22/06/2012 12:25 | By Rob Clymo, contributor, MSN Tech & Gadgets

Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR review

The delightful Fuji offers the best of both worlds: lots of functionality, but simple controls.

Fujifilm Fine HS30EXR is rated five stars out of five by MSN Tech & Gadgets (© Fujifilm)

What is it?
The Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR is an upgraded superzoom successor to the HS20EXR that has improved performance and versatility.

What's great?
The 30x optical zoom; a raft of auto and manual controls; capacity for shooting RAW.

What's not?
The added bulk might be less appealing to those nervous about leaving their point-and-shoot behind.

The bottom line
The delightful Fuji offers the best of both worlds: lots of functionality, but simple controls.

If you're becoming more ambitious about your photography and aren't bothered about the pocket-friendly appeal of a compact, then it's worth considering a superzoom or bridge camera.

The Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR is a superzoom that ticks plenty of boxes when it comes to delivering high performance along with versatility. It offers a brand new 16-megapixel EXR-CMOS sensor that delivers cracking image quality as well as strong low-light performance. Fujifilm reckons that it has succeeded in reducing digital noise by some 30% at higher sensitivities.

However, it's the aforementioned versatility of the HS30EXR that really stands out. Since the sensor is switchable, you effectively get the option of three different ways of working: High Resolution for the best results in fine conditions, Dynamic Range for better results in high-contrast lighting scenarios and the High Sensitivity and Low Noise mode for the best shot in less-than-ideal low-light conditions. Alternatively, you can leave it all to the camera to figure out by plumping for the stress-free EXR-Auto mode instead.

The camera's DSLR styling means it really does look the part, with the chunky size of the body necessitated by the big zoom lens inside. This lens comes with image stabilisation and a 30x optical zoom capability, which covers a focal range equivalent to 24-720mm on a 35mm camera.

See also: Fujifilm XF1 review& Fujifilm X-E1 review

Among other features are built-in stereo microphones, an AF-assist lamp and a rubberised grip that fits neatly into the hand.

The controls on the HS30EXR are nicely laid out. The shutter button is surrounded by an easy-access power switch, with dedicated exposure compensation and continuous shooting mode buttons close by. The large mode button has more than enough exposure options to enable you to exploit this camera to the full.

Look out for the Advanced mode, Pro Focus and Pro Low-Light if you're after more muscle, while the Individual Shutter 3D creates a 3D shot from two separate images taken in sequence. The Motion Panorama 360 feature delivers an impressively quick and easy way to take panorama shots.

As for added extras, there is a metal hot shoe for attaching extras such as an external flashgun, while the tilting three-inch LCD screen makes it easy to shoot at awkward angles.

We were also impressed by the boosted battery power that enables around 600 shots per charge. The HS30EXR is quick and capable when shooting Full HD movies, during which manual focusing is possible.

In everyday use, the HS30EXR proves to be a real workhorse and a great all-rounder. Although its less-than-delicate noise reduction can be visible in shots taken higher up the ISO levels, there's no denying the Fuji is a more-than-capable superzoom.

Being able to shoot your photos in the RAW format is always a boon and that's on offer here, but it's perhaps the overall enjoyment that the HS30EXR provides that will really help sell it to the crop of superzoom recruits that are out there ditching their point-and-shoot compacts. Keenly priced, this is a great place to start climbing the skillset ladder.

Essential info
Megapixels: 16
Sensor: 1/2-inch EXR-CMOS with primary colour filter
LCD: three-inch, 460,000 dots, TFT
ISO: auto, ISO 100-3200 (6400 and 12800 with boost)
Video: Full HD, 1920 x 1080 (30 fps)
Memory cards: SD, SDHC, SDXC (UHS-I)
Weight: 687g (including battery and memory card)
Dimensions: 130.6 x 96.6 x 126.0 mm
Price: £229
Web: www.fujifilm.co.uk

Check out our Canon PowerShot SX50 HS review

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