Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Fujifilm FinePix HS10 10 MP CMOS Digital Camera with 30x Wide Angle Optical Zoom and 3-Inch LCD
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on April 8, 2010
I've been waiting for this camera ever since I found out about it a month ago and flew down to the camera shop as soon as they told me it had arrived. I had read all the specs and seen the pics of the camera, and wanted to find out if it was all style and no substance, or if there really was a heart inside the beast. The shop owners opened the box for me to inspect, attached the screen protector, strap and lens cap string, and I took it for a spin before I even left the shop.

Before I say anything more, I'd better let you know my digital camera background. I've been using them ever since they first came out about 10 years ago. Sony DSC-30, Kyocera SL300 (world's first 3.3 fps limited only by size of memory card), Nikon S4, Canon 350D, Nikon s10, Nikon P90, Pentax k-x. In addition, I have always used mobile phones with cameras- xcute (world's first 3 mpxl mobile phone camera), SE k810, k850, Motorola ZN5, Samsung Innov8, SE Satio. So i've used a wide range of digital cameras.

Initial feeling:

1. Camera felt lighter than I expected, even with the 4 AA batteries in place.

2. Solid plastic, yet at the same time a little hollow.

3. Great grip- right side hand grip is deep and rubberised for gripping.

4. Thankfully the lens cap has a string attaching it to the shoulder strap- no chance of losing it or wondering where to put the cap when you take it off.

5. Lots of buttons at the back. Going to have to refer to the manual quite a bit.

6. The "chrome" ring on the bottom right feels a bit cheap. Though I guess use of plastic helps reduce the weight.

7. It's amazing how friendly store people can be once you buy something from them. I was dripping sweat- hot day, so they gave me a cup of water :)

8. The screen is beautiful. I can't say it enough. It's very clear and bright, even with screen protector on.

9. The lens has an INCREDIBLE zoom range- 24mm to 720mm (35mm format) and feels very smooth when you manually zoom.

10. Zooming ring has good grip, but the pattern isn't attractive.

11. Shop owner told me the lens is 58mm diameter- that's good because I can use my IR and UV filters.

12. Electronic view finder is ok, but I find for "bridge" cameras they tend to be small in size. Only the dslr's have eyepieces which are a good size which is comfortable for your eye. Ignoring the size, the EVF quality is good, and you may have read about the sensor next to it, which activates the EVF when you bring your eye to it. So the 3 inch LCD screen turns off and the EVF turns on when you bring your eye to the EVF.

What about the photos?

13. Really good. I've taken about 100 photos so far, mostly at night. You have to be quite steady, even with the shake reduction function on (there are 4 options for shake reduction!!!), especially at the maximum zoom. But if you are, then the photo is very very good and sharp. Not quite as sharp as the Pentax k-x, which is known for it's low light performance, but it's pretty damn good. It's certainly good enough for me. Colours seem accurate and bright. Focusing in good light was pretty fast. Focusing in low level light was slower. In poor light it might even hunt for 2-4 seconds and flash a focusing light. It takes about 1 to 3 seconds to save a photo, so it's not high speed unless you use that function.

14. The focusing is active. That is on auto, it will focus on faces, and even if those people are moving around, you can see the focus square remain glued to their face. My friends had to move side to side pretty fast for the HS-10 to lose the lock.

There are so many fancy functions on this camera that I have really only just scratched the surface of what this baby can do. But I'm very glad to say there is substance in the HS-10. If you are in the market for a bridge camera, the HS-10 should definitely be on your shopping list.

Added 15th April 2010.
----------------------

Despite the overcast and rainy conditions which plague me whereever I go, I've taken another 120 odd photos during the periods of "only" cloudiness and intermittant sunshine.

15. The photos are 24mm and at 720mm have differing sharpness. Colour is good for both though.

At 24mm, you can see the whole photo, but you quickly see grainy outlines when you try to zoom in.

At 720mm, the photo remains surprisingly sharp when you enlarge or zoom in on the photo. Not quite the same sharpness as my Pentax k-x, but much better than I expected.

16. I've always had high zoom cameras and each time I buy up, I get surprised by how much closer I can get to a subject. This time though, I noticed something new. Usually, if I take a photo at the widest angle and then one at max zoom, you can see how much closer you can zoom in because you can usually see the surroundings around the object to compare with.

This time however, you can zoom in on something that looks like a little dot in the 24mm photo and it's so close that you literally can't tell it's a zoomed up photo because it looks like a totally different photo.

eg: I was on an overhead walkway and took a 24mm photo of the road. A traffic light was about 400 metres ahead. I zoomed in and I got a clear photo of the back of 2 cars and the licence plates. You'd think I had been standing just 5 metres away with a normal camera it was so good.

In another example, I took a 24mm pic of an outside wall of a very colourful shopping centre. It's about 6 storeys high, so ground floor shop windows look like dots. When I zoomed to 720mm through the window, I got a very clear photo of the inside of the shop, with no reference to the outside of the building wall at all.

This zoom is POWERFUL.

I have no idea what the next generation of zoom lenses will allow us to do when they go to, say 850mm, 1000mm plus!

17. f stops seems pretty good.I can take close ups of flowers and have both foreground and background nicely out of focus.

18. Do keep a steady hand. Brace yourself against a pole or solid object if you can. It really helps in taking a sharp photo. It has good image stabilisation, but it's not a miracle worker.

