The Fuji Finepix HS20EXR is a highly advanced digital camera. The big attraction is likely to be the 30x optical zoom lens. The Finepix HS20EXR is likely to appeal most to you if you are someone that sees photography as a hobby or you would like to get to grips with the basics of photography.
As well as the powerful lens other stand out features include a range of manual exposure controls and an advanced video mode that can shoot Full High Definition movies with stereo sound. Fuji have also equipped the camera with a viewfinder as an alternative to the LCD screen when you are composing your photos.
This is also one if the few digital cameras to run on AA batteries.
Why Buy The Fuji Finepix HS20EXR
The Finepix HS20EXR has a great range of features and provides a tremendous amount of zoom. Picture quality is very good and you should be able to take plenty of sharply focused photos.
130.6 x 90.7 x 126mm
Top 16 Features
With 16 megapixels on offer you should be able to make poster sized prints if you wish to. Another advantage of being able to use so many megapixels is that you have the option of cropping your photos and still have a large enough image to produce a print.
Zoom and Image Stabilisation
The zoom lens is one of the biggest attractions of this camera. With 30x zoom at your fingertips you can zoom in on distant subjects. Fuji have built image stabilisation into the camera body to combat blur caused by camera shake. The lens also has wide angle capabilities as well as the more obvious ability to zoom in. Its focal length is equivalent to 24 - 720mm in 35mm format.
The advanced sensor that Fuji have used opens up new possibilities. As well as being able to shoot at the full 16 megapixels you can also opt to reduce the megapixels you are shooting at to increase the dynamic range of your photos or to increase sensitivity. Increasing the dynamic range helps you to record extra detail in darker and lighter areas when there is a lot of contrast in the scene you are photographing. Increasing sensitivity should help you to capture shots in lowlight.
High Definition Movies
You can shoot Full High Definition movies. Stereo sound can be recorded to accompany your movie. The EXR functions are also available for movie shooting. There is also a High Speed movie option. These are recorded at a much lower resolution, but the 320 frames per second recording speed means you can play back the movies in slow motion.
If you are a more advanced photographer or you are looking to learn the basics of photography then the Finepix HS20EXR is a good choice. It comes with controls that allow you to set the exposure manually or use aperture priority or shutter priority. You also have access to other fine tuning features such as ISO, White Balance, Metering and Exposure Compensation.
By being able to store images in RAW format you increase the options available to you if you are planning to enhance your photos later with packages such as Adobe Photoshop. RAW format retains a much higher level of detail than storing images as Jpegs. This gives you extra information to work with. You also have the option to store images simultaneously as Jpegs or in RAW.
LCD Screen and Viewfinder
The LCD screen is 3 inches in size. To help you in awkward shooting positions you can tilt the screen up at an angle. You also have the option of using a viewfinder for composing your photos. The viewfinder is electronic rather than optical. There is a dioptre correction wheel available to you. You use this to adjust the focusing of the viewfinder to suit your own eyesight. For lining up horizons correctly you can display a level line in the viewfinder.
High Speed Shooting
One of the advantages of the type of sensor that Fuji have used with this camera is that it improves your options when it comes to reeling off a rapid set of photos. The Finepix HS20EXR is capable of shooting a short burst of full resolution photos at up to 8 frames per second.
Best Frame Selection
This feature offers you something a little different. When you place the camera in best frame capture mode it will capture a short burst of up to 16 images. You then select the one you consider to be the best. These photos are taken using an 8 megapixel resolution. The camera starts to capture images when you press the shutter button half way down.
360 Degree Panorama
If you like the idea of shooting full 360 degree panoramas these are easy to take with the Finepix HS20EXR. Once you place the camera in panorama mode all you need to do is press down the shutter button and turn round in a circle. A burst of images are fired off. These are then stitched together in camera.
Professional photographers use a technique where they blur the background in order to accentuate the subject. This is popular in portrait, wildlife and nature photography. It can be used anywhere where you can isolate your subject. The Finepix HS20EXR offers a special Defocus Background mode to help you to produce your own blurred background shots.
Low Light Shooting
Another feature that you can use to ensure the best possible shots when available light starts to fall is the Lowlight Shooting mode. In this mode the camera will reel off four images and merge them together to give you a single shot with lower noise levels and higher definition.
Film Simulation Modes
As well as having a range of digital cameras Fuji have a long established reputation for offering different types of film for traditional 35mm cameras. With this camera they have included five settings that simulate the different types of film. These are Provia (standard), Velvia (vivid), Astia (soft), black and white and sepia.
Special Bracketing Functions
There are three types of bracketing you can select from. When you use bracketing the camera will take multiple shots using slightly different settings. For example if you use film simulation bracketing the camera with take three pictures one will have a Provia effect one a Velvia effect and the final one will have a Astia effect. The other types of bracketing are exposure bracketing and dynamic range bracketing.
Close Up Shots
You are catered for well if you are looking for a digital camera that is capable of producing good quality macro photography. The Finepix HS20EXR is capable of focusing on subjects from 1cm away.
The Finepix HS20EXR is one of the few digital cameras to be powered by AA batteries.
It's easy for you to get a good hold of the Finepix HS20EXR. It is shaped like a Digital SLR with a good sized grip on the front of the camera. The grip is sculpted for your right hand and has a non slip finish. The large lens unit means that you can also give the camera plenty of support with your left hand.
