Although it's one of the best monster-zoom cameras you can buy, the Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR can't quite match the top-rated Canon PowerShot SX50 HS (Est. $370) in reviews. Like the Canon, the Fujifilm offers sophisticated features like a viewfinder and hot shoe -- but it's bulkier and heavier than the Canon, with a shorter zoom. Experts recommend the Canon ultrazoom camera more often.
Chunky and heavy, but easy to handle. This is a big, heavy camera -- even for a mega-zoom. At nearly
2 pounds and almost 6 inches deep, it's substantially chunkier than the Canon SX50. It's still easy to hold, thanks to a hefty handgrip and rubberized body. And all that real estate leaves plenty of room for physical buttons and dials: "If you want fast access to settings, this is your point-and-shoot," says Joshua Goldman at CNET.
If you prefer to let the camera do the work, two Auto modes give "solid results," Goldman says. The Fujifilm boasts a high-res electronic viewfinder (much better than the Canon's, critics say) and a 3-inch LCD screen that flips to the side and swivels (like the Canon's).
Good photos -- but manual zoom has its drawbacks. Overall, photos look very good in tests -- although like other mega-zooms, the Fujifilm HS50 works best below ISO 800. In dim light, or deeply zoomed at fast shutter speeds, grainy image noise pollutes the photos. Speedy performance impresses testers, and the manual zoom -- you work it by hand, there's no motor -- is faster and more accurate for still photos than a powered zoom. Unfortunately, it's not that great for video: The Fujifilm's 1080p HD footage looks good, but if you zoom while filming, the motion of your hand can jerk the camera around. Battery life is rated at a very good 500 shots per charge.
Rubberized body feels sturdy. Experts have no complaints about the Fujifilm HS50's build quality. Its
rubberized body feels "well built enough to withstand a few glancing
knocks in the heat of the
action," says Mark Goldstein at PhotographyBlog.com. Owners tend to agree. "Physically, the camera is sturdy and doesn't feel cheap or like it'll easily break," writes one owner at Amazon.com, and several others note the same thing. Two say the battery door feels flimsy and breakable, though.
42x zoom, plus advanced features like RAW capture. It's not the longest zoom you can buy, but the Fujifilm HS50's 42x zoom can still handle just about any photographic situation, reviews say. It stretches from a wide-angle 24 mm to 1,000 mm for extreme close-ups. Digital zoom doubles that reach, but it degrades the image.
Feature-wise, the Fujifilm is very similar to the Canon SX50. There's no GPS or Wi-Fi, but you do get advanced photographic features like full manual controls, RAW image capture and a hot shoe. The Fujifilm also has in-camera panorama -- which the Canon lacks -- plus plenty of shooting modes (like Low-light Mode and background-blurring Pro Focus mode) and fun filters (like Miniature and Soft Focus).
1. What Digital Camera
The Fujifilm HS50 is the top-rated mega-zoom at this British website. Video quality proves "sub-par" in this thorough test, but the Fujifilm's speed, sophisticated features and photo quality win Golowczynski over.
Review: Fujifilm FinePix HS50 EXR Review, Matt Golowczynski, May 17, 2013
"One of the best super-zooms currently available," the Fujifilm HS50 earns 4.5 out of 5 stars here. Although it's expensive and lacks GPS, Wi-Fi and a touch screen, the Fujifilm handles every photographic situation Goldstein throws at it in this test.
Review: Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR Review, Mark Goldstein, May 1, 2013
With far better performance and features than the typical mega-zoom, the Fujifilm HS50 earns 4 out of 5 stars here. Goldman notes some drawbacks in this full test, though, including the bulky, heavy body and jerkiness while zooming during video.
Review: Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR Review: What a Bridge Camera Should Be, Joshua Goldman, April 2, 2013
Fisher rates the Fujifilm HS50 a little lower than other experts -- 3.5 out of 5 stars -- because it doesn't handle low light very well. He recommends other ultra-zooms that do better.
Review: Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR, Jim Fisher, April 23, 2013
Over 70 owners have reviewed the Fujifilm HS50 camera at Amazon.com, and they overwhelmingly love it. Only a few say the image quality isn't good enough for them.
Review: Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of September 2013
Another dozen or so owners give the Fujifilm HS50 tremendously positive reviews. Some of the write-ups are lengthy and include sample shots.
Review: Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR Digital Camera, Contributors to BHPhotoVideo.com, As of September 2013