After the flaring fiasco of Fuji's F550, I planned to never buy another Fuji camera, but never say never. When I decided superzoom point 'n shoot cameras had reached a...ahem...'point' that interested me, I chose the Fujifilm FinePix HS50 EXR because of its manual zoom, good EVF, fast and accurate autofocus that rivals DSLRs, RAW format, and 1,000mm telephoto (which is 11% longer than my longest DSLR equivalent focal length).
I had preferred the Panasonic FZ200 for its constant f2.8 lens and even better EVF, but its 600mm telephoto just wasn't long enough. I had also considered the Canon SX50 and even tried one at the camera store, but didn't like its motorized zoom and lower resolution EVF, although I would have liked its 1,200mm telephoto. Now that I've had the Fuji HS50 for a while and taken quite a few shots with it, I'm glad it's the one I bought, even though it does exhibit some of the same troublesome lens flaring around exceptionally bright light sources that the F550 has, but to a lesser degree. In all but the most extreme cases (i.e. shooting directly at an intense sun or the bright lights in some night photos) the flaring is manageable in post processing.
And, by itself the HS50 is not a particularly impressive macro (close-up) camera, however put a dual-element close-up lens on it (such as a Canon 250-D or 500-D), and it becomes impressive. All close-up shots in this gallery were taken using one or the other of those close-up lenses or both stacked together.
Nor could the HS50 be classified as a good low light camera. In low light it’s decent but not great. It is after all, a small sensor camera and I have yet to see one that excels in low light. Without resorting to using flash, the HS50 does do a passable job in low light if you don’t mind the smeared detail and loss of dynamic range inherent with high ISO shooting with small sensors, but in no way can it compare with DSLRs in low light.
However, except for the flaring issue and expected limited low light ability, the HS50 has proven to be a superb camera with very fast accurate focusing and overall response. The lens is tack sharp even at 1,000mm and at that focal length the image stabilization is still effective.
All that said, when asked if I recommend the HS50, I have to say ‘no’, unless a person is good at image editing (for removing the flaring) or won’t be using the camera in situations where the flaring becomes a problem and unless a person has no interest in using the camera in low light.
Otherwise, the HS50 is an incredibly capable, versatile, and fun camera to shoot with. I have gone on two trips since purchasing the HS50 and it was the only camera I took with me and didn’t regret leaving the DSLRs behind. All photos but three in this gallery were shot with it.
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