Fuji Finepix HS30EXR Review

Digital Cameras with Extended Zoom Lenses

16 Megapixels    30x Zoom

Dimensions: 130.6 x 96.6 x 126mm    Weight: 687g

Good Points: Features, handling, zoom power, manual barrel zoom, Full HD with Stereo Sound, Shutter Response Times, Build Quality

Bad Points: None


Fuji Finepix HS30EXR Shutter Lag Rating fast Ease of Use par Camera Name Rating

Overview

The Fuji Finepix HS30EXR is one of the most powerful digital cameras you can find. It has 30x zoom and a number of advanced features that you would expect to find on a Digital SLR.

This amount of zoom, the fact that the lens is flexible enough to also squeeze in wide scenes plus a super macro mode that can focus from 1cm away from your subject means that the Finepix HS30EXR is able to cover the vast majority of photo opportunities. This makes this camera a good choice if you are looking for a high powered digital camera, similar in a lot of ways to a Digital SLR, but without the hassle or expense of changing lenses.

One area where this camera differs from other digital cameras is that zoom is controlled by twisting the lens barrel instead of pressing buttons or using a zoom ring. This makes the camera handle much more like a Digital SLR. This is something that people used to using a Digital SLR are likely to like, but it is also worth knowing that it does add to the size of the camera.

Compared with other digital cameras at this price point the Finepix HS30EXR has the following:

Plus Points

  • 30x zoom
  • Manual Exposure Modes including a custom mode
  • Full High Definition movies with stereo sound
  • Hot Shoe
  • Viewfinder with dioptre correction
  • 3 inch tilting LCD screen
  • 8 frames per second burst mode
  • Compatible with 58mm filters
  • RAW Capture
  • 360 degree panoramas
  • EXR Functions
  • 3D Mode
  • Multiple Exposures

Why Buy the Fuji Finepix HS30EXR

The Finepix HS30EXR is very hard to beat when it comes to the number of features packed in compared to other Bridge cameras. Picture quality is also very good.

Features

Looking through the features available the Finepix HS30EXR has a very comprehensive list. Fuji have covered more or less everything. The Canon Powershot SX40 HS could be considered one of its closest rivals, but the Finepix HS30EXR comes up with some extra features such as being able to store images in RAW, EXR functions, a pro focus mode, 360 panoramas and 3D stills.

Megapixels and Zoom

The Finepix HS30EXR has 12 megapixels and a 30x zoom lens. The focal length of the lens is equivalent to 24 - 720mm in 35mm format. The lens has a maximum aperture of f/2.8 (wide) and f/5.6 (tele).

Memory Cards

You can use either SD, SDHC or SDXC (UHS-I) cards.

Batteries

A lithium ion battery provides the power. This is one area that has changed from the previous model in this series as it used AA batteries. Fuji supplies a battery and charger with the camera. They suggest you should be able to take up to 600 pictures before the battery needs to be recharged.

Movie Mode

You can shoot Full High Definition Movies with a resolution of 1920 x 1080p. Movies can be recorded at a rate of 30 frames per second.

Macro Mode

For close up shots there is a super macro mode that is able to focus from 1cm away from your subject.

RAW Capture

RAW capture is available. This gives you an alternative to storing your images as Jpegs. When you store images in RAW much more information is stored compared to Jpeg where images are heavily compressed. This extra detail will come into its own if you use software packages such as Photoshop to enhance your photos.

Manual Controls

A full set of exposure modes are available. These are Fully Manual, Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority. There is also a custom mode that you can use to store your favourite settings.

High Speed Burst Mode

When you want to capture fast moving action there is a burst mode that can record at up to 8 frames per second at full resolution. If you reduce the resolution to 8 megapixels the rate of capture increases to a maximum of 11 frames per second.

EXR Functions

EXR functions are unique to Fuji digital cameras. These functions give you the chance to increase the level of detail showing in high contrast scenes and to reduce noise and increase detail in lowlight. In order to achieve this, the number of megapixels used is reduced.

Bracketing

There are three types of bracketing available. These are standard auto exposure bracketing, film simulation bracketing and dynamic range bracketing. You can use these when you are uncertain of the optimum setting to use.

Pro Lowlight Mode

When you place the camera in Pro Lowlight mode it fires off four exposures. It then combines them together into one image to give you the best possible image quality. The idea is that noise will be reduced with brightness and clarity enhanced.

Pro Focus Mode

Pro Focus mode gives you a simple way to produce professional looking shots with backgrounds thrown out of focus. This technique helps your main subject to stand out against the background.

Film Simulation Modes

Before digital photography Fuji where considered to be one of the leading companies for producing camera film. If you use film you can buy different types to give your photos a different look. For example Velvia film produces vivid colours while Astia gives a softer look that compliments portraits. With the Finepix HS30EXR you can simulate those looks as well as opting for black and white, sepia and standard.

