9
Safari Guide Rating "Excellent"
Build Quality:: 8/10
Features & Functions: 8.5/10
Zoom Control: 9.5/10
Focusing Speed: 8.5/10
Size & Weight: 7.5/10
Price: 9.5/10

Of all the superzoom cameras currently on the market the FujiFilm HS20EXR is the only one that is what I would call a full-on bridge camera. With its full manual controls, an abundance of buttons and dials and a proper zoom ring (as you find on a DSLR camera) the HS20 is, from a user interface point of view, firmly located in DSLR territory. Only Fujifilm’s previous FinePix HS10 comes close to this concept. A 16 megapixel EXR CMOS sensor, tilting screen, high speed stills and video recording and one of the longest zoom ranges in its class mean the HS20 scores top marks in the specification as well as features department.


FujiFilm Finepix HS20EXR at the Show

 

My First Look

My look at the Fuji HS20 was actually before it’s official release date at Focus on Imaging Show – Europe’s biggest annual imaging show, where Fuji had it on display. They were kind enough to let me have a play and even had the chance to attach my 2.2x Raynox teleconverter lens to it which was impressive (see below). It was then that I decided that I just had to have one for my upcoming safari to Zimbabwe that I was planning.

Now that I have it and have been testing it for a while now, below are my findings:

First Impressions

Looking at the camera’s stats before actually seeing it for the first time I had worried that the camera may be too heavy and bulky for my need to keep my equipment as compact and lightweight as possible to take with me on safari.

I had also just returned from the Panasonic stand at the show where I had been looking at the FZ100 and the FZ45 and yes, the larger size of the HS20 is noticeable, but not so much so that it would put me off buying it in any way. This is mostly because when you hold it, you really do get the feeling that you have a quality camera in your hands. It’s larger size actually makes it far more comfortable and less fiddley to hold than it’s competitors and feels more like a DSLR and because of this it’s extra weight is really unnoticeable.

You also cannot help be impressed by the quality of it’s body – it just feels less “plasticky” and more robust than all other superzooms that I have looked at. It is true to say that even before I had switched it on, I was impressed.

Main Features

The main reason to buy any superzoom digital camera is for it’s zoom. With the FinePix HS20EXR you are not going to be disappointed as it comes with a 30x optical zoom (24-720mm 35mm equiv lens) and is therefore, apart from theCanon PowerShot SX30 IS one of the most powerful currently available.

30x Zoom (35mm camera equivalent: 24-720mm)

With its manual zoom ring the Fujifilm offers a distinct advantage over the competition in their class. Not only can it be operated much quicker than a motor zoom but zooming is also possible with a much higher level of precision.

This is because with just a single twist of the lens barrel, the manual zoom instantly takes you from 24mm wide-angle landscapes to super 30x telephoto close-up of distant wildlife.

Having used mostly Panasonic’s in the past that have an electronic zoom, where to zoom in and out you push and hold a button, the manual zoom on the Fuji HS20 does take some getting used to. This is especially because of the position of the zoom ring, right next to the body of the camera, that is at little awkward to get to at first, but once you get used to it and stop instinctively looking for a button to zoom, it is far quicker and is a feature that I have really grown to love.

A huge advantage of this over the electronic setting is that you can have it set at a zoom level and then turn your camera off, when you turn it on again it will still be at the same zoom level. Meaning that if like me you often have your camera trained at a spot where you know a bird or something similar will land, but want to turn the camera off to save batteries until it comes back, when you turn it on again – you are all set to go.

Unlike SLR cameras, there are no bulky lenses to carry around and you don’t need to worry about getting dust on the lens or sensor. With the sealed integrated lens design, you get the best of both worlds – convenience as well as the excellent Fujion optical quality across the entire zoom range.

Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR with 30x Zoom (35mm camera equivalent: 24-720mm)

Image Stabilization (CMOS Shift + High ISO)
The problem with long telephoto shots is that unless you are using something like a tripod (see: Tripods for Travel & Safari) you images will often suffer from camera shake and subject movement which can ruin photos by producing blurred results. To help with this, the FinePix HS20EXR uses a highly effective CMOS-shift and high ISO image stabilization to help ensure that your shots stay extra-crisp and clear, even at the full 30x zoom.

