9
Safari Guide Rating "Excellent"
Build Quality: 8/10
Features & Functions: 8.5/10
Zoom Control: 9.5/10
Focussing Speed: 9.5/10
Size & Weight: 7/10

FujiFilm HS50, the ultimate SuperZoom bridge camera for Safaris?

Released in January 2013, the FinePix HS50 EXR is Fujifilm’s most recent addition to their long line of high quality superzoom bridge cameras.

The main highlights and upgrades to last years HS30 include the massive and higher powered 42x (24-1000mm 35mm camera equivalent.) optical zoom lens and a new EXR CMOS II sensor that is said to offer an number of performance improvements.

To see if these and the many other features live up to the expectations and indeed if it is to take the crown as being the ultimate safari superzoom bridge camera, take a look at my full review below as I put this Fujifilm HS30 EXR camera through its paces:

FujiFilm HS50 Review

First Impressions
Whilst it was immediately noticeable that it is bigger and heavier than the HS30, the FinePix HS50 EXR still maintains the overall look and feel of it’s predecessor and I felt immediately at home with it.

Twist and tilt LCD screen on the Fujifilm FinePix HS50 EXR

Twist and tilt LCD screen on the Fujifilm FinePix HS50 EXROne of the more obvious differences between the two is the LCD screen, which is now stored face inwards towards the body of the camera and can twist as well as tilt. This is a big advantage over the tilt only screen on my HS30, for it’s flexibility as well as for the fact that the screen is far better protected when not in use.

Turning it on and using it for the first time after the initial setup was also a revelation as the much higher powered 4x optical zoom is incredible, taking you from a wide angle shot to right up and personal with only a small twist of the barrel.

Size & Weight

The HS50 is heavier and bigger than most of the direct competition and whilst for travelling it is always nice to have as small and as light a camera as possible, on the plus side, the shape and ergonomics of the body is much closer to that of an SLR, which makes holding and using it comfortable and really easy.

I would like to stress that whilst it maybe bigger than most other current superzoom bridge cameras on the market, it is still much smaller and lighter than most digital SLR camera bodies and don’t forget the huge telephoto lens that you would need to add to the SLR for the equivalent telephoto range.

HS50 vs SLR Camera with 1000mm lens

42x Optical Zoom (24 – 1000mm 35mm camera equivalent)

The most important feature of any superzoom is obviously it’s zoom and the zoom mechanism. The HS50’s zoom is excellent and in my opinion far better than any of the current competition in the superzoom camera class and this is why:

This Fujifilm camera comes equipped with a very good quality Fujinon 42x optical zoom lens that not only provides you with a massive focal range of 24-1000mm (equivalent to a 35mm camera), but because of the quality of the lens it is still able to achieve a relatively bright aperture rating of F/2.8 – F5.6.

This is one of the biggest advantages of a superzoom like this, in it’s very wide focal range enables you, without the hassle of changing lenses, to take sweeping African landscape photos at one moment and then close up shots of the wildlife the very next.

Top Down view of the FujiFilm Finepix HS50 EXR showing the camera at full zoom

Manual Zoom Ring
Whilst it is true that there a few superzoom cameras like the Canon SX50 HS that have more powerful zooms, none of them are Manual and by "Manual" I mean you twist the barrel as you would with an SLR camera and not just push a button and I really love the manual zoom ring on this and all the other Fujifilm HS superzoom cameras I have used in the past.

The large manual zoom ring surrounds the lens and it takes only a quarter of a turn to go from a wide angle shot to fully zoomed in, so not only can you change your focal length much quicker than a motor zoom, it also saves your batteries.

I also find that you are able to zoom to a specific point with much more precision than with the motorised alternatives.

For me one of the biggest advantages of this manual system compared to the electronic motor zooms is that you can leave your camera set at a zoom level after turning it off. Then when you turn it on again, it will still be at the same zoom level. This may not sound like much, but if like me, you like to set yourself up with the camera trained at a spot where you know some wildlife or a bird for example will land and then need to turn the camera off to save batteries until it comes back, this is a big deal. This combined with a very fast start-up time of only half a second means that even if you have to wait in a hide for hours, you are ready to be gin shooting again at a moments notice.

