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The FujiFilm FinePix HS10 comes with a non-removable Fujinon lens. Incredibly, this is a 30x zoom lens with a focal length of 4.2mm to 126mm; equivalent to a 24mm to 720mm zoom lens on a 35mm camera. It has a non-rotating front lens element. Therefore, you can zoom, while using filters, without having to re-adjust the filters after zooming.
This 30x zoom lens is an amazing travel lens. FujiFilm makes the photographers' life easier by showing 35mm equivalent focal length on the zoom lens, so that you won't have to mental perform the conversion. In addition, a focal length scale that shows both the 35mm equivalent and the native focal lens on the lens barrel that extends as you zoom. The zoom lens has a maximum aperture of f/2.8 at 4.2mm and a maximum aperture of f/5.6 at 126mm. The lens has a 58mm filter thread for you to attach accessories. It's a fairly standard thread size for filters.
When I carried my Canon EOS DSLR while traveling, I had always wished I had a 28-300mm lens, because I would only have to carry a single lens for all purposes. This FujiFilm FinePix HS10 satisfied that wish and more. Not only did it cover the entire 28-300mm range, it is 4mm wider and twice as powerful in the telephoto range. While traveling in Oahu, Hawaii, I was able to zoom out to capture the grand skyline with lightning while zooming in to capture the birds at Diamond Head State Monument. The Fujinon lens with image stabilization performed both tasks with ease.
The manual focus ring sits between the camera body and the zoom ring. During auto-focus, the manual focus ring is free to rotate and does not effect the auto-focus. Auto-focus also does not effect the manual focus ring. It is completely decoupled from the lens until you put the camera in manual focus mode.
The lens has bayonet notches for attaching a lens hood. Looking on FujiFilm's web site, the LH-HS10 lens hood will be available soon for the HS10, HS20EXR, and the HS22EXR. However, it is currently not available anywhere for purchase.
Instead, there is a third-party lens hood available on Amazon. It attaches to the 58mm filter thread. An indicator on the lens hood help you align it to the center of the lens. Once it's aligned, you rotate the lock-down ring so that it's fixed to the angle-of-rotation on your lens. A matte finish on the inside of the flower-shaped hood reduces light reflection into the lens. There is no visible vignette on the photo throughout the entire zoom range of the lens.
The FujiFilm FinePix HS10 uses four AA-size batteries for power source. It can accept regular Alkaline batteries, or use the more sophisticated rechargeable Ni-MH batteries. For even more power, without having to worry about recharging, you can also use Lithium batteries. Depending on which type of batteries you use, you change the type in the setup menu, so that the digital camera will know how to compensate accordingly. Four Alkaline batteries are included in the package.
The use of regular AA-sized batteries is really a blessing for traveling. Almost all of the digital cameras on the market uses proprietary rechargeable batteries. If you ever run out of battery juice while traveling, your are practically stuck with these proprietary battery cells. On the other hand, if your digital camera uses AA-sized batteries, you can just buy another pack at the local store. Many tourist facilities sells AA batteries in gift shops.
The FujiFilm FinePix HS10's ability to use AA batteries was a blessing. I actually bought this digital camera in the middle of my Hawaii trip at Wal-Mart the day after my daughter dunked my Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 in sea water on the reef at Ala Moana Beach. And my backup camera, Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1 was also out of action due to too much moisture. I promptly bought the FujiFilm FinePix HS10 because we were going to have a full day at the Polynesian Cultural Center and still had five more days on Oahu. While purchasing this digital camera, I also bought a car DC-to-AC inverter, thinking that this digital camera uses a proprietary battery and I wanted it charged while driving out to the Polynesian Cultural Center. While testing the camera in the car, to my delight, I found that it uses four AA-batteries. I ran into Wal-Mart, returned the DC-to-AC inverter and bought a huge pack (20) of AA Alkaline batteries. They lasted the remaining five days of our Oahu trip.
The FujiFilm FindPix HS10 support SD and SDHC memory cards. The manual recommended using class 4 or faster cards for recording HD movies. The camera does not work with xD-Picture Cards nor MultiMediaCards (MMC).
A memory card is not included in the package content. The internal memory is only 46 MB and cannot store too many photos, especially in RAW mode. If you don't have any spare SD Cards, you will really need to get one for this camera.
If the camera is on and you remove the SD Card, the camera shuts off automatically. Then you'd have to turn the on/off switch off, then on again.
The following statement from the manual seems a bit shocking:
"Do not turn the camera off or remove the memory card while the memory card is being formatted or data are being recorded to or deleted from the card. Failure to observe this precaution could damage the card."
It's surprising that this camera is not smart enough to finish its memory card writing operations before shutting off.
The FujiFilm FindPix HS10 has a panorama mode. In this mode, you tell the camera whether you want to sweep right (default), left, up, or down. The camera actually detect whether you are sweeping the camera in the correct direction. You can stop and continue sweeping and the camera will detect it. I believe it is based on image recognition in the camera's software. When you finish sweeping, the camera generates the panorama image. If you go in the wrong direction during your sweep, the shot is canceled and you'll have to start over again.
The FujiFilm FindPix HS10 has viewfinder and a rear display. Both can serve as electronic viewfinders. This camera does not have an optical viewfinder. By default, the camera automatically switch the viewfinder depending on whether your eye is at the eye viewfinder port. If not, it displays using the rear display. You can change the setting so that you switch between the two screen manually. A button labeled "EVF/LCD" next to the eye viewfinder lets you switch at any time.
The rear display can tilt vertically. It can tilt 30-degrees downward, which is great for shooting above your head. Or it can tilt 90-degrees upward, which lets you shoot from the waist and low to the ground.
Most of the operations on the FujiFilm FinePix HS10 is intuitive and a joy to use. Pressing the shutter button down half-way anywhere, such as reviewing photos and accessing the menu, puts the camera into shooting mode. A separate video record button alleviate the need to switch between camera and camcorder mode.
All of the adjustment buttons, requires you to hold down the button and rotate the command dial. It requires a slight amount of coordination and two hands. But it's manageable for most folks. Single-handed users and users with only one hand should probably look to purchase a different camera.
The only real concern for a typical user is that the camera cannot operate while saving each shot. Unlike Canon EOS DSLR's where you can at least queue up a few shots before you have to wait, the FujiFilm FinePix HS10 must wait between each shot. In RAW+JPEG mode, that takes up to 15 seconds per shot. That means the user is typically watching the camera after each shot, waiting for it to be ready again.
From the package content list, you can pretty much imply that the camera allows you to connect to your computer via the USB port. In addition, you can connect to composite video devices with the A/V cable it supplied.
The camera also had a HDMI mini connector for you to connect to your HDMI TV. Sadly, a mini HDMI cable is not included.
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