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Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR, F500EXR and F550EXR introduce new EXR sensor
by Allison Johnson -  1/4/2011

Fujifilm announces the first half of its 2011 cameras today, ringing in the new year with a new 16 megapixel EXR CMOS backside illuminated sensor. Three new FinePix cameras will bring the sensor to market with the 30x optical zoom FinePix HS20 at the head of the class.

Fujifilm FinePix HS20

The HS20, F500 and F550 will all be capable of 1080i HD video recording with stereo sound, high speed burst shooting and high speed video capture at 320 fps. They will offer tracking auto focus and face detection capabilities. Only the FinePix F550 will be equipped with a built-in GPS sensor for automatic geo-tagging.

Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR
The enthusiast FinePix HS20, successor to the HS10, offers a twist-barrel 30x optical zoom lens covering a 24-720mm angle of view. Maximum aperture for the lens at wide angle will be f/2.8 to f/5.6 at telephoto. The back panel will hold a 3.0-inch LCD, and like the HS10, the HS20 will also offer an electronic viewfinder. An eye sensor will automatically switch between LCD and EVF use. The new EXR sensor is mechanically stabilized with additional help from digital image stabilization.

The HS20 will record eight full-resolution frames at 7.6 fps in burst mode. A "Swing Panorama" mode is available, similar to the sweep panorama Sony introduced a few generations of Cyber-shots ago. HS20 will be able to record panoramic images up to 360 degrees.

Fujifilm has also developed two external TTL flash units for the HS20. No details are announced at this time about those accessories, but Fujifilm notes that they are in the pipeline for 2011. The HS20 is also compatible with a cable remote shutter release.

Fujifilm FinePix F500EXR, F550EXR
While the HS20 retains a DSLR-like styling held over from the HS10, the F500 and F550 are compact ultrazooms with slim builds and 15x optical zoom lenses. They will both shoot up to 12 fps in burst mode, and they both employ dual image stabilization. The F550 will have a built-in GPS sensor that will automatically tag images with location information. Uploading these photos to Picasa, Google maps or Microsoft Earth will place your images on a map.

Fujifilm FinePix

The F550 will come pre-loaded with around 500,000 points of interest, and the camera will actually offer guidance on how to get to these points should you find one nearby. Additionally, the F550EXR will record in RAW and RAW + JPEG, something that the F500 won't do.

Both the F500 and F550EXR will have an ISO range of up to 12,800, and they will include the EXR auto mode we've seen in previous EXR cameras. They'll each have a 3.0-inch LCD.

Pricing and availability
The Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR will be available at the end of March for $499.95. The FinePix F500EXR and F550EXR will also debut in March, costing $329.95 and $349.95 respectively.