Another advantage of the manual zoom is that when you are taking films, zooming in and out is silent, unlike the motor powered zooms, where the faint sound of the motor is often picked up by the mic and recorded onto your video. However on the down side, it is a little more difficult to zoom smoothly using a manual zoom ring

84x Digital Zoom

As well as the 42x optical zoom, if you need to, you can use Fuji’s "Intelligent Digital Zoom" that can magnify the image by either 1.4x or 2x to give you an 84x zoom which is the equivalent of 2000mm on 35mm format.

As we all know digitally magnifying the image reduces the image quality, but the EXR II sensor helps to reduce the amount of noise as well as enhancing the contrast to help minimise this.

An icon on the viewfinder lets you know that you are in digital zoom mode, which is simple to activate using the Fn (Function) button on the rear of the camera meaning that you do not need to go through the menu system to quickly zoom in – perfect if you quickly need an identification type picture, before the bird flies off.

Teleconverter Lens

However unless you need to take the photo right there and then, if you want to boost your focal length, a much better way than using the digital zoom is to use a teleconverter lens.

I was so happy to see that Fujifilm have kept the 58mm filter thread on the end of the lens of this camera, which means you can use it to not only simply attach filters, but a teleconverter like the excellent 2.2x Raynox DCR-2025PRO, which will increase the maximum zoom to 92.4x or a mega 2200mm equivalent on 35mm format.

For more read the section below on adding a Tele Conversion lens to the HS50EXR.

What Difference the Zoom Makes

All the photos below were taken from the same location (you can only just make out the wheel barrow and flowers in the distance in the wide angle shot!)

Zoom-Test-Wide-Angle
Wide Angle (24mm)
Zoom-Test-42x
Full Zoom (42x)
Zoom-Test-42x-digital-14x
Full Zoom with 1.4x digital (58.8x)
Zoom-Test-42x-digital-2x
Full Zoom with 2x digital (84x)
Zoom-Test-42x-raynox
Full Zoom with 2.2x teleconverter (92.4x)
Click on the image for a larger version.
The only editing I have done to these files is to reduce them in size from 4608×3456 pixels to 1200×900
   

Memory

memory-compartmentThe Fujifilm HS50 has some internal memory although I have not been able to find out how much, but for the most part you will want to store photos on a memory card. The camera accepts SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I) memory cards.

Memory Compartment
The memory card compartment is accessed via cover on the right hand side of the camera. This door is spring loaded and opens easily. It looks to be a little delicate and would not take much to break it off when left open. Once closed it is nice and secure.

The memory cards slots fits well in the compartment and is also spring loaded, so just pushing it down, frees it and it pops up which makes taking it in and out nice and simple.

Under the Camera

Battery & Battery Compartment

The HS50 comes with a 7.2v 1260mAh lithium-ion battery and a charger. The entrance to the battery compartment is located under the body and has a spring loaded cover which looks to be fairly robust. The battery is also spring loaded in the compartment and once you flick the small orange catch (se image below), it jumps out making it really simple to take out to charge.

Battery Life
I found that battery life was good and indeed it is
rated for 500 shots according to the Fujifilm CIPA testing, which is far better than much of the competition. To put this into context, the Canon SX50 HS is rated for only 315 shots.

battery & battery compartment on the HS50

Tripod Mount

The threaded insert that you use to mount the camera onto a tripod looks as though it is made from a hard plastic. At first I was a little disappointed with this, especially as a bridge camera, the HS50 is a relatively heavy.

What is more, because I often attach my teleconverter to the camera, which not only increases the weight, but the overall length as well, which definitely adds stress to the camera mount, I was doubly worried.

However after using both the camera and my teleconverter for a while now I have not had any problems at all. I think if you just look after it and make sure that you are reasonably careful when threading it to the tripod mounting plate you should not have any problems either.

Rear of the Camera

Located on the top left on the back of the camera is the Q button, which when pressed brings up the quick access menus with a number of shortcuts to commonly used functions that you may need when taking photos.

In playback mode this button will display all the details of the current photo you are looking at.

Next to this is the Evf/LCD button, which enable you to choose which screen you want active, the LCD or the EVF (Electronic view finder). A third option sets it so that the eye-detection sensor automatically switches the camera from the LCD to the EVF when you put your eye up to the viewfinder.

Located next to the viewfinder is the diopter adjustment and on the other side of there is the red-dotted dedicated video button that you can use in any mode to start video recording, and is easily reached with your thumb.

