195 of 207 people found the following review helpful
Michael T. McCaffrey
- Published on Amazon.com
PREFACE: This review is primarily intended for Point & Shoot types. I do not delve into MANUAL adjustments, nor do I have any interest in that. I want something that will take good pics without undue hassle and is convenient to take on travel.
Well, after a fairly long wait for Fujifilm to release the HS-30, mine arrived this afternoon. I charged the li-on battery (no more four AAs) and took it outside to take around ten test shots. They turned out perfectly. I had the HS-10 ... then HS-20 before this latest incarnation, and really liked both cameras. I've no doubts I'll like this one at least, if not more, than the previous HS-20. You can read all the specs, etc., so I won't get into that. Physically, the electronic viewfinder and LCD are sharp, clear, and bright - and I do detect that slight shortening of the flash unit, which protruded a bit annoyingly on the HS-20. Thus, no problem at all focusing with the manual lens (which I love). I also did not detect the lag one experienced between shots with the HS-20. Now, again, I just received the thing and only took some ten shots ... but I was very happy with the shots. Since mine is the first review, it remains to be seen if problems, such as the overheating warning with the past early editions of the HS-20 produced, will come along as others get their cameras and put them to use. I hope to get out there tomorrow and run this thing through its paces. If anything untoward happens, I will certainly advise. The HS-30, like the HS-20, sure beats the heck out of having to stop to change cumbersome lenses for differing shots/scenes! Additionally, it all fits into a nice/compact Case Logic case, no more lugging around all that other "stuff" in backpacks, etc. :-) In closing, my background is strictly amateur photography. I've no aspirations in becoming a pro. The pics I take are for my own enjoyment, and it ends there. Speaking only for myself, I do believe photography should be fun, not a hassle. I've had the Canon 7D and the 60D, with all the "L" lenses, so I do "know my way around the block" a bit. This is not to say I think this bridge camera takes the place of DSLRs for professional use, certainly not. Enjoy your HS-30, and please do post your experiences so we can all benefit. :-)
ADDED: March 15, 2012: Took the camera out to my favorite park and ran it through its paces. There was a slight ... slight ... delay between some shots at the park, but no delay when taking pics indoors and other environments. Not a problem for me. I took 52 pictures, and except for two, they were absolutely perfect, and those two were probably my fault. The zoom works fine, no problems. The LCD is also excellent, though I prefer taking my shots via the viewfinder. Lastly: I am a huge fan of POST PROCESSING any pictures I take, be it with a DSLR or the HS-30. I have a MAC and use APERTURE 3, and Aperture 3 makes a notable difference in getting pictures to look the way I want them (that "finishing touch"). If you're using a Windows machine, you might want to look into software packages designed to work with digital pictures.
SUMMATION: Realizing this camera is NOT a DSLR, I would buy it again in a heartbeat. It felt so nice to walk around the park this morning without lugging along a bag filled with heavy lenses. And the resulting pictures more than satisfy me.
ADDED: 3-20: Having had this camera since last week, and having taken a lot of shots with it, I can say I take nothing back: it was worth buying. I am speaking strictly from a Point & Shoot perspective here. If one is looking for all the bells and whistles of a DSLR, then get a DSLR, or you're probably gonna be frustrated. Reiterating: though quite advanced for a P&S, this camera, in the end, is NOT a DSLR.
ADDED/CONCLUSION: 5-2-12: I've now had the HS-30 for about 1.5 months and have used it extensively. I even took it on the annual trek to Las Vegas a bit over a week ago, and it performed flawlessly. If anything, I would draw the prospective buyer's attention to ACTION photography. I would NOT expect this to behave like a DSLR in this respect, OK? You CAN get a sequence using CONTINUOUS MODE, but I found using a DSLR in this respect (action shots of moving subjects) much more satisfying. Taking shots of static objects however, this camera has worked excellently. I note the price keeps dropping on what they were asking initially for the camera. I think it's a great bargain if you're in the market for a great Point and Shoot camera.
