Reviewing the HS20EXR Update…Pt3

Reviewing the HS20EXR Update…Pt3

Settings

SN Versus P Mode. 

One of the major points of difference the Fuji HS20 has over its sibling the HS10 is the ability to shoot low light images well without the traditional noise associated with small sensor cameras. To do this Fuji uses it EXR technology to combine the 16mp sensor photo-sites into a smaller megapixel array (by effectively doubling the size of each of the sensors photo-sites).See Fuji’s website for more on how this works. http://www.fujifilm.co.nz/products/digital_feature.asp?id=2&sid=1&pid=1021&fid=1225

This is all well and good but does it actually work? Yes it does, within certain parameters.

In HR (EXR Resolution Priority mode) you are limited to maximum ISO of 800, either in selected or Auto ISO mode. You also only have available DR100% in any ISO setting. This is not a major issue in bright light or well lit areas, or even in moderately low light areas, but at night that could present a problem.

This is where the SN Auto or manual mode is supposed to take over. Again DR100% is all that’s available in this mode but ISO ranges from 100 to 3200. It should also be noted that maximum file size is limited to 8mp at the 4:3 size and smaller as you reduce the image size. So what can you achieve by using this mode?

For these tests I used a highly reflective A4 print containing two different areas ( giving us both light and dark portions). The only light source was a small amount of light coming through the office window, from a dull and foggy morning. A reasonably typical lower lit environment, with black table top and black computer case as the background. I used spot metering and metered the camera on the small white strip that divides the two photos.

The reason for using the P mode ( DR400%) settings is that it provides an image using the full 16mp on the sensor. I shot both modes in 16:9 which effectively gives images of 12mp and 6mp after the camera has automatically cropped the shot.

P mode is on the left with SN Auto mode right hand side, Exif data is embedded in all but the last photos.

 
 

P Mode 3200
– Primary Image
Manufacturer = FUJIFILM
Model = FinePix HS20EXR
– Exif Specific
Exposure Time = 1/680 sec [0.001]
F Number = 5
Exposure Program = Normal program
ISO Speed Ratings = 3200
Exif Version = 0230
Original Create Time = 2012:09:21 11:29:17
Compressed Bits per Pixel = 16/5 [3.200]
Shutter Speed Value = 949/100 [9.490]
Aperture Value = 23/5 [4.600]
Brightness Value = 429/100 [4.290]
Exposure Bias Value = 0
Max. Aperture Value = 300/100
Metering mode = Spot
Light Source = Unknown
Flash = Flash did not fire,
Focal Length = 10.90 mm
4:3 SN 3200
– Primary Image
Manufacturer = FUJIFILM
Model = FinePix HS20EXR
– Exif Specific
Exposure Time = 1/100 sec [0.010]
F Number = 4
Exposure Program = Normal program
ISO Speed Ratings = 200
Exif Version = 0230
Shutter Speed Value = 33/5 [6.600]
Aperture Value = 4
Brightness Value = 417/100 [4.170]
Exposure Bias Value = -33/100 [-0.330]
Max. Aperture Value = 300/100
Metering mode = Spot
Light Source = Unknown
Flash = Flash did not fire,
Focal Length = 12.70 mm

You can see that even at ISO 3200 the camera is always trying to shoot at the minimum ISO for any given occasion. The general quietness of the image is apparent with the SN images. Noise is being reduced without too much reduction of image quality. For this series I set the NR (noise reduction) in the setup menu to low. In fact its always operating in the low position as I want to maintain maximum detail when taking a shot. For all but the full size image at bottom right I used an Ev setting of 0.00. It was only when I switched to the bigger file format 4:3 at 8mp that the increase in light necessitated a small reduction in Ev.

