Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR Digital Camera Review$499.95
Since all these bridge cameras are modeled after SLRs, handling is always superior to more compact models. Even in this company, the HS30's ergonomics are still among the best. Texture and rubberization surrounds the body, and the right hand grip protrudes far enough for an adult hand to hold comfortably. There's an indentation on that grip, below the shutter release, which gives the index finger a little more leverage.
On the rear panel, the thumb rest gets extra sticky rubberization, and there's a tall lip on the right side of this area to give the thumb some leverage too. Hey other manufacturers, are you paying attention?
One handling woe that has not yet been rectified is the flash enclosure's effect on the zoom and focus rings. Part of what sets this camera apart is the large, mechanical manual zoom ring on the lens barrel, which is far more dynamic and precise than solutions found on competing ultrazooms. However the flash enclosure sticks out and over the zoom ring and focus ring, meaning it's very difficult to turn them all the way around without your fingers crashing into the flash. We were hoping for a slight redesign to fix this, but apparently we'll have to keep waiting.
Buttons & Dials
The HS30's button layout is divided between the right and left sides of the body, making this a camera for two-handed operation. Labeling of the rear control panel is a little tricky, and that goes for the clusters on both sides of the chassis. We do actually like this arrangement, however the complexity of this scheme relative to other ultrazooms will require a bit of a learning curve. Many important settings are absent from the main menu, so you'll need to remember your hotkeys when appropriate.
On the top panel, we love the manual control dial, however the EV and drive mode buttons are too far out of reach here. The shutter release, while usable, also feels cheap, like thin plastic.
The rear LCD is a better way of previewing shots, but not by much. Onscreen display is still too sluggish for action photography, but colors are drastically more natural and closer to what the final image will be. We generally prefer viewfinders, but found ourselves using the rear LCD more often than not.
The panel itself has tilt functionality, so you'll be able to angle the screen 30˚ downward for overhead shots, or 90˚ up for framing videos.
Like the HS20, the HS30 also has an electronic viewfinder, and there's even an eye-sensor that detects when you're looking through the finder and immediately swaps display from the LCD. But while the screen has decent resolution, rendition of color and detail are harsh, and response time is too slow for any kind of action photography.
Our stabilization testing rig was down for this review, sadly. We'll circle back and update this page in the future, once the shaker is back online. When this happens, it may cause the HS30's overall score to increase slightly.