/AF-lock mode, AE/AF-Lock button, RAW (RAW + JPG or RAW only), focus check, save original image, autorotate for tall portrait photos during playback, background color, guidance on the display, and other camera settings.
Storage and Battery. The Fujifilm HS10 accepts SD and SDHC memory cards which are inserted in a slot on the right side of the camera by the handgrip. The slot is covered by a locking, slide-out plastic door. (Unlike some of Fuji's earlier models, the Fujifilm HS10 does not use xD-Picture Cards.) There is also 46MB of internal memory. When shooting at the 10MP Large (3,648 x 2,736) setting, a 4GB memory card in the HS10 can record up to 1590 JPEGs. In RAW mode, a 4GB card can record 250 image files. A 4GB card can record a 39-minute movie clip at full (1080p HD). In high-speed movie mode, it can record a 52-minute movie.
The Fujifilm HS10 is powered by four AA batteries which are inserted into the handgrip from the bottom of the camera. Using Alkaline batteries (the type supplied with the camera), the Fujifilm HS10 can capture approximately 300 frames, according to CIPA ratings. With NiMH rechargeable batteries, the HS10 can record 400 frames; and with lithium batteries it can record 700 frames.
Shooting with the Fujifilm HS10
If you like traveling light and want to bring just one camera with no extra lenses on an overseas vacation or a weekend getaway, the Fujifilm FinePix HS10 will pretty much do it all for you. And while the image quality and responsiveness of this all-in-one superzoom "bridge" camera may not match entry-level digital SLRs such as the Nikon D5000, Canon Rebel T2i or Pentax K-x, the Fujifilm HS10 is a couple hundred dollars cheaper than those models and sports a 30x (24mm-720mm) lens and a host of sophisticated features.
24mm. The Fujifilm HS10's wide-angle setting was great for capturing scenery.
I brought the Fujifilm HS10 on a trip to the Shawanagunk Mountains in New York and found it to be a very useful camera in a range of settings. First off though, it must be said that if you've shot with a good-quality digital SLR, the Fujifilm HS10 will initially feel like a letdown. The main reason is the overall speed of this digital camera can't match the performance of a true DSLR. For starters, composing images on the camera's 3-inch LCD screen or the grainy 0.2-inch, 230,000-dot electronic viewfinder just isn't the same as looking through a true optical viewfinder on a digital SLR.
What especially irritated me was that the Fujifilm HS10 defaults to a mode called EVF/LCD Auto Switch which uses a sensor to detect when you bring your eye towards or away from the electronic viewfinder. This will automatically switch between the EVF and LCD Screens for viewing and composing images as appropriate. While the sensor worked (mostly) fine, it takes a split second to engage. This is troublesome if you're trying to zero in on fast moving objects, such as wildlife, which the Fujifilm HS10's 30x lens is ideally suited for. I missed several candid shots of birds and other critters while looking at a dark screen waiting for the EVF to turn on.
Of course, you can also compose your shots on the Fujifilm HS10's nice 3-inch LCD, but I found that if I moved the camera while composing a shot, my arm or even the camera strap would trigger the camera to switch to the EVF. Pretty annoying. While the sensor-concept sounded good in theory, I recommend turning off the EVF/LCD Auto Switch and just using the EVF/LCD button to toggle between the two modes.
In terms of handling, the 25-ounce Fujifilm HS10 feels like a well-balanced lightweight digital SLR. While the market for these types of prosumer cameras is predominantly male, my wife was impressed with how light the Fujifilm HS10 felt and enjoyed shooting with it as well. We got great shots of the lake and surrounding ridgeline near the mountain lodge we were staying at and then brought the camera on a long hike through the woods.
The Fujifilm HS10's 24mm-equivalent wide-angle setting was perfect for getting shots of the "Gunks" -- as the Shawanagunk mountains are called locally -- while the 720mm telephoto setting was ideal for zooming in on the wildlife we spotted on our hike. Later at a park near our apartment in New York City, I zoomed in for close-up photos of a cute groundhog scurrying across the grass. I always liked how greens and blues are reproduced with Fuji's cameras, especially when you're shooting in the Fuji-Chrome setting which mimics the saturated look of its classic Velvia and Provia films. The Fujifilm HS10 also has a B&W setting which I used to capture area rock formations.
The PANORAMA setting, explained earlier in this review, automatically stitched together shots of the Hudson River into an impressive panoramic image just by pressing the shutter button and sweeping the camera in front of me. And while I liked the Pro Low-Light mode which captures four shots and combines them into one image to reduce noise and blur, as mentioned earlier, the results can have a synthetic, smoothed over look to them.
As a low-light camera, the Fujifilm HS10 is pretty decent even though its 1/2.3-inch imaging chip is significantly smaller than the APS-C sensors you'll find in consumer DSLRs. That's partially because the sensor in the Fujifilm HS10 is only 10 megapixels -- compared to other cameras that stuff 14MP onto tiny chips -- and also likely thanks to the BSI technology which increases space on the light gathering of the chip by moving the circuitry to the other end.
ISO range on the HS10 is 100-6,400 and I was very comfortable shooting the Fujifilm HS10 in low-light up to 1,600. Noise was relatively low at ISO 1,600 though the sweet spot for clean images on the HS10 is up to ISO 400. For trickier shooting situations in difficult lighting, use the Pro Low-Light mode.
