Subsequent to my decision to move to the XA1 if there isn’t going to be a replacement for the HS50 or the XS1, I’ve had the opportunity to handle and briefly use the two cameras.
This brought to the forefront a problem that I cant change, namely the size of my hands.
The XA1 is a really nice camera, feels reasonably well built. Has a very nice kit lens, and is pretty quick in the AF arena as well. So whats not to like. The size. Simply put its just too damn small. Even with the extra grip you can buy, this camera is just to small to be used as anything other than a large compact. What!! I here you say. OK so a largish compact with a big lens.
The HS50 by contrast felt absolutely perfect in the hand, almost like it was designed for my hands, it really does feel good. The grip on the HS20 is good but the HS50’s grip was significantly better. I had taken my HS20 along for comparison so I was able to make the determination on the spot regarding grip size. It was fast on the AF too. It seemed to be about 2 or three times faster than the HS20 in AF and the improved LCD/Liveview was excellent, with little or no apparent smearing when moving the camera about.
I’m pleased I took the time to go and assess the differences in these cameras from a fit & feel point of view, as I was set to pull the trigger and order a XA1 twin lens kit, but for now I have to reconsider this option. I’m back to the quandary of what is more important, IQ or sheer usability which you get from the likes of the HS50.
While in the shop I also took the time to have a look at the XE2 as well. Nice camera, very good feel to it with the metal body. They really do feel substantial, however in real terms they are only a little larger than the XA1, even though the grip is bigger on the XE2, it not that much bigger.
To put this in perspective, the height of the XA1 is 66mm. I have a Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 that is 63 mm wide and slightly bigger the other way than the XA1. Suffice to say that for a comparison its a reasonable way to relate the sizes of some of these new cameras. The image below will show you what I mean. I’m holding it the way you would the XA1. It becomes apparent pretty quickly that this isn’t going to be a comfortable camera to use.
See what I mean. Its tiny and it almost the identical size of the XA1. Admittedly the XA1 has more depth, so this does help the grip a little, but not by much.
Now imagine you are holding the camera and you whack on the 230mm kit lens. That’s going to make for a front heavy camera that will be even more awkward to use for someone with larger hands, although you may be able to use the lens itself as a better support.
Here are the cameras in another perspective courtesy of Camera comparisons’s website.
This pretty much sums up the problem I face in turns of fit & feel and useful ergonomics.
Changing settings on the HS50 as with the HS20 is easy as access to the various controls are right where you want them. Not so for the XA1 or the XE2, where you actually have to change your grip to change some of the settings activated from the buttons.
This whole exercise is becoming an exercise in frustration. Especially as I have some projects in mind that I just don’t feel the HS50 is really equipped to handle IQ wise.
Roll on Photokina and hopefully a new announcement from Fuji regards bridge-cameras.