On top of this, if you are taking photos in low light or when using the zoom in EXR AUTO mode, the camera uses what Fujifilm call “Advance Anti Blur” that uses the power of their EXR CMOS sensor and Multi Frame technology that combine 4 frames into a single, sharp blur-free image with remarkably low noise.

In my opinion the image stabilization to be as good as any other camera that I have used in this class. I could even take half decent hand held photos with a 2.2x teleconverter attached to it at full zoom (66x) – although with this amount of magnification, I do recommend that you use a tripod for better results and more consistent. For more information and sample photos take a look at the section on attaching a Teleconverter to the FujiFilm HS20.

High Quality Lenses 
Fujinon have used the highest quality extra-low dispersion glass to mold its high-precision aspheric lenses.

What does this all mean? Well an aspheric lens is simply a lens with a surface which is not perfectly spherical or not perfectly convex or concave or, to put it another way, you can find different areas on the lens with different degrees of curvature. The asphere’s more complex surface profile can reduce or eliminate spherical aberration and also reduce other optical aberrations compared to a simple lens.

Extra low dispersion glass is used to make lenses on high end cameras, telescopes, microscopes and binoculars. The Extra low dispersion glass prevents chromatic aberration because it concentrates and directs the wavelength of light more effectively onto the camera’s film. Lenses made from extra low dispersion glass have less air bubbles and glass deformities that are more likely to cause image distortion.

Sample Photos

Below are a the first few sample photos that I took on the day my camera arrived. All were taken using the Auto EXR mode. The only editing that I have done is to reduce them in size and a little in quality to optimise them for the web.

Using the FujiFilm FinePix HS20EXR
Using the FujiFilm FinePix HS20EXR
Using the FujiFilm FinePix HS20EXR

Taken at full zoom (30x) – Hand Held

Taken at full zoom (30x) – with a tripod

My cat, Simba taken indoors.

The two photos of the Pigeons above were taken at full zoom (30x) – for interest I also took some photos of the same birds with using my 2.2x teleconverter – to see the difference, take a look at the section on attaching a Teleconverter to the FujiFilm HS20 below.

Sample Photos – On Safari

All the photos below were taken by me whilst I was on Safari in Zimbabwe. The only editing that I have done is a little cropping, resizing and have sharpened the image. I have also reduced their quality (fils size) to optimise them for the web.

Using the FujiFilm FinePix HS20EXR on Safari - Zebra
Using the FujiFilm FinePix HS20EXR on Safari - Zebra - Elephant
Using the FujiFilm FinePix HS20EXR on Safari - Ground Hornbill

F-Stop: f/5.6
Expos Time: 1/250 sec 
ISO-100
Focal Length: 126mm
30x zoom 
Hand Held

 

F-Stop: f/5.6
Expos Time: 1/250 sec 
ISO-125
Focal Length: 126mm
30x zoom 
Hand Held

F-Stop: f/5.6
Expos Time: 1/250 sec 
ISO-1000
Focal Length: 126mm
30x zoom 
Hand Held

Using the FujiFilm FinePix HS20EXR on Safari - Spotted Bush Snake
Using the FujiFilm FinePix HS20EXR on Safari - Pied Wagtail
Using the FujiFilm FinePix HS20EXR on Safari - Kudu cow

F-Stop: f/5
Expos Time: 1/250 sec 
ISO-160
Focal Length: 78mm 
Hand Held

 

F-Stop: f/5.6
Expos Time: 1/320 sec 
ISO-160
Focal Length: 126mm
30x zoom 
On a Tripod

F-Stop: f/5
Expos Time: 1/250 sec 
ISO-640
Focal Length: 84mm
Hand Held

Macro Mode

This camera is not only about photographing distant objects, it has an excellent 1cm Super Macro Mode, meaning that subjects like flowers, insects or even a raindrop can become excellent photos.

I took the three sample photos below of some flowers in my garden using the macro mode (click on the image for a larger version). The only editing that I have done is to reduce them in size and a little in quality to optimise them for the web.