Shot-to-shot the Fujifilm HS10 can't keep up with a DSLR, pausing for a few seconds between image capture. If you capture fast-moving wildlife -- or children -- try the rapid-fire 10fps high-speed mode. That 10fps spec is a little misleading, though since the camera can only process seven frame bursts at a time in this mode. 7, 5 and 3fps rates can also be selected.
Otter video. Easily the most active zoo patrons, otters offer an active demonstration of the Fujifilm HS10's 1080p video mode. (Click to download 30.5MB .MOV file.)
The 1080p HD shooting mode is pretty good, capturing a 1080p video, though at full zoom the results can still be a little shaky. Also, the built-in stereo microphone produced good sound. Video recordings were slow to start, though, and there was no mask to show you what areas would be excluded when you start recording, often requiring readjustment if you've been shooting in the camera's 4:3 mode.
So while superzoom, all-in-one cameras may not get the attention they once did, the Fujifilm Finepix HS10 is an excellent alternative to a DSLR with a long-range 30x zoom that will let you get closer to your subject than you'd think was possible in a camera this small and light. Along with your swim suit, you may want to consider packing the Fujifilm HS10 on your next trip.
Senior Editor Shawn Barnett took Dan up on his suggestion and brought the Fujifilm HS10 along on a recent trip to Zoo Atlanta: Though there were many walking around with expensive digital SLRs with even more expensive glass, I didn't envy them. No, the Fujifilm HS10's sensor would not deliver the quality those SLRs would, but I knew that I could get in closer to my subjects than they'd ever hope to with their expensive, relatively short-range glass. As such, a camera like the Fujifilm HS10 is tailor-made for getting great, ready-to-print shots at the zoo. Upper right is perhaps the best example, where I was able to get a portrait of this Gorilla lounging on the grass from about 30 feet away, thanks to the 720mm-equivalent lens, while those with 200mm lenses would have been restricted to a shot of the animal's entire body. I also found that the animals often looked directly into the lens of this relatively small camera.
Fujifilm HS10 Lens Quality
Note that the Fuji HS10's full telephoto focal length (126mm or 720mm eq.) is too long for our lab lens quality test shots, so the telephoto lab shots below were taken at approximately 75mm (430mm eq.).
Zoom: The Fujifilm HS10's optical zoom offers a very impressive 30x optical zoom range, equivalent to 24-720mm on a 35mm camera. Performance at full wide-angle is pretty good for a wide superzoom, though with some blurring and coma distortion in the corners even at f/8, and moderate chromatic aberration near the edges of the frame. At full telephoto, performance is quite good in the center, and there's less chromatic aberration, but corners are somewhat soft. Still, an above average performance overall for a lens with such range.
Wide: Sharp at center
Wide: Slightly soft lower right
Tele: Sharp in Center
Tele: Softest in lower right corner
Sharpness: The Fujifilm FinePix HS10's lens produces only slight blurring in the corners at wide-angle and telephoto, with the strongest blurring in the lower corners at both settings. However, what softening exists doesn't extend far into the frame.
Wide: Very slight pincushion distortion; hardly noticeable
Tele: Also a small amount of pincushion, barely visible
Wide: Strong barrel distortion
Tele: Strong pincushion distortion
Geometric Distortion: In JPEGs, there is very little distortion at both wide-angle and telephoto, with both showing about 0.06% pincushion distortion (about 1-2 pixels). A very slight dip in the target lines is visible, though it isn't strong enough to detract from the image overall.
Not surprisingly, uncorrected RAW files showed high amounts of geometric distortion. We measured 2.4% barrel distortion at wide-angle, and 2% pincushion at telephoto, though the full telephoto number is probably higher. RAW converters that fully support the HS10 should correct for this distortion automatically.
Wide: Moderate and slightly bright
Tele: Also moderate
Wide: High and bright
Tele: Also high and bright
Chromatic Aberration: Chromatic aberration at wide-angle is moderate and a bit bright, with noticeable reddish-magenta pixels and some bright cyan visible. At telephoto, the effect is about the same intensity.
As expected, uncorrected RAW files have much higher amounts of CA, so the camera is doing a pretty good job of removing much of the fringing in JPEG files.
Macro with Flash
Macro: The Fujifilm FinePix HS10's normal Macro mode captures a sharp image overall, with good detail. Minimum coverage area is on the large side though, at 4.15 x 3.11 inches (105 x 79mm). Flash performance is hindered by the long lens, which creates a strong shadow at the bottom of the frame. In Super Macro mode, the minimum coverage area is 1.70 x 1.27 inches (43 x 32mm), though exposure is very uneven.
Fujifilm HS10 Viewfinder Accuracy
Wide: LCD Monitor
Tele: LCD Monitor
Viewfinder Accuracy: The Fuji HS10's electronic viewfinder and LCD monitor both showed about 98% coverage accuracy at wide-angle and at telephoto. That's a little below average for its class, but better than Fuji's spec of 97%. There is also a slight vertical offset.