Also on the back is the AE/AF lock and the main 4-way controller which has the Fn button which can be customised but the default set to activating the digital zoom. The others are the Flash, Macro and Timer buttons. In the middle you find the Menu/OK button, with display/back and playback buttons underneath.

FujiFilm-Finepix-HS50-EXR-rear

Menus

I thought that the menus system is really fast and simple to navigate, although because it is pretty much the same as the older versions, I was immediately very familiar with it.

Whatever the case, they are really simple to read on the large LCD screen and clearly laid out and colour coded: The setup menus are in blue, photo options when taking photos are in red and the playback options are in green.

To access the menu you simply press the Menu/ok button in the middle of the main 4-way controller on the rear of the camera.

Macro & Super Macro

What is really incredible with cameras like this one is that even though you have such a powerful zoom, with the same lens and in Super Macro mode, you can take close-up shots of objects from as near as 1cm away. This gives you a huge amount of flexibility to be as creative as you want.

Taking Macro shots is really simple and it is quick to swap between Macro and normal shooting an then back again. To select the macro modes you only have to press the left button on the selector on the back of the camera, which allows you to cycle through the options – Macro off, Macro and Super Macro.

Below are the first few example shots taken in both macro and super macro modes using the Fujifilm HS50 EXR. They were taken on a fairly overcast and windy afternoon, which was not ideal as the flowers were moving about quite a bit. But as you can see even though conditions were not Ideal, I think I got some pretty decent images:

Macro Example photo taken with the Fujifilm Finepix HS50 EXR Macro Example photo taken with the Fujifilm Finepix HS50 EXR
   
Macro Example photo taken with the Fujifilm Finepix HS50 EXR Macro Example photo taken with the Fujifilm Finepix HS50 EXR
Click on the image for a larger version.
The only editing I have done to these files is to reduce them in size from 4608×3456 pixels to 1200×900
   
I took the two photos below from a distance of less than 1 meter, but without using the Macro setting:
Fujifilm-HS50-EXR-Example-08 Fujifilm-HS50-EXR-Example-09
   

 

Panoramic Photos

Just like the HS30, the new HS50 has what they call their “motion” Panoramic mode which is really excellent. It was not long ago, that to put together a panoramic shout, you had to use special software on your computer that would stitch the photos together, but with the FinePix HS50 it is much, much simpler:

All you have to do is select "Panorama" mode on the main dial on top of the camera and then after you have selected what direction you want to sweep and for how many degrees, weather, you just press the shutter release button as you would for a normal photo and just sweep the camera to pan the scene. The FinePix HS50EXR then does all the rest, stitching together the panorama shot completely automatically!

When you are in “Motion Panorama 360 Mode” you can select the direction you want to sweep your camera in with the options being – Left to Right, Right to Left, Down to Up or Up to Down.

You can also choose the angle or width of the arc you wish to use for your shot from 120°, 180° or a full 360°

Panoramic Photo Example

Below id the first sample panoramic shot taken, I will get some more done for you in the near future.

panoramic example photo using HS50EXR

Optical Image Stabilization

About
Unlike a lot of other digital cameras that use Sensor-Shift Image Stabilisation, the Fujifilm HS50 uses Lens Shift Optical Image Stabilisation to help prevent blurring of your photos even when hand holding the camera at full 42x zoom.

Between theses two types of image stabilization, there seems to be a general consensus that optically stabilized lenses like those on the HS50 are superior.

Whilst in-body sensor-shift image stabilisation works well enough for wide-angle to small telephoto lenses, it’s effectiveness of it reduces at higher magnifications or focal lengths.

Optical image stabilisation works by making small shifts in the optical elements of the lens to counter against any small or even fairly large movements. This they are much better at countering a wider range of movement.

How well it works
I thought that the IS on the HS50 was as good as, if not better than any other digital compact or bridge camera that I have ever used. Even in pretty poor light and at full 42x zoom, I was able to take blur free images whilst holding the camera in my hands.

On safari this will be a real advantage as you will often find times that you want to quickly take a photo in the vehicle when it is either moving or before your guide has switched the engine off. A good IS will counter these small movements meaning that for the most part you will still capture a great blur free photo.