Thanks again all for reading :)

Update 1st May 2010
-------------------

19. I've taken a few more photos and can say the following. The daytime photos are good. Not quite as good as my Pentax kx, but good. Sharpness, colour, detail are all more than acceptable. The lens is great for portraits, and the zoom speaks for itself. The tiltable screen makes the camera much more versatile than a fixed screen camera too.

20. There are two areas that I find the camera disappointing.

The first is the time needed to save each photo- 2 to 3 seconds. It's pretty slow. In comparison, my Pentax kx is just take the photo and instant save. Granted, most non dslr cameras are also non instant picture saving, but it seems even slower than my Nikon s10 and Kyocera sl300r, or even my Motorola ZN5 mobile phone.

The second is photo viewing software. Firstly, it's not so easy to view multiple photos because it enlarges the picture you have the cursor on, so it covers the photos next to it. Secondly, as has already be noted by some disappointed reviewers, deleting a photo takes you right back to the end. If you've got hundreds or thousands of photos, that's a real irritant. It's true that holding down a direction on the chrome ring will very very quickly flick through the photos to get you back to where you were, but it's a real hassle.

At least on the other hand, when you connect to the computer, there is only 1 folder for the photos, unlike my nikons, which have numerous folders "100dscn", 200dscn" etc.

21. Finally, I've taken a few videos and I've found the HD vids all look smooth on the camera LCD, but very jerky, kind of frame by frame, when i play on my computer. I don't have this problem if I record in 640 x 480 (320?) format though. It's probably my computer being old, but I wonder if anyone else has this problem?

Thanks again for reading :)

Edit 19th April 2011
--------------------

I ended up selling my HS10 last year for two main reasons. Writing times were too slow, and the software for reviewing photos was poor. I mean- deleting a photo and taking you to the very end again is pretty bad when you've got hundreds or thousands of photos on your card.

But the reason I'm adding a bit here is that I've been following the reviews of the Fujifilm HS20, which was released recently. It seems to have taken care of most of the problems I mentioned- quicker writing speed, and viewing and deletion of photos, and added a new problem instead- overheating of some part of the camera, which causes the camera to cease working. I can say that for all the hundreds of photos I took with the HS10, I never had overheating for a problem.

Such a pity that Fujifilm can't get such a fantastic camera right.
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on April 15, 2010
Well...I did it! I made up my mind and purchased the Fujifilm Finepix HS10. After months of reviews, trials and testing, mainly between the HS10 the Sony HX1 and the Canon SX20 I spent the $500.00. First let me say the HX1 and the SX20 are great cameras and both offer things that should be incorporated into the HS10 and then again the HS10 has items that those cameras could use as well.

I am a professional photographer and have been for over 30 years, I have owned everything from a Yashica TL-Electro to a Fujifilm AX-3 to a Nikon F3...and those were my early years. Since then I have had Fuji's lone of S Pro cameras as well as Nikon's and Canon's pro equipment so I know a few things about cameras and their capabilities. Ok, for my HS10 review.

First let me say I was not sure about the manual zoom lens on a digital camera but then again I was used to them since I have plenty of SLR's. However, I must say I really like the manual zoom for still photographs but when it comes to the videos I really do not care for it. In the video mode it is just too jumpy for my taste and does not make for a smooth video. Also, believe it or not you can hear the manual zoom sounds on the video sound track but I have heard of other cameras, including the HX1, that has the same issues with their auto zoom so this is something the camera manufactures need to work on.

The next issue I have is that the camera does have problems focusing when the lens is zoomed out all the way. If you back off the lens just a little bit it seems to focus fine just not at the full zoom. Other then that I have no other complaints about the camera...yet!

The camera takes great photos, even low light without a flash or tripod and even fully zoomed. I used 4 "AA" Alkaline batteries and have taken over 400 photos and the camera is still going strong, no low battery indication as of yet. Out of all my "full zoom" photos, both inside and out, there are only about 2% that are out of focus. I have no problems with the EVF even though the size of the EVF is a bit small but it still works for me. The menus are clear and easy to understand but I find one aspect of it puzzling...If you place the camera into the silent mode, so there are no sounds audible, the flash shuts off and will not work not even manually. If you want the flash to work and not hear all the beeps and bells you have to turn the volume down on each, just a little strange for me.

I really like the fact that you can use filters on the lens, it takes a 58mm filter but if you use the 24mm setting a lot you may want to get the slim frame filter to help stop the vignette that sometimes occurs in the full wide angle setting. I do find it strange that the camera does not come with a lens hood although it does come with a lens cap but that is usually standard with most cameras. The image stabilization works great, I have tried it many times, even grossly moving the camera while taking the picture and 9 times out of 10 the photo comes out on focus. There is some noise when you get to the 800 ISO and over range but that's to be expected, no camera is perfect.

