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Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR Digital Camera Review

fujifilm20120501aa.jpgDigital Camera Review by: Ashley Akers 

‘Enthusiast’ might be a good, collective word to put as a banner for the group of people who may be interested in the Fujifilm Finepix HS30 EXR digital camera launched in January, but it may however not be the most accurate description of the market. When you think of a camera feature, it’s here. When you think of someone who might benefit from this Finepix, know they will. When you think all-rounder, you can’t help but think Fujifilm HS30.

 

Appearance and Functionality


The list of features and functions on the Fujifilm HS30 is almost as long as your partners birthday gift wish list, but when you can’t get everything on the list, drop it altogether and grab them a Fujifilm Finepix HS30. They’ll find it hard to be disappointed with features like a flip out LCD screen, Full HD video, an intense 30x zoom, plus much more, and you’ll find it hard to be disappointed with how heavy your wallet still feels after getting all that for a mere $599 (RRP).

The HS30 resembles a top brand entry level DSLR, it’s small enough to be easily put in a handbag or backpack and carted anywhere you need. While it’s solid and assembled together snuggly, the shell, grips, caps and flaps are no doubt a lesser quality material than its older siblings, but for the amazing price and amazing features there’s absolutely little reason to worry.

fujifilm20120501ab.jpgWhen you need all the options, the HS30 gives you all the options. Left hand on the lens, right hand on the snug, form fitting grip if you’re an aspiring enthusiast. Right hand on the main grip, left hand on the smaller left body grip, if you’re used to a compact camera. Or finally, only one hand on the right grip with a thumb tucked behind the thumb nook on the back to balance the weight. There’s an option for all users.

The buttons and settings are all accessed from well positioned buttons, with high priority functions getting a dedicated button and presenting themselves within a twitch from the thumb’s neutral, vacation spot in the middle. The main dial on the FinePix HS30 is a little awkward to turn due to the handy thumb grip but all others were ideally located for maximum comfort.

Menus on the HS30 were easily navigated and displayed in a simple manner, that needed little education to get the hang of.

On par with the previous mention of being an all-rounder, the HS30 again delivers by being easy to use for all skill levels, from your experienced enthusiast to the ‘never used a digital camera before’ beginner. With exposure settings from auto and manual, to preset settings such as portrait and landscape. Shooting settings such as shutter priority and aperture priority make it sure that the HS30 does not disappoint.

While this camera is ideal for any level of skill it is also a good option for those wishing to further develop and improve their knowledge. It’s the perfect transitioning camera. The HS30 let’s you know the features and uses of each setting with a brief explanation and gives you handy hints more useful than your mother-in-law’s parenting tips or a neighbours gardening hint to mow the lawn some time... Anyway, if your shutter speed it too fast and the aperture can’t be wide enough to compensate then it’ll display in red. If you’re shutter speed is too long then it’ll display a yellow, ‘camera shake’ diagram hinting that you either need more light, adjust the exposure or shoot on a tripod.

 

Image Quality / Lens Quality


fujifilm20120501ac.jpgIf you’ve ever rocked up to an amusement park and didn’t bring enough money to go on your favourite ride or rocked up to date night in your trackies, then you’ll most likely have discovered that it’s best to be prepared, organised and have the best resources and coverage to get the job done. With the 24mm wide, the above and beyond 30x optical zoom and the less than 1cm macro capabilities you’re sure to be able to handle anything thrown your way. The large 16mp resolution gives you more options than viewing on your social network; these photos are large enough to print and frame!

The Fujifilm HS30 EXR handles low light well. Grain tests at ISO100, ISO200 and ISO400 are barely visible delivering beautifully smooth images. At ISO800 grain makes a cameo appearance but still delivers good results. When the ISO is bumped up to ISO1600 grain only appears slightly more grainy than ISO800 which is surprising. However, at ISO3200 and ISO6400 images are quite grainy and again at this level these two ISOs don’t seem to differ to much between themselves as far as quality goes.

But wait, there’s more! ISO12800 is an option and should only be used as a last, last resort, or simply for experimentation. If the flash is on, the lights are on, the sun is out and you still need more sensitivity in the sensor, bump it up all the way to the outstanding ISO12800 but be prepared for considerably grainy and compromised soft images, a common issue with all compacts at this extreme ISO level.

If there is anything to take away from this part of testing the ISO range is outstanding on the HS30 and gives a good quality image relative to the sensitivity across all values.

 

LCD / Viewfinder


fujifilm20120501ad.jpgWhile cameras begin to become more useful to the market they add features that become quite handy and widely used. The feature present on the HS30 is the flip out LCD screen. It allows you to angle the screen down at a 45 degree angle allowing you to hold the camera over your head and still see what you’re shooting. It also flips upward to 180 degrees perpendicular to the body allowing you to shoot easily from above.

Common to almost all LCD screens on the market the 7.5cm LCD does get quite reflective in bright sunlight. However with the addition of a viewfinder this is no longer a problem. When you position your eye up to the viewfinder the sensor will turn off the LCD. The digital display within the viewfinder is twice the resolution of the main rear LCD considerably lower resolution and colours appear washed out compared to the vivid, high resolution display of the main LCD. However when all you can see on the main LCD is the sun laughing in your face then this is, of course, a very welcome addition.

