Fujifilm FinePix HS10 Performance, Timings and Image Quality

June 16, 2010 by Howard Creech Reads (38,398)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Image/Video Quality
    • 6
    • Features
    • 8
    • Design / Ease of Use
    • 6
    • Performance
    • 6
    • Total Score:
    • 6.50
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

The moral of this story is that the Fujifilm HS10 may have more warts than a bullfrog, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an incredibly impressive camera. What the HS10 does do especially well is to inspire your inner photographer and put some of the fun back into photography.

Shooting Performance

The Fuji HS10 is a complex camera and users shouldn’t expect the same level of performance they might get with a smaller, simpler imaging device. The HS10 is slower, across the board (with the exception of its continuous shooting rate) than most of its competition, but it isn’t substantially slower and for most applications it is fast enough. I took the HS10 to our local extreme park twice and it is quick enough to freeze skateboarders and BMXers in mid air, but it wouldn’t be my first choice for shooting action scenes.

Shutter Lag (press-to-capture, pre-focused)

Camera Time (seconds)
Canon PowerShot SX120 IS 0.01
Nikon Coolpix P100 0.01
Olympus SP-590 UZ 0.03
Fujifilm FinePix HS10 0.06

AF Acquisition (press-to-capture, no pre-focus)

Camera Time (seconds)
Nikon Coolpix P100 0.44
Olympus SP-590 UZ 0.57
Fujifilm FinePix HS10 0.64
Canon PowerShot SX120 IS 0.68

Continuous Shooting

Camera Frames Framerate*
Fujifilm FinePix HS10 7 12.3 fps
Nikon Coolpix P100 6 11.3 fps
Olympus SP-590 UZ 6 1.2 fps
Canon PowerShot SX120 IS 0.8 fps

* Note: Continuous shooting framerates are based on the camera’s fastest full-resolution JPEG continuous shooting mode, using the fastest media type available (300x CF, SDHC, etc.). “Frames” notes the number of captures recorded per burst before the camera stops/slows to clear the buffer.

The HS10 sensor shift image stabilization system reduces blur by quickly and precisely shifting the image sensor to compensate for minor camera movement. Image stabilization allows users to shoot at shutter speeds up to three f-stops slower than would have been possible without it and can also be useful when shooting dimly lit indoor venues where flash is inappropriate. The HS10’s IS system does a very good job – stabilizing a 30x zoom is a major league challenge, but the HS10 delivers consistently accurately focused and relatively sharp images.

The HS10’s multi-mode pop-up flash provides an adequate selection of artificial lighting options, including Red-eye removal OFF: Auto, Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Slow Synchro, Red-eye removal ON: Red-eye Reduction Auto, Red-eye Reduction & Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Red-eye Reduction & Slow Synchro. Fuji claims the maximum flash range (ISO 800) is about 26 feet. Unlike the vast majority of fixed-lens cameras, the HS10 offers a dedicated hot shoe for mounting auxiliary flash units.

Fujifilm HS10

The HS10 is powered by four AA batteries. I went through two full sets of OTC alkalines in the slightly less than two weeks I had the camera and based on my experiences (about 150 exposures per set of four AAs) this is one power hungry camera. Standard alkalines are fairly cheap and available anywhere – which is good, but AA rechargeables or AA lithiums are probably a better choice.

The HS10 saves images to SD/SDHC memory media and provides 46MB of internal memory.

The HS10 offers numerous focusing options including Area, Multi, Center, Tracking, Continuous AF, and Manual focus (One-push AF mode included). Overall, AF seems a bit slow.

Lens Performance
The Fujifilm Finepix HS10 is a fixed-lens ultrazoom that looks like a compact DSLR. Its 30x optical zoom (f/2.8-5.6 4.2-126mm) has an astonishing 24mm ultra-wide to 720mm super-telephoto (35mm equivalent) zoom range, and equally impressive is the minimum focusing distance (in Super Macro mode) of one 1 cm or 0.4 inches. The manual zoom is mechanically-linked (not by-wire) for smooth, quick and precise zooming.

Fujifilm HS10

The HS10 is a truly feature-rich and genuinely useful camera, but in the final analysis this camera sinks or swims on the performance and image quality of its seriously long lens. Ultrazooms allow photographers to get much closer to their subjects and cameras in this class are a good choice for shooting semi-tame urban/suburban fauna and taking pictures at concerts, events, and festivals.

