Larger and weightier than most entry-level DSLR, the Fujifilm FinePix HS10 is a solid-feeling camera that's powered by four AA batteries. It also holds the distinction of being the first new digital SLR model Fuji has launched in years.
Currently Fuji's most 'professional' camera, in truth the market for the Fujifilm FinePix HS10 is the amateur enthusiast – ideal for PC Advisor readers, in other words.
Offering a whopping 30x optical zoom, equivalent to a wide angle 24-720mm, the Fujifilm FinePix HS10 also has the compositional advantage of a manual focus ring plus manual zoom mechanism for more precise user control. This means you don't need to gingerly tab back and forth using a slider switch, as you do on its rivals. Sensor shift image stabilisation counteracts hand wobble and reduces blur and provides crucial support for such a long lens. The HS10 also features a tilting 3in LCD, enabling more adventurous framing.
The Fujifilm FinePix HS10 offers the alternative of an electronic viewfinder (EVF) to compose images should sunlight render main screen visibility tricky. Fuji's own viewfinder features eye sensors so it automatically switches on as it detects your eyeball. Usually photographers have to flick a switch to swap between LCD and EVF, so this is a very cool timesaver.
This goes some way to redress the fact that the Fujifilm FinePix HS10 sports an effective resolution of 'just' 10.3Mp. However, there's something to be said for not over-burdening the smaller sensors found in compact cameras; theoretically the less pixels, the less image noise at higher ISO settings.
This camera offers stereo Full HD movie capture. The resulting clips can be viewed immediately on a large display thanks to the Fujifilm FinePix HS10's mini HDMI output. Other useful includes are options for either RAW or Jpeg file capture, 10fps (frames per second) shooting at maximum resolution and an easy-to-use Motion Panorama mode for one-shot sweeping panoramas. The stitching here is pleasingly cohesive, though subjects moving through the frame can appear disjointed. We also admired the Scene Recognition Auto mode for point-and-shoot operability though it also compounds the impression of a jack-of-all-trades option.
Pictures display even exposures with rich, natural-looking colour. Detail is good, and if there is some slight softness when shooting at the full extent of the zoom, this is forgivable. This one-size-fits-all option knocks spots off the pocket camera you might be upgrading from.
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