Using the Macro Mode on the FujiFilm FinePix HS20EXR
Using the Macro Mode on the FujiFilm FinePix HS20EXR
Using the Macro Mode on the FujiFilm FinePix HS20EXR

Using the Macro Mode on the FujiFilm FinePix HS20EXR

 

Using the Macro Mode on the FujiFilm FinePix HS20EXR

Using the Macro Mode on the FujiFilm FinePix HS20EXR

25mm Ultra Wide-Angle

One of the biggest advantages of a superzoom bridge camera like the HS20EXR is the versatility, one moment you can be taking close up photos of a giraffe in the distance and then quickly switch to the herd of Zebra right near your safari vehicle without having to change lenses. The 24mm ultra wide-angle lens on this camera is wider than most other cameras in this class and it will enhance all kinds of shooting situations, like when you’re photographing herds of animals, groups of people at the lodge or a large structure or that beautiful African landscape.

EXR CMOS Sensor

One of the features that Fuji are most excited about on this camera, but one that is probably the most uninteresting to most casual users is their EXR CMOS sensor that optimizes the best of EXR and CMOS imagining technologies.

The new BSI (Back Side Illuminated) EXR CMOS sensor that according to Fujifilm offers a breakthrough in image quality. But what is impressive and class leading is the 16 million pixels that is a real leap in image resolution for a bridge superzoom camera.

EXR Sensor?
Basically what the EXR sensor does is to take two images simultaneously using different exposures to produce a single image. This has the effect of significantly enhancing the dynamic range, revealing subtle details in shadow and eliminating washout of bright areas.

Standard sensors are perfectly fine for the flat lighting for example what you find on overcast days, and in these situations the EXR sensor’s widest dynamic range would not be of an advantage.

But on a bright, sunny day, the dynamic range of most standard sensor cameras isn’t wide enough to simultaneously capture details in the dark shadows and the bright highlights, so something will be lost. If the camera uses a high enough exposure to capture shadow detail, highlights will be blown and where the sky should be blue, you’ll probably see only white.

You could use any camera to take two or more photos with different exposures and combine them in post processing to get a similar effect. This is known as HDR processing, but there will be a time interval between the photos, and depending on the length of the time interval and if the scene contains moving objects, combining the images can create problems. With a camera that has an EXR, this isn’t a problem since both images are shot at the same time and combined automatically.

To go into the technology in further detail on this page would be overkill, but I have listed it’s main advantages. It is also worth taking a look at the video below:

  • The very high resolution (16 Megapixels) images it captures
  • Wide Dynamic Range 1600% – DR mode simultaneously captures two images to produce a single image with significantly enhanced dynamic range, revealing subtle details in shadow and eliminating washout of bright areas.
  • High Sensitivity & Low Noise – SN mode takes advantage of high-sensitivity to capture smooth texture and natural brightness with minimal noise.
  • The CMOS circuit enables fast data signal readout, which in turn makes the new high speed movie possible along with the high speed continuous shooting functions.

Full HD Movie Recording

Currently only the Panasonic FZ100 matches the Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR in terms of being able to record high-resolution full-HD 1920×1080 movies with stereo sound (16:9 format) at 30 frames per second. (1280 x 720 pixels @ 60frames/sec. or 640 x 480 pixels @ 30frames/sec.)

The camera uses the H.264 (MOV) Full 1080p HD format and stereo sound. The mainstay of broadcasting and Blu-Ray technologies, the H.264 format produces file sizes that are smaller and easier to handle than AVI, plus they’re compatible with many applications and websites, making it simple for you to share video content via sites such as YouTube.

The A one-touch movie record button enables you to capture all the action in full HD very quickly without having to change modes on the camera ensuring that you don’t miss any of the action, what is more is you can take still photos during movie recordings as well. The 30x optical zoom is also available in movie recording.

Video shooting in low light is also been improved with the inclusion of the EXR HD Movie mode. By employing the same Pixel Fusion technology as it does for still images, the FinePix HS20 delivers high sensitivity and low digital noise for movie capture in low lighting conditions without the need to resort to additional lighting. Now you can capture the mood of sunsets, interiors and parties in both still and movie form.

Sample Video – On Safari

I took all the footage for the video below whilst on safari in Zimbabwe. In this film, I have tied to show the good as well as bad points to using a standard camera like the HS20 to shoot video. Below are also a few points I would also like to mention:

Use a Tripod!
Whilst the FinePix HS20 does take good video in full HD, because of it’s very powerful zoom, I do recommend using a tripod. The first part of the film was mostly shot by hand holding the camera and you can notice the camera shake, especially if shooting at high magnifications.

