The FinePix HS20 is Fuji's latest entrant in the ultrazoom compact digital sweepstakes, and while the camera size, shape and feel mimic that of a DSLR and Fuji ad copy makes references to DSLR - like performance and image quality, potential buyers of this camera should understand that, first and foremost, this is a compact digital camera with a very large focal range. That has always been the major attraction with super zoom compact digitals and it is the major selling point for the HS20 as well.
That big lens is supported with the latest in Fuji's hardware department, a newly designed sensor and processor, as well as a variety of automatic and manual shooting modes, face detection and recognition technology, and a true HD video capability.
It doesn't power up as quickly as a DSLR, AF acquisition times are slower than a DSLR and AF isn't as precise as a DSLR. Still image quality, while quite good for a compact digital camera is not up to DSLR levels. High ISO noise performance is not as good as a DSLR. And nothing in this paragraph should be construed as an indictment of the HS20's performance.
The HS20 is a fine super zoom with still image quality that is among the best I've seen from a camera in this class. In a way, I think Fuji did a disservice to the camera in suggesting it as a DSLR alternative, because in so many performance parameters the HS20 will finish as the runner-up when in fact it's being compared to a camera class that is very clearly configured for image capture performance at the next level. Better for Fuji to promote the HS20 for what it is - a very capable super zoom with good still image quality, good shutter lag and auto focus acquisition times, competitive high ISO performance within its class and a host of other features designed to appeal to both novice and advanced shooter like.
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