Fujifilm HS10 Image Quality
Color: Overall color looks pretty good here, though bright yellows are somewhat muted. Bright blues and reds are only slightly oversaturated, which is much better than average, and greens are nearly spot-on accurate. Only a few color shifts are noticeable, such as cyan toward blue and a very slight nudge in yellows toward green. Dark skin tones are just right, while lighter skin tones show a little pinkish-reddish tint. Still, much better performance here than average.
Manual WB: Close, though cool and magenta
Incandescent: The FinePix HS10's white balance system had some trouble with our incandescent lighting, producing noticeable color casts with each setting we tested. Though the Manual option is closest to accurate, it too shows a slight cool-magenta cast.
Resolution: Our laboratory resolution chart revealed sharp, distinct line patterns down to about 1,400 lines per picture height in both directions. Extinction of the pattern occurred at around 1,900 lines per picture height.
Flash: Our manufacturer-specified testing (shown at right) doesn't work well at wide-angle when the reported distance goes beyond 16 feet, because that takes the camera out of the main lab, so the wide-angle result is inconclusive. The telephoto test came out a little dim at 8.2 feet, despite the HS10 raising the ISO to 1,600. Thus, the HS10's onboard flash should be sufficient for average shooting at close range, though its telephoto capabilities may be a little weak.
The flash produced a well exposed image of our indoor portrait scene at ISO 100 without the use of any flash exposure compensation. The HS10 chose a shutter speed of 1/60 second for this shot.
Low Light: The Fujifilm HS10's back-side illuminated (BSI) CMOS sensor does a pretty good job in low-light situations, and the camera's maximum 30-second shutter speed in Manual exposure mode means the HS10 can capture bright images in very low light at reasonable ISOs.
The table above shows an exposure series shot at a one foot-candle light level, roughly the amount of light provided by typical city street-lighting at night. Noise levels are quite good for an all-in-one digicam with a tiny sensor.
Dynamic Range: The Fuji HS10 has an expanded dynamic range feature designed to preserve hot highlights when enabled. It has three settings: 100% (the default), 200% and 400%. As you can see from the first row of flower crops, it's very effective at retaining clipped highlights in our outdoor portrait shot. As they say, though, there's no free lunch: if you look at the second row of crops, you'll see that highlight retention comes at a cost of some increased noise in the shadows and midtones. (The crops have had levels adjusted equally in Photoshop by setting the highlight slider to 100, to make it easier to see the noise.) This is because the camera raises ISO to 200 and 400 respectively.
ISO: Noise and Detail: Detail remains good in terms of definition to about ISO 200, with stronger softening beginning at ISO 400. By ISO 800, details are fuzzy, though still reasonably distinct considering the effects of noise suppression here. From ISO 1,600 to 6,400, color balance becomes muted and details blur considerably, as images take on a watercolor appearance. For more on how this affects printed images, see the Printed Results section below.
Printed: Though the onscreen 100% crops don't look super sharp, the printed results from the Fujifilm HS10 looked pretty good. Starting at 13x19 inches, the ISO 100 shots looked good, if a little soft. Printing at 11x14 inches looked a lot better, such that a little sharpening would get you to 13x19 inches pretty easily.
ISO 200 shots were better at 11x14 inches, but could also sharpen up for larger print sizes.
ISO 400 shots looked surprisingly good printed at 11x14 inches.
ISO 800 shots were quite good printed at 8x10, though low-contrast detail started to blur and fade.
ISO 1,600 images made a decent 5x7-inch print, though again low-contrast areas were more faded.
ISO 3,200 images made a good 4x6-inch print with good detail.
ISO 6,400 shots were a little soft, but managed to make a usable 4x6-inch print as well, though with slightly darker shadows.
Overall, it's a good performance, with the Fujifilm HS10 turning out usable prints at all ISO settings.
Fujifilm HS10 Performance
Shutter Lag: Full autofocus shutter lag is a little slower than average, at 0.90 second at wide-angle and 0.93 second at full telephoto. Enabling the flash raised shutter lag to 1.15 second. Prefocus shutter lag is 0.097 second, also slower than average but still reasonably fast.
Cycle Time: Cycle time is also on the slow side, as the Fujifilm HS10 captures a frame every 3.43 seconds in single-shot JPEG mode. When shooting RAW files, cycle time increases to 4.59 seconds, and RAW + JPEG increases cycle time to 5.74 seconds. However, 10fps Continuous mode is quite zippy, capturing frames every 0.07 second for a burst rate of 13.64 frames per second for 7 frames, faster than Fuji's 10 frames per second specification. There are 7, 5 and 3fps modes as well. In 5fps continuous mode, the HS10 managed 4.7 frames per second for 6 RAW frames or 5 RAW + JPEG frames.
Flash Recycle: The Fujifilm FinePix HS10's flash recycles in a sluggish 7.6 seconds after a full-power discharge.
Low Light AF: The camera's AF system had a little trouble with low lighting, able to focus down to just under the 1/2 foot-candle light level without AF assist enabled, though the camera was able to focus in complete darkness with the AF assist lamp enabled.
USB Transfer Speed: Connected to a computer or printer with USB 2.0, the Fujifilm HS10 's download speeds are quite fast. We measured 5,585 KBytes/sec.
