HS50EXR .. a new breed of camera?


Or more of the same in disguise.

Perhaps not. On the surface the HS50EXR has a lot going for it.

So whats under the hood? Well the hood is now larger than the HS30, in fact its almost as big and weighty as the XS1. Think XS1 on a slimming diet, a little lighter and a little less bulk.

The line up of features is pretty good too.

  • A 42x Lens 24 – 1000mm) equivalent
  • New EXR II sensor
  • Super fast Phase Detect AF ( similar to that found in DSLR’s)
  • Improved image stabilization.
  • Full HD movies @ 60fps
  • 920k dot finer and LCD ( a big improvement on the HS20)
  • Variable angle LCD
  • Intelligent digital zoom ( something we lost on the HS20)
  • Higher continuous frame rate
  • Improved lithium battery for up to 500 shots (still not as good as AA lithium rechargeable as used in the HS20 )
  • Retains the 58mm lens diameter, great news for those that bought filters for the other HS series cameras.
  • Q function button for getting to your favourite settings in a jiffy. This is a welcome inclusion and more configurable than the old function button that Fuji put on some models.
  • Focus peak for manual focusing, something that would have been nice on the HS20, rather than the horrible magnified image we had to use.

Time will tell whether Fuji is on to a winner here or repeated the problems with the XS1. Hopefully not.

There’s ( for me at least ) a lot to like about this new camera. Hopefully it will be priced well, something the XS1 never was, right from the outset. Of course there’s lots of other features as well but by far the most important ones are listed above.

All going well we should see units hit the shops March/April, a fairly traditional launch time for Fuji’s new lines. Whose willing to be a pioneer and grab a new one, or is the specter of the problem plagued XS1 going to stay your hand for a bit?

This is the first video from the Fuji Guys showing what it looks like in action.

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14 thoughts on “HS50EXR .. a new breed of camera?

    1. I hope so because the “improved sensor ” on the HS30 really didn’t do anything in the IQ stakes even if it did help the AF speed a little.

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    1. Hi Alex.
      Longtime since I heard from you :P.

      Where did you come across the info regarding FSI Vs BSI for the EXR sensor?
      An FSI sensor is counter intuitive for EXR as that means the sensor wont work as efficiently ( In theory at least) and would reintroduce the noise levels of earlier EXR cameras.

      I doubt that a droopy lens is likely. It’s still the same diameter as our HS20/30″s albeit a little longer. The XS1 suffered from lens droop because it didn’t have tight enough seals or enough of them and a larger diameter lens with more elements meant a lot more weight. They really did stuff the design of that lens up.

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  1. Hey Ralph! Someone mentioned it on Dpreview and it seems like the specs of Fuji cameras state whether a camera is BSI (on even the midrange models) and the HS50 is stated to have an EXR sensor but not a BSI sensor. Someone on Dpreview said that to be able to make the sensor phase detect AF they might have needed an FSI sensor. Hopefully someone can clear this up for us!

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    1. Yes that’s an interesting point, as DSLR’s all use phase detect with a CMOS sensor that is BSI. It makes me wonder why Fuji couldn’t do so as well.

      Looking at this link though it does show the wiring circuitry has been moved forward again, so one can only assume to be able to use both Phase Detect and Contrast Detect AF in a hybrid arrangement, while keeping the Standard EXR pixel array, they have had to revert to a more traditional style CCD arrangement as seen in the F200EXR. Still rated by a lot of EXR users as the best EXR camera to date, so maybe they are going back to the EXR roots somewhat.

      HS50 link http://www.fujifilm.com/products/digital_cameras/s/finepix_hs50exr/features/page_02.html

      Current HS30 link
      http://www.fujifilm.com/products/digital_cameras/s/finepix_hs30exr/features/page_02.html

      No doubt there will be much speculation regarding this at FTF.

      The HS50 still maintains the 24mm wide angle which is good, for closeup work as well as landscape.

      As to ISO performance, if can come close to matching the XS1 for ISO performance at least up to ISO 1600 I would be well pleased with that. Anything over ISO800 in the HS20/30 was often borderline unusable unless taken in good light. ISO 400 was usually ok, even for darker subjects, but the noise levels above that could be brutal at times.

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  2. Thanks for the excellent find Ralph, I can always rely on you and Bill to dig up valuable info! I miss the old forum, it’s very hard for me to read or post on dpreview right now because of the new format. Thats why I havent been posting much.

    I think the answer in why dslrs can do it but Fuji couldnt may lie with the fact that the dslr sensors are much larger, not sure on this, just an educated guess. Ralph, has the HS50 started to sell already? I wasnt aware, I was looking for online ratings and reviews.

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  3. Ralph I actually needed to ask you a question about focusing with the HS20. I may upgrade for this reason alone (and more zoom of course) it seems to be hard for the camera to focus even in midzoom under somewhat low light conditions (the light of a 60 watt bulb for example)….. I found a stopgap which is to set the camera to continuous focusing, but that makes me wonder if I should change my AE/AF lock button settings, currently I have it set to AE lock only and use the shutter half press for AF lock, that way I can use each lock separately or both together by pressing both buttons, but my question is does half pressing the shutter still lock the focus even in continuous focus mode?

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    1. Yes. Half press with continuous focus will lock focus, as soon and you lift off the shutter button the camera will refocus for you.
      You also get much better response if you switch to Tungsten – White Balance (if memory serves ) which gives much better response under incandescent lighting.

      The Fluorescent W.B. settings are very good for Fluro and sodium vapor lighting. Spot metering seems to work best for AF in low light as well, well at least for what I shoot in low light.

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  4. One other thing that interests me about the HS50 is what is the max aperture available at the max zoom of the HS20, that is around 700mm? It should be better than the HS20 f/5.6 since that is the max aperture at 1000mm on the new camera. Also, have we confirmed that 1000mm is indeed 1000mm with this new camera? and it weighs close to what the x-s1 weighed? One thing I wish they would do is make manual exposure mode more user friendly that is, make the lcd darken or lighten with exposure changes- as far as you know, they didnt fix this issue did they?

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    1. Assuming the 1000mm focal length is genuine, then 700mm focal length is most likely going to be F4 – F4.5 or there abouts, maybe even a little better, f3.6 perhaps.

      Yep, size and weight are very close to the XS1, for me that’s a good thing, bigger means it will fit my hands better.

      As to the manual exposure feedback for the LCD, it would be handy for those that shoot manual to be sure, but probably doesn’t rate high on the upgrade path that Fuji has in mind.

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  5. Thanks for all the valuable info, Ralph! I didn’t know that adjusting white balance could improve focusing ability in low light, that’s really interesting! Or the thing about spot metering, thanks! Hunting for focus is a plague for the HS20 lol.

    BTW if you have any questions about WordPress features, just ask, I have a wordpress blog and 2 blogger blogs, for my longer posts I often use Scribd (a free service) to upload what I’ve written in word or wordpad and then put the link on wordpress or blogger, what that does is upload a PDF right to your blog, which readers can scroll through and view online (with numbered pages and all, and they dont have to download it) and since it also allows you to embed images in the documents and people can search by page or table of contents or index, it’s very useful and convenient! I have some blog entries on here that are over 100 pages long but very easily readable since they are embedded PDFs thanks to Scribd!

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