EXR CMOS II

New to the HS50 is Fuji’s improved EXR CMOS II sensor and processor that they say brings a number of performance improvements to the camera when compared to the older HS30 and indeed other superzooms on the market:

Fastest Auto Focus in the World
Using an extremely fast algorithm and depending on the scene and subject, the AF can almost instantly change between a high-speed phase detection AF which is used on most high spec SLR cameras or contrast AF used in high contrasting light situations. This helps ensure that the camera focuses as quickly as possible so that you never miss a shot.

A wide-angle shot, with the AF-area mode set to center this auto focus time is as little as 0.05 seconds, which according to Fujifilm is currently faster than any other compact digital camera in the world.

Fast Startup & Burst Shooting
The EXR Processor II is also responsible for the fact that the HS50 has a very fast startup of only half a second. Whilst I don’t have accurate enough equipment to properly measure this claim, the start up is extremely fast and should never really be an issue as it was in the old days of superzooms.

You can also take consecutive photos, with only half a second between each which is excellent. The camera also has a burst mode that enables you to take a maximum of 5 frames at 11fps using the full 16million pixel resolution.

Manual Focus

manual-focusJust behind and closer to the body than the large manual zoom ring is the manual focus ring that you twist to change the focus when in manual focus mode.

There is a circular switch located on the left hand side of the camera, which you use to toggle between manual, continuous or single focus. In the middle of this switch is a small button which zooms in when using the manual focus to help you check for the correct focus.

Holding the button lets you switch between standard focus or focus peaking mode. This great focussing aid shows a bar at the bottom which lets you know much of the image is in focus, with a dot that signifies the optimum focus.

Sample Photos

Below are the fist sample photos that I took using the HS50, over time I hope to get some more, especially from when I next go on safari.

Video

Whilst the now rather old HS20 recorded great quality HD video, it suffered from a problem with the auto focus. Then came along the HS30, which all but fixed the problem and you now had a great stills camera that could also take full HD videos at 30 frames per second (fps).

With the HS50, Fujifilm have gone a step further and you can now record Full HD Movies with a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels at 60fps.

What is more, the camera now uses a continuous phase detection auto focus that further improves the focussing in move mode.

On the rear of the camera is a button that is easy to reach with your thumb and with a single push makes the camera start recording full HD video, no matter what mode you are in.

Something that I have found to be really useful in the past is that you can take photos whilst recording video at the same time and now, unlike the older versions, the photos you take can be in full resolution which is excellent.

Sample Fujifilm HS50 EXR Videos

Close-up Video
I took this Full HD Video sample (1920×1080) movie at a frame rate of 60fps of some different bees on a bush, all were less than one meter away. For the best experience, make sure you are viewing the video in 1080p (change the settings) and then view in full screen:

High Speed Filming
The video footage that I took below demonstrates the High Speed filming capabilities of the FujiFilm FinePix HS50EXR that is really great for getting slow motion action shots. Most scenes were shot at 80fps (640×480), but right at the end I managed to capture a bee flying at 480fps (320 x 112 pixels) and it is incredible to watch it’s wings flapping.

Full HD Video sample (1920×1080) shot at 60fps of a Goldfinch at a distance of about 14 feet taken through double glazing window in low light.

Fujifilm FinePix HS50 EXR Full HD Video (Wide Angle)

Zooming Whilst Filming
Whilst it can be a little more difficult to zoom in and smoothly with the manual zoom ring when filming, the advantage is that if you are careful, the process is silent. The noise of the motorised zooms on other cameras is often picked up by their microphones and recorded onto the video.

In my opinion, the video quality on this camera means that it is now easily good enough for most amateurs like me not to worry about also bringing a separate video camera with on safari.

 


Adding a Teleconverter Lens to the HS50EXR

There are not many superzooms that feature a threaded lens and so if you want to further boost the power, your choices of fairly limited. I have been using either the Panasonic FZ or FujiFilm HS series of cameras for many years because they are in my opinion the best options.

That is why I was so happy when I saw that this latest offering from Fujifilm still had a threaded lens.

How to attach a Teleconverter to the HS30EXR

The 58mm thread is the same as what they used on the HS30 and indeed the older HS20 and so it is really as simple as fitting a step up or step down ring (depending on your teleconverter) to the lens and then screwing on your teleconverter lens.

Fitting a Teleconverter Lens to the FujiFilm HS20

I have a Raynox DCR-2025PRO Super Telephoto Conversion Lens which comes with a selection of rings, including a 58mm and so it is just a matter of fitting the three elements together.