In the Box
- Fujifilm FinePix HS10 digital camera
- 4 x AA-type Alkaline batteries
- A/V cable
- Shoulder strap
- USB cable
- Lens cap
- Lens cap cord
Fujifilm HS10 Conclusion
The all-in-one superzoom digital camera is dead? Long live the all-in-one superzoom! Fuji makes that argument loud and clear with the multi-talented FinePix HS10, which packs a class-leading 30x (24-720mm) zoom lens into a chunky but lightweight camera body that handles like a digital SLR. If you're the type of person who can't decide between getting a camera that uses interchangeable lenses or one that packs everything into a single body, the Fujifilm HS10 just might make you opt for the latter. Along with its extremely versatile lens, the Fujifilm FinePix HS10 is packed with useful features including Pro Low-Light mode, Motion Panorama mode, and Best Frame Capture mode. On the other hand, if you're someone who has tried and likes digital SLRs, you may find the Fujifilm HS10 a step slow for your needs, with image quality that might be a notch lower than what you're used to. Plus, at $500 this Fuji superzoom is not significantly cheaper than some entry-level digital SLRs. The Fujifilm HS10 isn't one we can recommend to everyone, but if you really like to zoom in tightly, but still want decent optical quality -- and are willing to put up with the HS10's foibles -- then the Fujifilm HS10 is one handy long zoom digital camera to have around.
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Fujifilm FinePix HS10 Review
The Fujifilm FinePix HS10 is a new super-zoom digital compact camera with a long list of headline-grabbing features. Looking and handling like a DSLR, the bridge-style Fujifilm HS10 is one of only two digital cameras in the world to boast a 30x zoom lens (the other one being the Olympus SP-800UZ, which we recently reviewed). On the HS10, the lens covers a 35mm equivalent focal range of 24-720mm and also features mechanical image stabilisation and twist-barrel manual zoom and focusing controls. Other highlights of the camera include a 10 megapixel back-illuminated sensor, a 3-inch tilting LCD monitor, electronic viewfinder with eye-sensor for automatic switching, full 1080p HD movie recording with stereo sound, Super High Speed movie capture at 1000 fps, high-speed continuous shooting at 10fps, full manual controls and support for the RAW file format. The Fujifilm FinePix HS10 is available at the manufacturer's suggested retail price of £439.99 / $499.95 in the UK / US, respectively.
Ease of Use
Offering itself as a jack-of-all-trades solution to the serious photo enthusiast, the Fujifilm FinePix HS10 looks, feels and handles very much like a mid-range DSLR, with a weight and solid build quality that should withstand a few glancing knocks in the heat of the action. The moulded curves of the body and matt black finish deliver a purposeful look that is as aesthetically pleasing as it is practical, with nice chunky controls, an ergonomic control layout that allows both quick and easy access to functions, and a deep hand-grip with a well-thought-out indentation into which a middle finger slots comfortably – this is a camera for which you will very much need to use both hands at once.
At the heart of the HS10 is the frankly incredible non-interchangeable 30x zoom lens, complete with manual zoom and focus rings, just like on a DSLR lens. This incredibly versatile lens offers a focal range starting at an ultra-wide 24mm and finishing at an ultra-telephoto 720mm, which, as Fujifilm cannily point out, would take at least two super-zoom DSLR lenses to offer similar reach. Throw in the 1cm Super Macro Mode and impressive maximum apertures of a bright f/2.8 at 24mm wide-angle to f5.8 at 720mm telephoto, and it's clear that the HS10 is perfectly suited for any subject that you can think of, near or far.
To help avoid blur resulting from camera shake when shooting in low light or hand-holding the camera at the telephoto extremity of the zoom, Fujifilm have added a 'belt and braces' solution of high ISO sensitivity, stretching up to ISO 6400 at full resolution, a built-in mechanical stabilizer with Continuous or Shooting Only modes, and digital image stabilisation too if required. Activated via the IS Mode menu option, you can set the system to Continuous, Shooting Only, either mode with the addition of digital stabilisation, or Off. Note that the camera will only automatically adjust the ISO speed when using the Auto shooting mode - in the other modes the ISO speed that you select will always be used, so only the mechanical CCD-shift part of the system is used.
Unlike some rivals, the full 30x zoom range also be accessed in the Motion JPEG format movie mode, with the HS10 offering full 1920x1080 pixel footage at 30 frames per second with constantly adjusting auto exposure and focus with stereo sound. There are still very few digital compacts that offer 1080p video recording, so the HS10 is a definite camera to consider if movies are your thing. It can record video clips up to 29 minutes long for the 1920x1080 and 1280x720 pixel formats, with longer times available for VGA and SVGA modes. The dedicated Movie button on the rear makes it quick and easy to shoot a movie without missing the start of the action, and there's a mini-HDMI port for connection to a HDTV (cable not supplied).
In addition to these "normal" movie modes, the HS10 also offers several high-speed modes, a feature that was pioneered by Casio last year. There are five different speeds on offer - 1000, 480, 240, 120 and 60fps, with the file size varying from 224x64 to 1280x720 pixels respectively. This extreme slow-motion effect is initially very appealing and sure to impress your friends, but there are some drawbacks to be aware of. Sound isn't recorded at all, horizontal bands can appear as the lighting fluctuates, and the actual sizes of the recorded movies are pretty small, especially the 224x64 pixel, 1000fps mode.