Anyway, that's my opinion for now, I am going on vacation next month so I will put the camera through it's paces then so I will post again later. All in all it's a great camera and I am very happy with the purchase, my only true regret is that the HS10 does not have an auto zoom feature.
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on April 12, 2010
. .I had preordered the HS10 and was really anxious to try it out when I received it. I wasn't too anxious to use the video part of the camera as I intend mainly to use still shots. So I spent much of the weekend trying out various function of the camera. I set up a series of shots where I varied the ISO from 100 to 3600 and evaluated the results. As expected, the lower ISO settings produced little noise. In fact, noise levels were quite low even at ISO 800. I think one could be comfortable with all results at ISO 400 or less but still be reasonably satisfied with ISO 800. As expected, the higher the ISO, the more the noise but even ISO 6400 produced usable results. For most situations, this camera should produce very low noise shots.
. .Unlike some of the reviewers, I like the modest weight of this camera. It helps me minimize shaking when I take pictures. I also like the tightness of the zoom. I had an expensive Nikon lens which was loose but moved in or out if the camera was held facing up or down (called lens creep). I have been using a Nikon D80 with a long zoom lens and this is a much heavier camera. This HS10 was to be used to compliment the D80 and be used in places where I did not want to take the D80. I picked the Fuji since I expected the lens system to be nearly as good as that of some DSLRs.
. .I was right in that the quality of the lens is great and the stabilization is outstanding. I was able to get sharp images of printed material on license plates on cars about 400 feet away using full zoom and hand held. This really impressed me. On top of this, I found little distortion at full zoom with little to no purple fringing. This is better than the expensive Nikon lens I had been using. Again, impressive. I am not sure this will hold under all circumstances. I will let the expert reviewers determine this.
. .I was able to figure out the menus fairly easily but did have to run back to my computer to read some information from the PDF manual. I know cost is a factor but a printed manual sure would help. The small printed material that comes with the camera is fairly trivial.
. .Now for the negatives and they are significant. In taking about 220 pictures, I used 4 sets of batteries - 2 alkaline sets and 2 rechargeable sets. This is truly not acceptable and I am going to try to find out how to either return this camera or perhaps get a software fix (if there is one). This failing alone is enough to justify returning the camera. I have read others say that they had good battery life so mine may be a fluke.
. .The second problem was with the time needed to save shots. I have been using a DSLR and was able to take RAW shots and save them with little lag time between shots. I expected the HR10 to have some lag but was not prepared for the 6-9 second delay between single shots for RAW. If you shoot burst mode, you can shoot multiple shots with no delay between shots. I did this of flying birds with great results. However, after the burst, if shooting RAW, there is over a 10 second delay as the shots are recorded. Even using JPEG produces a delay of ~5 seconds. I did not time the saving of RAW+JPEG mainly because I was frustrated by the time lag of RAW and JPEG alone.
. .I have numerous SDHC level 6 cards and all give the same results when saving either JPEG (~3 sec) or RAW (~6 sec) shots. My wife has an underwater camera that requires SDHC/6 cards and at 10 megapixels, it takes less than a second to record JPEG. To eliminate variation from cards, I used the internal memory to record some shots. Guess what? The same results. I can accept slower for RAW but JPEG should be fast. I read comments from another owner (on another site) who had the same problem with slow saving so perhaps there may have been some poor quality control with the making of this camera. I have had experience with 6 other digital cameras and this camera has a slow save.
. .I will be contacting FUJI and probably Amazon since I feel I have a truly flawed camera. For those of you considering the HS10, you might want to wait until full reviews are out and see if my camera was simply a dud or if the FUJI HS10 does indeed have some major flaws.
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on April 16, 2010
Four and a half stars

Just got my HS10 yesterday and what surprised me literally first is that it looks and feels like a dslr. The camera isn't big at all and is light. All this with an excellent and very potent lens.

Having had many dslr and p/s cameras I was able go through the menu even without reading the manual (Fuji doesn't include the full hard copy of the manual except as a pdf file on the disk--my major complaint about the camera!).

The camera is light and easy to use, responsive and simple. Actually, a joy to use and manipulate. Upon further using the camera zoom, the overhead flash does stick out slightly to encumber the use of focusing on the zoom ring. A person with small hands probably won't have much of a problem, but those with larger hands may find it annoying. But you get past that once you see how nice and accurate the zoom is. The lens is sharp all the way through focus without any fringing (all glass in the lens according to Fuji).

I shot in raw and there was a short time lag of 2-3 seconds per shot. I haven't tried it in rapid/continuous shooting yet to see if it can fire off a few raw shots (yes, the camera will shot 6 consecutive shots!).

The lcd screen is nice and large and colorful. The view finder while nice that it has an automatic sensor that detects your eye, the image quality there is average. I understand that both lcd and view finder only show 97% of the picture which makes you scratch your head. But nothing too bad. The diopter to the viewfinder sharpened nicely according to your vision.

As I shot the images in raw, what struck me was how beautiful and rich the shots were. Some pictures even had me applauding. The zoom is fantastic and to be able to go from wide to full zoom in just a snap is wonderful. I've had dslrs and been lazy about changing lens. The convenience of an all-in-one lens is great. Camera image stabilization works nicely. I did notice that on aperture priority it only goes as far as f8, but in manual you can get f11. Another oddity.

I would say that the HS10 is a mini dslr or dslr-like. The nay-sayers and nit pickers you see on the reviews here are being unfair, because they want some great Nikon/Canon dslr which in the end costs big bucks but for $500 with this kind of zoom, CMOS sensor, and many more features (panorama stitch mode, etc.) that the normal dslr doesn't carry, you can't go wrong.

Later as I processed my raw photos I was truly impressed with the dslr quality of the images. The Fuji/silky software is slow but hopefully there will be something out better soon. Also, a firmware update by Fuji will easily enhance the camera's few foibles. (I forgot to mention that after first getting the camera and seeing the excellent results I then put on a tinted filter which affected the color saturation. I then purchased a clear lens filter and all the robust Fuji color is back. CLEAR FILTER IS THE WAY TO GO!)

I do recommend this camera in its class as a high end bridge camera or mini-dslr! More positives than negatives!

Read the positive photoblog review on the camera.

Also check out the many photos I've included here on Amazon.

