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  • Jeffrey N. Fritz "Nikon Jeff" - A Nearly Perfect "Bridge" CameraThere exists an important space between DSLR cameras and point-and-shoot cameras. Although the point-and-shots have begun to push upwards and the DSLRs downwards, neither has been able, up to now, to quite fill the gap. This space is where certain cameras, often dubbed the "bridge cameras," exist.

    Bridge cameras look like DSLRs but without the interchangeable lenses. They are larger than a typical point and shoot, but carry many point-and-shoot characteristics.

    The Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR fits right into the bridge camera space and does a superb job doing so. Feature rich, well made, fitting perfectly in the hand, this feels and acts like what it is--a very well thought out, very well designed, quality camera. It is so capable at what it does that it can easily fool you into thinking that indeed it is a DSLR.

    Of course, it is not a DSLR--a fact that readily makes itself apparent. The viewfinder is electronic. When the camera is powered off you see nothing through the viewfinder. You can not remove the non-interchangeable lens. The lens that comes attached to the camera remains attached to it for life. However, it's a decent zoom lens and the lens does accept commonly found 58mm filters--a very good thing. The zoom range is amazing, it shoots RAW, has manual controls. It is the perfect beginner's camera and a credible back up camera for professionals such as myself. In fact, it meets or exceeds nearly every item on my backup camera checklist.

    Sure there are some things that I wish had been included.

    As a manual shooter, having separate controls for aperture and shutter speed would have been nice. The HS50EXR does have manual aperture and shutter speed control. However, it is necessary to push the +/- button to change the command dial to one or the other adjustment mode. This kind of restriction tempts me to use aperture or shutter priority to save me from the inconvenience--and that is simply not my shooting preference nine times out of ten.

    The viewfinder is a bit large protruding out of the back of the camera far more than on my DSLR. It is a small annoyance now, but no doubt I will get used to it over time.

    Of bigger concern is that the lens is a manual zoom. There is no motorized zoom in the camera. Not much of an issue for stills, to be sure, but a very big issue for video. If Fujifilm wants to offer video in their cameras, a motorized zoom is a must.

    However, even with these concerns, this is one great camera at a very reasonable price. In addition to the camera, you get a strap, a lens cover, a lens hood, a built-in flash, a charger, 1080P 60 FPS, stereo sound video capability, a USB cable and brief, but very readable instructions. Not too shabby. And the image quality on stills or video is quite good.

    This is a fun camera with nice features, great performance and it includes a decent menu system. It is, above all, intuitive and easy to operate. With or without your user manual, you will be up and running shortly after opening the box. It takes longer to charge the battery than it does to learn the camera. Well done Fujifilm!
  • - Best thing around for cold soresI have to agree with the other praise provided so far about Abreva. Unfortunately, I've NEVER been able to "catch it in time" to have it disappear, but I can definitely attest to it's shortening of time spent suffering through them. I too was a, less than thrilled w/ the results, Zovirax user. This far beats out Zovirax for ease of pain and other symptoms, as well as the much mentioned shortening of outbreak time. That said, price really isn't a factor, this is the only product out there that can boast these effects and there is usually a coupon in the package to save you a few bucks the next time around. Also, their website, also usually has printable coupons.Enjoy!