March 6, 2013

FUJIFILM FINEPIX HS10


The Fujifilm FinePix HS10 is a camera that blurs the lines between a traditional point-and-shoot camera and a DSLR. It features an extensive feature set and image customization option found on DSLR cameras but with a fixed lens and the ability to record HD videos, something most DSLRs lack. But it's not just any lens but one that is capable of zooming up to an incredible 30x. But is the image quality good enough to replace a traditional DSLR camera? We decided to find out.




Bundle

  • Fujifilm FinePix HS10
  • 4 x AA type Alkaline Batteries
  • A/V Cable
  • 4GB Card
  • Battery Charger & Pouch
  • Shoulder Strap
  • USB Cable
  • Lens Cap
  • Lens Cap Cord
  • Software CD
  • User Guide
Design & Construction

At first most people would mistake the HS10 for an SLR camera. It has the traditional chunky body of an SLR and a large lens hanging from the front. A closer examination reveals that the lens is actually fixed. The lens can zoom up to 30x, going from 24mm to 720mm and when fully extended it almost doubles the length of the camera. But the best part is that unlike the Olympus SP-800UZ the zoom on the HS10 is manually adjustable, which gives you better control. If you look past the large zoom adjustment dial then you will find a smaller focus adjustment dial as well, right near the start of the lens. Compared to the zoom adjustment dial, the focus adjuster is absolutely tiny and puts your hand in an awkward position while adjusting the focus. Fujifilm could have made the zoom adjuster a bit smaller and made the focus adjuster a little bigger.


Right above the lens is the flash. The flash release button sits on the left of the flash. The flash does not open automatically when you select it from the UI, but has to be manually opened. In fact the flash settings aren't even available until you manually release the flash. Above the flash is the hot shoe for attaching an external flash.



Below the flash is the optical viewfinder. The viewfinder has a focus adjustment dial on its left and a proximity sensor on the right. The proximity sensor would automatically switch from the display to the optical viewfinder when you put your eye close to the viewfinder. However, I found the sensor overly sensitive. Even if an object is three inches away the display it would turn off. This was annoying when I was using the display; whenever I moved my hand across the screen to press some switch the display would go off and then come back on. It would have been better if the sensor had a sensitivity of less than one inch.

On the right of the flash you will see two dials, a couple of buttons and the shutter button. The shutter button is large and has a nice tactile feel to it. The power switch is situated around it. Those graduating from a cheaper point and shoot would probably mistaken it for a zoom key for some time. Below the shutter button are the switches for the exposure and burst mode. To adjust the values for these (and for other options in the UI), use the smaller dial located on the right of the device. On its left is the bigger mode adjust dial for switching between modes.



On the back you will see the large 3.0" display, which is tilt adjustable. It doesn't come out like a display on handycams or some digital cameras. The display quality is good and is visible outdoors. On the left of the display are shortcut buttons for multiple options. The top two buttons work as zoom keys in image viewer as well as ISO and photometry adjust options. The third button is for adjusting the auto focus mode, while the fourth is for changing the focusing mode and the fifth is for white balance.

On the right of the display is the dedicated recording button. Below it is the auto focus lock switch. Down in the centre is the five way D-pad with multiple functions assigned to each button. Right at the bottom is the display/back button and the playback button.

On the right side of the devices is the memory card slot. The HS10 supports SD and SDHC memory cards. On the left side is the HDMI and USB port. On the bottom is the battery compartment. The HS10 runs on four AA batteries.

The overall fit and finish of the camera is really nice. It has a rubberized texture to it which gives a good grip. The build quality also feels very sturdy and the camera has a nice weighted feel to it. One odd thing I noted was that the camera wasn't properly balanced and when kept on a flat surface it would tend to tip forward due to the length and weight of the lens, even when it was completely retracted.
Features

The HS10 offers a variety of features and adjustment options for what is basically a point-and-shoot camera. For starters, there are a variety of modes. You can choose to go fully automatic, semi-automatic, program mode where the aperture and shutter are adjusted automatically or fully manual. You can also choose from multiple scene modes, such as portrait, portrait enhancer (which smoothens skin tones), landscape, sport for shooting moving objects, night (shoots at high ISO), night tripod (reduces the shutter speed), fireworks, sunset (makes colors more vivid), snow, beach, party, flower (makes colors more vivid), text, natural and flash (takes one pic with and next without flash) and natural light (for shooting without flash). The HS10 offers two slots on the mode dial for scenes, so you can select a scene for each of them and switch between them quickly.

There is also an Advanced mode, which gives you three options. In each of the three modes, the camera takes multiple shots and then combines them to achieve various results. The first mode is pro low-light, second is multi motion capture and the last is motion remover. The first lets you achieve blur-free shots in low light, the second takes multi exposure composites of moving objects. The third removes moving objects in a shot, such as cars on roads, while shooting a building in the background.

The HS10 also has a panorama mode, whereby you just click the shutter button and move the camera horizontally or vertically, and the camera will automatically take pictures and stitch them together to form one long picture.

The HS10 can record videos 1920 x 1080 at 30FPS. However, it can also record videos at high framerate for playback in slow motion. The camera can shoot as fast as 1000FPS, but then the resolution drops down to a paltry 224 x 64. At 442 x 332 resolution, the 240FPS option is much more usable or 640 x 480 at 120FPS. Or you can shoot in 1280 x 720 at 60FPS. 

Performance

For a camera that appears so impressive with so many features, the HS10 takes only above average shots. Images aren't very detailed or sharp.The colors, however, are pleasing and fairly accurate. The focusing was good and the super macro mode lets you stick the lens right on the subject and still manage to focus on it. Images in daylight were free from noise, however, in low light, above ISO400, the noise levels would go up and the details would drop.




The video recording on the HS10 was really good. The slow motion modes worked well too, but only if you keep to the higher resolutions, as the 1000FPS mode was too small. Also, since the shutter is opening and closing so quickly these modes can only be used when there is plenty of light, as in low light you won't be able to get enough light on to the screen. 



with 30x Optical Zoom


The massive zoom comes really handy while shooting. The fact that it is manually adjustable makes it even better. The best part is that even at maximum zoom, there is little to no blurring of images and you can easily shoot at that zoom level even by holding the camera in your hand without using a tripod. One annoyance, however, is that zooming is not very smooth. If you are recording a video and trying to zoom, you will notice that it is impossible to smoothly zoom onto the subject as the mechanism is very tight. This causes it to jam when you are adjusting it and requires a bit more effort to move, which causes camera shake and blurring.

The good thing about the lens is that there is hardly any distortion when using wide-angle or maximum zoom. 

Verdict

Although the Fujifilm FinePix HS10 fools you into thinking that it is a serious camera for serious photographers it is still very much a mid-range point-and-shoot camera in big body. Its best trick is the massive 30x zoom, which makes it great for people who like to shoot birds and animals from a distance. The HD video recording is pretty sweet, something you won't find in a low-end DSLR camera. However, the HS10 loses in terms of picture quality and although it isn't bad as such, it cannot match up to even the cheapest DSLR camera that you can get, such as the Canon EOS-1000D or the Nikon D3000. But for those just looking for maximum zoom, the HS10 at Rs. 24,990 is a fine buy.  

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