I had my first outing with the Fuji HS10, so I decided to post my first impressions here for everyone to enjoy!
As always my initial impressions are directed towards beginners. I encourage, intermediate to advanced photographers to check out the Fujifilm forum at dpreview.com for more advanced discussions on the HS10.
In this quick review I’m going to touch on a few questions I’ve received in regards to the Fuji FinePix HS10.
- Is the HS10 lens sharp at wide-angle and telephoto?
- What’s the image quality like on the HS10?
- How well does the HS10 autofocus?
- Where to buy the HS10?
The major selling point for this camera is it’s long lens. The HS10 can zoom from 24mm (wide-angle) to 720mm (telephoto) with a couple twists of the lens barrel. This zoom range on a Digital SLR would require at least 2 to 3 image stabilized lenses totaling well over $1000. Not only are you looking at a hefty price tag for all those lenses, but the weight of carrying all three lenses would definitely cause some frustration to beginner photographers.
The HS10 lens is really something to marvel at. I was able to take some great landscape photos and then quickly zoom in to take some photos of a barn owl. The lens is super sharp all the way through the zoom range.
When fully zoomed to 720mm, subjects really pop-out due to the shallow depth of field. A shallow depth of field will produce beautiful blurred backgrounds,which will make your subjects appear super sharp.
Now before you jump head first for the HS10 over a Digital SLR, make sure you consider low light capabilities. Cameras with fixed lenses (lenses that you can’t remove from the camera), like the HS10, have a much smaller image sensor than Digital SLR’s. Generally speaking the smaller the image sensor the more noise you will see in low light photos. Larger image sensors found in Digital SLR’s provide a much ‘cleaner’ looking image across all types of shooting situations.
If you plan to take most of your photos outdoors in bright light situations (kids soccer games/wildlife/landscapes), the HS10 can stand up to to many entry level Digital SLR’s in terms of image quality. Pro photographers may be able to see subtle differences between the images when blown up to 100% on their computer monitor, but in a 4×6 print most people wouldn’t be able to tell the two images apart. Again, this only applies to photos in outdoor (bright light) situations. Once you go indoors, DSLR’s have the advantage due to their larger sensors and ‘noise free’ images in low light situations.
I found the HS10 image quality to be stunning in outdoor shooting situations. Colors were super vibrant, while at the same time very realistic and natural looking.
Photos from wide-angle to telephoto appeared very sharp. I found that the camera focused best while in ‘Center’ weighted Autofocus mode.
The metering system did a good job finding the right exposure in difficult lighting situations.
Low light image quality was generally good depending on a few factors…
Shooting indoors (without flash) during daytime hours with sunlight beaming through the windows produced excellent results. Photos were very natural looking.
Once nightfall hit, I had to resort to using flash. The onboard flash is very powerful. It also does a good job metering so that the subject isn’t overpowered by the flash.
If you’ve got some experience using an external flash, I would highly recommend getting one so you can bounce the light of the ceiling rather than off your subject. With an external flash pointed upward it will disperse the light more evenly which will really improve the look of your indoor photos.
This technique works really well with babies. Not only does it protect their little eyes from a bright flash, but it softens the appearance of their face.
My initial findings on the performance and speed are sort of a mixed bag. In general, the camera feels very responsive outdoors. Autofocus is fast and very accurate. Zooming with the lens barrel allows you to go from wide-angle to telephoto instantly.
The only time I felt the HS10 was performing a bit slow was indoors in low light situations. Fixed lens cameras, generally don’t do so well in these types of situations anyway so it’s hard to discredit the HS10.
Indoors, the HS10 does a pretty good job focusing. The focus is accurate, but sometimes a little slow to lock focus.
Many new photographers will frame their subject and then fully press the shutter button. Chances are with the HS10 you will feel a little frustrated with this technique, when shooting in low light situations. Many times you’re trying to grab a photo of fast moving kids, only to miss the shot because the camera was trying to lock focus.
I always encourage beginners to practice the ‘half-press‘. When shooting a subject with lots of action or movement it’s always best to pre-focus so that you and your camera are ready for that perfect moment. The trick is to focus on a stationary object near your subject.
For example, let’s say you’re shooting some photos of your toddler playing…
- Make sure your HS10 is in ‘Center’ weighted Autofocus mode. You can read more about this setting on page 50 of the Fuji HS10 manual.
- Point your HS10 towards the area where your toddler is primarily playing.
- Find an object, like a toy to focus on.
- Half-press the shutter button to focus on the object.
- Continue to half-press the shutter button until you are happy with the composition of your subject.
- Fully press the shutter button to capture the photo.
Now if your toddler is moving towards you and away from you, you might want to try to the ‘Tracking’ Autofocus mode. This mode will allow you to focus on your subject and the camera will adjust the focus accordingly. I recommend using this autofocus mode outside where there’s more light and contrast, rather than indoors. You can read more about this setting on page 50 of the manual.
I got my Fuji HS10 at Amazon. I’ve always been impressed with their customer service and return policies. Most places (cough…cough…Best Buy) hassle you and charge a re-stocking fee if you’re not happy with your purchase.
Fuji HS10 Sample Photos
You can view some sample images in my Fuji HS10 just add a comment to this post and I’ll get back to you lickety split.