SN 3200
– Primary Image
Manufacturer = FUJIFILM
Model = FinePix HS20EXR
– Exif Specific
Exposure Time = 1/40 sec [0.025]
F Number = 14/5 [2.800]
Exposure Program = Normal program
ISO Speed Ratings = 100
Exif Version = 0230
Original Create Time = 2012:09:21 11:43:09
Shutter Speed Value = 533/100 [5.330]
Aperture Value = 3
Brightness Value = 289/100 [2.890]
Exposure Bias Value = -33/100 [-0.330]
Max. Aperture Value = 300/100
Metering mode = Spot
Light Source = Unknown
Flash = Flash did not fire,
Focal Length = 4.20 mm

I set all other settings identical to my preferred HR settings as shown HERE.
So while there is a general improvement in the amount of noise reduction from the camera, to date I haven’t had too many occasions to use this mode as I find HR or manual mode offers more flexibility, and if greater Dynamic range is required switching to P mode with the file size set to 8mp can be a good option.
The HS20 is a good lowlight shooter without having to resort to to many settings to get the shot.
This last shot ( sorry the lounge wasnt a little tidier) was taken with the camera set to SN @ Auto ISO 3200. Because the white chair cover in the foreground was brighter than the rest of the area I used spot metering and metered off the chair. This calmed the image substantially and the camera choose the appropriate ISO setting for the scene.
The subject was the sleeping cat as it was located in a low light area.Again only natural light from a window for this image. As you can see from the Exif data the camera was still able to take the shot, and rather amazingly decided that ISO 100 was sufficient.
It is therefore a good idea for HS20 owners to perform similar tests so as to ascertain exactly how well the camera works for differing situations.
What we can take from this is that if its at all possible the camera will default to the lowest ISO that it can in order to take the shot and preserve IQ. Its not a world beater but is a mode that could prove very valuable if you find yourself in a situation where time is of the essence and fiddling with controls just isn’t going to work. No matter what happens dont forget to have fun doing photography.

Posted by R. McKenzie at 12:50 PM  

10 comments:
  1. Hi Ralph:

    A most excellent review and honest opinion of the new FujiFilm HS20EXR. I have been photographing with Fuji S200EXR for two years now and yesterday upgraded to the HS20EXR. Took a bit of practice with the EXR technology when I first bought the S200EXR but what an excellent all-rounder, as I finally found the perfect camera for light weight travelling.
    Got the shock of my life to find that the HS20EXR is actually lighter than the S200EXR and more compact with extra’s included. A big hat’s off to Fuji and long may the EXR technology continue…and hat’s off to yourself with an excellent blog.

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  2. Hi Davy.
    Glad the blog has been of some help. When I first bought the HS10 I was looking for an entry level DSLR kit with at least two lenses, one of which needed to be at least 250mm Fl.
    Unfortunately the budget was a thousand dollars only so that put even the Pentax Kx out of my reach. By chance I saw an add on line for the HS10, found a local dealer who had one and the rest as they is history.
    Of course I now have the HS20 an even better camera. I like the fact that I have all the functionality of a DSLR and point and shoot capability, with a very long lens, in a nice sized package. Its about the same size as the New Pentax Kr.
    The perists would have you think this camera cant take photos, but I regularly print at A4 and the images are easily as good as my Pentax SLR’s so for me its a win all round. I cant see me changing this camera for a while yet unless they bring out something like an HS30 with a four thirds sensor and 600mm zoom, that would sure get my attention.
    Cheers
    Ralph

    ReplyDelete

  3. Thanks man for this link,it sure will help me squeezed the best out of my hard earned money! Gratitude from India 🙂

    ReplyDelete

  4. More than happy to help.
    Once you have used it for a while , I’d love to see some photos of where you live. If you can put some into a web album I’m happy to put a link here on the blog.
    Cheers
    Ralph

    ReplyDelete

  5. Thanks for the info. I’ve had the camera for about two days now and have yet to unleash it out here on the Namaqualand landscapes of South Africa. I’ll be sure to try out some of your settings!

    ReplyDelete

  6. Good to hear you have the camera. Post a few shots at Flickr or wherever you like to put them so we can all have a look 🙂
    Cheers
    Ralph.

    ReplyDelete

  7. I love your blog, and although a bit of an amateur I would love to share some of my photos with you all. Will work on that once the kids nap!

    ReplyDelete

  8. Pop them up on Flickr or something similar and I can then link to them.
    Cheers
    ralph.

    ReplyDelete

  9. I recently bought this camera too and I’ve been very impressed with it! Here’s a shot I took the other day – http://www.flickr.com/photos/heffalump347/7204114212/in/photostream

    ReplyDelete

  10. Hi Heff,
    Good to see you are getting nice results already. That lion shot made me smile, it took a second to realize what I was looking at. Interesting shot.
    Cheers
    ralph

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