Good luck to all. I'll try write later after I've gone through all the features.

Third day out shooting I figured out the trick for when the camera doesn't want to focus, you must also set the camera in macro mode and that helps solidify the shot. The camera sees a close up and thinks its a macro so you must also set the camera to macro!

As of April 27, Fuji has a released a firmware update for the HS10! Go to the Fuji website to update your camera performance. Good luck.

A second firmware update has been issued for the HS10 on May 24, 2010.

From my trying it seems that spotmetering allows for the best exposure and shot making. Without a doubt spotmetering is needed when at full zoom for distant shots to differentiate your subject lighting.
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VINE VOICEon June 6, 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It has taken me a long time to do this review, for various reasons including weather and my schedule, but also because it is such a complex little beastie. This is an amazing little camera for the price, which is less than I paid for my first 3 megapixel camera ten years ago.

I have uploaded several photos to demonstrate some of the capabilities of this camera, and all of the shots were taken before I read the CD-based pdf manual. While I found some aspects of shooting with this camera frustrating, most of the problems I faced were due to the complexity of the camera and not having read the manual.

The lesson here is - this is NOT a point and shoot camera. If you want to really push this beauty to its limits and squeeze all the good stuff out of it, you had better read the manual. There are many things which are not intuitive, although they are clearly explained in the manual, such as the different program shooting modes, and the fine points of using all the autofocus features. If you don't read the instructions first, I guarantee you will be frustrated. Shooting video is one of the things which will drive you crazy if you don't read the manual first.

That is not a negative. Any sufficiently complex device will require the same, and this camera has an amazing array of features.

It is essentially a low-end digital SLR (Single Lens Reflex - means you sight through the lens), and that is a mixed bag. One the one hand, you have many of the advantages of a pro SLR, such as the zoom lens (more on that later), and the ability to use regular photo filters on the lens (58mm). All the shots I show here were taken with a polarizer and a UV filter.

One the other hand, you lose the ability to change lenses, and the viewfinder is electronic, not optical,which makes it harder to use.

On balance, I think they have the feature set about right for the price point. The true "killer feature" is the 30 power zoom lens. This lens takes one from the 35mm equivalent of a 24mm wide angle to a super telephoto equivalent of 720mm! That is astonishing, and I doubt you will find a lens like that in the 35mm world. Despite the radical zoom range, the lens manages to keep a reasonable quality of image over most of the range. Those with 35mm experience will be in shock, and those not familiar enough to understand what that means will just have to look at my example photos.

Pros:

Fantastic optical zoom range
AA battery power with advanced battery selection and management
SD card slot in addition to 46 megs of internal memory
Video mode
Great range of advanced features, like moving object removal, etc.
10 megapixels with many quality and size settings
Rugged build quality
Partially articulated LCD panel
Captures Raw images for those who prefer that
Diopter adjustment on viewfinder for those with glasses

Cons:

Some poor ergonomic choices, like the right hand grip being too close to the lens for easy use. Should have made the camera just a bit larger, and used actual ergonomics, not just trying to look like a big SLR (many of which also have poor ergonomics)

Autofocus assist lamp located where it will be blocked by you right hand when shooting
Microphones hidden under flash hood on either side of lens
Several buttons on the left side of the LCD panel are easily bumped, putting you into different modes accidentally

Manual focus very hard to use

LCD and electronic viewfinder very difficult to use in bright sunlight

Video record button not labeled, only an orange dot on it

Video mode not the greatest - don't give up your HD camcorder just yet

On balance, for the price it is a useful and fun camera. I found myself wishing I had taken it with me on a recent short trip, where I tried to capture a striking vista with my Canon 720IS. The Fuji would have done a much better job. The fact that it is a solid, useful camera with an amazing 30 power zoom which can also use regular filters, makes this my new camera of choice beyond the basic pocket camera and short of a full-blown pro SLR.

If you want to get into more serious photography, but don't want to shell out 2 grand, this would be an excellent introductory SLR to begin with. For not much more than a good pocket camera, you gain many features of professional SLRs, including manual focus, extensive exposure control, various in-camera editing features, and other advanced features like moving object removal.

This is the camera I wanted ten years ago when I got my first digital. Thank you Fuji, for creating my dream camera. (Well, in this price range, anyway. Let's face it, the RED Epic is pretty dreamy - if you have 30 grand or more....)

There are only a few change I wish they would make, and I will discuss those in the video I am planning to make to add to this review.

Now, the pix:

These were all shot on the same day in about an hour, from the same location with the same tripod. While the Fuji had a polarizer and UV filter, the Canon does not offer those options. While this may not be a fair comparison in some respects, I prefer to have a UV filter protecting my lens, and a polarizer is very helpful in reducing reflections and increasing saturation outdoors. I would use them on the Canon if I had that option. I think the difference in the two cameras is clear, despite the advantage of the filters.

Five of the pictures are from my Canon Powershot A720 IS, for comparison. This has been my camera of choice for many years, and I consider it an outstanding value in a pocket camera. It is the reference camera for my camera reviews (well, until now maybe......).

I tried to replicate images to compare the zoom range of both cameras (the Canon is an 8 megapixel with a 4 power zoom). While not exact, I think they clearly show the extreme zoom range of the Fuji HS10 compared to the Canon 720 IS.

The first three Canon shots, 722, 723, and 724, go from the Canon's widest to most telephoto, in order. This is a 4 power zoom range, and is what I consider the lowest useful range in a still camera.