Most of the bird scenes towards the end of the film were taken using a tripod and you can really see the improvement.

Super Telephoto with the 2.2x Teleconverter
I also used my Raynox 2.2x teleconverter for most of the bird scenes giving me a massive 66x zoom and I managed to take what I think are some pretty impressive scenes – here a tripod is pretty much essential. For more take a look at the section on attaching a Teleconverter to the FujiFilm HS20 below.

Auto Focus
You will notice that the camera sometimes struggles to keep in focus, especially if you have the Movie Auto Focus set to “continuous” and the subject is moving.

Zooming
Whilst is is possible to use the zoom whilst filming, it is almost impossible to do it smoothly. So I would suggest picking your zoom level and then film the subject.

Editing the Film
I used the free Windows Live Movie Maker to put the film together and then uploaded it to Youtube.

[To see the video in the best possible resolution, press play, then select 1080p HD on the menu bar and then open the video to Full Screen.]



Example Video No 2 – Product Shots

Below is a video that I shot using the HS20 for a review I am doing on a pair ofNight Vision Binoculars – The camera was mounted on a tripod and I edited the film with windows movie maker and then uploaded it onto YouTube – to see the best quality during playback select 1080p HD on the YouTube bar and then click to view it “Full Screen”. You will notice that the focus changes automatically and fairly fast – I have head that some people have had problems with this, but in the settings of the camera, if you change the movie AF mode from “continuous” to center – it works much better.

Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR with 3.0-inch Tilting LCD Screen3.0-inch Tilting LCD

I think that one of the most impressive features on this camera, is the excellent 3.0-inch LCD monitor.

It is a part of the camera that does not often get properly looked at it most reviews, which to me is surprising as you will be spending a lot of time looking at it.

The Fuji’s is as large as any in this class and at about 460,000 dot resolution covering 100% of the image you really get an excellent view. I also like the way that it comes away from the body of the camera and you can rotate it to 90° making it easier to take photos from above the camera - see video below for demonstration.

It also looks really well made and a just feels a lot more robust than many of it’s competitors that I have tested.

But for me the most impressive bit about it was the quality of the image it produced and the high resolution graphics that it displays as you navigate through the menu. Far better than all others I have tried.

Electronic Viewfinder

Another feature that I really like is the Electronic Viewfinder comes with an “Eye Sensor”. What this means is if you put your eye to the EVF the sensor automatically switches display from the LCD to the highly responsive viewfinder. Saves time as well as batteries. The quality of the image produce through the image sensor is about average for cameras in the bridge camera superzoom class.

RAW Image Format

High resolution pictures are captured in 16:9 format (4,608 x 2,592 pixels, 3,264 x 1,840 pixels, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels) and can be stored on the camera in either JPEG or RAW formats (or both).

Many superzooms don’t offer you even the option of capturing your images in RAW format, with this Fujifilm FinePix camera, not only can you do this, but you can preset the camera to record images in JPEG, RAW or both formats as default. But if you only select one format, you can record in both when necessary just by pressing a single button on the back of the camera.

For those that don’t know, Raw image files are sometimes called digital negatives, as they fulfill the same role as negatives in film photography: that is, the negative is not directly usable as an image, but has all of the information needed to create an image.

The purpose of raw image formats is to save, with minimum loss of information, data obtained from the sensor, and the conditions surrounding the capturing of the image.

TTL flash control with optional external flashes
Flash users will be pleased to hear that the HS20 comes with a built in pop-up flash, but also has a hotshoe for an external flash and offers TTL flash metering and will be supported by two new compatible flashguns; the fixed head EF-20 and bounce head EF-42, which also offers auto zoom and an AF assist illuminator.

Panoramic Photos

Ok, I am just going to say this – the “motion” Panoramic mode on the HS20 is simply stunning. Gone are they days where you had to use special software on your computer to stich the photos together, with this FinePix camera they are so easy to create.

