Product Type: Fujifilm digital cameras
Newest Review: ... detailed set of instruction which delves deeper into the cameras options and capabilities can be found on the supplied CD or can be dow... more
A bridge too far?....Not one bit!
Fujifilm Finepix HS10
Member Name: NinjaBaz
Fujifilm Finepix HS10
Date: 20/11/11, updated on 20/11/11 (55 review reads)
Advantages: Threaded lens for filters, Picture quality, Manual controls, Styling, Rechargable battery life
Disadvantages: Fixed lens, Newer model available
I managed to pick this camera up at the Fuji online shop for £165 delivered. The camera was refurbished, but as usual for Fuji, arrived as new (but in a white refurb box) with a full 12 month warranty. The full price should have been £200 but I applied some discount codes to reduce the price significantly.
The first thing that should be noted is that it is not a DSLR despite very much looking like one. This is what's called a 'bridge' camera. Pretty much meaning it gives certain DSLR features and styling, but usually with a compact specification sensor. The Fuji HS10 gives a lot more control over your pictures than a standard point and shoot, allowing you to shoot in a variety of preset modes as well as shutter, aperture and full manual mode. The huge 30x optical zoom enables you to get really close to the action, but unlike a true DSLR, this lens is permanently attached to the camera body so you can't attach specialist lenses. It does however give you massive versatility as it excels at both telephoto and wide-angle focal lengths without the need to lug around lots of equipment.
These cameras do have a much bigger optical zoom than your standard compact camera. The only downside of this is that the camera itself is less portable due to the larger lens barrel required to house such a zoom. The camera itself looks like a slightly smaller DSLR, and that alone gives the impression and feel of a quality item.
**In the Box**
As this is a refurbished product, you benefit from a much lower price than buying new. I had purchased the S1800 which was Fuji refurbished, and never had a problem with it. If I ever do with the HS10, you get a full 1 year warranty to cover any problems which is reassuring to know.
The camera arrived in a white box which is similar to the retail box except that it had the words 'refurbished' printed on it. Inside the box you get the camera itself, fully wrapped in a brand new, sealed plastic bag. There is a plastic Fuji branded lens cap which just clips onto the end of the lens barrel and is easily removed and fitted during use, and a length of cord to attach it to the camera strap, so you don't lose the cap when you remove it to take pictures. A basic Fuji shoulder strap is included, as well as an installation CD, a cable to attach to a PC or Television and a basic instruction manual and warranty card. Not forgetting 4 standard batteries just to get you started.
A more detailed set of instruction which delves deeper into the cameras options and capabilities can be found on the supplied CD or can be downloaded on a .pdf file from the Fuji website.
This camera is going to be as close to a DSLR as you get, without actually owning one. It feels comfortable to hold, although people with larger hands may find it a little cramped and the knuckles on your right hand can sometimes rub against the lens barrel. The 5 main control buttons for quick access to important settings such as ISO, white balance and focus options are found neatly down the rear left hand side of the camera giving the feel of a DSLR. It also has the main mode dial on the top of the camera next to another dial that is used to control shutter speed and aperture size whilst in those particular modes. The 3″ LCD screen is big enough for the overall size of the camera and gives a good idea of the quality of the shot just taken. It automatically dims after a short period of inactivity, and has manually adjustable brightness to help save on batteries.
The impressive 30x optical zoom extends from 28mm Wide Angle to 720mm Tele-photo (35mm equivalent). ISO sensitivity can be changed from 64 up to 6400 but anything over 800 tends to be affected by noise on the pictures (basically pixilation along edges and lines in the photos) but does really help out in low light or indoors. I usually set the ISO to Auto 400 which will allow the camera to choose an appropriate ISO between 100 and 400 depending on the situation. The camera also has a pop up flash which can only be operated manually by pressing a small button on the left hand side of the flash housing. The flash can be bright indoors which casts shadows but a diffuser sock may help out with that, and in camera settings can be changed to affect how powerful the flash is..
Despite being made primarily from plastic, the camera has a weighty, solid and well built feel to it, coming in at a meaty 636g before you've put the battery and SD Card in. The dimensions are; 5.1″(W) x 3.6″(H) x 5″(D) inches (excluding accessories and attachments).
