HS20 in tough conditions.

Recently I had the HS20 with me on a workday and saw the scene below and liked the reflection. Unfortunately I was on the wrong side of the bridge and had to shoot directly into the sun.  As you can see from the image below theres some interesting lens flare showing up to add to the problems.

I chucked the camera into EXR DR mode and let it sort most of the settings out itself. I left it with a little positive Ev to try and bring up the more shaded areas without blowing out the sky. The first image ( original ) was taken at 1/1400 sec, Ev +33, F8, ISO 100 at 4.2 mm focal length which equates to full wide in the HS20.

Original image straight from the HS20 and unedited.

As you can see theres a lot thats not good in the image above, but theres quite a bit that can be done to at least marginally improve this. The following image is a basic edit using Raw Therapee to try and bring some life into the image, and while it too suffers from the light issues at least the colour and contrast was able to be improved somewhat.

Edited version

You can see in the above edited version that I was able to put some life back in the image and lift the shadows somewhat. Lens flare can now be seen on in the fog bank to the right of the image which could be carefully cloned out to tidy that region up somewhat. In the image below I cropped the original to give a more panoramic look to the image but kept the original width size to stop the image from being scaled up. This reduced the sun flares and the glare in the sky around the sun and gave a more pleasant result. The fog bank still needs work however, but what originally attracted me to the scene has been maintained and that is the mirroring of the bridge arches in the river.

Panoramic crop

Time to adjust the shot.

Original straight from the camera, no editing.

In the image above I simply changed the focal length, and not by much. Exif gives the focal length as 8 mm which isn’t a great deal but is sufficient to cut out a lot of the problems inherent in the first image above. At 1/1500 sec, the camera made no other changes to the exposure. Metering was on the cloud in the middle of the image as this was displaying the best balance of light and dark areas.

This is where bridgecameras and mirrorless cameras excel, in being able to provide immediate feedback to changes you make in settings. Something that until very recently eluded the ability of DSLRs.

Overall the image is quite underexposed and lacklustre. I was however able to lift the image to bring out a little more colour and detail. You may think the blue of the sky is slightly overdone, but I can tell you that this is very close to how it looked on the day, we seldom get days in winter that exhibit this much “blueness” in the sky, its more commonly seen in Autumn and at times spring as well. There a meteorological term for this but at present I cant recall what it is.

In the edited version below you can see what I mean.


So what does all this tell us. Firstly try to avoid sun-ward facing images if possible they are hard to edit.

It also tells us the a jpeg image from the HS20 shot in DR mode can yield a surprising amount of editable headroom, what you think may be a dud image may in fact be recoverable.

It also tells us that a DSLR would have been a better choice of camera given the inherently larger dynamic range than the small sensored HS20.  It further tells us that though the HS20 is a old camera, it can still produce usable images that many other cameras would not be able to yield.

If all you can afford at present is a used HS20 from eBay or similar and its a reasonable price it could well be worth having. Although AF on my HS20 isn’t always reliable due to my dropping it, it still does a pretty good job if I leave AF set to single and dont use continuous AF or Tracking AF.

If you are wanting to step up to something a little more expansive then a used HS20,30 or 50 at a reasonable price could well be a good place to start.

Happy Snappin’


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