29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Excellent bridge camera for those wanting to move beyond point and shoot cameras,
This review is from: Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR 16MP Digital Camera with 3-Inch LCD (Black) (OLD MODEL) (Electronics)
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One of the downsides of being a photography enthusiast is that you tend to get stuck within a particular brand's ecosystem. I'm a Canon guy, and when looking at new cameras, I tend to ignore everyone else out there. So I went into this review a bit biased - can this bridge camera do as well as my beloved Canon cameras can?
I shoot with a SLR most of the time, and sometimes it's just a pain to carry and deal with. But I want to be able to take good photos and have decent range without swapping lenses. It sucks the fun out of photography.
At first glance, the Finepix HS50EXR fits great in your hand. I love the manual zoom ring, so it makes me feel at home when compared to my SLR. The camera is fairly intuitive, with manual controls for aperture, shutter speed, full manual, "automatic" (EXR mode) and more. Out of the box, you get the impression that you can take great photos without reading the manual. However, I do recommend reading the manual, despite it being awkwardly written.
The big selling point on this camera is the 42x zoom. However, when fully pushed out, I felt like my photos lacked detail that I typically got at wide-angle on this camera. In a way, this is expected. Between the sensor size and the optics of the lens - something has to give. However, it wasn't a show stopper.
Image quality is superb - however, once I started pushing up the ISO past 400, the more grainy the image became. At ISO 800, it was noticeable. At 1600, it wasn't pretty.
Things that I like about the camera: The electronic viewfinder is awesome. The LCD has a great range of motion and excellent detail. Video quality at full HD is great. Battery life rocked - I shot over 400 images and still had ample charge left. The camera is very responsive - ready to go as soon as you turn the power on, and I didn't notice any buffering when shooting in quick succession.
What didn't I like? Not much, actually. The camera is heavier and larger than most cameras in this class, but coming from a Canon 5DM2, this felt downright lightweight. The FinePix Viewer software was just ok but was awkward to navigate around. I'd highly recommend spending the extra money to buy a copy of Adobe Photoshop Elements. The battery charger was big and bulky. The big gripes are the lack of detail when fully zoomed out and noise at higher ISOs, but it's a tradeoff for the range. The included panorama mode is nice but you're better off using a free solution, like Photosynth for Windows.
I'd also suggest buying this camera with a SDHC card (class 10 is ideal) and you might want to consider a 58mm UV filter that will protect the lens' front element from scratches. And if you're new to photography or want to improve, you should check out Scott Kelby's books.
The verdict? I'd recommend this camera to everyone - from someone who wants to leave their SLR at home and to someone who wants to grow from a point and shoot camera. But I'd also suggest taking a long look at the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 12.1 MP Digital Camera with CMOS Sensor and 24x Optical Zoom - Black. But make no mistake - for the price, this is one heck of a camera.