The next two are black and white versions of picture 724, with one pushed in contrast. The same settings in the same program (the Gimp - Linux version - brightness down -15 and contrast up +50) were used on Fuji pictures, 132 and 136 for comparison of sharpness between the two cameras, and to show the difference in brightness and contrast in the default settings.

Fuji pictures 106, 108, and 109 demonstrate the zoom range of 30 power. The zoom is continuously variable over that range, with indicator markings at various equivalent positions, such as 50mm, 200mm, etc. I picked three images just to illustrate the extremes. The mountains are well beyond 20 miles away.

Fuji pictures 130, 131, 132, and 136 demonstrate the Fuji's zoom range in comparison with the Canon 720 IS. The Canon only reaches to about the 200mm equivalent on the Fuji (Fuji 132). The mountain, which is barely visible in the Fuji's wide shot, is about 20 miles or so away from where I was shooting. Can you count the microwave dishes on the tower in the 720mm shot (Fuji136 - try the high contrast black and white version)? Amazing range.

Fuji 140 was an unplanned, off the cuff shot, taken rapidly without any chance to check settings or mode. I saw a hawk flying by, grabbed the camera, turned it on, framed quickly with no chance to check focus, and just snapped - hoping to catch something semi-usable. I was amazed that I got anything at all. On a closer look at home, I realized that the hawk was imaged reasonably well under the circumstances, and I could even see the ground squirrel she was carrying back to her nest. With more practice and reading the manual, this could be a fun camera for wildlife photography.

I did encounter some color artifacts at the widest telephoto range of the Fuji, but only in one shooting mode. There appears to be some pinkish color shifting on the right one-third of the image, mostly at the top. I did not encounter this when experimenting with another setting, and have not had time to extensively test for conditions where this will happen. Test pictures I did do were too big to load on Amazon. Be aware of this possibility.

Feel free to do side by side comparisons of these pictures to judge for yourself. I think both cameras are good, but the zoom range and higher pixel count on the Fuji definitely wins the day.

I think it is a great little camera with amazing abilities and huge potential. I hope to show some of these things more clearly in the video.

UPDATE: March 2011

I've found a serious glitch in the picture quality recently. Earlier, I had noticed some strange patterning in the images, but assumed that was due to image processing in the software I was using. I recently tried printing some pix on my new Brother printer, and got some pretty pronounced banding in the images from this camera. Since these were not processed in any way, but were just the basic jpegs straight from the camera, I assume they are artifacts from the sensor or internal processing. The banding is vertical, evenly spaced, and extremely visible in areas of smooth color gradients like sky. It does not appear in similar pix from my Canon 720IS printed at the same time on the same printer, so I assume it is the camera.

This is very distressing and I've docked a star already. I plan to do more testing against the 720IS and a new Canon SX130IS I just bought, and will report back when I have hard data. If it is as bad as I think, I will deduct another star from the rating.

In fairness, there are some firmware upgrades out for this camera, and the sparse info does mention processing problems which may be related to what I am seeing. However, given that the process has to be done very carefully to keep from bricking the camera, I may not test that. The images are still okay for online and computer use, they just look like crap printed out. I'm disappointed - ruined some great shots of Mt. Hood I'd taken. This camera may be headed for the back shelf.
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on April 9, 2010
I have been trying this camera out for about 5 days now and overall I ma satisfied with it. There was a lot of hype and high expectations for weeks prior to its release and it meets some expectations and in my opinion does not quite meet others but that could be my lack of expertise and the need for more practice.

It is a nice sized camera, weight proportionate with many neat features, some I am still sorting through but generally,the quality of the photos are very good and the 1080 HD video extremely good. As it seems with most digital cameras the better the light, the better the quality of the photos and video.

The manual zoom is nice and works well though it seems to be jerky (maybe it will smooth out with time. The 30X optical is very good and I have uploaded several photo's some of which are close up's of a Green jay which came very well. The night scene which I uploaded disappointed me but since uploading it, I have adjusted it with Photo-shop Elements and it came out fairly decent. it is worth saying that the noise on that pic' appears to be fairly low.

The video and still have plenty of battery life auto setting has worked fairly well for me as has many of the other settings, others I need more time to experiment with and will add a later update.
Battery life seems to be pretty good, I have taken about 150 photos and maybe 25 minutes of video with the Alkaline batteries that came with it.

The build quality is reasonable, I have seen better (and I have seen worse!) but I think it should last me quite a while.
It did come with software though I have not used it.

My main reason for wanting this camera is to be able to take quality pictures of my friends & family, of wildlife and a few sports events thus the need for a long zoom and this camera will do what I need.

Low light capability is not quite up to my expectations (yet), and I find the zoom a bit jerky but overall it appears to be a good camera that, in my opinion is a bit overpriced and I expect this camera to be selling for less than the list price within a few months (I have already seen it on marked down on one site but still preferred to buy from amazon). I also suspect that Fuji will bring out a firmware update fairly soon to address a few issues I have seen on forums.

I always say that the most important thing a camera should do is take great photos, and it pretty much satisfies me in that area. The video and a few other features make it worthwhile to me.

If you are thinking of buying this camera, it get my approval but check out some forums to see if it suits you (there are some really good expert opinions and uploaded pic's that should help most folks with their decision.