183 of 217 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
With high expectations the Fujifilm HS30 arrived yesterday on it's first day of release. I tested it out yesterday afternoon. Today it went back to Amazon. To be specific, the actual performance of the camera did not match everything the official spec sheet said it would do. And there were a few other problems with it, too.
Part 1 - THERE IS A LIMIT ON THE ISO / SHUTTER SPEED.
Those of you who may have seen my Amazon post on the Canon SX40 will know that over the last five months and 22 pages of Comments and replies I have criticized Canon heavily for putting an unnecessary restriction on its ISO (The old-fashioned term for this was "film speed"). If you want to do low-light photography you have to be able to use a higher ISO and a slower shutter speed. That is the way it has always been for all types of cameras.
Canon had placed a new, arbitrary limit of ISO 100 on the camera (which was not on its previous model, the SX30) together with maintaining its maximum 15-second shutter speed limit. This stopped me, briefly, from doing my long-standing, nighttime photography of Monterey Bay Harbor, which sometimes required an ISO 400 with a 15-second shutter speed. There was no way for the user to bypass this limit even in Full Manual Mode.
The new Fujifilm HS30 has a similar limit, though it is not nearly as severe. To be fair, this limit on the HS30 is so slight that most people will probably never notice it at all. But for those of you who may be effected by this ISO and Shutter speed limit, here it is.
The Website makes no mention of it. Download the .pdf file for the full User Manual for the HS30, and you will see only this small notation repeated both on pages 33 and 34.
"The shutter speed is restricted depending on the ISO setting."
How much is it restricted? The user manual does not say. I called Fujifilm tech support, and they didn't even know for sure. So I tested the camera myself, and here is the ISO / shutter speed limit, exactly:
ISO....100 = 30 second shutter speed limit
ISO....200 = 15 second shutter speed limit
ISO....400 = 8 second shutter speed limit
ISO....800 = 4 second shutter speed limit
ISO..1600 = 2 second shutter speed limit
ISO..3200 = 1 second shutter speed limit
Although all of the publicity says that you can use shutter speeds "from 30 seconds through 1 / 3200 of a second," that is not quite literally true. You can only do that at ISO 100. If you try to do that at ISO 200, then the shutter speed limit is cut in half to 15 seconds. At ISO 400 it is cut in half again to 8 seconds, and so on.
Those of you who want a graphic example of what a limit on ISO means may wish to view my video I posted for the Canon SX40 here on Amazon. At ISO 400 with a 15-second shutter speed there are some beautiful nighttime colors reflected from the light of Monterey Bay Harbor. At ISO 100 with a 15-second shutter speed limit the picture is almost entirely dark. The limit on the Fujifilm HS30 at ISO 400 is only 8 seconds, very close, but not quite enough for what I personally need. If that effects you, fine, now you are aware of it. If not, then that's fine too. In which case please simply just ignore this whole part of my post as completely irrelevant to you personally.
But be aware that in some modes on the HS30 you cannot use a shutter speed of longer than one quarter of a second. That really isn't very much to work with if you are trying to do any time-exposure photography with this camera, especially nighttime long-exposures. So at least now you know.
Part 2 - THERE ARE A FEW OTHER PROBLEMS WITH IT, TOO.
Shooting in low light at dim targets in the distance is like shooting blind in the dark if you cannot see what you are shooting at. While the Fujifilm HS30 does have "live view" on the LCD, it does not have an "exposure" live view.* Live view means you see on the LCD exactly what the camera sees. "Exposure" live view means you see on the LCD what the final picture will look like (how light or dark it will be) before you actually take the shot. The LCD lightens and darkens as you adjust the dial. Canon cameras do that. Fujifilm and Nikon cameras apparently do not. (If I am wrong about this, however, then someone please correct this information for the benefit of everyone else reading this post. Thank you.)
* Technically called "exposure simulation live preview" or "exposure priority display."
