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Product DescriptionThe FinePix HS20 EXR features a 16-megapixel backside-illuminated EXR-CMOS image sensor, a 24-720 mm (35 mm equivalent) 30x optical zoom lens, a 3.0-inch LCD, Full HD 1080p movie recording with H.264 (MOV) format, RAW capabilities, anti-blur technology, Motion Panorama 360 mode, TTL flash control, Photobook Assist function, Resolution Priority mode, High ISO & Low Noise Priority mode, Dynamic Range Priority mode, Best Frame Capture Mode, Purple Fringing Reducer/Corner Resolution Enhancer, Multi-Bracketing, Face Recognition and Detection, and the new EXR Auto mode with 27 scenes.
Submitted by khalil5172 a Beginner
Date Reviewed: June 12, 2011
Strengths: good pixel
I have been using this camera before I owned my new one. But now I feel it was better pixel support than my new one.
Duration Product Used: 2-5 years
Type of photography: Fine Art
Submitted by ezyernie a Intermediate
Date Reviewed: May 21, 2011
Strengths: fantastic lens
awesome zoom 30x
Weaknesses: slow write times with too many auto features turned on.
completely manual operation?
pdf main manual
I got interested in the HS20 after looking at the HS10 and the S200EXR. The one consistent thread through the reviews was that those two cameras have excellent picture quality. later, I went to the Fujifilm website and there I found their blurb (about 8 pages) listing the incredibly extensive feature set that was built into the HS20EXR. The CMOS, rather than CCD, chip, the EXR technology and the 30x zoom were strong selling points, but the end result has to be a picture you can enjoy. The HS20EXR fall into the category of 'bridge' camera, apparently because it falls just short of DSLR capability but far exceeds your typical point-and-shoot.
So I got the camera shortly after release and the first thing I noticed was that there are many multi-purpose and single-purpose buttons and a VERY extensive menu system which varies with the mode of operation you have set for the camera. I went back to the BASIC MANUAL (on paper) which comes with the camera. It primarily walks you through an introduction to the automatic features of the camera. I think that is the best way to start, because this camera has so much to it that you cheat yourself if you take shortcuts. The extended, full manual comes in PDF (136 pages), which makes it inconvenient if you're testing or using any of the more complex features out in the real world, away from your computer. But You can review that manual, as I do, and try out the settings and features.
If you read up on the EXR tech at the Fuji site, you see it does a heckuvalot of work, especially in EXR Auto. however, there are four(4) EXR settings. I experimented with them all and I prefer the hi-resolution setting. The theme here is "try it out and test the settings". I also tried the regular AUTO setting and experimented with that and ran through some menu settings that were adjustable and tested the camera at those settings. I won't list them here because there are too many and I won't rehash the manual. But I will say, "READ IT!" The post-shot delay varies with the number of features you have active. in EXR auto, it can be 2+ seconds. I'm still experimenting with the features to determine which combination of setting will give the best results, but I will say that a full second seems to be the standard delay in single-shot modes. Low-light photos take longer to save than photos taken in daylight or 'bright' light situations.
At an awards dinner, I took over 100 pictures in EXR Auto and sure enough, the camera tracked multiple faces prior to the shots. One big caveat, sometimes the flash did not go off when I snapped the pic the first time but would flash on the second try. I think the camera was doing too much analysis. The auto-exposure might have been confused. My walking tour of lower Manhattan yielded pictures of the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and some botanical oasis in the middle of Greenwich Village. The amount of detail in the zoomed pics and the close-ups were excellent. I took a picture of the Empire State Building from a mile away and progressively zoomed in on the antenna. No tripod or monopod. I just braced myself against a mailbox or a wall. The amount of detail was stunning. I took pics of the Statue of Liberty earlier from Battery Park and you could make out people through the window in the base. Likewise the people at the top of the ESB. you could almost make out their faces. At that amount of zoom, holding the camera with two hands, the credit must go to the image stabilization. All that said, even this camera won't prevent me from taking a bad picture, but Of 322 shots I took in my Manhattan walking tour, only one was a throwaway.