UPDATE 9-4-2010 Still happy with the camera, I wanted to post a note about a comment a reviewer posted in his review that he is using a Vivitar 2800 D accessory flash, well I immediately went onto ebay and found a used one as a buy-it-now for $16.00. I ordered it and have been trying it out. It is a really nice flash that was a bargain for the price. It's important to note that the reviewer says it must be the 2800 D and NOT the 2800 (minus the D) because he says that model has a different voltage.
I just wanted to let everyone know that if you need a decent flash that is an absolute bargain, give the 2800 D a shot, it woks very well!
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1717 comments|36 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 30, 2010
I've seen reviewers call this camera a mini-DSLR - it's not. It's a fixed-lens bridge camera with a small image sensor and a simply massive 30x OPTICAL zoom, period - there's no mirror to get out of the way as a DSLR would have nor interchangeable lenses. Now that the nomenclature is out of the way - it's a VERY GOOD bridge camera with excellent lens sharpness, vivid color reproduction and overall quite good image quality up to ISO 800 (which is very good for this category of camera). I've taken over 1400 hundred images with mine thus far, and have been extremely pleased with the unit overall. The image stabilization is surprisingly good (a necessity if you're fully racked out without a tripod!!) and I don't really have a quarrel with battery life, unlike many posters here; I've updated the camera with both firmware updates (one of which addressed the issue with the battery warning light coming on too soon) and I get about the same usage out of a set of Eneloops with this camera as I do with its predecessor, an Olympus Sp570UZ (also a very good bridge camera with a 20x zoom). Frankly I've never really counted the shots, but I did get something like 300+ images (many of which involved the onboard flash) in one afternoon's shoot before the battery light came on. You can usually get another 30-40 shots before the camera shuts down when that light kicks in.

What I like:
1) Obviously, the zoom. There are three focusing ranges - tele, macro, and supermacro, and if you find you can't focus in any of the modes you're probably out of the range for that mode. Simply switching modes can bring you into a decent focus area (although you may still have to "focus with your feet" a little bit depending on what you're shooting). The lens is pleasingly sharp throughout its range with well-controlled chromatic aberration - not a whole lot of "purple fringing" to be found here. I find the manual zoom to be quite smooth and easily controlled.

2) The control feature set. There are a number of mode presets or you can go fully manual where you choose the shutter and aperture - this is my preferred method but it has to be said that this camera's "auto" modes are pretty good. You have the full range of DSLR-style control modes - P, A, S, M along with quite a few varied scene modes (I was seriously impressed with the "fireworks" scene mode).

3). This lens is threaded - you can use 58mm filters easily. I use a circular polarizer frequently. It can even do some basic infrared photography with an inexpensive IR filter attached - it's not the best camera for that application but it is indeed capable.

4). Weight and handling. It's a fairly hefty camera (all that glass has to go somewhere) but it's well balanced and though I have small hands I have no problem with it. The battery well forms a nicely-shaped handgrip and the HS10 feels quite good to shoot.

5). Unlike a lot of reviewers, I LIKE the fact that the camera takes AA's - being able to run into the 7/11 and grab a set of alkalines has saved my bacon in the past with a couple of cameras when I've been too dense to recharge the spares!

6) Noise doesn't become a serious issue until you get past ISO 800; up to that point, most images are very good or at the most can be "tweaked" lightly with a quick run through of your favorite noise reduction software (I use Adobe Lightroom 3 which has FANTASTIC n/r).

7) The supermacro mode is excellent. You can get as close as one centimeter to your subject without any additional lenses. I have a Raynox DCR250 that I can use with this camera if I wish to get even closer, but out of the box the Fuji's macro range is impressive.

8) The onboard flash is actually quite good; this camera boasts an "Intelligent Flash" system which actually does reasonably well at controlling blowouts and makes for an excellent fill flash mode. There is a hot shoe as well - while there is no dedicated flash available for this model, one flash that can be used is the older Vivitar 2800D (NOTE THE "D"!!!) which is pretty easy to come by on eBay and works very well with this camera. Do NOT buy the 2800 Vivitar - its trigger voltage is too high, you'll fry the camera. Be sure to get the D designation.

9) Menus are intuitive and very complete - there's a setting for nearly everything you can think of including white balance adjustments.

The few things I don't like:

1) For a bridge camera that uses an LCD/EVF viewfinder system, it's not really a "live view"; what you see in the viewfinders isn't necessarily what your finished image will be. If you've severely underexposed it, for example, there's a "light meter" gauge in the bottom right of the screen that you'll need to train yourself to watch because the view you're looking at won't generally reflect the true scene as the camera will see it. Coming from a Panasonic FZ28 and an Olympus SP570, both of which DO show you what your image will look like, this took a while to get used to.

2) Come on, Fuji - a printed manual would be nice. What ships with the camera is essentially a pamphlet that doesn't even begin to cover the model's functions. I printed it out from the PDF on the CD and got it bound myself.

3) This camera's "low light" capability is a bit overrated, though that shouldn't be a surprise, given how much glass the light has to get through - for most indoor shots (especially if there's kids or pets) you will need that flash. The Pro Low Light mode works if there's no moving objects in the scene - it won't do you a bit of good if you're trying to photograph your child bouncing on the bed, for example.

Overall, this camera is a great model for learning how to shoot manually or just as a "grab it in Auto mode and start shooting". It's not perfect, but it's close enough for the type of shooting I do. I don't use it for video, nor do I shoot RAW, and I don't shoot action/sports venues, so I can't speak to its qualities in those areas.
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44 comments|21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 23, 2010
I've owned a multi-lens SLR for years, and my Fuji Finepix HS10 for about 3 weeks. I have taken about 300 test shots with it to test many of the features and functions as well as learning how to use it. Overall, I am very pleased with it. Image quality (IQ) is quite good, and it's fairly easy to use. The flexibility and number of features enables it to compete with basic DSLR's.