Initial photos have been impressive once I changed the custom settings in areas such as dynamic range, sharpness and colour. I found this impressive guide to all the settings and can recommend following his instructions for custom setup:
**The Good and Bad**
The HS10 takes 4x AA batteries and the cheap set supplied did not last too long! It's my advice to get a few sets of high capacity rechargeable batteries to carry around in your case. Good rechargeable AA's (recommend over 2500mAh) can last for a few days worth of shooting in my initial experience, and several 'experts' recommend Sanyo Eneloop batteries amongst others, for power-thirsty digital cameras. Out on location, I find 2500mAh and 2900mAh batteries last very well, even using the electronic viewfinder lots when reviewing pictures. I usually carry a fully charged set but have never had to change them whilst out shooting. The camera also has an option to discharge rechargeable batteries which helps prolong the life of batteries when recharging them.
The HS10 has a threaded 58mm lens which allows you to use a variety of additional lenses and filters such as UV, Neutral Density, Macro, Polariser and Lens Hoods. This gives the user much more freedom and variety of shots and effects they can create, and just adds to the overall value of the package. A good quality UV filter would be recommended as it will protect your lens from dust and scratches.
Unlike the cheaper 'S' series, the 'HS' series have a manual twist barrel zoom which other reviews mention can be quite stiff but I've found it to be fine. It gives me more control than the motorised zoom on my previous camera, which sometimes seemed to have a mind of its own!
This is 'only' a 10mp pixel sensor, but numbers aren't everything here. The bridge cameras have smaller sensors than true DSLR cameras and generally the larger the resolution with a small sensor, the poorer the picture quality will be. Unless you're wanting to print out huge prints, the 10mp resolution is perfect for this camera at prints up to A4.
The camera has several shooting modes to make sure you can always get a good picture. As well as the usual ones like; Auto, Custom, Movie, Panorama, Portrait, Landscape, Sport, Night, Night (Tripod) and Fireworks, there are a few that many beginners won't have encountered:
SR AUTO - Automatically recognises the conditions and changes settings accordingly
S - Shutter Priority (set the shutter speed, camera sets aperature for correct exposure)
A - Aperture Priority (Set the aperture size, camera sets shutter speed for correct exposure)
M - Manual mode (set both shutter and aperture, adjust exposure if desired)
P - Program Auto Exposure (Camera determines the exposure automatically when pointed at a subject)
Sunset, Snow, Natural Light, Natural Light & with Flash, Beach, Party, Flower, Text and Smile modes are fairly self explanatory.
Zoom bracketing mode takes 3 separate pictures. 1 normal, 1 using an additional 1.4x digital zoom and 1 using 2x digital zoom. This enables you to get even closer than full telephoto zoom allows and is the same as performing a digital crop in photo editing software.
Shutter speed and Aperture are basically settings used for achieving better depth of field (how much of the field of view appears in focus) and creating intentional blur (waterfall effects maybe) or freezing the action as it happened (Sport/Live action). It is however, so much more complicated than this, but it's a good area to start and experiment with!
This camera can produce some really good pictures and I recommend steering clear of the auto settings as it won't give you the best shots, and learn the relationship between Shutter Speed, Aperture, ISO and exposure. A basic tripod might be a good additional purchase for long zoom shots as at full zoom, focusing and camera shake can be difficult to control.
For the price I paid, this camera is exceptional value for money considering there is no need to purchase any extra lenses. I have so far purchased a tripod and a Neutral Density 4 filter which when used in conjunction with a slow shutter speed, enable me to produce some good milky water shots of streams and waterfalls. I also have a Hoya UV Filter which I use permanently to protect the lens and a circular polariser which helps darken and pick out the detail in the sky in landscape shots.
I have already produced some pictures that I would judge worthy of a DSLR and have been impressed with the level of detail attainable on such a 'budget' camera.
Although a few years old now, it's still one of the best bridge camera's available with its successor, the HS20EXR also a worthy, but slightly more expensive purchase. At the end of the day, it would depend on your budget as to which one you'd be tempted to go for, but with the HS20 costing £220 upwards, you're beginning to get into entry level DSLR territory. It just depends what serves your needs better. I for one believe I will continue learning and using the HS10 for a long time yet!
Summary: Excellent camera to learn with before considering a DSLR
|Ease of use:|
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