From the front the Fujifilm HS10 looks like a serious bit of kit, and indeed requires a degree of familiarization with the manual to get the best from. The large optically stabilised zoom lens dominates proceedings, with a clip-on lens cap and strap provided in the box. Above the lens and extending out across the lens barrel, which boasts a textured surround allowing you to get a good firm grip and achieve a smooth, steady zooming action, is an attractively sloping ridge that conceals the pop up flash (when not in use), which is activated via a dedicated button positioned on the right. Still viewing the HS10 from the front, the stereo sound speakers are positioned one on either side of the lens barrel, with a the familiar dual purpose AF-assist illuminator and self-timer lamp to the left. Above the pop-up flash is another DSLR-like touch - a hotshoe for additional illumination via an optional external flashgun.
Looking down on top of the camera, viewed from the rear, there's a clearly labeled and logically laid out control set, with a chunky, ridged shooting mode dial which is reminiscent of those found on, yes you've guessed it, DSLR cameras. Ranged around the dial, which turns with just the right amount of resistance for it to lock firmly into place at each setting, are the expected shooting options, such as full auto, program, shutter priority, aperture priority and manual modes, along with a customizable mode via which favoured shooting settings can be saved for rapid access, plus two scene position modes (SP1 and SP2) pre-optimised for common subjects.
In addition, there are three more shooting modes that are particularly noteworthy. First up is the SR Auto mode, an 'auto everything' scene recognition mode that's the equivalent of Panasonic's Intelligent Auto mode. Although far from infallible - if you're not paying close attention and it's presented with a busy scene it will call up landscape when macro is needed and vice versa – it instantly makes the HS10 more beginner friendly.
Next is the rather misleadingly named Advanced mode, which actually has three options that are well suited to all experience levels. The Pro Low-light mode uses multi-bracketing technology, taking a series of four high sensitivity/low-noise shots in quick succession and combining them into an image with less noise than the single exposures. You can see examples of this shooting mode on the Image Quality page. Multi Motion Capture uses the same bracketing innovation to take up to 5 images of a moving subject and combine them into one composite image with multiple views of the subject. Conversely, Motion Remover takes up to 5 images, identifies anything that is moving, and produces one shot with all those subjects removed, ideal for tourist-free shots of famous landmarks.
|Front||Tilting LCD Screen|
The third shooting mode is the new Panorama option, clearly inspired by Sony's popular Sweep Panorama function. This lets you capture a panoramic image very easily without the use of a tripod. All you need to decide is whether you would like to start from left or right, top or bottom, then press and hold down the shutter release while doing a "sweep" with the camera in hand. Exposure compensation is available before you start the sweep, with the exposure fixed once you depress the shutter button. After you are done with the sweeping, the camera does all the processing required, and presents you with a finished panoramic image.
Although undoubtedly fun, there are a few catches. The final panorama is of relatively low resolution: the shorter side is invariably 720 pixels, whereas the longer side is 5760 pixels. Note also that if you do the sweeping too slowly, or you let go of the shutter release button too early, the panorama will be truncated. If the exposure varies throughout the scene, the some areas will be over or under exposed, depending upon the exposure value that was chosen as the panorama was started. Finally, people and indeed anything that moves in the frame are recorded as several ghost outlines, which means that you can really only record static, empty scenes, something that Sony have solved in the latest iteration of their Sweep Panorama feature.
The Natural Light scene mode forces the HS10 to select a fast shutter speed in order to freeze subject movement more effectively, whilst setting a fast ISO speed without firing the flash for more natural
results. It's an effective automatic way of taking photos of children indoors, for example. In the similarly named Natural Light and Flash mode the camera instantly takes 2 photos, one with flash, one without, giving you the option of which one to choose later (both are saved by the camera). Intelligent Flash is a rather grandiose sounding feature that is a little more specialised that its name suggests. It essentially throttles down the flash when taking macro shots, so that the subject isn't over-exposed by a blinding white light. Integrated into the Auto shooting mode, in practice it does produce quite effective close up shots that don't suffer from over-exposure, and which exhibit much less camera-shake when you're shooting hand-held (although ideally you should use a tripod for ultimate sharpness).
To the right of the shooting mode dial is a smaller command dial with a positive clicking action which is used for scrolling through features and captured images, and will feel immediately intuitive to anyone who has handled a DSLR before. The same dial is also used to change the aperture and shutter speed when using the more advanced shooting modes. In the Manual mode, you hold the Exposure Compensation button down with your forefinger and give the dial a flick with your thumb to change the aperture, not as intuitive as having two separate command dials but perhaps understandable given the intended user. Otherwise the exposure compensation button works largely as you'd expect, with a visual slider graph on screen accompanied by a live histogram, a dual touch that is both unusual yet welcome.
