Size Matters For the FinePix HS20 EXR

Fujifilm’s super-zoomer makes some big promises

Fujifilm HS20 EXR frontThe Fujifilm FinePix HS20 EXR thinks big. It has a whopping 30x zoom lens and a hefty 16 megapixel file size. The zoom takes you from 24mm to about 720mm and is manually controlled, which makes the process quicker and more accurate. It functions really well for Super Macro shots, when wide open, and very competently at full extension. The 16 megapixel file size is a maximum size, which is available up to ISO 3200. At ISO 6400 it drops to 8 megapixels and again to 4 mexapixels at ISO 12800. However, the sensor very cleverly takes steps to maximise quality at each size. The HS20’s Image Stabilizer is built into the sensor and is very good, but it does mean that you don’t see it in action through the lens. The Autofocus is quick and accurate but can be a bit fiddly. Again, as much of the really clever stuff happens in the camera, you must learn to trust your instincts and the camera. 

The Fujifilm HS20 EXR is built around its zoom capacity and file size. It is less intuitive than some other cameras, demanding a deeper understanding of the functions, but it is capable of producing excellent results in the right hands.

Fujifilm HS20 EXR Tilt cameraUndeniably Fuji make good cameras and, although not really sold as a sports camera, the Hs20 offers a very respectable 8 Frames per Second burst speed and can incorporate some useful options like Dynamic Range Bracketing and Auto Exposure Bracketing. It also enables you to shoot JPEG or RAW files. For those of us old enough to remember film, it allows us to choose fuji film types – Provia, Velvia and Astia, as well as Sepia or B/W. You can also change color, sharpness and tone in the extensive in-camera menu. It has a series of shooting modes available from portrait enhancer, party, fireworks and beach. SN Mode doubles the size of the pixels, to reduce noise in low-light. The Best Frame Capture mode allows you to shoot at 11 FPS, though at 8 megapixels file size. There is a full 360 degree panorama function as well. It has a tiltable high resolution LCD screen, which is very useful for high or low angles. There is a good built in flash and a hot shoe. It runs on AA batteries.

The HS20 is capable of shooting HD video and has an HDMI port which allows you to plug your camera straight into a television. You can use the zoom and Autofocus functions with the video settings, but it can feel clumsy.

Verdict

The Fujifilm HS20 EXR is an extremely competent camera. The purpose of bridge cameras is to offer SLR qualities for a much lower price and, on that basis the HS20 EXR  is an excellent bridge camera. However, it is not very intuitive, requiring a knowledge of photographic principles and a good understanding of the camera functions. The zoom lens is splendid and a huge selling point. Those used to point and shoot cameras will find this camera idiosyncratic at first but, with a little work, can get some great results.

Fujifilm Fine Pix HS20 EXR Features

16 Megapixel Files

30x Zoom Lens

3 inch LCD monitor

ISO 100 -12800

8 Frames Per Second

Image Stabilizer

HD Video

AA batteries

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