Two extremely nice features are 1) Three(3) film-type settings to allow for Vivid (Velvia) STD(Provia) and Sepia allow for some creativity and 2) Jpeg and Jpeg Fine are great options to have in choosing picture characteristics. I experimented with this, too. I eventually settled on the STD setting for film type as it seemed most accurate. I chose jpeg over jpeg fine as there seemed to be no difference perceptible to my eyes.
I wanted to test the manual settings and did so as much as I could. I was a bit frustrated because in any of the manual modes, the camera still adjusted one of the settings, aperture, f-stop. ISO or shutter speed. I was able to get some passable-to-good pictures, but I think it will be better as I experiment more. In low-light, I was able to take pictures with extremely low noise at ISO settings 800 or below. Higher ISO settings still were mostly consistently noise free if the colors of the subject were strong. some of the more bland colors or low-light photos had more noise than those shot with regular light. There is a setting for noise reduction to be found in the menu (again reading the manual really helps) I set it to low noise reduction. There is also a menu for White Balance. I recommend experimenting with it as it suits you. There are several settings you can select from including AUTO.
I worked with two burst mode options: 1) "Top #", for taking a sequence of shots varying from 4-32 at rates varying from 3-11 fps and "best frame" that took 8 shots in succession, which was used for capturing a rapid sequence of action shots. Both modes would take the complete sequence of shots, unless you release the shutter button earlier, before saving them in roughly four-to-seven seconds, in my experience. In "Top #", mode, I set the camera for 8fps and 32max and took some shots of the traffic on the street. The camera was set for "P"(Program Mode), which seems a bit faster and smarter than "Auto" mode capturing 32 frames and saving them in less than 10 seconds. This was in daylight with White Balance set to 'auto'. All pictures were excellent, depth of field was limited, but I had set the AF and AE values for pinpoint focus and metering. That likely saved some "think time" for the camera and sped things up a bit. For 'best capture' mode, I took pictures of some dancers performing . The pictures were consistently very good to excellent in quality. The lighting was indoors and not strong, so I had ISO set at 800 and shutter speed at 1/20-1/30 sec. The pictures took a while longer to save (12-15 sec for 8 pictures)than in daylight. There are three additional burst modes which take 3 shots varying film type, dynamic range or exposure. I tried them and they each add flexibility without having to change camera settings during a shoot. You should have a large, at least 8Gb, card and I strongly recommend class 10 or higher. You use up space quickly, even though the pictures are about 1/2 the size of a standard shot when 11fps is selected.
I took some RAW photos. There did not seem to be any post-shot lag vs. jpeg. The software provided by Fujifilm doesn't do much at all with RAW. If you're an Adobe user, it appears that they will just be the usual lag time before they can handle RAW from this camera. Until that becomes available, I use Irfanview, which seems to work with every picture format I've encountered.
I tried out the HD video operation and it worked OK. I suggest that this is another feature you should familiarize yourself with so you can get the best out of the camera.
I bought the Sanyo Eneloops for use with this camera. I got over 600 shots, many with flash, before a recharge was required. I say this because this camera has a number of energy-consuming features, especially in EXR Auto mode.
I read the complaints about heat. My batch did not seem to have that problem. My camera has not exhibited any serious problem (fingers crossed) at all attributed to the manufacturer(unless you count the above-mentioned flash behavior). I added the firmware update without incident, but never had that alert show up anyway.
MY FINAL ASSESSMENT IS FIVE STARS. This camera delivers a tremendous number of features for function, convenience and special photographic capabilities including that awesome 30X zoom, which works quite exceptionally
Duration Product Used: 11-20 years
Price Paid: $499.00
Purchased At: B&H
Similar Products Used: kodak zd710
Type of photography: Outdoor