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Fujifilm FinePix HS10 early review: Long-zooming thirtysomething

The superzoom is the thirtysomething of the camera world: no longer a young, feckless compact, but not yet a wise, experienced dSLR. We inspected the FinePix HS10 for signs of clever features -- and hair loss

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Richard Trenholm
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This Craver turned 30 at the weekend. Waking up with the sort of brain-melting hangover that 20-year-old tykes can't even conceive of, we discovered all our trainers had been replaced by sensible shoes and our T-shirts had metamorphosed into a selection of V-neck pullovers with lovely patterns. This put us in the perfect state of mind to take a first look at the Fujifilm FinePix HS10 camera, which is a superzoom -- the camera world's equivalent of a mid-life crisis. It's not a compact and it's not a dSLR, but it does boast a giant, 30x optical zoom.

The HS10 specialises in multi-tasking: taking multiple images and combining them in different ways. It shoots raw stills, and will capture raw and JPEG images simultaneously. You can fire off a blistering 10 frames per second at full resolution, or constantly record for as long as you hold down the shutter button, saving the last seven images before release, so you don't miss a piece of the action.

The camera stitches together multiple panorama shots -- captured in one sweeping movement of the camera -- multiple shots of a moving subject, or multiple bracketed shots at different ISO speeds for low-light situations.

We weren't able to get a good look at the results -- Fujifilm might have noticed had we whipped the HS10 off its stand at the Focus on Imaging show -- but we were impressed by the different multiple-image features. Each one took a few seconds to process, so you have to cross your fingers that you won't miss another shot while you're waiting.

High-definition video is recorded at a 1080i resolution, benefiting from stereo sound. The twist zoom barrel means you can zoom in and out while filming. A 1,000-frames-per-second super-fast mode is available at a lower resolution for slow-motion video.

The HS10 runs on AA batteries, which cuts down on charging but increases the amount of time you'll spend rifling through drawers looking for those spares that you just know are there somewhere.

Click 'Continue' for more photos of the HS10 in action, including that giant zoom at full stretch, and the price.

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The HS10 sports an enormous 30x optical zoom, F2.8-F5.6 lens. The focal length is 4.2mm–126mm, or equivalent to 24-720mm on a 35mm camera.
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As well as manual, program and aperture- and shutter-priority modes, the HS10 offers panoramic shooting.
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The HS10 has a fold-out, 76mm (3-inch) screen similar to that employed by Sony cameras. In our opinion, it's not as versatile as the flippy, twisty, sideways-folding screens on other cameras and camcorders.
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The HS10 is out now, priced at around £400.

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