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The front of the HS10 is dominated by the huge 30x zoom lens. Above this you can see the housing for the internal flash, and to the left of this is the hand grip.

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The front of the Fuji HS10

Back
The back of the HS10 is where most of the fun happens. Here is the large LCD screen, surrounded by controls and dials. Above the screen is the viewfinder.

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The back of the HS10

Sides

On the left side of the camera body is a small cover that protects the HDMI and multi-purpose port. You can also see the grille that covers one of the speakers.

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The left side of the HS10

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The right side of the HS10

Top

On the top of the camera you can see the control dials and the shutter button. This is a manual zoom camera; to zoom in or out, you use the large zoom ring on the body of the lens.

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The top of the HS10

Bottom
On the bottom of the camera body you can see the cover of the battery compartment and the tripod socket. In the model we looked at, this socket was filled with a security device.

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The bottom of the HS10

NOTE: Our full review of this camera is now live here.

Viewfinder

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The HS10 has an electronic viewfinder, which is located above the LCD screen. To the left of the viewfinder is a small sensor that detects your approaching face, and switches the display from the LCD screen to the viewfinder. The viewfinder itself is bright and mostly clear, although the images do look less sharp than the LCD screen.

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LCD

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The LCD screen of the HS10 is a 3-inch model with a resolution of 230k pixels. That's a little on the low side for a screen of this size, and this shows in the images, which look a little grainy. If you need to get a really good preview of your photos on the screen, you'll need one that has a higher resolution screen, like the 416k pixels of the Samsung TL500

The screen can flip out and tilt up or down about 90 degrees for shooting from above or below, which is useful if you are trying to shoot over the heads of a crowd or into a dark hole. It can't rotate around, though, so you can't use the screen for self portraits.

 

Flash

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There are two flash options on the HS10; internal or external. The internal flash is a pop-up model that lives in the housing above the lens. A small button on the side releases this, and it pops up. We weren't able to test the performance of this flash, but it does seem to be a good distance from the lens, which means that it shouldn't have a big problem with red-eye. 

The other flash option is to add an external flash. These can plug into the hot shoe on the top of the camera body, just behind the internal flash.

Lens 

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'Monstrous' is perhaps the best word to describe the 30x zoom lens built into the HS10: when it is fully zoomed out, it extends far enough from the camera body that you could end up poking someone in the eye when trying to do a closeup.

 

The upside of this huge lens is that it provides an extremely long zoom range; it goes from a 24mm wide angle setting to an incredible 720mm telephoto. That means it can handle everything from a landscape or group photo to zooming right in on the action at a football game. The zoom lens is also unusual in that it is a manual zoom; to zoom in and out you rotate the body of the lens, like an SLR zoom lens. It also means that the aperture range of the lens is limited: at the telephoto end of the zoom range the aperture range is f/5.6 to f/11, which means that low light shooting is going to be difficult.

The long zoom also means that you are going to get big problems with camera shake. With a 720mm lens, even a slight camera shake is going to look like an earthquake. The HS10 does include several types of image stabilization, though, including optical stabilization, electronic stabilization and a multi-shot stabilization mode. With the optical image stabilization, the camera moves an element of the lens (you can see the element in the cut-away photos above). In electronic stabilization, the camera increases the shutter speed to minimize the shake. The multi-shot mode is new: here, the camera takes several shots in quick succession, and processes and combines them together to form a single, hopefully shake free image.

It can do this because this is another camera that is using Sony's new back side illuminated CMOS sensor, which can shoot and process images quickly. The same sensor technology is being used on a number of other cameras that have been recently announced from manufacturers such as Sony, Samsung and others.

We were unable to test the performance of this new lens and sensor combination, so we'll reserve judgment on how this new combination performs until we get a model in for review.

Jacks, Ports & Plugs

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There are two ports under a small plastic cover on the left side of the camera body. The top port is a HDMI port for connecting the camera to a HDTV, while the bottom port is for the included USB and analog video out cables.