 

Video


It’s no surprise that a camera with all these options, has a full HD video mode. The quality of the video is great and especially sharp when wide and is test a little when zoomed right in. The Image Stabilization makes the video all the more smooth and watchable when it comes to the ‘sharing with family’ stage. No one wants to watch you running around, making use of the flip out screen, with the HS30 above your head, if it’s unbearably shaky. The IS makes this more than bearable and makes Full HD video more than just a feature to this Fujifilm digital camera.

 

 

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Conclusion


No matter your consumer label, enthusiast, beginner or aspiring professional, you can’t go wrong with the Fujifilm Finepix HS30 EXR. It does everything you could need and more. It has an amazing focal range lens, good low light capabilities, a flip out screen, a DSLR likeness and great overall usability. And with a camera this useful, you can’t help but continue to use it. It’ll excel in almost all situations and there’s no need to fork out too many of the big dollars. A worthy next step in photography or a quality all-rounder.


This camera is very highly recommended.

 

Accessories Used During Testing:

SanDisk Extreme 30MB/s SD Card 

Tamrac Evolution Zoom 16 / 5715 Camera Bag 

 

Recommended Retailer:

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View / Buy The Fujifilm HS20 

 

 

 
Appearance rating 3.5 stars
Functionality rating 4.5 stars
Image quality
4 stars
Video quality
4 stars
Lens quality
4 stars
View finder (EVF)
4 stars
LCD screen (Rear)
5 stars
Value for money 4 star
Street Price
$599.95
SPACER.GIF  
Effective Pixels 16 Mega pixels
Sensor Type
1/2-inch EXR CMOS with primary color filter
Image Sizes 3 Sizes / 3 Aspect Ratios
Lens Fujinon 30x optical zoom lens, f=4.2 - 126mm, equivalent to 24-720mm on a 35mm camera, F2.8 (Wide) - F5.6 (Telephoto), 11 groups 15 lenses
Lens Mount
-
Resolution Settings - Stills L : (4:3) 4608 x 3456 / (3:2) 4608 x 3072 / (16:9) 4608 x 2592, M : (4:3) 3264 x 2448 / (3:2) 3264 x 2176 / (16:9) 3264 x 1840, S : (4:3) 2304 x 1728 / (3:2) 2304 x 1536 / (16:9) 1920 x 1080
ResolutionSettings - Video 1920 x 1080 pixels / 1280 x 720 pixels / 640 x 480 pixels (30 frames/sec.) with stereo sound. *Optical zoom function (manual) can be used.
Shooting Modes - Stills
JPEG (Exif Ver 2.3)*3, RAW (RAF format), RAW+JPEG
(Design rule for Camera File system compliant / DPOF-compatible)
Face Detection Yes
Manual Focus No
Auto Focus Yes
Aperture Priority Yes
Shutter Speeds (Auto mode) 1/4sec. to 1/4000sec., (All other modes) 30sec. to 1/4000sec. (combined mechanical and electronic shutter)
Shutter Priority Yes
ISO Auto, Equivalent to ISO 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200 / 6400* / 12800* (Standard Output Sensitivity) *ISO6400: image size M or lower, ISO12800 : image size S
LCD Monitor 7.5cm (3.0-type) wide type TFT, Xtra Fine LCD with TruBlack t3.0-inch, approx. 460,000 dots, TFT color LCD monitor, approx. 100% coverage
Viewfinder Electronic viewfinder (colour), 0.26-inch., approx. 920,000 dots, approx. 100% coverage
Flash Auto flash (super i-flash), Effective range : (ISO AUTO) Normal Wide : Approx. 30cm - 7.1m / 1ft. - 23.2ft. Telephoto : Approx. 2.0m - 3.8m / 6.5ft. - 12.4ft.
Hot Shoe Yes
White Balance Automatic scene recognition, Preset; Fine, Shade, Fluorescent light (Daylight), Fluorescent light (Warm White), Fluorescent light (Cool White), Incandescent light, Custom
Self Timer Approx. 10 sec. / 2 sec. delay / Auto release / Auto shutter (Dog, Cat)
Stills Format/s
JPEG (DCF Ver. 2.0, Exif Ver.2.3, MPF Baseline compliant), RAW (Sony ARW 2.3 format), 3D MPO (MPF Extended compliant)
Video Format/s AVCHD / MP4, MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) Video compression, Dolby Digital (AC-3) / MPEG-4 AAC-LC
Video Recording Time/s -
Storage Type - External SD / SDHC / SDXC(UHS-I) memory card
Storage Type - Internal
25MB
Connectivity USB 2.0 High-Speed, HDMI Mini connector, NTSC / PAL selectable with monaural sound
Power Source AC Adaptor AC-PW20 *5
Battery Options Li-ion battery NP-W126 (included)
Battery Life -
Dimensions 130.6 mm (W) x 96.6mm (H) x 126.0 (D) (without protrusions)
Weight 637g / 22.4oz. (excluding battery and memory card)















 


 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

About Fujifilm

 

FUJIFILM brings continuous innovation and leading-edge products to a broad spectrum of industries, including electronic imaging, photofinishing equipment, medical systems, life sciences, graphic arts, flat panel display materials, and office products, based on a vast portfolio of digital, optical, fine chemical and thin film coating technologies. The company was ranked number 15 for U.S. patents granted in 2006. Fujifilm is committed to environmental stewardship and good corporate citizenship.

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