Customer Review

111 of 117 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent for the price... pros and cons..., August 26, 2012
This review is from: Fujifilm FinePix HS25EXR Digital Camera (Electronics)
Much has already been written about this model already, so I'll just give my pro and con list for the most part, based on my experience. While I do stock photography and use a DSLR for that, I wanted a more casual camera for around the house, and I'm not lofty in my expectations. I know what you should (and should not) expect for a price (and from Fuji, based on past Fuji camera experience).

Pro List:

1) Manual Zoom ring gives the "feel" of a DSLR w/manual focusing available.
2) Ability to use filters on lens.
3) Good hand grip and handling overall. Can use in full auto or lots of manual controls.
4) Non-proprietary AA batteries make it handy when traveling. I suggest "eneloop" rechargeable brand.
5) Overall good image quality (for a non-pro camera level) once you learn how to leave the full auto and adjust settings.
6) Tilt LCD.
7) Hot shoe for external flash (if you feel the need for it).
8) Very fast focusing under most conditions.

Con List:

1) Electronic eye viewfinder is very low res and very small.
2) Battery compartment door shifts when gripping camera a bit (irritating).
3) Image stabilization is sensor shift type - not lens type, so not as effective (and nearly worthless at 700mm full zoom).
4) Image quality is only best when you use the priority modes (7 megapixel resolution give or take) as opposed to full resolution mode.
5) Blows highlights easily unless you use the highlight priority mode.
6) No printed instruction book - can be hard to learn to use all manual items for those who might not be tech heads.

I would recommend this camera if you get it under $300 via Amazon or Costco who is also offering it for this price, and as long as you realize that while it LOOKS like a digital SLR, it is NOT a digital SLR. If you completely rely on the camera's full auto mode, then the image quality is "ok". If you take the time to read the CD manual and make some more manual adjustments to the settings outside of auto mode, then I bump up the image quality to "good". Using the camera at it's full 16mp resolution produces the poorest results. Once you get a couple of priority mode settings down and reduce the photos to a smaller size in-camera at around 7 megapixels, then images improve a good deal; of course, this means in order to get the best from this camera, you're sacrificing pixels - and you're paying essentially for a 7 megapixel camera instead of a 16 megapixel camera. Being able to use AA batteries is a plus for travelers.

My largest complaint is the type of image stabilization (IS) that is used in this camera, where the sensor itself is "shifted" instead of the lens having a stabilizing mechanism inside of it. Sensor shift IS is not as effective, and as a result, I found that when using this camera at full 30X zoom, I rarely get usable photos - even in bright sunny conditions and even when allowing the camera to up the sensitivity automatically to up to 400iso. Backing it off to around 500mm (per the guide that's printed on the lens barrel) fixes this for the most part, and the images are once again sharp, though this means it's not truly a 30X camera if you can't really use the zoom fully without a tripod. Not a great choice for bird and wildlife watchers if you expect the full zoom out of it to work perfectly, then.

Overall grade based on the level of camera it is, who it's aimed at, and price = B-
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Comments

Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 9, 2012 7:22:07 PM PST
SandyBeach says:
Wonderful review. Very helpful, so thanks much. Would you happen to know what make and model digital camera would be best in this price range? I definitely want to avoid that shift-sensor image stabilization, but when I do my homework it is not always possible to find out what KIND of IS the various cameras feature.

Posted on Dec 30, 2012 8:16:20 AM PST
A bit unfair to grade this "prosumer" camera as if it was a dedicated dslr w/ separate IS stabilized lenses that would cost about 10X what this one does. I was a professional photographer for 30 years, I wasn't expecting a 4X5 camera...For the money this camera is a minor miracle. Nobody should expect a 700mm lens equivalent to be hand holdable!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 30, 2012 1:36:01 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 30, 2012 1:38:31 PM PST
If I were comparing it to a DSLR it would have received 1 star. It did not. I gave it 3 stars. The average consumer who was not a professional photographer for 30 years can't tell the difference between a real DSLR and one that just looks like it; add to that the false claims that are made by many stores that sell it, and even one or two "fluffed" claims I've seen Fuji make about this camera, and it's even more confusing for the typical consumer to know what to expect. I'm glad this camera was a "miracle" for you - it wasn't for me. To each his own. Have a nice 2013.

Posted on Mar 20, 2013 6:46:30 PM PDT
Big Joe says:
A very biased review. The complaint about the electronic viewfinder is just wrong. The EVF is a 920K eye sensing unit that works great and is better than the one on the highly rated Canon SX50. No one should try to take a shot with the zoom fully extended and expect great success without a tripod. I admit the image stabilization isn't as good as the Canon or the Sony Hx200V which I also own but it doesn't do well without a tripod at full 30x either. As for the DSLR comments......duh?

Posted on Jun 22, 2013 7:08:04 PM PDT
Michael says:
Can you explain why the color saturation is so poor? I get much better results with a point and shoot. Is there a way to overcome this?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 22, 2013 9:58:29 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 22, 2013 10:03:38 PM PDT
Michael, there are color settings that supposedly mimic film in the menu that MIGHT increase the saturation for you. If not, in an image editor you can boost the saturation that way.

Regarding the DSLR comments that others have made: Please read what I'm saying - my point is that a lot of people who buy this level of camera are not extremely well versed on the different levels of cameras and what to expect from each one. If it LOOKS like an expensive DSLR, some people expect it to produce the same results as a DSLR. My comment is to point out that the output from this camera is *not* DSLR quality, even though physically it looks like one. If you are more knowledgeable about what to expect then that's great, but a lot of people are not. I've actually known several people who buy cameras like this and say something like, "Oh, it LOOKED like one of the good ones, I thought that's what it was"... and it doesn't help with all of the shopping channels selling these now telling the customers during the presentation, "This will give you photos just as good as what the professional photographers take with their much more expensive cameras". And yes, some people really do believe it.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2014 11:43:01 PM PDT
jpmath says:
Fuji offers three color film simulations on the HS25: Provia, Astia, and Velvia. Provia is typically the best at retaining dynamic range, but has very low contrast and saturation. It is also the default, which is probably why you think the saturation so poor. Astia is supposed to be better for portraits, and Velvia for vivid images like landscapes, flowers, wildlife, etc.

A lot of people recommend Provia on this camera: it saves the most information, so you can process it later. I typically preferred Velvia myself, but also changed the Tone to Soft, which helps retain more information (and gives a nice image, too).

Another option which may affect this is the dynamic range. If you have it set too high for a given situation, images will look somewhat flat. Fuji actually has a very good system for increasing DR in an image; unfortunately, the HS25 doesn't do as good a job selecting DR as in some other models.
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