Battery

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The HS10 is powered by 4 AA batteries, which fit into a cavity in the handle. These batteries can be either disposable ones or NiMh rechargeable ones, but these can't be recharged in the camera: you have to use an external charger. 

Memory

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Images are stored either on an SDHC memory card or on the 46MB of memory that is built into the camera. The SDHC memory cards fit into a small cavity on the right side of the camera body underneath a latched cover. an 8GB SDHC card can hold over 3000 JPEG images, or over 500 RAW images.

NOTE: Our full review of this camera is now live here.

Design & Appearance


There's no getting around it; the HS10 is a big, bulky camera. It's not going to fit into a pocket or small bag: you are going to be carrying this around your neck or in a backpack. The design doesn't do much to hide this, being more functional than stylish.

Size & Handling


Because the HS10 is a big, heavy camera (at around 23 ounces with batteries), it's going to be a sizable burden to carry. Although you can hold it in one hand, you are going to get pretty tired doing so, and there is no way to change the zoom setting. So, you will inevitably end up using both hands.

Menu & Controls


The HS10 uses the same menu system as previous cameras, with the main menu being divided into tabs for shooting and configuration. The shooting tab provides access to controls such as ISO and image size, while the configuration tab is where the less frequently used controls live. Many of the controls on the shooting tab can also be accessed more directly through the myriad buttons on the camera back.

Many of the controls on the shooting tab can also be accessed more directly through the myriad buttons on the camera back. On the left side are buttons to directly set the ISO, exposure mode, focus area, focus mode and white balance.

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Ease of Use**


Although the menus an on-screen controls of the HS10 are pretty easy to use, we found the direct access buttons on the left a little awkward to use; to change the setting, you have to hold the button down and use the left and right controls on the 4-way controller. This does mean that if you press them accidentally, you won't end up changing a setting, but it means you need to use both hands to change something like the ISO setting. 

NOTE: Our full review of this camera is now live here.

Auto Mode


Twisting the mode dial on the top of the camera to the camera icon puts the camera into full auto mode, where the camera makes all of the decisions. The user gets a bit more control with the program mode, which allows for tweaking of many of the settings.

Movie Mode


Fuji is using the movie mode of the HS10 as one of the main selling points of the camera, and it's easy to see why; the camera shoots Full HD video at a 1920 by 1080 pixel resolution at 30 progressive frames a second. Of course, higher resolution video doesn't always mean better quality: we'll have to wait until we get one of these cameras into our labs to see if this high resolution translates into high quality.

A high speed capture mode is also offered, which can capture videos at 1000 frames per second, providing extreme slow motion. The price you pay for this is resolution, though; the resolution of the captured video falls to 224 by 64 pixels. 

 

UPDATE: this section was edited on 26/4/2010 to clarify the video features of this camera.

Drive/Burst Mode


The HS10 offers a burst mode that can captured a burst of 7 frames at a claimed 10 frames a second at the full 10 megapixel resolution of the camera. That's an ambitious claim, but other cameras that we have seen using similar sensors have managed to achieve this, so it is possible. The camera also includes a number of new modes that use this fast capture, such as a Best Shot mode that captures a group of frames and then picks the sharpest one and a wide selection of self-timer features, including the standard 2 and 10 second delay, but there is no interval delay. 

Playback Mode


The HS10 has a good selection of playback features, including the ability to sort images by date, time and facial recognition. Slideshows can also be produced within the camera and played back on a HDTV through the HDMI port.

Scene Modes


Portrait, Portrait Enhancer, Landscape, Sport, Night, Night (Tripod), Fireworks, Sunset, Snow, Beach, Flower, Text, Natural Light, Natural Light & with Flash and Party are all options. These modes are controlled in a slightly unusual way: there are two scene mode spots on the mode dial (labeled SP1 and SP2) which can be programmed with any of the scene mode options, giving you two modes that can be quickly accessed. If you want to use another mode, you hit the menu button and scroll through the list. This is an interesting approach; it would allow you to have a mode for indoor and outdoor shooting quickly accessible, but also to quickly duck in and go to another mode if required.

