After waiting for a week to see if any distribution was happening, I have to report that to date nothing has changed. None of the major online retailers and camera shops have even a pre-order advert for the HS50. It seems Fuji is in no hurry to make product available. Considering it is now almost four months since the HS50 was announced and at least a month or more since becoming available over seas you would think we would at least see some pre-advertising, but alas to date nothing has been seen. I queried a Local Fuji retailer and to date they hadn’t even been told that the stock had arrived at Fuji NZ’s warehouse.

More disturbing still is the likely launch price. I came upon this companies’ website & yes they do have an Auckland office, showing what is likely to be the initial launch price, but as they obviously parallel import they have the HS50 at a reduced price.

As you can see at just a tad under $900.00 that’s one expensive camera, as is the original listing price. Not that this is all that surprising as the “Sale Price” of the HS30 is $600.00, which is actually more expensive than when it was first launched.

fuji hs50 prices

So where exactly does that leave us?

Having seen this supposedly initial launch price, I immediately began to look around for something other than the HS50. To be frank the HS50 is not now nor ever will be a camera worth this level of financial outlay. The XS1, which is arguably an order of magnitude better is less than this price, with the ability to produce much finer quality images. So whats on offer?

Lets assume for arguments sake a ceiling of $1000.00 NZD as our budget ceiling, but we want to get the best value under this that we can. What alternatives are there?

Here’s a list of a few that can be bought online. All less than our budgetry ceiling.

A quick visit to Price Spy yields some interesting results as seen below. As does a visit to Camera & Camera’s website as well as a visit to Trade Me.

There are a number of things to consider when buying a DSLR or quality Mirror-less camera, compatibility with older lenses being one of the first considerations. As seen in the Trade Me advert, a good intro level 300mm zoom lens is not all that costly, and can be added later if funds are an issue. The basic kit lenses bought with these cameras, while not Pro-Level glass are still more than adequate for most needs, and in almost all cases the IQ from these cameras and lenses will outperform any HS series camera by a very large factor. Reduced noise for high ISO shooting is also a bonus with these cameras allowing for far better results at high ISO than a bridge camera can deliver.

The more diminutive size of the Panasonic G5, when used with their 14mm kit lens would make an unassuming street shooter with excellent IQ output. For those wanting a bit more stretch in their lenses, don’t forget the crop factor. For example a 70-300mm, 35mm lens,  will yield a focal length equivalent to 112-480mm at a crop factor of 1.6. Most of these older film camera lenses (Auto Focus & Manual ) are able to be used on the new generation digital cameras. Pentax is a very good example of this, with every lens ever made by them able to be used with their new generation of DSLR, sometimes an adapter is required, but for the vast majority of lenses, they are able to be used straight on the camera. All the older digital & film Auto Focus lenses, Pentax for example, are directly usable with the modern DSLR. If you are not sure as to what will work, contact your local camera dealer or local photography club/society.

As you can see just from my brief foray of online retailers, there is a good deal of equipment available to the consumer, many of which are substantially less costly than the new HS50 appears to be and will yield far beyond what the HS50 can produce.

I don’t know what the marketing team at Fuji were thinking, but offering a camera with less quality than the XS1 for about the same price, is a recipe for disaster. Let us not forget the problems associated with the X10 and the XS1 in it first year of production.

Once again Fuji seemed to have missed the mark, in offering a camera with little increased IQ, coupled with an even longer zoom. Personally I think they damn near got it right with the HS10 and should have continued to build a unique bridge camera platform that didn’t need to get caught up in the megapixel/extreme zoom race.

A high quality bridge-camera such as the XS1,  at a reasonable price, and that’s a very important component in the HS’s target market, would have had the potential to be a rival, all in one package, as an alternative to the larger DSLR.

For those wanting to have an HS50 but spend less, one could well buy from B&H Photo, allowing for freight  and exchange rates, and assuming no import tariffs,  you can have one for $653.00NZD, which is substantially better than the price listed above. The down side of this may be the issue of warranty on goods imported. As to whether Fuji NZ would validate a warranty for an item overseas is something that may well need to be assessed before purchasing. A couple of years ago I bought my HS20 from an online importer, that included an international Fuji warranty, whether this is now available for online purchases is something that would need to be confirmed by the purchaser with the company you are dealing with, and then perhaps confirmed with FujiNZ if the warranty would be valid in New Zealand.

At this point for me at least the argument is moot. If the official launch price here is anything close to the above listing, I will keep my HS20 and migrate to a quality DSLR. Like a lot of people I’m now holding off purchasing until the launch of the HS50 is confirmed and at what cost.