HS10, some more findings! plus HS20 EXR

A short update to my review of the HS10, sorry about the delay, been rather busy of late!
Oh...... and Happy New Year!

I finally managed to find a product that did exactly what I wanted it to do, Milliput
If you remember in my last post, I had a little problem of accidentally hitting the playback button with the palm of my hand while shooting. I tried Black Fimo, but it just wouldn't air dry enough and broke away, so I searched for a replacement modeling putty that did.
Milliput black is a two part epoxy putty that goes rock hard in a few hours at room temperature, and I molded a small amount around the playback button on my camera (see below pic), which solved the problem!

As you can see, it only needs a small raised piece to prevent my palm from hitting the button. Care is needed to not cover the battery bay and card reader doors, the latter I used to indent a similar textured look so it blends in as if it was meant to be there, a cheap, neat and very handy addition.
I'm open to talks with Fuji if they wish to use the design in future models, lol!!

A few months ago I went to my friends apartment in Menorca, an annual event with 3 good friends, purely for a very relaxing break.
It was the first time I've used my HS10 outside the UK, and as we only take 1 piece of carry on luggage, had to pack light.
I managed to get my new Technoline BL700 Intelligent AA - AAA Battery Charger and several packs of Sanyo Eneloop AA Batteries into my duffel bag, along with my monopod, binoculars and a change of clothes etc.

Nothing unusual there I hear you say! but when I tell you that I conditioned the Eneloops
before leaving with the BL700, a series of discharge/charges to optimize each cell, I put one set in the camera and they lasted the whole trip!

I took nearly 500 images (all jpg), some panoramic, some flash, a few videos, and countless times reviewing and showing my friends the pics on the LCD screen, and I still hadn't seen any sign of the battery low warning light yet!! Admittedly, I used the viewfinder most of the time, and the "Single AF" focus mode for the lens, but thats still pretty impressive!

If that wasn't good enough, a week later, I had a day out at Beaulieu in the New Forest, and took another 220 photos before the same batteries eventually gave up the ghost!

To me, this is quite remarkable, it just goes to show how far AA's have come in recent years, and a huge thumbs up for Sanyo's Eneloops and the Technoline BL700 Charger

This is very beneficial to the traveler, as you only really need 2 sets for your camera now. When charged each night with a good charger (not a fast charger), a set will last all day of heavy use, and maybe two or more as in my case, but take a spare just in case!
Secondly, it means opening up your camera to the elements less frequently, which is always handy when on a far off dusty trail somewhere!

Below are a few pictures taken on the Menorca trip.
Please click image for a larger look!


Locust, at least 3 inches long!

Lizards everywhere!

A giant Tortoise............

well......not so big then, lol!!

Part of Ciutadella at sunset........straight from camera!

And a few from Beaulieu. 
Inside the motor museum was quite dark, and as I dislike the flat effect 
flash can have on some pictures, I decided to up the ISO instead

In the gardens.

In the Palace.......takes you right back in time!

.....lost moments of musical memories!

Well, it didn't take as long as I thought it would, but Fuji have released details of the HS10's successor!

The HS20 EXR

The list of improvements include;

  • All-new 16 megapixel EXR CMOS sensor
  • 3.0 inch tilting rear LCD with 460,000 pixels and new Rich User Interface using Vector fonts and graphics
  • Full resolution high speed shooting at 8fps, high speed video capture at up to 320 fps (320 x 112 pixels)
  • Advanced Anti-blur technologies
  • 1600% wide dynamic range
  • Longer battery life (up to 350 frames with 4 x AA batteries)
  • Electronic Horizon level function
  • Full HD movie capture using H.264 (MOV) format
  • New 27 mode EXR Auto mode
  • Colour fringe reduction and improved corner sharpness
  • Film simulation modes
  • Quick start mode
  • 360° Motion Panorama mode
  • TTL flash control with optional external flashes
  • Remote release with the RR-80
  • Lens hood included
  • Photobook Assist function

Apart from the welcome modifications to the sensor and LCD screen, and inclusion of TTL flash and remote control, all which will have to be tested to see if they make any marked improvement, I think the biggest omission is there seems to be no improvement to the electronic viewfinder.....a big mistake!

It looks pretty much identical to the HS10, although I do believe that the flash housing does not cover quite as much lens, to facilitate easier zooming.

Not a bad time to get a bargain on the barely 1 year old brand new HS10 then?

Or pre-order the new HS20 EXR

You can also find some very interesting stuff about the HS10/20 and other Fuji cameras at the EyeMindSoul blog 
written by fellow dpreviewer Dave Lloyd
He has mastered the HS10 more than anyone else I know, 
well worth the visit for his insight into camera settings and wonderful galleries!
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Anonymous said...