Next to the EV button is the rather innocent-looking Continuous Shooting button, which accesses another of the HS10's mouth-watering features. Pressing this button brings up four options - Off, Top 7, Best Frame Capture and AE Bracketing. Choosing Top 7 or Best Frame Capture and also making sure that High-Speed Shooting is turned on in the main menu allows you to take 10 full-resolution photos at a frankly astounding 10 frames per second, which is faster than most compact cameras and indeed most DSLRs too. The only flies in the ointment are that only 7 JPEG images or 6 RAW images out of the 10 are actually saved to the memory card, with Top 7 saving the first 7 and Best Frame Capture taking images from the moment that you focus and then saving up to 7 frames either before or after you press the shutter button. Once the burst is completed, it takes over fifteen seconds for the camera to clear the buffer, during which you cannot take another picture. There are also three other continuous shooting speeds where the Fujifilm HS10 shoots at slower speeds of 7, 5 or 3 frames per second.
Forward of these two controls is the main shutter release button encircled by an on/off power switch. Flick this to On, and the rear LCD or electronic viewfinder – depending on which one you previously had selected – blinks into life, a process taking around two seconds, which for once is not quite as good as most DSLRs. Still, the Fujifilm FinePix S100FS is very fast to determine focus and exposure with a half press of the shutter button. Although JPEGs are quickly committed to memory in single-shot mode with only the briefest pause between each one, unfortunately there's a noticeable 3 second delay between the capture of one RAW file and the next during which you can't take another picture, which rather slows down the shooting experience unless you stick to the JPEG format. JPEG or RAW images are committed to SD and SDHC cards (xD-Picture Cards are no longer supported) although there's no card supplied out of the box, with just the 25MB internal capacity to fall back on.
Moving to the rear of the HS10, your attention is immediately drawn to the large 3-inch monitor, which offers 97% scene coverage and a rather disappointingly average resolution of 230K dots. The HS10's g LCD can be moved 90° upwards and 45° downwards to get your shot or aid visibility, but unlike some other cameras it can't be pivoted left nor right, or indeed turned so the screen is protected face-into the body when not in use. While some may debate whether an adjustable LCD is an essential feature or a sales gimmick, once you get used to using one it's something you find yourself missing when it's not there, proving particularly useful when holding the camera above your head or as a waist-level finder for more candid shots.
To the right of the LCD is a small button for swapping the display between monitor and the 200k-dot resolution electronic viewfinder with 97% scene coverage and surrounding eyecup. The EVF also has its own dioptric correction wheel to its immediate left, which is far less stiff and physically larger than found on competing models, meaning that for the myopic adjustment can be made in a faction of a second. The viewfinder display is itself large, bright and clear, though the temptation to predominantly utilise the more flexible LCD below is almost overwhelming. A welcome addition comes in the form of a sensor which automatically switches between the EVF and viewfinder when you hold the camera up to eye-level, speeding up the transfer from using the LCD to taking a shot through the EVF. Note that his feature can be turned off if you find it annoying.
|Memory Card Slot||Battery Compartment|
To the left of the LCD screen is a vertical column of five small buttons which provide direct access to most of the HS10's key controls, once again mimicking the control layout of several entry-level DSLR cameras. Starting from the top, there are buttons for choosing the ISO speed, metering (multi pattern, spot or average), AF mode (center, multi, area or tracking), AF type (continuous, single shot or manual), and the White Balance. All five buttons also perform actions during image playback, denoted by the blue symbols.
To the right of the screen is the previously mentioned one-touch movie record button and a self-explanatory AE/AF lock button. Below is a familiar four-way controller with a dual-purpose menu/OK button at its centre. Ranged at north, south, east and west around this control are variously, a means of selecting the focus point (doubling up as a file deletion button when in playback mode), the various flash modes on offer, the self timer options, and shifting focus from infinity to either macro or super macro.
Press the Menu button in shooting mode and you get a comprehensive choice of options from two main folders., Shooting and Set-Up, with up to 6 screens containing 6 icons per screen. Most of the options are the "set once and forget" kind, so you won't have to dip into the menu system too often. Below the navigation pad is a dual-purpose control marked Display/Back that switches between the various LCD modes and also allows you to retrace your steps at any point. Completing the rear of the HS10 is a self-explanatory playback button for quickly retrieving captured images.
The right hand flank of the Fujifilm FinePix HS10 features a flip-open compartment for the SD / SDHC card slot, while the left has a rubber flap hiding the HS10's mini-HDMI port and the regular USB / AV out socket, plus the camera's built-in speaker. The base of the Fujifilm FinePix HS10 features a screw thread for a tripod, sadly made of plastic and not in line with the lens barrel, and a sliding door hiding the compartment for the four AA batteries stored within the handgrip. Battery life varies from poor with the supplied alkaline batteries to very good with a decent set of Ni-Mh rechargeables, easily obtaining over 500 shots on one charge. There are metal loops either side of the body for attaching the provided strap.
All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 10 megapixel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 4Mb.
The Fujifilm FinePix HS10 produced images of very good quality during the review period. This camera handled noise very well, not becoming obvious until the relatively slow speed of ISO 800 and then becoming progressively worse at the faster settings of ISO 1600 and 3200. Only the fastest setting of ISO 6400 isn't worth using.
Chromatic aberrations were well controlled, with limited purple fringing effects appearing only in high contrast situations. The 10 megapixel images were a little soft straight out of the camera at the default sharpen setting and require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can change the in-camera sharpening level.
Macro performance is excellent, allowing you to focus as close as 1cm away from the subject when the lens is set to wide-angle. Commendably barrel distortion is well controlled even at the 24mm focal length. The built-in flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and adequate overall exposure, although there is noticeable vignetting at 24mm.