Lens: The OPTICAL zoom range is incredible (24 - 720mm)in a single lens! The overall performance of the lens is outstanding. Having a 24 - 720mm zoom range, there is no need to change lenses. Yipee! Say good bye to lugging around several lenses, and having to change them all the time!

Fuji has taken a lot of time to carefully design and engineer this camera. To get the most out of it, I've thoroughly read (and follow) the manual and have had great results. Most of the issues written by users I feel may be (IMHO) operator error; not following the manual. The manual however, could be somewhat clearer regarding some of the settings. Examples: Some of the settings / adjustments (ISO, White Balance, etc.) work only in modes other than Automatic or SR (which makes sense, but should be more clearly stated). Ref. page 49 "Autofocus Mode" - "Area" and "Tracking" modes work only when face detection is turned off which is not noted in the manual.

Examples of what I feel may be user errors / comments:
Battery life. NiMH batteries must go through 3 - 5 full charge / discharge cycles for them to operate at full capacity -this is why the camera has a battery discharge function! Brand-new NiMH batteries will not operate at full capacity until they have been discharged and recharged multiple times. I have found when the camera displays the red low battery icon, there is still significant battery life left; giving the user plenty of notice. I am using Sanyo Eneloop's which have 2,000 mAh capacity and worked great.

Ergonomics / lens zoom & manual focus operation: I find the manual zoom ring near the camera body, and zoom function to be smooth and both are easily operated. The other controls are well placed and with practice can be used without looking.

Write speed: I have found the shot-to-shot time to be fine. Be sure to format the SD / SDHC card IN THE CAMERA before use(again, read and follow the manual!)! Use "Class 6" or higher SDHC cards - especially for video capture (the "Class" number indicates the write speed - the higher the number, the faster the write speed). Also be sure to update the firmware when new versions are available (again, follow the manual!).

The flexibility and control of shooting modes (fully automatic to fully manual), control of aperture and depth-of-field (DOF), shutter speed, sensitivity (ISO), white balance, color settings enables the HS10 to compete with DSLR's.

Focusing: Generally, the camera takes sharp photo's, however at time I have found while in Auto mode, the camera may not focus on subjects when zoomed-in all the way. Switching to SR Auto puts the camera in macro mode and the camera will then focus. I've called Fuji to let them know. The camera should focus regardless of the mode in which it's operating.

I like the chrome color setting for outdoor photo's - accentuates greens and blues.

I have been a 3-lens SLR user for many years, and have found this camera was a great choice for me - a single lens w/ a 24 - 720 mm focal length range, a great combination of features, good IQ, flexibility, functionality, and at the price a great value!
33 comments|27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 3, 2010
After owning the camera for about a month, time for a brief review. Like many of the prior reviewers, I struggled with image quality out of the box. Focus when at near max or max zoom is unreliable. Sometimes it comes out, sometimes not. Manual focus is good, but tough to zero in on due to less than great resolution of the screen and electronic viewfinder. But it does work. Complaints about the manual focus ring and zoom ring are not relevant to me. I have adjusted to both just fine.

I am an amateur photographer who just takes pics for my own enjoyment. After having played with the settings and such for a month, I finally got serious with some photos recently. Took many in RAW instead of JPEG. Camera's JPEG photos are a bit soft with aggressive noise reduction, as others have pointed out. However, when I started to shoot in RAW, and do post processing with the SilkyPix software, the true capabilities of the camera, when proper focus and exposure are achieved, became evident. It is a far better camera shooting in RAW with post processing. Surprisingly good, actually.

There are still those shots that just don't come out right on auto or SR auto. This occurs more than other point and shoots in my experience, and I have a Panasonic with 10x zoom that is more consistent. But, I sort of expect that with a 30x zoom.

In good to decent light, shooting in RAW, with post processing, you can really achieve some excellent results with amazing levels of detail. But, the key is to shoot in RAW. You will not get the same level of detail in JPEG.

I have to agree with many other reviewers, you must take the time to get to know this camera. It's only the past few days that I've really started to achieve special results for some of my photos.

Shooting time is slow when in RAW or RAW + JPEG. Shooting time in JPEG is decent. Write times are slow in RAW or RAW + JPEG. The 7 frames per second in JPEG or 6 in RAW work well, when you are able to achieve proper focus and exposure in that first shot.

Lately I've thought about getting a DSLR, which I didn't want to do. Too expensive and heavy with additional lenses. But now that I've started to shoot in RAW and post process photos, I'll be less inclined to buy a DSLR for a while. My intent was to buy this camera, enjoy the massive zoom, and learn how to use a camera that otherwise operates much like a DSLR with manual, semi manual and automatic modes to suit any environment. This camera is allowing me to learn all of the ins and outs.

Battery life is good using Sanyo Eneloops or other hybrid rechargeables. The screen is good, not great. I have a Panasonic with 460k pixels, double the resolution of the Fuji, and the difference in quality is stunning. However, the EVF on the Fuji is useful if not great, and I like having it. I would have liked to see higher quality monitor and EVF, but at the price I can understand why Fuji didn't include them.

It seems clear to me that Fuji spent most of the money on this camera on the lens, which is excellent. Little barrel distortion or purple fringing, and amazing zoom quality. At full zoom it's tought get a crisp shot while hand held, but that's to be expected. Otherwise, the zoom is amazing. Using a tripod would help, no doubt, but I haven't tried that yet.