Did you manipulate the images in any way?
They seem to be a bit sharper then the average HS10 pic found on the net.
I really have doubts on buying this hs10, because of so many unsharp pics i found.
What is your idea, and did you use gimp or another tool to fix up the pics?

David Harper said...

Some of these images (all jpeg's) have been edited, but only basic tweaks in Windows Live Photo, so nothing too drastic!
Of course, photos that go through post production on one PC, may look a little different on another, and must add that my editing style hasn't changed any since upgrading to the HS10 from my old Minolta A200!
The only time I feel sharpening may be necessary, is when the light is poor, the HS10 needs good light, of which there was plenty in Menorca where most of these were taken, hopefully the new HS20 will be better in that department?
If the HS10 does appeal to you, then some good bargains are to be had at the moment, especially as the new model is about to be released in the next few months!
Whatever you choose, happy snapping!

Anonymous said...

I'm a "mixed feeling" HS10 user. Primarily bought this camera because of the superb lens! I'm quite disappointed with some of the purely technical shortcomings of the camera, but they can mostly be worked around. What is inexcusable is the poor tripod mount, the flimsy battery lid (broken already (just like my previous Fuji cameras). I also hate the the very long time to save and retake another shot, the poor long focus times, and the lack of fine detail due to overprocessing. One other serious complaint I have is depending on the manufacturer of NiMH cells, the discharge end point voltage varies a lot. Some cells cause the camera to switch off when the batteries are not even half discharged. This was NOT fixed properly in the firmware update. There should be a method to vary the switch-off point or disable the function altogether.

I am very excited to see the HS20 - which is everything the HS10 should have been. And sadly, I'd dump the HS10 but it doesn't have much resale value, so it will be bequeathed to one of my kids instead.

I'm now eagerly waiting for my first glimpse of a HS20.

David Harper said...

The HS20 does seem (on paper at least!) to address some of it's siblings shortcomings, but feel that the battery lid is not one of them!
I have seen somewhere (can't remember where though!) that the tripod mount will now be a metal one, but I may be mistaken!
Whether the new firmware and EXR sensor helps with speed and low light has yet to be seen, and I, like you, am really hoping so!

Anonymous said...

I bought the HS10 in late November 2010 for a 9 week trip to Australia,and the decision was based on your review. I am not disappointed! The camera is excellent, and the stills of the Sydney New Years Eve fireworks do not disappoint. I still have to get to grips with all the features, because I did not print out the whole manual for the trip: too many pages. One major gripe, already mentioned in most reviews - the Electronic View Finder really is RUBBISH. I wear transitions glasses, which are dark in the sun. So the viewfinder cannot be used outdoors. Take the glasses off, and I can't see a thing. With clear glasses, the viewfinder is mediocre at best. The automatic switch between EVF and LCD screen also means that if you wear a wide brimmed hat, the shadow from the brim brings the EVF into play. So take your hat off if you are short sighted and need to look closely at the LCD screen. The telephoto lens is good when birdwatching, but the need to focus on a small bird 100 yards away using the LCD screen means that generally the bird moves away before you can find it. I have lots of photos of branches. Bigger wildlife like wallaby and kangaroo are easier to photograph. I also used a step down ring to add a teleconverter with something to rest the camera on, and it really works - but you need to be in a bird hide for the best results. So, overall a good camera if you take into account that the decision to buy is based upon compromise. Unless you can pay much more money, this is generally a good all round holiday camera.

David Harper said...

Thanks for your comments, glad your having a great time with your HS10!
I wear glasses and wide brimmed hat too, and have the same gripe with the EVF, although I prefer to have the automatic switch between the EVF and LCD turned off.
Using it with transitions or sunglasses is near impossible, and catching fast moving subjects at distance is also a challenge, as the lens is a little slow to react at full zoom, but then we must accept some compromises from a lens with such a huge range!
Where else can you get a package that can focus down to within 1cm of the lens, then with a short twist of the lens identify a creature half a mile away?
I'm planning to push my HS10 to the limit next week, Red Kites in flight! and hope to publish the results so stay tuned?
Happy snapping,

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reminder about turning off the automatic switch between EVF and LCD - I really should read the whole manual! I managed to photograph White bellied eagles on the New South Wales coast, but even though they were directly overhead, I seemed to capture them from the rear. Presumably this is the slow reaction of the lens at full zoom? Good luck with the Red Kites in flight. I will now read all your tips again to make sure I am getting to grips with all the complexities of the HS10. I wish I had the HS20, though.

Many thanks for all your tips. I think I bought most of the extras that you covered in your review of the HS10.

Best wishes from Brian Smith

David Harper said...

