For now at least I will continue with the HS20EXR and my little s5700 for out an about snapshots. The HS20 will continue to be the main workhorse for the present.
The Argument for L Vs M size Rages On.
With the advent of the HS50 I have been closely following discussions at Dpreview’s “FujiTalk Forum”. To date a good deal of talk has been around the method of shooting this camera, L size Vs M size for image clarity & IQ.
There are proponents for each side of this discussion with the supposition being the the HS50 AA filter has been optimized for the L (16mp) mode while others purport that it is best shot in M (8Mp) mode.
To date I see an argument for both, just as I did when the HS20 came along. In good quality light 16mp full resolution does appear to hold a small gain in detail, whilst 8 Mp resolution would appear to give better results in tricky light conditions, with the improved DR range allowing for more detail in shadows and retention of highlights. So in essence both parties can be right depending upon conditions and light.
What I haven’t seen to date is the much improved IQ that the new sensor is supposed to provide. There is still a huge difference between the HS50 images and images shot well with the XS1. Its a obvious as night and day. In point of fact I don’t think the improvement over the HS20 to the HS50 is all that great either.
I’m seeing a good deal of sub par images from the HS50, and these are from owners who have had an HS camera prior to the HS50. One would think that they at least should be able to extract excellent images but for some reason or other this doesn’t appear to be the case. However its early days yet so let us suspend judgement for now.
All That Zoom …who needs it?
The HS50 comes with a lens able to give a 1000 mm FL (35 mm Equivalent). Thats massive and matches some of Fuji’s competitors. But who really needs that much zoom in a bridge camera with a tiny sensor? Perhaps dedicated bird photographers would. However to really get anything truly worthwhile at these focal lengths really is going to require a good tripod, even with the improved (apparently) Image Stabilization.
Personally I think they should have stayed with the HS20/30 focal length and worked solely on improving the EVF, AF, write times, sensor performance etc… than getting caught up in the zoom race.
THE HS20 In action
The following images were hand held with the HS20 on ANZAC morning, as the local AG chopper flew overhead at 7.00am. Sheesh I was just waking up !!
First one is a wide field of the area I was shooting. The Barrel house is visible just right of center image.
The second shows the chopper in front of the Barrel house on a return run. The chopper flies up to 100 meters off the house before turning back.
The third is a full zoom shot of the chopper just as it approaches the end of the run above the house. Distance from my position is a little over 2 kilometers and of course the target is moving.
The white granulation that is visible in this image isn’t noise but the pellets of fertilizer, in this case Urea being sprayed out from the hopper. I’m fairly pleased with this shot as the detail is very good given the focal length and the distance to the chopper from my position. If I had more zoom would this have been a better shot? No, all I would have had is less subject in the shot, which would have made for a less dynamic image.
I turned my attention momentarily in the opposite direction and noticed a small grey lump on the side of the water trough in the valley below. Its about 400+ meters from my shooting position. I swapped to DR mode @ 4:3 image size for these shots.
The trough is the small grey dot at center frame.
This final image is the original from which the crop above was taken.
What this tells me is the 660 mm focal length is more than enough for anything that you may want to shoot handheld. With a 1000 mm focal length I wouldn’t have even tried this shot. I used tracking focus to obtain a good AF lock. I used the half press and track method rather than using the individual target tracking mode which is also available when operating the camera in this mode. I found this method of focusing to be accurate 90% of the time, even when using burst mode.
Therefore if you have an HS10, HS20 or HS30 and were thinking of upgrading to the HS50, I would give it a good deal of thought as to whether there is sufficient cause to change given that the HS50 is about 40% more expensive than a new HS30 and really doesn’t appear to have much in the way of Image Quality gain.