To take panoramic shots, all you have to do is select “Motion Panorama 360 Mode” on the main dial, then press the shutter button and just sweep the camera to pan the scene. That’s it! The FinePix HS20EXR very cleverly produces the 360° panorama shot, effortlessly and automatically!

From the settings menu when you are in Panoramic mode, you can also easily change the how wide you want your panorama to be – either 120°, 180° or 360°. You can also change the direction you want to sweep your camera – either Right to Left, Left to Right, Up to Down or Down to Up.

Below are a couple panoramic examples that I took whilst on a safari holiday in Zimbabwe:

120° Panoramic Sample Photo
Safari Sunset - 120° Panoramic Sample Photo

360° Panoramic Sample Photo
360° Panoramic Sample Photo

Tracking Auto Focus

Another aspect that I really like is the camera keeps fast moving subjects in the frame in focus, even when the zoom is fully extended. This is really useful when you are trying to capture birds and other wildlife that is on the move.

What is more is that the Auto Focus on the FinePix HS20EXR camera is one of the fastest that I have ever seen, it is virtually instantaneous helping to ensure that you don’t miss a shot or take it out of focus.

Best Frame Capture Mode

A mode that I really liked and one that will be music to people who like to take photos of birds and other fast moving subjects is the Best Frame Capture Mode.

All you have to do is half-press the shutter and the FinePix HS20EXR starts recording photos at 11fps at 8 megapixel resolution. When you decide on the correct moment and fully press the shutter button, the camera captures up to 16 frames including pre-recorded frames, giving you the opportunity to select the best shot.

Best Frame Capture Mode



Tele Conversion Lens attached to the HS20

FujiFilm Finepix HS20EXR With 2.2x Raynox Teleconverter attached

Tele Conversion Lens

Many of the newer superzoom cameras don’t come with a threaded lens, this is a real shame, especially if you are like me you and are always looking to get closer to your subjects. So being able to fit a Telephoto Conversion Lens to the camera is important… well, it is to me anyway!

When the HS20 was first announced, I rushed to check if Fuji was going to keep the thread on the end of the lens as they had with the HS10 – and the great news is they have! This meant that in theory it should be relatively simple to add a teleconverter to the Fujifilm FinePix HS20 as the 58mm thread on the end of the lens allows you to attach a step-up or step-down ring to it, and then onto your teleconverter.

But that’s the theory and I still had not tried it. With such a large zoom, and even with the Fuji’s impressive image stabilization, would it be possible to shoot without a tripod?

At the Focus on Imaging Show in Birmingham, Fuji kindly permitted me to try it out on their stand:

The step-up ring fitted with no problems onto the camera (The Raynox comes with a selection of rings, including a 58mm), I attached my Raynox DCR-2025PRO Super Telephoto Conversion Lens to it and turned it on:

Taking photos with such a large zoom inside and exhibition center is not ideal, but below are my results, which considering they are hand held and I was not using a tripod, I think they are really impressive. (Click on image for larger version)

Wide angle shot, taken without any zoom to show the distance from the subject
Using the 30x zoom of the Fuji HS20 - so without any teleconverter attached
Using the Raynox 2.2x DCR-2025PRO at full zoom - 66x

Wide angle shot, taken without any zoom to show the distance from the subject

Using the 30x zoom of the Fuji HS20 – so without any teleconverter attached

Using the Raynox 2.2x DCR-2025PRO at full zoom – 66x

Even with the teleconverter attached, the focusing on the Fuji Finepix was still as quick as ever and as you can see, not only does the camera work with a teleconverter, but I think as you can see the image quality is still almost as good as using the camera without it. (The only thing I have done to the images above is re-size them)

More Teleconverter Samples – Outdoors

Below are some more test photos that I took with my HS20 and the Raynox 2.2x 2025Pro Teleconverter in my garden. The only editing that I have done is to reduce them in size and in some cases just apply a little sharpening. The files have also been slightly reduced in quality to optimise them for the web:

Using the Raynox 2.2x DCR-2025PRO at full zoom - 66x
Using the Raynox 2.2x DCR-2025PRO at full zoom - 66x
Using the Raynox 2.2x DCR-2025PRO at full zoom - 66x

Using the Raynox 2.2x DCR-2025PRO at full zoom – 66x

 

Using the Raynox 2.2x DCR-2025PRO at full zoom – 66x

Using the Raynox 2.2x DCR-2025PRO at full zoom – 66x

Using the Raynox 2.2x DCR-2025PRO at full zoom - 66x Using the Raynox 2.2x DCR-2025PRO at full zoom - 66x Using the Raynox 2.2x DCR-2025PRO at full zoom - 66x

For interest, I also took some photos of the two pigeons above without the teleconverter attached (they hung around long enough for me to take it off the camera!) – to see the difference between, take a look at the sample photos above.