To zoom in and out on a subject you twist the lens barrel just like you would if you were using a Digital SLR. This helps you to fine tune the amount of zoom you wish to use more easily.
There are plenty of buttons and dials on the camera to place key features at your fingertips and speed up the process of changing settings.
Lens and Flash Unit Position
The lens unit really dominate the camera. Having such a larger lens built into the camera increases the weight compared with other models. The lens does not retract into the body when you turn off the Finepix HS20EXR.
The flash unit pops up on top of the camera. There is also a hot shoe available if you would like to add an external flash unit.
LCD Screen Quality
The quality of the screen was very good. Being able to tilt the screen and also use the viewfinder means you have plenty of options for composing photos.
Response times without flash are in line with expectations. When flash is turned on response times are fast compared to other cameras. To turn the camera on and take the first shot is on the slow side.
Controls on Top of the Camera
Controls on the top of the camera are an on / off switch, a shutter button, a control dial to select the shooting mode, exposure compensation, bracketing and a rotary dial. The rotary dial speeds up the selection of settings.
Controls on the Back of The Camera
To start with there are five buttons running down the left hand side of the LCD screen. These are for setting ISO, metering, focusing mode, focusing type and white balance. Above the screen is a button to switch between the viewfinder and the LCD screen.
Running down the right hand side of the screen are three buttons. These are to shoot a movie, AE/AF lock and to change the information displayed on the LCD screen. This last button doubles up as a back button if you are accessing the menu system. At the bottom of the camera sits a button to review images.
Also on the back of the camera is a control area. This area gives you access to recording in RAW, deleting a photo, choosing the flash mode, setting the self timer, placing the camera in macro mode, accessing the menu system and confirming a selection. There is also a rocker unit that you can use to page through the menu.
What's in the Menu
The main menu has 20 options. These include features such as selecting image size, adjusting sharpness and selecting film simulation. There is also a separate setup area with a further 31 options.
Image Quality - See Sample Images Below
Outdoor Scenic Shot 1
The Finepix HS20EXR gets off to a good start. The picture is sharp right across the shot. Glare from the sun is handled well. This means that there is a high level of detail showing in the lighter, more reflective areas of the shot. Colours are accurate too. Extra detail shows in areas of light shade as well.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 2
For a camera with such a wide angle lens the Finepix HS20EXR does a great job when it comes to the sharpness of the photo. It is some way above the general standard you might expect from a digital camera. The physically larger size of the lens is likely to play a part in the quality of the shot. There is a touch of fringing showing along the edges of some of the brightly coloured objects in the photo. This is to a low level and should not be an issue unless you are planning to blow prints up to extremely large sizes.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 3
Among the plus points for this shot are the overall sharpness and the fact that any form of fringing in the shot is negligible. It is when the lens is pushed to its extremes that you normally see fringing occurring. There is a concern in this shot though. There is very little detail showing in the darker areas of foliage. This is despite the fact the picture was taken using the Wide Dynamic Range mode. In theory at least this mode should maximise the amount of detail showing in these areas.
This is a further example of how well this camera is able to focus on a subject. There is very little sign of sharpness falling away towards the edges of the photo. There is also plenty of colour depth on display.
Moving in close poses no problems. Using a white balance setting of cloudy helps to give the portrait a warmer, flattering look.
Indoor Portrait With Flash
The Finepix HS20EXR produces enough brightness from the flash unit to light the picture evenly. Perhaps a touch more light could have brightened parts of the hair more, but it can be a difficult balance for a digital camera to strike as stronger light could have left the skin tones looking washed out.
Indoor Portrait Without Flash
Without the artificial light from the flash unit the picture takes on a warmer look again. The most impressive point about the shot is the lack of noise. With noise under control the level of definition is impressive.
When it comes to close up shots one of the most noticeable differences between smaller digital cameras and the Finepix HS20EXR is the ability of this camera to throw the background out of focus. This really accentuates the main subject of your photo. Looking at the test result you will be hard pressed to find a digital camera that is able to produce much better quality than this unless you step up to a Digital SLR.
The only negative point about this shot is the lack of detail showing around the darker, unsharpened parts of the pencils.
The colours produced by the Finepix HS20EXR help to bring the photos to life. There is plenty of brightness in the shots this camera produces. Those two features together are an ideal combination.
Noise levels are kept under control. You also have access to other noise controlling features if you are shooting in more challenging conditions.
Picture Quality Summary
Picture quality is impressive. It is a shame more detail is not shown in darker areas of scenes. Otherwise this camera would come very close to 10 out of 10 for picture quality.
Shutter Lag Times
Single Shot With Flash
Five Shots With Flash
Turn on Time
Ease of Use
Any camera like this is going to take a while to get to grips with. The camera handles well, but like other similar digital cameras there is plenty to learn before you can get the most out of the camera.
Points I Like
Twisting lens barrel, sharpness of shots, general handling, features, colours, macro shots
Where it Could Improve
More detail showing in darker areas of photos
The Fuji Finepix HS20EXR is an ideal choice if you are looking for an advanced digital camera with plenty of zoom power. This camera is packed with features, takes high quality photos and handles in a similar way to a Digital SLR.
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