Product Type: Fujifilm digital cameras
Newest Review: ... Shoe mount for an external flash. The front of the camera is dominated by the whopping 30 X optical zoom lens. It has a 58 mm diameter, ... more
A quality all-rounder
Fujifilm Finepix HS20EXR
Member Name: GTGlenn
Fujifilm Finepix HS20EXR
Advantages: Massive zoom, great in low light, DSLR styling
Disadvantages: Poor video recording, bit bulky for carrying about
I've previously owned SLR cameras, but over recent years we've had compacts. Something simple enough for all the family to use. I was getting frustrated by the lack of control offered by the compact and the birth of our first grandchild offered the perfect excuse to upgrade.
A full DSLR was out of the picture on both cost and complexity grounds. I needed something which gave me all the features of a DSLR, with plenty of zoom but also enabled the rest of the family to "pick up and play" when neccessary.
I looked at number of bridge cameras before deciding on the HS20. Interestingly I nearly overlooked this camera because many website reviews panned it. Then I came across a fantastic review which made me dig deeper.
In the end, the key features which swung me to this camera were the incredible (700mm equivalent) zoom range, the DSLR-like styling and the fact that the zoom was manually operated (giving smoother control and no machine noise when videoing).
The styling of the camera is great. Just like a DSLR only smaller and lighter, it nevertheless feels really solid in the hand. All the buttons and dials have been arranged so that they are within easy reach when holding the camera in a shooting position.
As with any such camera these days, there are a wealth of modes. It pays to spend some time getting familiar with them before you start using the camera in earnest. You can pre-programme your two favourite settings on the mode dial, so it is quick and easy to switch to them when you need.
The EXR mode is brilliant and there is a temptation just to let the camera take over and snap away. To be fair, if you do you'll get nice crisp, punchy pictures..... But learn a bit more about the camera, get it set up the way you want and the pictures will be truely stunning.
Within a few weeks of using the camera I'd captured some family portraits the wife wanted printed and framed and we'd blown one shot up and put it in canvass..... We'd not printed a picture for framing for years before having this camera.
The screen on the camera is a good quality and it tilts up or down to allow you to get the camera into positions where you would normally have to shoot blind.
Unusually for a bridge camera, it has a hotshoe. This makes it a perfect camera if you are looking for a starting camera to improve your photography and expect later to move to a DSLR. You'll get more life out of this camera because adding an external flash takes photography to the next level.
I've been especially impressed at how the HS20 handles low light. I was at an event the other week in an exhibition hall. Very dim lighting, dry ice being used to enhance the on stage presentation, sat way back from the stage. Flash would have been useless but the HS20 had it licked, producing sharp, noise-free pictures even at the end of its zoom range.
The one let-down I've found is the video recording function. It records full HD video but it tends to hunt for focus any time your subject moves, which rather spoils it. I haven't managed to capture good video with it yet.
So, all round I highly rate this camera. Its still not a full DSLR. If you crave the absolute quality of a top end camera then save your pennies up until you can afford one, anything else will dissappoint. However, if you want something more than a simple compact, if you want to take photos you'd be proud to blow up and put on the wall, you want plenty of lens for your money and you happy to carry it around, the HS20 is a top buy. You'll be glad you did.
Summary: A great quality all rounder with a lot of lens for the money
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