The anti-shake system works very well when hand-holding the camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range. The maximum shutter speed of 30 seconds allows the cameras to capture enough light for most after-dark situations.
The Pro Low-Light scene mode produces better image clarity at high ISO levels at the expense of a loss of fine detail. The Sweep Panorama mode works largely as advertised, making it simple to take hand-held low-light and wide-vista shots, although there is a clear ghosting effect around any moving subjects.
There are 7 ISO settings available on the Fujifilm FinePix HS10. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting:
The Fujifilm FinePix HS10's 30x zoom lens provides a focal length of 24-720mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.
Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little bit soft at the default sharpening setting, and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop.
The Fujifilm FinePix HS10 has 2 different image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.
|10M Fine (3.87Mb) (100% Crop)||10M Normal (2.22Mb) (100% Crop)|
The Fujifilm FinePix HS10 handled chromatic aberrations very well during the review. Just a little purple fringing was present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.
The Fujifilm FinePix HS10 offers a Super Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 1cm away from the camera. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject in Macro mode (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.
The flash settings on the Fujifilm FinePix HS10 are Auto, Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Slow Synchro, and any of those modes combined with Red-eye Reduction. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.
And here are some portrait shots. Neither the Auto or Red-eye reduction mode caused any amount of red-eye.
The Fujifilm FinePix HS10's maximum shutter speed is 30 seconds, which is great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 30 seconds at ISO 100. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.
The Fujifilm FinePix HS10 has an anti-shake mechanism, which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, I took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with anti shake turned off, the second with it turned on. Here are some 100% crops of the images to show the results. As you can see, with anti shake turned on, the images are much sharper than with anti shake turned off. This feature really does seem to make a difference and could mean capturing a successful, sharp shot or missing the opportunity altogether.
The Fujifilm FinePix HS10 allows you to take panoramic images very easily, by 'sweeping' with the camera while keeping the shutter release depressed. The camera does all the processing and stitching. The main catch is that the resulting image is of fairly low resolution - 720 pixels high and 5760 pixels wide - and also moving objects are recorded as "ghost" images.
The Fujifilm FinePix S200EXR's Pro Low-Light scene mode produces better image clarity at high ISO levels, with the camera automatically taking a series of four high sensitivity/low-noise shots in quick succession which are then combined together using in-camera processing into an image with less noise than the single exposures. The main drawback is a noticeable softening of fine detail.
This is a selection of sample images from the Fujifilm FinePix HS10 camera, which were all taken using the 10 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.
Sample RAW Images
The Fujifilm FinePix HS10 enables users to capture RAW and JPEG format files. We've provided some Fujifilm RAW (RAF) samples for you to download (thumbnail images shown below are not 100% representative).
Sample Movie & Video
Front of the Camera
Front of the Camera / Pop-up Flash
Rear of the Camera
Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed
Rear of the Camera / Turned On
Rear of the Camera / Main Menu
Rear of the Camera / Tilting LCD Screen
Rear of the Camera / Tilting LCD Screen
Rear of the Camera / Tilting LCD Screen
Rear of the Camera / Tilting LCD Screen
Top of the Camera
Bottom of the Camera
Side of the Camera
Side of the Camera
Front of the Camera
Front of the Camera
Memory Card Slot
With a wealth of innovative features, shooting modes for every experience level, not to forget that amazing 30x zoom, the Fujifilm Finepix HS10 is one of the best super-zooms around and also a viable alternative to a DSLR camera. The HS10 only misses out on our highest award thanks to less than stellar image quality in low-light, slow RAW processing speeds and the high price tag.
The HS10 has been frequently compared to a DSLR throughout this review, and in most respects it's almost the match of any entry to mid-range model. Fujifilm are pitching the HS10 as an all-in-one alternative, with no need to buy or change lenses thanks to the 30x lens, which is remarkably distortion-free and admirably fast at either end. The manual zoom and focus rings further reinforce that DSLR feeling, as do the external flash hotshoe, shooting mode and command dials, tilting LCVD screen, full range of manual shooting modes and even RAW format support. In short, the HS10 is a great alternative to a fully-fledged digital SLR - and with 1080p movie recording on-board, it could also replace your video camera too.
There are a couple of areas where the Fujifilm HS10 just can't compete with a DSLR, though, most notably the pedestrian processing speeds for RAW files and the poorer image quality once you get above ISO 400. Having to wait a couple of seconds between every RAW image quickly becomes annoying, despite the headline-grabbing 10fps burst mode, and noise quickly rears its ugly head at ISO 800, becoming progressively worse throughout the rest of the ISO range. The average quality electronic viewfinder is also no match for even the cheapest optical viewfinder. The HS10 admittedly fares better in these areas when compared to other super-zoom compacts - just don't expect it to offer DSLR-like quality and performance and you won't be disappointed.
The price-tag of £439.99 / $499.95 again makes less or more sense depending upon what you're comparing it to. Taken as a super-zoom, it's easily the most expensive model on the market, but also the most capable in terms of features. As a DSLR doppleganger, the HS10 clearly makes a lot of economic sense if you want the DSLR handling experience but don't mind a drop in image quality or responsiveness.