360 Degree Panoramas

The ability to produce 360 degree panoramas is becoming more commonplace. All you need to do is select the 360 mode, press down the shutter button down and sweep the camera round in a circle.

3D Shooting

3D shooting is another feature that is starting to appear on an increasing number of cameras. 3D printing is now available too to help you get the most from this feature.

LCD Screen and Viewfinder

The LCD screen in 3 inches in size. It can be tilted away from the camera body to give you a more comfortable shooting angle. There is also the option of an electronic viewfinder.

Shooting Modes

Fuji have added a number of predefined scene modes. These are portrait, landscape, natural light, portrait enhancer, dog, cat, sport, night, night tripod, fireworks, sunset, snow, beach, party, flower and text.

Image Quality

General Handling

Owing to its twisting lens barrel the Finepix HS30EXR handles more like a Digital SLR than any other digital camera. Coupled with this Fuji have squeezed more control buttons onto the back of the camera than you normally see. If you are new to this type of camera it is possible you may find this off putting. As you get to know the various buttons and what they can do for you, you are likely to find that having so many controls at your fingertips saves you a lot of time. This could make the difference between getting the shot and missing it.

With this size and weight of camera it is easy to get a good hold. There is a large grip on the front and a textured, rubber area on the back for you to place your thumb.

Flash Positioning

The flash unit pops up on the top of the camera. There is also a hotshoe available so that you can use external flash units.

LCD Screen Quality

With a resolution of 460,000 dots the LCD screen quality is good without being outstanding. The fact that you can tilt it away from the sun is a bonus. In addition there is a sunny day mode you can use.

Viewfinder

The viewfinder is electronic. There is a dioptre correction wheel alongside it. This allows you to change the focusing of the viewfinder to suit your eyesight. A horizontal line is displayed in the viewfinder to help you line up horizons. Fuji have added technology that can detect when you have placed your eye on the viewfinder so that it can be turned on automatically.

Turn on Time and Shutter Delay

Another area where the camera performs well is the speed at which it can focus and take a picture. A single picture was timed at 0.23 seconds, with five at 6.78 seconds. With flash times were 0.37 seconds for a single shot and 6.97 seconds for five. These are all fast times, especially those achieved when flash was being used. You will also find that short bursts are much faster if you place the camera in burst mode. The 2.98 seconds taken to turn the camera on and take the first shot is about standard.

Design, Build Quality and Finish

There are a number of factors that give the Finepix HS30EXR the look of a Digital SLR. These include the grip on the front, the long lens barrel and the flash unit that pops up on the top. The textured rubber finish in many areas helps to give a rugged feel. All in all you get the impression that this is a solid and well-constructed camera.

Camera Controls

On the top of the camera there is a shutter button. This sits inside a ring that is used to switch the camera on and off. The control dial also sits on the top. This allows you to change the shooting mode. Next to this is a wheel for selecting settings. Two other buttons are for exposure compensation and continuous shooting.

Over to the left, on the back of the camera are a column of five buttons. These control ISO, metering, focus mode, focus type and white balance. To the right of the viewfinder is a button to switch between the viewfinder and the LCD screen. Towards the right hand side are buttons for shooting movies, setting exposure or focus lock and changing the information displayed on the LCD screen. In the bottom right hand corner is a button to review images. In addition there is a main control area. Within this circular section are buttons for accessing functions, flash, the self timer, macro mode and the main menu.

Top Rated Cameras in this Category

Panasonic DMC FZ48 Rating 87/100

The Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ48 is very hard to beat. It is up against some stiff competition, but the combination of features, image quality and pricing makes it the outstanding model in its category. When it comes to picture quality it has few weaknesses and its length of lens means it can cope with more or less any photo opportunity.

Read Review: Panasonic DMC FZ48 Review

Fuji Finepix HS30EXR Rating 86/100

The Fuji Finepix HS30EXR does offer a number of differences to rival Super Zoom or Bridge digital cameras. The main difference is the twisting lens barrel, but there are other handling aspects that make it that bit closer to a Digital SLR experience. In terms of features Fuji have packed in just about everything they can think of. Picture quality compares well against rival cameras and shutter response times are also impressive. This makes this camera a very attractive proposition if you are looking for a fully featured camera with a great deal of zoom power.

Read Review: Fuji Finepix HS30EXR Review

Canon Powershot SX40 HS Rating 85/100

Your decision to buy the Canon Powershot SX40 HS is likely to be based on whether or not you prefer the simplicity and lower price of a digital camera with a fixed lens or whether you prefer the ultimate flexibility of a Digital SLR. If you prefer a camera where one lens covers just about all photo opportunities then the Powershot SX40 HS is hard to beat. There are no real issues with picture quality and it has a set of features that few other models can match. Recommended.

