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

Page 2: Body & Design

The Fujifilm Finepix HS30EXR is very similar ergonomically to that of the HS20 and whilst the body may be a little bigger and heavier than many of it’s competitors in the superzoom class, it has the advantage of feeling much more like a true SLR camera.

This means that ergonomically the HS30exr is a very satisfying camera to use and on the whole it matches my very positive experience of using the earlier HS20.

Essentially it has the same interface as the last generation of Fuji, combining ‘traditional’ button and dial-led ergonomics with fairly sensible and convenient on-screen operation, courtesy of a ‘Fn’ button quick menu.

More importantly in all aspects relating to the body and it’s ergonomics, it at least matches and usually surpasses most of it’s peers in the superzoom bridge camera class.

HS30EXR Dimensions

Flash

The HS30’s flash pops-up from the top of the camera. It has an range of about 30cm – 7.1m (1ft. – 23.2ft) in wide angle shots and about 2.0m – 3.8m (6.5ft. – 12.4ft) when using the telephoto lens.

You can also attach an external flash to the hot shoe as well this includes the Fujifilm EF-42 TTL Flash or the Fujifilm EF-20 flash.

Built in Flash on the FujiFilm HS30EXR

TTL flash control with optional external flashes
Flash users will be pleased to hear that the HS30 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.

Battery

The battery compartment is located inside the grip, covered by a door on the bottom of the camera.

Unlike the HS20 that used 4xAA battries, the HS30EXR runs on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which I guess most people would consider to be an upgrade, but both have their advantagaes.

With AA batteries, you have the security of knowing that should you run out or loose your batteries, you can get some more pretty much anywhere. Also if like me you already have a whole stack of high quality Lithium AA batteries in your camera bag,

Fujifilm state that their new Li-ion battery NP-W126 can take an impressive 600 shots on one charge, which for a superzoom bridge camera is a lot.

With a dedicated Lithium-ion battery you get longer battery life, even compared to the best NiMH or Lithium AA batteries. Even so, if like me you often go where there is no electricity to charge your batteries, you should probably consider buying a second battery as a backup.

FujiFilm HS30EXR Battery Compartment


Teleconverter Lens

FujiFilm Finepix HS30EXR With 2.2x Raynox Teleconverter attached

Attaching a Tele Conversion Lens to the HS30EXR

Not all superzoom bridge cameras come with a threaded lens, which 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 for me very important and is one of the main reasons that I chose to use the HS20 last year.

When the HS30 was first announced, I immediately checked and was really relieved to hear that they were keeping the 58mm thread filter thread on the end of the lens. This meant that in theory it should be relatively simple to add a teleconverter to the Fujifilm FinePix HS30 by screwing on a step-up or step-down ring to it, and then onto your teleconverter.

But that’s the theory and whilst I have often used a teleconverter on the HS20, I still had not tried it on the HS30. My first chance was at the Focus on Imaging Show in Birmingham in March 2012, where Fuji kindly permitted me to try it out on their camera which was displayed at their stand:

The 58mm thread is the same as what is used on the HS20 and so my step-up ring fitted with no problems onto the camera and so I attached my Raynox DCR-2025PRO Super Telephoto Conversion Lens to it (The Raynox comes with a selection of rings, including a 58mm) and turned it on:

First Test

Taking photos with such a large zoom inside and exhibition center is not ideal as the light was pretty poor, the camera was tethered to the stand and I could not use a tripod. But as you can see from the image below it immediatly worked really well and I was very impressed with the image stabilisation on the camera.

Wide angle shot, taken without any zoom to show the distance from the subject
Using the Raynox 2.2x DCR-2025PRO with the HS30EXR at full zoom - 66x without a tripod

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

Using the Raynox 2.2x DCR-2025PRO with the HS30EXR at full zoom (66x) without a tripod

The wide angle shot above shows the distance to the subject (I was aiming at the lens of the X-Pro1 camera on the poster at the stand).

Then with the teleconverter attached, the first thing I noticed was the focusing on the Fuji Finepix was still as quick as ever and as you can see, the image stabilisation worked really well as there is almost no blur on the image. This was for me very impressive as I was not using any support and was actually hampered due to the fact that the camera was also tethered to the stand.

2.2x Raynox Teleconverter attached to the HS30EXR

How to attach a Teleconverter to the HS30EXR

Because the FujiFilm Finepix HS30EXR comes with a 58mm thread on the lens it is as simple as fitting a step up or step down ring (depending on your teleconverter) to the lens and then onto the teleconverter.

Please note: If you decide to get the Raynox DCR-2025PRO to use with the HS30 which I highly recommend, 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 HS30.

 

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.

Teleconverter Samples – Birding

The photos below were taken with the HS30 and my Raynox 2.2x teleconverter whilst I was on safari in Zimbabwe in 2013. I was also using the Vanguard Alta+ 233AO Tripod, with the Vanguard GH-100 Pistol Grip Ball Head which really helps with rapid aiming. To make sure the camera remained as still as possible I also used the Fujifilm RR-80 Remote Release, which you can read about on the optional accessories section of this review.

Teleconverter Samples – Outdoors

Below are some sample photos that I took with my Finepix HS30 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:

Sample Photo using the FujiFilm FinePix HS30EXRand a Raynox 2.2x Teleconverter
Sample Photo using the FujiFilm FinePix HS30EXRand a Raynox 2.2x Teleconverter
Sample Photo using the FujiFilm FinePix HS30EXRand a Raynox 2.2x Teleconverter

HS30 and the Raynox 2.2x DCR-2025PRO at full zoom – 66x

F-Stop: f/5.6
Expos Time: 1/250 sec
ISO-125

HS30 and the Raynox 2.2x DCR-2025PRO at full zoom – 66x

F-Stop: f/5.6
Expos Time: 1/320 sec
ISO-100

HS30 and the Raynox 2.2x DCR-2025PRO at full zoom – 66x

F-Stop: f/5.6
Expos Time: 1/250 sec
ISO-160

 

What Difference the Teleconverter Makes

The three photos below were all taken from the same location looking at my birdfeeder and I hope will help to demonstrate the power of using a teleconverter lens like the 2.2x Raynox on the Fujifilm HS30EXR:

Wide angle shot using the FujiFilm FinePix HS30EXR
Using the FujiFilm FinePix HS30EXR at 30x zoom (720mm)
SUsing the FujiFilm FinePix HS30EXR and a Raynox 2.2x Teleconverter at 66x zoom

Wide angle shot (24mm) using the HS30EXR

The HS30EXR at 30x zoom (720mm)

HS30EXR and the Raynox 2.2x DCR-2025PRO at full zoom – 66x

As you can see the 30x zoom (720mm) on the Finepix HS30 is pretty impressive in itself, but the 2.2x teleconverter does get you just that bit closer with almost no loss in the quality of the image, especially on sunny days where there is plenty of light available.

More Teleconverter Samples – On Safari with the HS20

The three photos below were taken by me whilst I was on Safari in Zimbabwe in 2012, In all of them I was using the Raynox 2.2x 2025Pro Teleconverter attached to my older 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 – Almost essential when using a Teleconverter

Whilst the HS30 has has an excellent image stabiliser and whilst it is possible to take fairly good hand held photos with a teleconverter, I highly recommend also using a tripod. In this way you can slow down the shutter speed and get far better and sharper photos.

The photos above were taking 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.

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US Shoppers
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Buy in the USA:

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