If you need some more help and advice, take a look at my guide to Telephoto Conversion Lenses for Bridge Cameras.


Comparisons

Fujifilm HS50EXR vs Fujifilm SL1000

Another new release form Fujifilm is the 50x megazoom SL1000 that comes with a 16Mp BSI CMOS sensor. The main differences are highlighted below:

Zoom: HS50’s max optical zoom is 42x, whilst the SL1000 is 50x

Auto Focus: The AF Speed of the Fuji HS50 is 0.05 seconds, compared to 0.2 seconds on the SL1000

Sensor: Both have the same resolution, but the sensor on the HS50 is a little bigger and has AF points so overall AF performance is better on the HS50. The SL1000 comes with a BSI CMOS sensor which has a slightly better lower/base ISO range.

Fuji HS50 has a better continuous shot mode and has a Fully articulated LCD display whereas SL1000 only has a tilting display.

FujiFilm HS50 EXR Fujifilm SL1000
Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR
Fujifilm SL1000
Current price: $450 • £399 $310 • £290
Zoom tele (T): 1000mm (42x)
Wide-angle: 24mm
Aperture range: F2.8 – F5.6
Continuous Drive: 11fps
Max shutter: 30sec
Max shutter: 1/4000sec
ISO rating: 100 – 12800
1200mm (50x)
24mm
F2.9 – F6.5
10fps
30sec
1/1700sec
64 – 12800

Max Res: 4608 x 3456
Effective pixels: 16 million
Censor Type: EXR CMOS
Sensor size: 1/2" (6.4 x 4.8 mm)
Stabilization: Optical

4608 x 3456
16 million
BSI-CMOS
1/2.3" (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
Optical
Metering: Multi, Average, Spot
Exposure compensation: 
±2 EV (at 1/3 EV steps)
Multi, Center-weighted, Spot
Not sure
LCD Size: 3"
LCD Dots: 920,000
Built-in Flash: Yes, Pop-up
Flash range: 8m
External flash: Yes, Hot-shoe
3"
920,000
Yes
Not Sure
Yes, Hot-shoe
Max Movie: 1920 x 1080 (FHD 60 fps) 1920 x 1080 (FHD 60 fps)
Dimensions: 134.9x 101.3×145.9mm
Weight (+ batteries): 808g (28.5oz)
Battery: Li-ion NP-W126
Battery Life (CIPA): 500
122x 89x117mm
659g (23.25 oz)
Lithium-Ion
350
Thread to add Telephoto Lens: Yes Yes, I think so
   

Verdict

The Fujifilm SL1000 is cheaper, smaller and lighter and a generally goo feature rich camera with bigger 50X optical zoom. However it lacks some of the advanced core specifications found on the HS50, so if you are only interested in the Megazoom, the SL1000 is probably the better option, but based on the overall features and specifications, the Fuji HS50 is a much better overall superzoom camera.


Fujifilm HS50EXR vs Fujifilm HS30EXR

I make no secret in saying that I really like the older HS30 and spent a very enjoyable year using it. I took it with me on safari twice and got what I thought were some more than decent photographs. So for me it is really interesting to see what changes FujiFilm have made to the HS30 and if these make for a much better camera, or just a slightly different one:

Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR
Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR
FujiFilm Finepix HS50 EXR Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR

More Powerful Optical Zoom
The headline upgrade to the HS50 vs the previous HS30 is the increasing of the optical zoom from 30x to a massive 42x (24-1000mm 35mm camera equivalent.) which gets you far closer to the action than ever before.

Improved Sensor & Processor
The HS50 now also comes with Fuji’s new and improved EXR CMOS II sensor and processor that they say brings a number of performance improvements to the camera including an auto focus time of only 0.05 seconds, which according to FujiFilm is currently faster than any other compact digital camera in the world.

External Differences
Whilst they both initially look fairly similar and users of the HS30 or even the older HS20 will feel very comfortable with the HS50, there are actually quite a few differences to the overall body design.

The HS50 is quite a bit bigger, heavier and a little more rounded. As with the HS30 the grip is still nice and easy to hold and feels a lot like a standard SLR as opposed to most other bridge cameras that are not as ergonomic.

Whilst the LCD monitor is still 3 inches in size, but now has an improved resolution of 920,000 dots vs 460,000 on the HS30. The LCD screen is now also able to twist and tilt (vari-angle) as opposed to the flip out and tilt only monitor on the HS30.