The HS10 is Fujifilm's most advanced and most well-realised attempt at a do-it-all, Swiss Army knife camera, offering an awful lot of bang for your buck with not many compromises to dampen the overall experience, making it a well-deserved recipient of our Highly Recommended award.
|Ratings (out of 5)|
|Value for money||4.5|
FinePix HS10 / HS11
|Number of effective pixels*1|
(Design rule for Camera File system compliant / DPOF-compatible)
|Number of recorded pixels|
Still image: 3,648 x 2,736 (10M) / 3,648 x 2,432 (3:2) / 3,648 x 2,056 (16:9) / 2,592 x 1,944 / 2,592 x 1,728 (3:2) / 2,592 x 1,440 (16:9) / 2,048 x 1,536 / 2,048 x 1,360 (3:2) / 1,920 x 1,080 (16:9) pixels
Fujinon 30x optical zoom lens, F2.8 (Wide) - F5.6 (Telephoto)
|Lens focal length|
f=4.2 - 126.0mm, equivalent to 24 - 720mm on a 35mm camera
Wide: F2.8 / F11.0, Telephoto: F5.6 / F11.0
(from lens surface)
Auto / Equivalent to ISO 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200 / 6400 (Standard Output Sensitivity)
TTL 256-zones metering
Programmed AE, Aperture Priority AE, Shutter Priority AE
CMOS-shift type + DIS
(Auto mode) 1/4sec. to 1/4000sec.
max. 7 frames (3 ,5, 7 and 10 frames/sec.)
Auto focus (Area, Multi, Center, Tracking), Continuous AF, Manual focus (One-push AF mode included), AF assist illuminator available
Automatic scene recognition
Preset: Fine, Shade, Fluorescent light (Daylight), Fluorescent light (Warm White), Fluorescent light (Cool White), Incandescent light, Custom
Approx. 10sec. / 2sec. delay
Effective range (ISO 800):
|Electronic Viewfinder (EVF)|
0.2-inch, Approx.200,000dots,FLCD monitor,Approx. 97% coverage
3.0-inch, Approx. 230,000 dots, color LCD monitor, Approx. 97% coverage
1,920 x 1,080 pixels (Full HD) / 1,280 x 720 pixels (HD) / 640 x 480 pixels / 320 x 240 pixels (30 frames/sec.) with stereo sound
High Speed Movie (60/120/240/480/1000fps), SR AUTO (Scene Recognition Auto), Motion Panorama, Best Framing, Frame No. memory, Histograms, Zoom Bracketing, Best frame capture, Face Detection (with Auto red-eye removal), Pro Low-light, Motion Remover, Multi Motion Capture, Silent mode, Instant Zoom
Face Detection (with Red-eye removal), Crop, Resize, Image rotate, Slideshow, Multi-frame playback (with Micro Thumbnail), Sorting by date, Voice Memo, Image search, Histograms, Highlight warning, Movie trimming, Movie join
HDMI (Type C)
USB 2.0 High-speed
4x AA type alkaline batteries (included)
130.6 (W) x 90.7 (H) x 126.0 (D) mm / 5.1 (W) x 3.6 (H) x 5.0 (D) in. (excluding accessories and attachments)
Approx. 636g / 22.4oz. (excluding accessories, battery and memory card)
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AnnouncedFeb 2, 2010
Discuss in the Fujifilm FinePix Talk forum
The Fujifilm FinePix HS10 is an advanced superzoom which combines a huge 30x (24-720mm equiv.) optical zoom lens with a 10MP back illuminated CMOS sensor. It includes full HD 1080p video recording, RAW capture, P/A/S/M shooting modes and a Motion Remover mode that removes unwanted objects from photographs. The HS10 also offers 10 fps full resolution continuous shooting with AF Tracking and high speed movie recording at 1000 fps. With its full manual controls, an abundance of buttons and dials and a proper zoom ring the HS10 is, from a user interface point of view, firmly located in DSLR territory. However, viewed at 100%, the HS10's output isn’t too pretty, showing a mixture of noise, noise reduction and other sharpening artifacts. Again, this should not make you worry too much if you don't usually produce large prints of your pictures. Things inevitably get worse at higher sensitivities but again, the difference between the HS10 and the best in class will only be visible at large magnifications. Luckily the crucial stuff, such as focus and exposure, is usually spot on.
|Body type||SLR-like (bridge)|
|Max resolution||3648 x 2736|
|Effective pixels||10 megapixels|
|Sensor size||1/2.3" (6.17 x 4.55 mm)|
|ISO||Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400|
|Focal length (equiv.)||24–720 mm|
|Max shutter speed||1/4000 sec|
|Storage types||SD/SDHC Internal|
|USB||USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)|
|Weight (inc. batteries)||666 g (1.47 lb / 23.49 oz)|
|Dimensions||131 x 91 x 126 mm (5.16 x 3.58 x 4.96″)|
See full specifications
The HS10 offers DSLR-like look and feel and an impressive feature set including the longest zoom in this test but the camera struggles (more than some others) in low light w
Good for: Users who need extreme zoom reach and want DSLR-like user control
Not so good for: Low light shooting and manual intervention in video capture
Read the full review
Ergonomics & handling
Exposure and focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Movie / video mode
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