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Should Nikon and Canon be afraid of Fujifilm's latest?

July 25, 2013 09:19 IST

Should Nikon and Canon be afraid of Fujifilm's latest?

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Reviews42.com

Despite Canon and Nikon getting the bulk of preferences when it comes to a good DSLR, Fujifilm hasn’t been very far behind now. In fact, it’s becoming good at creating strong telephoto lens cameras that are easy to handle and extremely cost-efficient.

One such example was the Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR, which boasted a strong 30x zoom lens and extremely high focal length. Its successor, the FinePix HS50EXR takes this number even higher than before -- well, almost -- and still provides some very good visual quality to go along with it.

Does this warrant a recommendation over efforts from Nikon and Canon though, especially when it comes to shooting still images?


Image: Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR
Photographs: fujifilm.com

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Design

The first thing you’ll notice is that the HS50EXR is big. Like, even for a camera in this range, it’s really big, even if you don’t factor the telephoto lens into the equation. It weighs roughly 808 grams (yes, close to a kilogram). Make no mistake though: this FinePix camera is tough and sturdy.

The matte rubber finish and rubberised body allows for easy gripping even when the weight and size prove to be difficult.  It makes for the perfect outdoor shoot, so long as you’re not planning to go scuba diving anytime soon.

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Image: Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR
Photographs: fujifilm.com

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It’s the rear panel, wherein most of the controls lay.

You won’t find hotkeys for different functions, but there is the Q button. Hit this button, and a tile-like interface will materialise on the LCD screen, with the different tiles showcasing factors such as ISO, dynamic range, white balance and more.

What’s more, there is a bottom row of tiles for adjusting LCD brightness, autofocus mode, metering and more. 

There is also a button solely meant for video recording, along with the Fn button located on the D-Pad. While the latter allows for a shortcut to using the flash mode, you can also customise it to adjust image size, white balance and 11 other functions on the fly.

The fully articulating display also returns, allowing you to take difficult shots from different angles without a problem.

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Image: Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR
Photographs: fujifilm.com

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Should Nikon and Canon be afraid of Fujifilm's latest?

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Interface

When looking at the interface for the FinePix HS50EXR, you might get the impression that it’s not as refined or incredible as something like, say, the Samsung Galaxy Camera.

Rather than using a touch screen to choose your functions and shooting modes, you’ll need to operate the camera’s interface using the D-Pad.

Hitting Menu/OK in the centre of the D-Pad brings up the different functions. It’s all very easy to get the hang of. The only problem is the noticeable amount of time it takes to open functions. It’s nothing too problematic but it does get annoying in some instances.

Some of the shooting modes include EXR mode which allows you to adjust priorities for ISO and colour quality while still aiming for the best picture, auto mode, Panorama and a ton of presets including Landscape, Portrait, Film Simulation (for an old-school film projector look) and many more.

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Image: Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR
Photographs: fujifilm.com

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Specs and image quality

The FinePix HS50EXR features a EXR CMOS sensor with a 16 megapixel resolution. It also features a 50x zoom lens, with an optical zoom of 42x and digital zoom of 84x.

This makes for an effective focal length of 4.4 to 185 mm with an aperture range of f/2.8-11.0 and ISO sensitivity range from 100 to 12800. Shutter speed ranges from one-fourth of a second to 1/1400th of a second.

The camera is also capable of shooting pictures in burst mode with a rate of 11 frames per second. Full HD recording is also possible and at 60 frames per second.

The device supports SD, SDHC and SDXC cards, and includes an HDMI port and microphone. The 1260 mAh Li-Ion battery can apparently take up to 500 shots. Phase detection autofocus is also included along with continuous AF and manual AF.

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Image: Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR
Photographs: fujifilm.com

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But how does image quality measure up?

Colour quality is actually very good and everything from the contrast and brightness to the details and saturation looks excellent.

The 42x optical zoom works great for taking pictures, and you can count on the image stabilisation to help in taking distance shots.

The only issue that arises is taking pictures at higher ISO settings, because when you zoom into the images captured, you’ll notice slight graininess and loss of detail.

This only increases when you go past ISO 400, and becomes quite awful at the highest settings. When it comes to the most basic still shots, you won’t need to worry though, and the full HD recording works quite well.

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Image: Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR
Photographs: fujifilm.com

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Verdict

The Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR is a good all-round device with a strong telephoto lens. However, when you compare it to similar devices like Nikon CoolPix P510 (which features a 42x optical zoom but a lesser 3x digital zoom) and the Canon PowerShot SX50 (50x optical zoom and 4x digital zoom), it comes off as heavy and slightly more expensive. Image quality isn’t necessarily much better (or worse), but it does great full HD recording and overall still photo capture.

If a high digital zoom is important to you and you have the extra money to spend, you might want to consider it.

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Image: Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR
Photographs: fujifilm.com

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