Top critical review
145 people found this helpful
Convenient and reasonable value
on 28 April 2012
Previous Cameras include a Minolta Konica bridge camera of 10 years ago, panasonic compact TZ6 and a panasonic G1 4:3 with 2 lenses. These affect my opinion of this camera. I traded the G1 because of the inconvenience of changing lenses. The tilting lcd screen is useful for low level close-ups of flowers and for holding the camera high above the head but it only tilts in one plane and so does not tilt in portrait format and neither can it be folded with the screen towards the camera to protect it while being carried about. Both the old Minolta and the G1 had universally angled screens and folded to protect the screen when not in use and I miss this ability. The screen itself is fair and reasonably bright. The alternative viewfinder is useful in bright sunlight when reflections make the LCD screen difficult to use but the definition is not great. The close up capabilities of the HS30EXR are impressive and have not been bettered by any of the other cameras mentioned. However the sharpness of the images falls off gradually as the lens is zoomed even with a tripod and the timer set so that pressing the button does not cause movement and I am slightly disappointed with this. The camera is zoomed manually which is far quicker and precise for framing a shot than any motor zoom I have tried and I feel that this is a great plus point and probably reduces drain on the battery by a considerable amount. The battery supplied with the camera lasts very well on a charge but like most similar batteries for other camera makes a branded spare is expensive. Unbranded ones are obtainable at quite reasonable prices and the one I have bought seems to be lasting well on its first charge.The manual focus is a disappointment mainly because of the definition of the screen and viewfinder. The G1 was far superior in this respect and even the old Minolta was better. Why is this important? If you want to focus on an animal behind a fence or foliage then autofocus will give you a nice sharp fence or grass frond and a blured animal. A further downside for me was that, to be able to make use of this camera's RAW image format, I had to upgrade my Adobe Lightroom 3 to Lightroom 4 as the earlier version did not recognise the Fuji files. RAW handling comes with the camera's software but when you have past images in a particular software's catalogue it is difficult to have to start over again. This camera is reasonably convenient to carry, does away with the need to carry and change lenses and seems to be robust. The lens has a thread to enable the use of protective or effect filters which is not the case in all the cameras in this class. It has many manual options but is capable of intelligent point and shoot. It also has HD video and so is a versatile tool. So long as there is not too much ambition for big enlargements then this should fit the bill. Talking of bills the price is very competitive.