Other Modes


The HS10 offers a number of new shooting modes when you turn the mode dial to the Adv. (for advanced) spot on the mode dial. These include:

Motion Panorama - In this mode, you press the shutter and pan the camera, and the camera creates a wide panorama as it pans.

Motion remover - The camera takes 5 successive shots, then processes them to remove any moving objects. The idea is that this can remove annoying tourists from a shot.

Multi Motion Capture - This takes 5 successive shots, but rather than removing the moving objects, it composites them together, so you can capture an entire football play in one shot, or get a photo of your pet streaking across the lawn to bite the postman.

Pro low light mode - This takes 4 images at moderate shutter speeds and processes them together, producing a  photo that is sharper than an image taken with a long shutter speed.

We were not able to test these modes, but they do look promising.

 

NOTE: Our full review of this camera is now live here.

Manual Controls


Like most high-end point & shoot cameras, the HS10 offers a good level of manual control, with both shutter and aperture priority, and a full manual mode. You control the manual mode using the command dial, which sits to the left of the mode dial. This can only control one setting at a time though.

Focus


The HS10 offers three focus modes; you can set the AF to work continuously while the camera is on, to work only when the shutter half pressed, or to use manual focus. There are also a decent selection of options of where the camera chooses to focus: there is a center focus mode, a movable focus point mode, an automatic mode and an object tracking mode, which detects moving objects in the frame and tries to keep them in focus.

ISO


The HS10 has a wide ISO range, going from 80 right up to 3200 at the full 10 megapixel resolution of the camera. You can also squeeze a bit more out of the camera with a 6400 ISO setting, but this cuts the resolution down to 5 megapixels.

White Balance


A decent selection of white balance presets are offered, with 6 presets (including three fluorescent settings) and a custom evaluative setting.

Metering


The usual suspects for metering mode are available; evaluative, center weighted and spot. If the face detection feature is enabled, this sets the camera to use the faces for correct exposure. An exposure lock button is prominently placed on the back of the camera next to the screen, which is useful if you are in a tricky situation and want to use spot metering on an off-centered object. 

Shutter Speed


The HS10 offers a shutter speed range of 1/4 of a second to 1/4000 of a second in the automatic modes, but this can be extended to a maximum of 30 seconds in the manual modes and some of the scene modes. That's a decent range that should allow for capturing motion and low light scenes effectively. 

Aperture


The long lens has a decent aperture range at the wide end of the zoom (f/2.8 to f/11), but this range is shortened at the longer end: a the maximum, it is limited to f/5.6 to f/11. That's not unusual for long zooms like this, but it does limit what you can do when zoomed in: low light shooting will be more difficult. 

Image Stabilization


The 30x zoom lens of this camera includes an optical stabilization element, where the camera moves a small part of the lens to compensate for camera shake. We weren't able to evaluate this at the PMA show. In addition, the HS10 offers two modes that use processing to remove shake: an electronic mode that increases the shutter speed, and a multi-shot mode that takes 6 images in quick succession and processes and combines them to produce a single image which hopefully has less shake. We've tested similar modes on other cameras and found them to be pretty effective.

Picture Quality & Size Options


3,648 by 2,736 pixels) right down to HD resolution (1920 by 1080 pixels). There are no options for the level of JPEG compression applied to images, but the HS10 is unusual in being able to record JPEG and RAW images simultaneously, a feature that is usually only found on SLRs. This is useful as it gives you the convenience of a JPEG image and the extra image quality of a RAW image at the same time, although it does eat up a lot of storage space. 

Picture Effects


The HS10 doesn't include any special effects, but it does offer a number of film simulation modes, which are similar. These are designed to mimic the colors of different types of film, including Fuji's own Provia and Velvia brands. We weren't able to test these features at the show, but you can see examples from a previous Fuji model here.

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Richard Baguley

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