Even More Teleconverter Samples – On Safari

All the photos below were taken by me whilst I was on Safari in Zimbabwe, In all of them I was using the Raynox 2.2x 2025Pro Teleconverter attached to the HS20. The only editing that I have done is a little cropping, resizing and sharpening. I have also actually reduced their quality (file size) to optimise them for the web.

Using the Raynox 2.2x 2025Pro Teleconverter with the FujiFilm FinePix HS20EXR
Using the Raynox 2.2x 2025Pro Teleconverter with the FujiFilm FinePix HS20EXR
Using the Raynox 2.2x 2025Pro Teleconverter with the FujiFilm FinePix HS20EXR

F-Stop: f/7.1
Expos Time: 1/280 sec 
ISO-100
Using the Raynox 2.2x DCR-2025PRO at full zoom – 66x
Camera on a Tripod

 

F-Stop: f/5.6
Expos Time: 1/320 sec 
ISO-160
Using the Raynox 2.2x DCR-2025PRO at full zoom – 66x
Camera on a Tripod

F-Stop: f/5.6
Expos Time: 1/250 sec 
ISO-200
Using the Raynox 2.2x DCR-2025PRO at full zoom – 66x
Camera on a Tripod

Tripod

All the photos above were taken with a tripod and even though it is possible to take fairly good hand held photos with a teleconverter, for better results I highly recommend the using a tripod. For those who were wondering, I was using my Vanguard Alta Pro Tripod, with the excellent Vanguard GH-100 Pistol Grip Ball Head, that makes aiming at your subject much quicker, meaning that, especially with timid subjects like birds, I miss far fewer shots.

I now just can’t wait to get out on safari and give this camera and my teleconverter a try, taking really close up photos of the birds and wildlife that I love so much… stay tuned, I will have the results up on this page in a month or so.

Please note: If you decide to get the Raynox DCR-2025PRO to use with the HS20, you do not need to buy a separate adapter or step up ring as the Raynox comes with a selection of rings, including a 58mm one that will attach it to the HS20.

 

Fitting a Teleconverter Lens to the FujiFilm HS20

For more information on attaching a teleconverter to your superzoom bridge camera, read my guide to Telephoto Conversion Lenses for Bridge Cameras or my articles on the Raynox DCR-2025PRO Super Telephoto Conversion Lens.


Camera Layout

For more of the camera’s main features an the layout of the buttons, take a look at this great video from the “Fuji Guys” It will also give a good idea as to the camera’s size.


Cost & Where to Buy

One of the main advantages of a SuperZoom camera like the HS20 when compared to an SLR with a telephoto lens is the far cheaper price tag:

US Shoppers
US Shoppers
Buy in the USA:

Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR on Amazon.com








Panasonic FZ100 vs HS20EXR

I thought it would be useful to compare the main stats of my two favorite superzoom bridge cameras. The first thing that you will notice is the Fuji’s bigger size and weight. It does however also have a bigger zoom and better image resolution:

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100 Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100
Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR

Street price: $375 • £329

$499 • £399

Zoom tele (T): 600mm (24x)
Wide-angle: 25mm
Aperture range: F2.8 – F5.4
Continuous Drive: 11fps & 60fps
Min shutter: 60sec
Max shutter: 1/2000sec
ISO rating: Auto, Hi Auto (1600-6400), 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, Intelligent ISO

720mm (30x)
24mm
F2.8 – F5.6
8 fps
30sec
1/4000sec
Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 (6400 and 12800 with boost)

Max Res: 4320 x 3240
Effective pixels: 14.1 million
Censor Type: CMOS
Sensor size: 1/2.33 ” (6.13 x 4.60 mm, 0.28 cm²)