The onboard flash now opens upwards and then forwards as opposed to just upwards on the older model.

On the left side of the body on the HS50, there is now a focus mode selector switch enabling you to quickly change the way the camera focuses (single auto focus, continuous AF or manual focus). Within that switch there is a button for selecting and changing the focus area in auto focus.

Improved Movie Recording
The HS50 now records full stereo HD video in
1920 x 1080 resolution at 60 frames per second compared to the 30fps on the older version.

Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR
Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR
Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR
Current price: $450 • £399 $313 • £260 $280 • £200
Zoom tele (T): 1000mm (42x)
Wide-angle: 24mm
Aperture range: F2.8 – F5.6
Continuous Drive: 11fps
Min shutter: 30sec
Max shutter: 1/4000sec
ISO rating: Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800
720mm (30x)
24mm
F2.8 – F5.6
11fps
30sec
1/4000sec
Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 (6400 and 12800 with boost)
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: 4608 x 3456
Effective pixels: 16 million
Censor Type:EXR CMOS II
Sensor size: 1/2" (6.4 x 4.8 mm)
4608 x 3456
16 million
EXR CMOS
1/2″ (6.4 x 4.8 mm)
4608 x 3456
16 million
EXR CMOS
1/2 ” (6.40 x 4.80 mm, 0.3 cm²)
Metering: Multi, Average, Spot
Exposure compensation: 
±2 EV (at 1/3 EV steps)
Multi, Average, Spot
±2 EV (at 1/3 EV steps)
TTL 256 zone
-2 to +2 EV in 1/3 EV steps
LCD Size: 3"
LCD Dots: 920,000
Built-in Flash: Yes, Pop-up
Flash range: 8m
External flash: Yes, Hot-shoe
3″
460,000
Yes, Pop-up
9.5m
Yes, Hot-shoe
3″
460,000
Yes, Pop-up
3.2m
Yes, Hot-shoe
Max Movie: 1920 x 1080 (FHD 60 fps) 1920 x 1080 (FHD 30 fps) 1920 x 1080 (FHD 30 fps)
Dimensions: 134.9x 101.3×145.9mm
Weight (+ batteries): 808g (28.5oz)
Battery: Li-ion NP-W126 battery and charger
131x 97x126mm
687g (24.23 oz)
Li-ion NP-W126 battery and charger
131 x 91 x 126mm
730g (25.7 oz)
4 x AA batteries (Alkaline, NiMH or Lithium)
Thread to add Telephoto Lens: Yes Yes Yes
     

Verdict

Apart from bigger zoom range, the HS50 is quite a big step forward from it’s predecessors, with a better and faster auto focus, much better vari-angle LCD screen and better video recording being the main highlights. On the down side it is now a little heavier and bulkier than before.


Fujifilm HS50EXR vs Canon SX50 HS

As you can see from most of the stats below, apart from having a less powerful zoom and being bigger and heavier, the Fujifilm is superior in almost all areas:

The HS50 has a slightly larger sensor, more megapixels and a wider ISO range.

The Canon SX50 HS has an Auto Focus (AF) Speed of 0.19 Sec., whilst the Fujifilm HS50 has an AF speed of just 0.05Sec

Video Recording – The Canon SX50’s frame rate is limited to 30 fps at Full HD whilst the Fujifilm offers you better AF system and you can record full HD at 60 frames per second.

LCD Display: The Fujifilm HS50 features a bigger and higher resolution screen.

FujiFilm HS50 EXR Canon SX50 HS
Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR
Canon SX50 HS
Current price: $450 • £399 $340 • £360
Zoom tele (T): 1000mm (42x)
Wide-angle: 24mm
Aperture range: F2.8 – F5.6
Continuous Drive: 11fps
Max shutter: 30sec
Max shutter: 1/4000sec
ISO rating: 100 – 12800
1200mm (50x)
24mm
F3.4 – F6.5
2.2fps
15sec
1/2000sec
80 – 6400

Max Res: 4608 x 3456
Effective pixels: 16 million
Censor Type: EXR CMOS
Sensor size: 1/2" (6.4 x 4.8 mm)
Stabilization: Optical

