Those into wildlife photography or landscapes are spoilt for choice with the number of super zooms entering the market. These cameras may definitely not be a replacement for DSLRs but can surely provide consumers with ample features for taking these sort of pictures.
The 30x optical zoom is the main feature of this camera
Fujifilm launched the FinePix HS10, a superzoom camera not too long back and it performed well. The company has now launched the FinePix HS20 EXR, an updated version of the HS10, which comes with features such as a 30x optical zoom, 16MP EXR CMOS sensor amongst others. Read on to know if this camera did better than its predecessor.
Design and Build Quality
The Fujifilm FinePix HS20 EXR looks a lot like the HS10. The design of the HS10 was received well and Fujifilm has stuck to it while manufacturing the HS20. Like the HS10, this camera too has the bridge camera design. It is larger than the recently reviewed Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HS100V by around 30 percent, making it quite big for a point and shoot. It has a matte black finish and is made of plastic with rubber pads on the hand grip and a patch on the rear that assist in the handling of this large camera.
The first thing that one notices when they see this camera is the large lens that occupies the front. The lens too has a rubberized padding on the telephoto ring which helps in the handling. Located at the base of the fixed lens is a focal ring. The 3-inch flip out screen is located at the back and protrudes from the body a bit, adding to the bulky look of the HS20. Like the HS10, the various buttons are scattered all over the rear of the camera. This is not a bad design aspect as it makes it look more like a DSLR.
A flash mount is a nice addition to the camera
Fujifilm has added two dials at the top of this camera. This design is something that is common to high end DSLRs where there are multiple jog dials. The buttons located at the back are rounded and though the rear is cluttered with controls, they are all spaced out well. The mode dial as well as the jog dial can be easily turned making switching between different modes or settings an easy task. An interesting yet uncommon feature of this camera is that it has a flash mount. The pop up flash is very sturdy and can be deployed by pressing a small button next to it.
There is a sensor next to the electronic view finder (EVF) which helps in auto switching between the LCD and the EVF. The connectivity options found on this camera are mini HDMI, mini USB and an AV in. The flap that covers these connectors are made of plastic and has a sturdy build as well. The battery bay for the four AA batteries are located on the bottom of the HS20. A nice addition to this camera is the addition of a separate memory card slot that is located at the side of the camera. This slot is usually housed in the battery bay and makes it inconvenient if one runs out of storage space and wants to easily swap memory cards. The battery bay locks well. However, the flap does feel a bit flimsy. The overall build of this camera is good and it looks as though it can withstand a few accidental knocks as it is on the heavier side weighing at approximately 730g.
Fujifilm has fit a 16 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor on this FinePix HS20 EXR superzoom camera. They have stayed away from using higher megapixel sensors in the past with their previous version of this camera - FinePix HS10; however, they have not held back any features with this model. With backside illuminated (BSI) technology the sensor becomes more sensitive to light. The more sensitive it is, the less light is needed to get a properly exposed photo and the less noise is created. Being a superzoom camera, the main feature of this is the 30x optical zoom having an effective range of 24 - 720mm. This allows one to capture images from far off distances. The inbuilt image stabilizer helps in this process thus making it reduce the amount of blur noticeable.
The flip out screen makes it easy to capture angled images
The FinePix HS20 has a 3-inch flipout display that is tiltable to an extent. It cannot be rotated or folded like some cameras seen in the market. A few higher end superzoom cameras feature this sort of screen and this type of display helps in capturing images in either high or low angles. The HS20 has a sensor, which detects when one is viewing through either the LCD or the EVF. This can be locked to either the LCD, EVF or auto switch between both. EVFs are a common feature found in many superzooms these days with them previously being limited to DSLRs. The camera has a flash mount allowing one to attach an additional flash apart from the very capable in-built flash featured in the camera.
The interface is simple and one can easily learn how to operate the camera within minutes. An interesting part of this menu is that the scene can be viewed in the background and doesn't take up the entire screen. Another interesting feature is the manual zoom ring and focus ring. Some superzooms with this design have dual zoom controls with the ability to zoom using the ring on the lens or a zoom trigger; this camera unfortunately is not one of them. Another noticeable absentee is a lithium ion battery. This camera uses 4 AA batteries. A slightly annoying feature is when one needs to alter the various settings such as ISO, aperture, etc. the designated button has to be held while the navigational pad is tapped to set it. The HS20 EXR has an internal storage capacity of 20 MB and cards such as SD, SDHC and SDXC are supported. These are fairly common storage cards used with cameras
The HX20 EXR was tested in a controlled setting as well as outdoors to test the zoom capability which is the chief feature.
Aperture priority test
Aperture Priority Test
The image captured using aperture priority of f/8 was very crisp and there was hardly any depth of field noticed. At aperture set to widest which is f/2.8, a lot of depth of field was noticed but the image was not as crisp.
The flash of this camera can easily light up an area of 15 feet. In our controlled setting, during the flash test, the colours looked crisp when the flash was on and areas which could not be easily noticed were easily visible when the flash was fired.
This camera has a 30x optical zoom with an in-built image stabilizer. During our zoom test, the image captured quite well with maximum zoom on. However, there were some focusing issues noticed.
ISO sensitivity test
ISO Sensitivity Test
The ISO sensitivity at 100 is crisp and there was no noise noticed whatsoever. All colours looked natural and as expected, at such a low ISO in a controlled setting, images would be really good. At ISO 400, there was a fair amount of noise noticed and there was a bit of discoloration as well; but images were still usable. ISO 800 is the highest usable sensitivity setting for this camera. From ISO 3200 onwards there is a lot of image noise and this setting would be advisable to use only in low light conditions.
Outdoor shooting is a treat
Outdoor images captured well and there was minimal colour fringing noticed. All colours appeared natural. Focusing was an issue that was noticed here. It took a bit of time to focus on the subject. Video recording wasn't great as there were weird artifacts appearing on the screen. There were slight focusing issues during video recording as well especially when moving from a bright to a dark area. Fujifilm rates the battery of this camera at approximately 350 shots, however, we used a new set of batteries and it was exhausted within minutes of usage.
Looks a lot like a DSLR
The Fujifilm FinePix HS20 EXR is priced at a market operating price of Rs. 24,999. This is a bit steep for a camera which such attributes. While the camera has done well during our zoom test, there are other options out there which sell for a lower price point and offer similar specifications such as the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HS100V. This is definitely not a bad camera and is better than the HS10 but the price is a bit high. However, if one has no qualms about spending a couple of thousands more this could be a good option.
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