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The Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR is Fuji's latest EXR high end super-zoom camera. Before I even start my review, let me point out although this camera looks like a DSLR and has some DSLR features and controls, it is not a DSLR. It is basically a "point and shoot" with a fairly small 1/2" sensor, inside a DSLR style body, with an incredible zoom lens. Now that I got that out of the way, on to the review. Unboxing the HS50EXR, the first thing I noticed was the size and weight of the camera. I have several other super-zooms, and this is by far the biggest and heaviest. It's not quite as heavy and big as a DSLR, but it's close. In my hands, the cameras has good ergonomics, and feels well built. Controls are fairly well laid out too. After charging the proprietary battery, which took about 2 hours in the included external charger, I noticed my first disappointment. The plastic battery door does not seem that well made and designed. It feels cheap and I question how long it will last. My next disappointment was the all plastic tripod mount. I then installed the lens cap, neck strap, and lens hood. All seem about average quality. There is no SD card included, so make sure you have one. A fast Class 10 is recommended. After turning the camera on, setting it up for how I wanted to shoot was quick and painless. Having some experience with an earlier Fuji EXR camera helped me decided how I was going to shoot. If you've never used a Fuji EXR camera, there is a learning curve to get the best results. It's not as easy to accomplish as others I've used. I set out on a bright sunny day, and took over a hundred pictures under various conditions. I used several different modes (this camrea has many) and settings. I shot mostly in EXR High Resolution Mode,(P)Mode, and simple auto mode. I use Fine/JPEG Format, not RAW. Refresh time between shots was almost instant, and the fastest of any similar camera I own. The manual zoom lens was a pleasure to use. It's incredible 24-1000mm range didn't disappoint. It isn't quite as smooth as a DSLR manual zoom lens, but I didn't expect it to be. The 3", high resolution articulating screen also didn't disappoint. It's is clear and bright. While out, I also took several minutes of video to evaluate later. When I got home, I also shot a few dozen indoor pictures for testing purposes. I shot most of them in simple auto mode to see how the camera would handle low light without any help. After shooting about 200 pictures and several minutes of video, my battery still shows as full which tells me battery life is excellent.
When I finished my testing, I hooked the camera up to my PC and HD Monitor using the included USB cable. Thankfully, the cable is standard and not proprietary. Once downloaded, my results didn't disappoint. Almost all my outdoor pictures came out excellent no matter what mode I used. Details were great. Colors were accurate. I didn't notice any optical aberrations, etc. The Fuji's Image Stabilization did a great job at the high end of the zoom. I used "continuous mode". One other setting that seemed to have slightly better results was turning the NR down to "low". All my other settings were the camera's defaults. The results were easily as good as my old Lumix FZ35, the super-zoom I considered the best for image quality until now. My indoor results were very good too. Image noise was low up until ISO 400, and still acceptable at ISO 800. I have no doubt that with a little tweaking of the camera's settings, my results could be even better. My HD test video came out excellent too. It did not disappoint on my HD monitor.
The Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR is not a DSLR, and it isn't perfect. It is a great camera with an incredible lens though. With a little trial and error, it produces pictures as good as any bridge camera I own. I recommend it.
Incredible 42x Wide Angle Manual Zoom Lens.
3" High Resolution Articulating Screen
Good automatic modes.
Excellent image quality indoors and out.
Excellent 1080p HD video quality.
Super fast focusing and refresh time between shots.
Great battery life.
EXR settings have a learning curve.
Poor battery cover and tripod mount.
Larger and heavier than most bridge cameras.
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