Thanks Brian,
There is steep learning curve with every new camera, even from the same line/brand, and most never get mastered by their owners. Thats why places like dpreview is a great source of info from other users who like to share their findings!
I guess it's only human nature to want the next best model, as we think it will help make us better photographers, but once we understand a camera's limitations, like the HS10's low light performance and EVF, then our expectations are more controlled and we can concentrate on the good points!
Having said that, the HS20/F550 EXR's do look very interesting, lol!!
I'm flattered that you bought most of the extras Brian, what are your thoughts on them?
Happy snapping,

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,
Many thanks for the advice - I have taken it all on board.
The extras I bought and my comments are as follows:
Velbon Ultra Stick L50 (monopod) - Lightweight, easy to use, and a good steady platform. Much envied by a friend using a heavier tripod.
Manfrotto Ball Head - Unexpectedly heavy, probably useful in some circumstances, but in the end I left it behind when out for a day in the bush to lighten the backpack.
Lens hood and Hoya filters - very necessary in the bright Australian sun.
Eneloop AA battteries and charger - awesome power and very long lasting. The charger worked very well overnight.
Step down ring to add a previously owned Olympus 1.7 Telecon to the HS10. Wow!
Cam-pod bean bag to rest the HS10 on when using the Telecon.
Sandisc 8 gb Extreme Class 10 SDHC card - what a brilliant card, it lasted the whole 9 weeks of my trip with some room to spare.
I liked your tip about using a sling to carry the camera around instead of the usual neck strap. There is a custom made version for sale called a Sniper Strap with a steel core to foil camera thieves but this is over £50 - I am still debating this one.
I will now print out the rest of the manual and indulge in some bedtime reading.

Best wishes from Brian

David Harper said...

Wow Brian, you really did buy nearly all the extras!! :-)
I tried using the monopod without a ball head, but had a bit of difficulty getting it into the right position as you are limited to a camera on a stick basically, the ball head has 3 dimensions, plus gives me that little extra height (I'm 6'1") and as I use the quick release plate for my carry sling, it is easy to clip it onto my monopod.
The Sniper Strap is very good with it's "steel core", but I can make a dozen straps for that price, and usually walk around with my hand on my camera at the side, ready for action!
Any would be thief would have to cut the strap and wrestle it out of my hand!
As for the manual, I have uploaded a copy in pdf. format to my Smartphone and Archos media player (which I store my pics on), so it doesn't actually take up any weight allowance and is available any time I need it!
I'm afraid for a 9 week tour round Oz, I would fill an 8gb card at least twice, lol!!
Let me know if you would like to try one of my carry slings, and I'll send you one!

David Harper said...

Hey Brian,
I got your message, and am quite curious about Elmley Marshes, when are you going next? I could meet you there with the sling, would be good to have a day out and see another RSPB site with another HS10 owner!
Send me your e-mail address or phone number (I won't publish it!) as it will be easier than talking here!
Best wishes,

Jim Peterson said...

Hi Dave
Thanks for the very informative web site. I will soon have the HS20 in my hand, and then next week I'm off birding in Costa Rica. Maybe I'll be able to share some pics when I get back (I have my own blog).
Your site was most helpful

David Harper said...

Hi Jim,
Many thanks for your kind words, I will be most interested how your trip goes in Costa Rica with the HS20, early indications show a marked improvement in feather detail at the long end of the zoom!
Looking forward to seeing the results on your blog.

Jim Peterson said...

Hi David.... back from Costa Rica. I was very happy with the HS20. The image stabilization was much better than my previous Olympus.

You can view some photos here...


David Harper said...

Great photos, looked like you had a good trip?
You seem to have mastered your new HS20 quite quickly, those Humming birds are amazing, keep up the good work!

Jim Peterson said...

By the way, there is an instant "eliminate red-eye" setting on the camera menu. I can't remember where it is at the moment... but it works beautifully.

While my friend was fiddling with the bird's red-eye on his expensive Canon, mine was automatic.

Which makes me wonder.... If they can eliminate it automatically, why isn't it the default setting on all cameras?

David Harper said...

I'm impressed that you managed to get close enough to the birds to even use flash, did it scare them at all?

Jim Peterson said...

No, my general experience with the flash is that they do not make the bird jump.

My actual blog is at http://quetzalbycar.blogspot.com/

Right under my profile is a picture of a Spotted Antbird that I took with my Olympus mega-zoom. I took it with a flash, but had to use software and Adobe Photoshop to get the red out entirely. I took two hummingbird shots this time with a flash with the HS20 (but they are not up for viewing) where the red-out is handled much better.

It just seemed odd to me that red-out can automatically be "handled" internally as a camera setting. If the camera can handle red-eye internally, why is there any need to handle it all? Why wouldn't it just be the default setting? Oh well... leave it to the camera people.

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