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Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £302
inc VAT

Excellent ergonomics and superb image quality in low light, but also a few issues regarding performance and video capture


1/2in 15.9-megapixel sensor, 30.0x zoom (24-720mm equivalent), 687g

Fujifilm is currently the only company producing ultra-zoom cameras that take their operational cues from SLRs. While other ultra-zoom cameras use levers to zoom in and out, on the HS30EXR it’s done by twisting the lens barrel. There’s another lens ring for manual focus, and the camera is littered with single-function buttons for direct access to drive mode, ISO speed, exposure compensation, white balance, exposure mode, focus mode and focus area. Adjusting any of these simply involves holding down the button and turning the command dial. This is the kind of control that’s normally reserved for upmarket SLRs, and it’s fantastic to find it on a competitively priced ultra-zoom camera. The HS30EXR’s credentials as a serious camera continue with raw capture, a hotshoe and an articulated LCD screen. It’s a little bulkier and heavier than its rivals, but with its large, textured handgrip it’s extremely comfortable to hold and use.

Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR

All of these features are shared with the outgoing Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR. The two cameras use the same lens too, and to look at they’re virtually impossible to tell apart. There are some welcome changes tucked away inside the camera, though. One is the move from four AA batteries to a single lithium ion battery. AAs are an additional expense and cumbersome to charge; the new battery is much more practical and elegant. It’s a big one, too, with enough capacity for 600 shots. Lithium ion batteries are normally quicker to charge the flash than AAs, but in our tests the HS30EXR only shaved a second off its predecessor, at seven seconds between shots at full flash power.

Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR

The electronic viewfinder has been upgraded, too, from 200,000 to 920,000 dots. This makes a huge difference, transforming the viewfinder from something we’d only use when forced to (when very bright conditions made the main screen unusable) to one we’d happily use routinely. With the help of the lens ring and a momentary digital magnification function, manual focusing was easier than on an SLR.

Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR

The HS30EXR also introduces manual focus during video capture, although this wasn’t so easy to adjust accurately. The momentary magnification is unavailable while recording, which is hardly surprising as it would ruin the shot, but the button to switch from screen to viewfinder stopped working too.

Video capture is one of the camera’s weaker areas. Details were blocky and, despite the 1080p resolution, closer to what we’d expect from a 720p video mode. The focus motor interfered with the soundtrack, regardless of whether we selected auto or manual focus. This video mode is by no means a write-off but it’s not up to the standards of other ultra-zoom cameras.

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Basic Specifications

Rating ****
CCD effective megapixels 15.9 megapixels
CCD size 1/2in
Viewfinder electronic (920,000 pixels)
Viewfinder magnification, coverage N/A
LCD screen size 3.0in
LCD screen resolution 460,000 pixels
Articulated screen Yes
Live view Yes
Optical zoom 30.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent 24-720mm
Image stabilisation optical, sensor shift
Maximum image resolution 4,608×3,456
File formats JPEG, RAW, MPO; QuickTime (AVC)


Memory slot SDXC
Mermory supplied 25MB internal
Battery type Li-ion
Battery Life (tested) 600 shots
Connectivity USB, AV, mini HDMI
Body material plastic
Lens mount N/A
Focal length multiplier N/A
Kit lens model name N/A
Accessories USB and AV cables
Weight 687g
Size 98x132x133mm

Buying Information

Warranty one-year RTB
Price £302

Camera Controls

Exposure modes program, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed 30 to 1/4,000 seconds
Aperture range f/2.8-11 (wide), f/5.6-11 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution) 100 to 3200
Exposure compensation +/-2 EV
White balance auto, 6 presets with fine tuning, manual
Additional image controls Color, tone, sharpness, noise reduction, dynamic range, film simulation
Manual focus Yes
Closest macro focus 1cm
Auto-focus modes multi, centre, flexible spot, face detect, tracking
Metering modes multi, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modes single, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket, panorama, 3D

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