4608 x 3456
16 million
EXR CMOS
1/2 ” (6.40 x 4.80 mm, 0.3 cm²)

Metering: Intelligent Multiple, Center, Spot
Exposure compensation: 
-2 to +2 EV in 1/3 EV Steps

TTL 256 zone

-2 to +2 EV in 1/3 EV steps

LCD Size: 3″
LCD Dots: 460,000
Built-in Flash: Yes, Pop-up
Flash range: 9.5m
External flash: Yes, Hot-shoe

3″
460,000
Yes, Pop-up
3.2m
Yes, Hot-shoe

Max Movie: 1920 x 1080 (FSH: 17Mbps / FH:13Mbps)

1920 x 1080 (FHD 30 fps)

Dimensions: 124x82x95mm
Weight (+ batteries): 540g (19 oz)
Battery: Lithium-Ion rechargeable

131 x 91 x 126mm
730g (25.7 oz)
4 x AA batteries (Alkaline, NiMH or Lithium)

Add Telephoto Lens: Yes, easily

Yes

 

Negatives?

One thing that is a slight concern to me is that I sometimes get a high temperature warning come up on the display after using the camera for extended periods. As yet, it has not switched off, but I have heard that It will do this to protect the camera if it get’s too hot. Not something you want to happen just as you come across a once in a lifetime opportunity to photograph a leopard carrying it’s kill up a tree!


Update
: FujiFilm have created a firmware update to correct this as basically the warning was coming on even when the camera was operating at a safe temperature. This firmware update (v 1.02) will resolve the problem by adjusting the warning to only display when the camera is actually running with a high temperature. 

In Conclusion

If the larger size and weight are not an issue for you and you are looking for a true bridge camera with a powerful zoom and the flexibility to go from full auto to full manual then I highly recommend the Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR. For me the only thing preventing it being the BEST camera for safaris is it’s bulky size. This however is relative and compared to a true DSLR where you would have to also carry large telephoto lenses and spend allot more money to get them, the FinePix starts to look rather small and compact!


Video Review of the Fujifilm HS20EXR

For more information, below is Fujifilm’s official video for the FinePix HS20EXR, that mentions most of the camera’s highlights.

Alternatives

If you are looking for a smaller camera that still packs plenty of punch, then I highly recommend looking at the newer Fujifilm HS30, the Panasonic FZ100 or the Canon Powershot SX30 IS that have many of the features and specifications of the HS20. See links below:

Fujifilm FinePix H30EXR 16 MP Digital Superzoom CameraFujifilm FinePix HS30EXR

The successor to the very popular HS20 is the Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR with it’s 30x optical zoom (35mm camera equivalent 720mm), much higher 16 MP image resolution, faster auto focus and movie recording in full 1080p HD.

Unlike many superzoom cameras, the FinePix HS30 is a full-on bridge camera and like the HS20 form 2011, it comes with a propper zoom ring as you find on a DSLR camera. It also has full manual controls and an abundance of buttons and dials and from the user’s point of view almost exactly like a DSLR camera.

It can also record full HD 1080p high speed video at 30 frames per second and it has an excellent articulated screen, 11 fps continuous shooting at full resolution is also possible in burst mode ensuring you mis none of the action.

Because the lens has a 58mm thread on the lens you can also add a teleconverter lens like the Raynox DCR-2025PRO 2×2 Teleconverter to the camera to extend it’s reach even more.

For more information and to read why I think this is definitly one of the best digital superzoom camera to take on safari, read my review on the Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR Review >>

Canon PowerShot SX30 ISCanon PowerShot SX30 IS

This superzoom bridge camera from Canon, the PowerShot SX30 IS features a massive 35x zoom (35mm equivalent of a 24-840mm lens) and loads of other features including full 720p HD video recording, excellent image stabilization and a vari-angle 2.7 inch LCD display.

>> Canon PowerShot SX30 IS Digital Camera

Related Articles

Below are some more articles that you may also find useful:

The Best Digital Superzoom cameras for SafarisThe Best Compact Superzoom Cameras for Safari

If you do decide that a superzoom compact camera, rather than a digital SLR, here is our guide to the best compact super zoom safari cameras. Includes features to look out for and review of the top two cameras with a side by side comparison.

>> Best Safari Camera (compact superzooms)


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