All in all I'm pleased but this is not a perfect camera and requires "care and feeding", and a learning curve, to get the best out of it. It is capable of some pretty amazing results once you become familiar with it, and are willing to shoot in RAW, suffer slower write times, and do post processing in SilkyPix.

If you are not willing to take the time to do this, then you might want to look elsewhere if you are picky about image quality. If you can live with good, but not great image quality, then I can recommend this camera for those who do not want to shoot in RAW. Also, be ready for some photos that just are not focused properly from time to time. I think this has to do with the amazing lens and zoom not being perfectly in sync with the camera's focus sensor. There are ways to work around the issue, but again, you have to learn the camera.

A couple of other observations: There are plenty of manual and scene modes here for just about any scenario. It is tough to shoot wildlife with this camera if the wildlife is moving. Camera is not that fast to respond. Camera has the ability to take macro and super macro with sometimes amazing results, but the resuls I have found to be inconsistent in macro and super macro. I have not yet zeroed in on why. You can achieve some pretty cool "bokeh" with this camera when zooming in and using macro. Above ISO 800, you will have quite a bit of smudge and noise. 400 is pretty darned good, 800 is acceptable.

I sound critical in this review, but really, just giving you the quirks and traits of a very capable camera in the right hands. I'd buy it again.
22 comments|18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 15, 2010
People Like the HS10
--------------------
First off, this camera can be a fun camera to use and that's probably one reason why some people like this camera. I liked this camera initially but as time wore on there were just too many snags that ultimately gave me reason to return it.

The Deal Breaker: False Battery Status
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The first one everyone will be familiar with is the false low-battery status message that this camera displays. Although freshly charged batteries were used, in less than an hour and fifty shots later, the camera shut itself down. The batteries were discharged prior to charging as per instructions, the battery selector was set to "N" for NiMh, and the rating of the batteries was 2000mah. Other HS10 users have been able to take 500 shots or more with this power rating so it isn't necessarily connected to higher mah ratings.

Firmware 1.03
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The problem for this bug was fixed in firmware version 1.02 but my camera was shipped with version 1.03. Yes, there is a newer version. But apparently, the old bug has resurfaced with 1.03 and the battery problem is alive and well. And no, you cannot downgrade back to 1.02 if you get a camera shipped with 1.03.

As mentioned before new battery performance (NiMh) is only 50 shots and less than an hour of shooting time before the camera shuts down (at least on my HS10). This is the real deal breaker for me. I called Fuji USA and the techs were in total denial about this issue. "We never heard of a HS10 battery problem," was their response. At that point, they lost all credibility with me as well as my respect for their customer support. I'm not sure if all newly shipped HS10s exhibit this problem, but mine did. Be sure to take this into consideration if you are contemplating the purchase of the HS10.

The HS10: The Good and the Bad
---------------------------------
As far as all around performance, it has a nice range of in-camera effects, fair low-light shooting capabilities, and of course, the 28-720mm monster zoom lens. Its auto focus isn't always spot on when in macro mode, contrasty scenes and in the shade; the percentage of properly focused images was only 1 in 20 when shooting flowers in the garden with average zoom using the auto focus. The noise from images above ISO 400 can be a bit much and the overall picture quality is about par for the course. The viewfinder imgae is totally insufficient in size and my guess is that Fuji forgot to add the proper diopter lens to it to magnify the display properly. This renders the viewfinder virtually useless because it is small...really, really small.

The Big Picture
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The HS10 offers some interesting features for a certain demographic, and if you fall into the category of photographers that has primarily used point and shoot cameras, the HS10 offers you an interesting bag of tricks. There are bells and whistles on this camera and this may give you a certain amount of entertainment for a time.

The slow motion video feature is virtually useless if you are planning to use the highest 1000fps setting because the frame size is only an inch or so in width (Fuji conveniently leaves this info out on their advertisements). Low light performance for outdoor shooting or overcast conditions will require bumping up the ISO to at least 800, but this is also where lots of noise starts to show up in photos. If the scene you are shooting is busy or you're zooming in, the auto focus won't be able to select the proper lock-on. For 4x6 prints, vacation shots, or informal picture taking, the HS10 may suit your needs while giving you the look of using a DSLR.

Conclusion
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If you are seeking a camera that has a respectable battery life, good low-light capabilities, good auto focus, and good image quality, you may want to hedge your bets by looking at other models. Don't let the siren call of a 30x zoom lens lull you into its spell because it's the overall performance of a camera that matters.

Perhaps the next iteration of the HS10 will solve many of the problems you have read about. But until then, make sure you do your homework by checking out as many reviews on this camera as possible as well as user experiences posted on the Internet.

I was well aware of all the issues revolving around the HS10 but hoped against hope that they weren't all valid. In my particular case, and sadly, many of the concerns proved to be true. (Yes, I read the whole camera manual so no user error here. ;D) It's very possible that there are quality control issues surrounding the HS10 and it may just be a matter of getting one of the good ones. In any event, a throw of the dice is a little disconcerting in order to get a unit that works.

Final Thoughts: FujiFilm USA
------------------------------
Fuji USA proved to me that they do not care about its customers when they have issues with their products; specifically speaking, the HS10. With this sort of support, or lack thereof, it made it apparent that FujiFilm will not back up its products once you purchase them. This is unfortunate because brand loyalty is destroyed and this will eventually hurt sales. As far as FujiFilm cameras, I won't be back.
22 comments|16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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