Read Review: Canon Powershot SX40 HS Review

Related Pages

Fuji Finepix HS30EXR Specification

Fuji Finepix HS30EXR Sample Images

Digital Camera Reviews

Fuji Digital Cameras

Review Date

Review Date: May 2012

Verdict

The Fuji Finepix HS30EXR does offer a number of differences to rival Super Zoom or Bridge digital cameras. The main difference is the twisting lens barrel, but there are other handling aspects that make it that bit closer to a Digital SLR experience. In terms of features Fuji have packed in just about everything they can think of. Picture quality compares well against rival cameras and shutter response times are also impressive. This makes this camera a very attractive proposition if you are looking for a fully featured camera with a great deal of zoom power.

Ratings

Ease of Use:
Features:
Movie Mode:
Build Quality:
Colours:

7
9
9
9
9

Photo Quality:
Style:
Indoors:
Macro:
Value for Money:

Total:

9
8
9
9
8

86

Main Features

Megapixels:
Zoom:
LCD Screen:
Dimensions:
Weight:
Macro:
HD Movies:
Manual Controls:
Batteries:
Memory Cards:

16
30x
3 inches
130.6 x 96.6 x 126mm
687g
1cm
Yes
Yes
Lithium Ion
SD, SDHC, SDXC

Shutter Lag Times

Single Shot:
Five Shots:
Single Shot With Flash:
Five Shots With Flash:
Turn on Time:

0.23 seconds
6.78 seconds
0.37 seconds
6.97 seconds
2.98 seconds

Shutter Lag Table

Handling

Picture Quality Summary

At this level of digital camera there is not the same difference in picture quality that you might see if you were comparing a set of low priced digital cameras. Picture quality is generally much higher. The differences tend to be more subtle and are only likely to show to any great degree if you are looking to make exceptionally large prints.

There is a small difference in photo quality when shooting in EXR mode. I found that switching to this mode improved the definition of the photos.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 1

Starting off with a test where there are high levels of contrast the Finepix HS30EXR does well with the level of detail it is able show in the lightest areas of the boats. The inclusion of a lens hood in the kit may help to cut down on glare from the sun. Levels of sharpness are in line with expectations.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 2

This is probably the toughest test, especially for digital cameras with such wide angle lenses. In places the image does look a little soft. This is especially true for areas where there is little contrast, for example on the leaves of trees. As mentioned in the picture quality summary this type of issue is unlikely to be an issue to you unless you are looking to make super sized prints.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 3

The overall sharpness of this shot is good for a camera with this length of lens. There is a degree of purple fringing showing in the shot, but that is normal for a digital camera with this length of lens. This is unlikely to show if you produce smaller prints and can be cleaned up for very large prints with software such as Photoshop.

Outdoor Building

For this test only a relatively small amount of the zoom power is used. There is more or less no purple fringing showing. Sharpness is good without being perfect. There is no noticeable loss of sharpness as you move out towards the edges of the shot.

Outdoor Portrait

This is a fairly standard portrait shot. This type of picture should be no problem to the Finepix HS30EXR. It can focus perfectly from closer in and all you need to do is decide on the optimum distance to be from your subject when producing portrait shots.

Indoor Portrait With Flash

Using flash fills in shadows as well as boosting brightness in lowlight situations. Although this flash unit has a lot more power than the smaller, built in unit you find on a lot of digital cameras it does not overpower your subject. In this instance it was able to give off just the right amount of light.

Indoor Portrait Without Flash

One of the strengths of the Finepix HS30EXR is how it works in lowlight. Even if you are not using the Pro Lowlight mode the camera is good at keeping noise levels low and therefore bringing out the detail in a shot. The indoor portrait is taken using window light and shows that you should be able to produce this type of portrait without a problem.

Macro

In super macro mode this camera can focus from very close into your subject. There is a problem getting very close in all the time owing to the size of the camera blocking out your light source. Aside from that macro quality is impressive.

Colours

The colours produced by the Finepix HS30EXR are not radically different to those produced by other brands. This camera does offer you the ability to fine tune colours to suit your own personal taste through a white balance shift setting.

Noise

Noise levels are kept under control. At around ISO 1600 noise begins to become more noticeable as you might expect. The amount of noise showing will also depend on just how poor the available light is.

Product Shots

Front View

Fuji Finepix HS30EXR Front View

Back View

Fuji Finepix HS30EXR Back View

Top View

Fuji Finepix HS30EXR Top View

Sample Menus

menu 1 menu 2

menu 3 menu 4

Buy the Fuji Finepix HS30EXR

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GBP 289.99
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