4000 x 3000
12.1 million
BSI-CMOS
1/2.3" (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
Optical
Metering: Multi, Average, Spot
Exposure compensation: 
±2 EV (at 1/3 EV steps)
Multi, Center-weighted, Spot
±3 EV (at 1/3 EV steps)
LCD Size: 3"
LCD Dots: 920,000
Built-in Flash: Yes, Pop-up
Flash range: 8m
External flash: Yes, Hot-shoe
2.8″
461,000
Yes
5.5m
Yes, Hot-shoe
Max Movie: 1920 x 1080 (FHD 60 fps) 1920 x 1080 (FHD 24 fps)
Dimensions: 134.9x 101.3×145.9mm
Weight (+ batteries): 808g (28.5oz)
Battery: Li-ion NP-W126
Battery Life (CIPA): 500
131x 97x126mm
595g (20.99 oz)
Lithium-Ion NB-10L
315
Thread to add Telephoto Lens: Yes Don’t think so
   

Verdict:

If you are looking for a smaller camera with as large a zoom as possible the SX50 may be the best choice, since it has a optical zoom that is 8.3X more powerful. But in almost all other areas the Fujifilm HS50 looks to be the far better camera.


Conclusion

With the HS50, Fujifilm have continued the progression of their great HS superzoom bridge camera series and I feel that this is a good improvement on the previous years model. What I like is that they have not changed what is not broken, instead they have just continued to make improvements as and when new technology becomes available.

The list of the major positives below is actually pretty similar to that of the HS30, but

Positives

I really like the bigger 42x zoom lens that is every good as bit as the excellent but less powerful 30x one on the HS30. The excellent optical image stabilisation means that it is possible to take steady blur free shots even at maximum zoom.

The wide focal range of 24mm to 1000m (equivalent) is also incredible and it never ceases to impress me that at one moment I can be taking close up wildlife of bird photographs and the next be taking macro photos of insects or butterflies and all without changing the lens. This not only saves time, but also means that there is no chance of you accidentally getting dust inside your camera body as can easily happen if you take an SLR camera on safari.

Once again am am so glad that Fujifilm have decided to continue to add a thread to the lens as this means if you want it is very simple to not only add a filter, but extend your reach even further by adding a teleconverter lens.

The occasional focussing issue that the older versions had when taking video has now been completely rectified, which means that at an impressive 60 frames per second, a quick one touch record button and being able to zoom in and out whilst recording, the HS50 takes some of the best video of any bridge camera out there.

  • Fast Start Up Time

  • Very fast Auto Focus

  • Excellent Build Quality

  • Huge focal range from 24-1000mm

  • Love the SLR like feel to the body

  • Manual Zoom Control

  • Excellent Image Stabilisation

  • Threaded Lens makes attaching a teleconverter very simple

  • Quality of video recordings is excellent

Negatives

If you are after a small and lightweight camera to take travelling or on safari, then the HS50 will not be for you. Whilst it is still a lot lighter and smaller than the equivalent SLR camera, it is one of the biggest superzooms currently available.

The tripod mount looks to be made from plastic. Whilst it looks to be strong enough and I never had any problems with it, even when adding a teleconverter lens, a metal one would have been better.

The Best Camera for Safaris?

The ultra fast start up and fast focus time, combined with the wide focal range and powerful zoom mean that you can be sure to capture what ever you encounter whilst on your safari holiday.

The video function and quality of the video and sound captured is also excellent meaning that you can easily use this one camera to take all your still and video footage on your holiday.

For me the only downside to this camera, especially when thinking about travelling and safaris is it’s relatively bulky size when you compare to other superzooms. But then it has the beating of most of them in many other areas and when you consider how big and expensive a true DSLR with the extra telephoto lenses is, then the HS50 is actually fairly light and compact.

So in my opinion, Fujifilm FinePix HS50 EXR is most certainly up there with the very best superzoom bridge cameras currently on the market (if not THE best) and if you can fit the camera into your luggage, it really does make an ideal safari camera.

Price Comparisons & Where to Buy


Alternatives

Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXRFujifilm FinePix HS30EXR

Whist as we have seen in the comparisons section above, the HS50 is superior to the HS30 in a number of ways, but that does not mean that the HS30 has suddenly become a poor camera. It still has most of the great features of the HS50 and will still take great photos and is an ideal bridge camera to take on safari. So if you are looking to save a little money, go for older model as since the release of the latest version, the price has really fallen:

>> Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR Camera Review