Published: January 8, 2013 8:27 AM
By Franck Mée
Translated by: Catherine Barraclough
Although Fujifilm is usually only too keen to out a whole series of very similar cameras, the firm has only presented one advanced bridge for CES 2013. The FinePix HS50 EXR is therefore due to take over from the HS25 and HS30. And this year’s model looks like a very nice update, with a new lens, a redesigned body and a better screen.

Fujifilm FinePix HS50 EXR
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In the current bridge camera market, the lens used in the Fujifilm HS30 EXR (as already seen in the HS10) looks like something of a weakling with its 30x zoom. Fuji has therefore updated its bridge with the FinePix HS50 EXR, which gets a 42x zoom lens with an equivalent focal range of 24-1000 mm.

There are two key things to note here. First of all, the HS50 still uses a 16-Megapixel 1/2" sensor, which makes it hard to boost the zoom power without making the camera body bulkier and heavier. In fact, the lens will need to be around 15% bigger and heavier than in an equivalent camera with a 1/2.3" sensor. Next, the HS50 EXR will actually see its wide-angle trimmed, as the new lens starts at an actual focal length of 4.4 mm rather than 4.2 mm for the former model. The 24 mm equivalent focal length setting will therefore actually be 24 mm, rather than the 22 mm seen in the HS30.

Fuji has reworked the camera body too, keeping the 920,000-dot viewfinder and upping the screen to the same definition. Plus, the screen now has full swivel functionality rather than a basic tilt function. The control layout has changed a bit, with the focus selection controls moving over to the left-hand side of the screen (like in the X-S1) while other buttons have been rehoused in the Q menu.

The HS50 does, thankfully, maintain the most original features of this bridge series—a mechanical zoom control ring around the lens, as seen in SLRs, and an electronic focus control ring. The RAW mode is still there too.

Fujifilm is promising improved responsiveness with the HS50 EXR, and video has been upped to 1080p HD at 60 frames per second. You can also hook up an external mic for improved-quality audio in videos. All in all, the HS50 looks like it should be something of a reference among high-end bridges (on paper, at least). We just hope that Fuji's monster zoom lens will prove as effective as those seen in many competitor models.

> Reviews: Bridge and Compact Cameras
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