After taking a number of photos the last time we were out with the cameras it became apparent that the Fuji s1000fd was not up to par. It was difficult to assess this out in the field from the LCD on the camera but I felt that what I could see was a little off. Next time we plan another photo excursion I will make sure we take the laptop with us so we can check the state of play right there and then. In hindsight we could have done this on the day we just didn’t think to do it. DOH!! After getting back home and viewing the images it was soon apparent that the s1000fd had some serious flaws. Chromatic aberration was evident, which in a Fujinon lens is a worry as well as AF problems, and odd color . All shots taken with this camera were on a tripod so steadiness should not have been a reason for the AF being off. My wife doesn’t yet have the skills to use the camera manually so she prefers to shoot in Auto or Program modes. It seemed the the images were smeared in some cases as well which made me wonder if the on board electronics are faulty. See what you think.
|Image from the HS10|
|Image from the s1000fd|
The photo at right shows a good clean image with good focus. Color is well balanced and natural. Very much like it was when we got to the area. The photo at left is from the s1000fd and shows a blurry blue outline around the handrail of the boat. The big rock at center right shows a lot of red color that shouldn’t be there. The color of the sand/mud around the boat is also the wrong color. The color of the grass is off as well. Focus is poor and the background seems smeared in places. Both these images are straight from the camera with no post processing. Both images are full sized, no reduction was used prior to posting here. In the next set of photos again from the same time and place it is evident that while focus is reasonable in the s1000fd, the color balance and exposure is off although the overall look to the image is not unreasonable and would probably do a 6 x 4 print with no real problem. Indeed my wife has had several hundred photos printed of which most are much better than what we now see. This leads me to think the electronics in the camera is failing. Again the same applies as above with the s1000fd image at left.
|From the s1000fd|
|From the HS10|
Even when seen at their smallest settings here the HS10 image displays a huge gain in IQ, color and focus. Neither image has been post processed and the file size is original. While the overall image isnt terrible when seen against the HS10 the s1000fd’s image looks washed out, with less vivid color. Both cameras were set to Fuji’s chrome setting. So whats going on here? Well I surmise that there has been a failure in the cameras control electronics and this is the major contributor to the faults we see here . This s1000fd was always slow in AF and shot to shot times but had good image quality on a shot by shot basis, just using auto settings.
|A bit overexposed but not too bad|
|Good exposure,color and focus.|
Here are a couple of examples of how images taken with the s1000fd straight from camera can look. Both shots are pretty much what I would have expected from this camera.
Examining The Competition.
Well yes and no. It all depends on what you want or can forego if contemplating an alternative to let us say the HS30. The HS30 is by no means a bad camera, it just doesn’t have a great deal to offer in the way of improvements over its predecessor the HS20. The new improvements are nice but if you are looking for a bargain then the HS20 is a definite buy.
- Weight – the HS series has a nice small DSLR like form factor and weight with good balance and a very good grip.
- Articulated LCD screen (Olympus)
- Reduced LCD resolution.
- Full manual control including full manual focusing ring (Ala DSLR)*
- Fully manual Zoom Lens*
- EXR shooting & Jpeg technology*
- AA Batteries, something I find indespensible when traveling, especially lithium AA’s at 1000 shots or better*(HS20 only). The Nikon’s estimated amount of shots on the standard battery is appalling when matched against the others.
- Std 58mm screw threaded lens, good for ND filters and polarizes.
- Large number of external controls (buttons) this is unique to the HS series and the XS-1.*
One of the things that my HS10 had was instant zoom, which could be used at two different settings/levels. Very handy for doing macro work or even long shots.
In the HS20 this was dropped, something that really annoyed me when I discovered that.
In the HS30 its been brought back, but renamed as intelligent zoom and appears to work in a very similar manner to the HS10’s instant zoom.
As most Fuji users know, these cameras are capable of some really nice macros. You can of course get the Raynox DCR-250 with a adapter ring for the Fuji 58mm lens thread from amazon at around $100.00USD if freighted.
There is however another route that the HS20 owner can take and that is to use a closeup lens filter such as these found on E-bay UK.These are the ones I bought. My daughter has just arrived back from the UK and was able to bring them with her. They cost 8.99 British pounds or roughly $16.00 NZD. There are many varieties and suppliers. A quick search on E-bay or Amazon using “Closeup Filter” in the search bar will get you to where you need to be.
I have had a very brief play with these and will do a more in-depth review in the coming days. The Borwin versions seen here are considerably more expensive and I have to wonder if they aren’t one and the same and you are paying simply for the name on the product.
The closeup lenses I have show good fit and finish and come in a pouch, with individual pockets that use Velcro tabs to secure them. Included in the box was a small packet of Q-tips as well as a Pufferbrush for lens cleaning as well a good quality lens cleaning cloth. All in all pretty good value for less than $20.00 NZD.