Trying to line up on a distant target in low light is fairly easy with an exposure live view LCD, since it lightens as the exposure setting increases. If you want high definition in the shadows you simply raise the exposure. If you want high definition in clouds, then you lower the exposure. Combine the two images in Photoshop and you get an HDR photo (High Dynamic Range) with well defined clouds together with bright colors even in the shadows. With the Fujifilm HS30 you have to guess ahead of time, take the shot and then look at the results afterwards to see if you got it right. On a camera with an "exposure" live view you already know fairly closely ahead of time what the result will be. I personally consider "exposure live view" superior to simply "live view" on the LCD of a camera, because it is simply more intuitive when you look at the LCD and see it for yourself. It is especially important when shooting in low-light conditions since it makes it much easier just to find the actual shooting target, and is also very helpful for doing your own HDR photographs to finish yourself in Photoshop since with HDR you have to deliberately make some portion of each photo look lighter or darker in order to combine two opposites, but the judgment question will be, by how much exposure on each one?
The Red Craftsman Toolbox Test. The first poster here noted that there was some washout in the colors with his Fujifilm HS30, and I noticed a similar effect, but for me it depended on the angle of the light source. Here's how to test it for yourself. Take an American-Flag-Red Craftsman toolbox and place it near an open window. When I photographed it from the side, the color was accurate. When I faced the window and shot directly toward the light source, the colors washed out considerably, and I noticed that the toolbox had shifted to a distinctive orange-red color. A parallel test with a small Canon point-and-shoot camera (the SX150) showed no color washout and no similar color shift. Photoshop can easily adjust for this, as the first poster noted, and the HS30 photos would have required that adjustment to them, but only to the ones where the camera was pointed directly toward the light source.
Focussing Problems and Image Stabilization Problems. I had heard stories about focussing problems and image stabilization problems with Fujifilm cameras, and they all turned out to be true. I shot from a tripod, from a makeshift beanbag rest (my Filson jacket rolled up) and also from a freestanding position. The tripod shots did much better than the others by far, especially for image stabilization, but some of the others did not do very well at all, especially at much lower speeds of around one quarter of a second. With the bean bag there was some double imaging with the HS30 (which did not show up with the little Canon SX150 by comparison.) Higher shutter speeds obviously worked much better for image stabilization, but in a variety of outdoor and indoor settings I used during the afternoon of that day I just could not get the camera to focus consistently at all. Even some of the well-stabilized shots were still slightly out of focus. To be fair, the shots that were in focus were much better photos on the Fujifilm HS30. No doubt about it. Some of them were truly outstanding. But also to be honest about it, less than half of all the shots I took were very clearly in focus at all, using both manual focus and auto focus. I just couldn't seem to get it quite right.
I have heard that people who know how to adjust the focus well on a Fujifilm camera can work around this with much better results than I got. I certainly hope that is true. And the little Canon SX150 is simply no match for the Fujifilm HS30 when it is focussing well. A few of the shots with the HS30 were truly extraordinary. But I can see that learning how to focus the HS30 well and under a variety of different conditions might take some considerable practice before it was fully mastered.
In the end I decided it was just more practice than I wanted to undertake. The Fujifilm HS30 camera simply does not work well for me for doing low-light, time-exposure photography, both because of the limits on the ISO and shutter speeds, and because of the lack of an "exposure" live view on the LCD. Since that is my main interest, I decided to return it to Amazon.
If you have different interests, then the Fujifilm HS30 camera might turn out to be one of the best Bridge cameras you have ever owned in your life. It certainly has all the potential to be just that. I really do hope there are others who can benefit from this camera better than I did.
In either case at least you now have the best information about it that I can provide you from my own limited experience with it. I hope it was of help to you in eventually making your own decision about which camera to buy. Whatever you decide, it should be what you decide that you like best, not what I or anyone else tells you that you ought to prefer, because each of us has our own reasons for preferring one camera over another.
Best wishes to all, John