Continuing with the HS20EXR…

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.

24mm ISO 100 – F4.9 @ 1/850 sec
Shot @ 12mp  @ 16:9 HR Priority

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.

69 mm ISO100 – f6.5 @ 1/250 sec
Shot @ 12mp @ 16:9 HR Priority.

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.

126 mm (660 mm equiv.) ISO 100 – f7.1@ 1/300 sec
Shot at 12Mp @ 16:9 HR Priority

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.

24mm ISO 100 f4.0 @ 1/640 sec
8 mp @ 4:3 DR Priority
126 mm – f 7.1 @ 1/320 sec
8Mp – DR Priority @ 4:3 – 50% crop.

 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.


12 thoughts on “Continuing with the HS20EXR…”

  1. Hi. Great summary …. couldn’t agree more. My mind has been made up for me anyhow. Last night I posted a query regarding the release date of the HS50 on the Fujifilm Australia Facebook page. Received the following reply: “Unfortunately the Fujifilm HS50EXR will not be coming to Australia at this stage………”. So for now, like you, I stick with the HS30 and just enjoy it. 🙂


    1. That comment was all I needed to end my Fuji association.
      Given their appalling track record recently and now not releasing new stock here or in Australia is simply the last straw. Fuji obviously doesn’t value it customers enough to even set up a direct buy opportunity from Fuji themselves for models that don’t get released locally.

      If I were a Fuji stockist here or in Australia, I would be very seriously looking at dumping Fuji and all their stock, obviously they don’t value their distributors either.

      I’m going to be heading back to Pentax country now. I used to use their SLR’s and now I will start thinking about replacing the HS20 with something else.


  2. i will stick also with my hs20 exr i photo shoot alot the only problem is writing times
    i hope in a hacked firmware maybe give a hope this camera to save in sd directly or alse i will buy a canon 6d


    1. Hi Jan.
      Its not about waiting, its about the callous way Fuji is treating both their end users and their distributorship. If I were a local Fujifilm outlet, and was told that the new models aren’t coming I would be more than furious I would be seriously looking at making sure I was promoting brands that were interested in dealing fairly with their clients.

      As to the XS2, assuming there is going to be one, and at the moment it looks highly unlikely, it will again be an overpriced door stop as was the XS1 and what appears to be the price of an HS50 assuming we could even get one.


  3. Hi again. What has me concerned about this is simply – why? When a camera is released in the USA and the UK then why is Australia (and apparently NZ) off the list? Even stranger, do a Google search and try to find one in Hong Kong, the capital of camera retailing. If it wasn’t for the fact that the HS range is, in my opinion, the top of the tree in terms of 1/2.3″ super zooms then I’d be feeling like oldclickka too!


  4. 22
    APR 2013
    Rumor Update: 2/3 inch sensor not for X-entry level camera (X-S2 according to an anonymous source)
    digicame-info wrote me an email. They told me that the 2/3 inch X-TRANS sensor camera is not the X-entry level camera rumored before, but another product [UPDATE: 2/3 inch sensor mirrorless camera].

    Now, this let’s me think about a rumor I’ve received a few days ago, anonymously via rumor box. A single line: “X-S2 with x20 tech over 1 month“. Just this, nothing more. I wanted to check it, before I post it, but now, with digicame-info saying that a new camera with a 2/3 inch sensor is about to be released this summer, I thought it’s time to post it… let’s put the pieces of this rumor puzzle together.

    I hope I can bring some order in these rumor days soon. But, the good news is, that there are still some more Fuji-cameras to come next.


    1. Yeah I was reading that earlier today.
      If the X-S2 isn’t going to get a 2/3 sensor ( EXR or X-trans) then whats it going to have? A half inch sensor,what a waste of time that would be.

      As far as I know X series cameras were never designed as “Entry Level” so whats this rumor really about?


  5. Fuji X serie’s means Xtrans ,HQ camera built with a Xtrans sensor in it.
    X10 and X S-1 did not have a Xtrans sensor > so Fuji swaped the Exr overlay for a X trans overlay ..and improved the electronics….enter the X20 and X S-2.


    1. No its not savage, however I am being critical, and not without good reason. While I have had and still am getting good results from my HS20, Fuji have been letting themselves down of late.

      Both here and in Australia it looks like Fuji is abandoning the local market and if I were an approved Fuji retail outlet, and was told that the two current top line cameras weren’t being introduced I would be examining what sort of relationship Fuji was trying to enact with its stockist.

      Is this a ploy by Fuji to try to push the X series exclusively in the NZ market place or do they just feel that the market is so small as to be inconsequential to its overall camera production & sales strategy.

      Don’t get me wrong, I like the Fuji bridge camera idea, and the manual zoom really is a master stroke. Unfortunately poor design, manufacture and customer relations have done little dispel a good deal of customer annoyance and irritation.

      Meanwhile we all wait with baited breath to see where Fuji will take us next, but as things stand now, when I replace the HS20 I seriously doubt it will be with another Fuji.


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