As a zoom lens gets longer, additional surface coatings and more elements (in more groups) are required, not only to get to super telephoto territory sharply, but also to correct for ghosting, flare, hue accuracy, barrel distortion, pincushion distortion, and chromatic aberration (purple fringing) – the longer a zoom lens gets, the more optically complex it becomes.

Fujifilm HS10 Test Image
24mm Wide Angle
Fujifilm HS10 Test Image
Fujifilm HS10 Test Image
Fujifilm HS10 Test Image
720mm Telephoto

Ultrazoom cameras are capable of generating high-quality images, but due to their inherent optical complexity, lighter/cheaper materials, and the super tight tolerances of their miniature (when compared to full sized DSLR zooms) multi-element construction, they are normally not up to the rigorous quality demands of professional photography. Both miniaturization and optical complexity can adversely affect sharpness, color accuracy, and contrast. While it may surprise some folks, the HS10’s monster zoom is actually pretty good.

Video Quality
The HS10’s movie mode is another confusing area – in many important ways this camera can actually compete with a dedicated video camera – way beyond simple email video attachments for friends and family and YouTube videos. The HS10 has a one-touch video button and (due to the nifty mechanical zoom) can be zoomed while in video capture mode.

The HS10 captures 1080p HD videos at 1920 x 1080 at 30 fps (and several lower resolution options) plus several high-speed movie options ranging from 60fps to 1000 fps – all with stereo audio. What’s truly weird is that when you push the one touch video button, the LCD screen blacks out for one to two seconds before filming starts. The video that accompanies this review is a decent example of just how good the HS10’s video capture (once it starts) actually is. The clip was filmed in a dimly lit store (mixed window light, tungsten, and fluorescent lighting) but colors are good and skin tones are accurate.

Image Quality
Images from the HS10 are detailed and surprisingly sharp, but in bright contrasty lighting, highlight detail was occasionally blown out. Overall, the HS10 image quality is about average for cameras in this class.

Fujifilm HS10 Test Image

However, if you expect the HS10 to generate image quality on par with even a modestly priced (kit lens equipped) DSLR or a premium point-and-shoot, you are going to be disappointed. Image quality isn’t bad; colors are vibrant (especially when the chrome color option is enabled) and hue accurate. Apparent sharpness is not a problem – images look great when viewed on a monitor and I’m sure that prints up to 8×10 will look just fine too. But at full size it becomes obvious that images are a bit fuzzy, chromatic aberration (purple fringing) is above average, and contrast is a little flat.

The HS10 provides users with a decent selection of white balance options, including Automatic scene recognition, Fine, Shade, Fluorescent light (Daylight), Fluorescent light (Warm White), Fluorescent light (Cool White), Incandescent light, and Custom.

The HS10’s auto WB system does a good job, but like all of Fuji’s consumer cameras, the auto setting produces colors that are slightly warmer and brighter than real world colors.

Fujifilm HS10 Test Image
Auto White Balance, 3200k incandescent light

The HS10 provides a decent range of sensitivity options, including auto and user-set options for ISO 100-6400. At ISO 100, images show bright colors, slightly soft default contrast, and very low noise levels. ISO 200 images are also very good, but with a bit less pop. ISO 400 images are surprisingly good with lots of detail and vibrant colors.

Fujifilm HS10 Test Image
ISO 100
Fujifilm HS10 Test Image
ISO 100, 100% crop
Fujifilm HS10 Test Image
ISO 200
Fujifilm HS10 Test Image
ISO 200, 100% crop
Fujifilm HS10 Test Image
ISO 400
Fujifilm HS10 Test Image
ISO 400, 100% crop
Fujifilm HS10 Test Image
ISO 800
Fujifilm HS10 Test Image
ISO 800, 100% crop
Fujifilm HS10 Test Image
ISO 1600
Fujifilm HS10 Test Image
ISO 1600, 100% crop
Fujifilm HS10 Test Image
ISO 3200
Fujifilm HS10 Test Image
ISO 3200, 100% crop
Fujifilm HS10 Test Image
ISO 6400
Fujifilm HS10 Test Image
ISO 6400, 100% crop

At the ISO 800 setting noise levels are noticeably higher and there’s a perceptible loss of minor detail. Above the ISO 800 sensitivity setting images are very noisy, but they should be OK for VGA email images and 3 x 5 inch or 4 x 6 inch prints.

Additional Sample Images

Fujifilm HS10 Test Image Fujifilm HS10 Test Image
Fujifilm HS10 Test Image Fujifilm HS10 Test Image
Fujifilm HS10 Test Image Fujifilm HS10 Test Image

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