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Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR Overview

Posted: 01/05/2011

The Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR places an EXR-branded sensor into an HS-series camera body. The 16 megapixel EXR sensor in the Fuji HS20EXR is a newly developed, CMOS imager, as opposed to earlier Super CCD EXR designs. It uses a backside-illuminated layout, with the wiring moved off the light-sensitive side of the chip, hence increasing the light gathering area available for each photodiode. Fuji's EXR image sensors feature a rearranged Color Filter Array, offering more effective pixel binning (for improved sensitivity at reduced resolution), plus the ability to read out half the pixels during exposure (for increased dynamic range). It isn't clear whether the new EXR-CMOS chip retains the same 45-degree octagonal pixel layout seen in Super CCD EXR ships, which allows somewhat increased resolution on the horizontal and vertical axes. The camera can automatically select the best mode of operation -- favoring the best resolution, dynamic range, or signal/noise ratio -- via its EXR Auto mode.

The Fuji HS20 couples its sensor with a Super EBC FUJINON-branded 30x optical zoom lens with manual zoom control, and actual focal lengths ranging from f/4.2 at wide angle to f/126 at telephoto, equating to the same range as a 35mm camera with a 24mm - 720mm lens, a generous wide angle to a very powerful telephoto. Maximum aperture varies from f/2.8 at wide angle to f/5.6 at telephoto, and the lens has 58mm filter threads. Given the extreme telephoto reach, mechanical image stabilization is obviously a necessity to fight blur from camera shake, and the Fuji FinePix HS20 includes sensor shift stabilization. Images and movies can be framed and reviewed either on an electronic viewfinder, or a 3.0-inch, tiltable LCD display. A proximity sensor detects when the camera is brought to the photographer's eye, and switches between the two display types automatically.

Output from the EXR-CMOS sensor is processed by a newly developed Fujifilm EXR-branded image processor, and the combination allows swift shooting at eight frames per second for as many as eight full resolution frames, as well as 11 frames per second shooting for an unspecified burst depth at a reduced eight megapixel resolution. For times when less speed is required, lower rates of three or five frames per second are also available. A contrast detection autofocus system in the camera is said to allow focusing in a minimum of 0.16 seconds, although no information is provided on the maximum focusing time required.

The Fujifilm HS20EXR can capture 1080p high definition videos at an unspecified frame rate using H.264 compression in a .MOV container, while still images can be saved in raw or JPEG formats, as well as in both formats simultaneously. There's also a 320 frames-per-second movie mode which shoots at unspecified resolution. A Motion Panorama mode uses the camera's swift shooting to capture a number of sequential photos for stitching into a 180, 240, or complete 360-degree panorama, either horizontally or vertically. An automatic scene recognition function can identify no less than 27 different scene types, and then configure the camera automatically as appropriate for the detected type. Other features include film simulation bracketing (Provia, Velvia, Astia), dynamic range bracketing (100%, 200%, 400%), and autoexposure bracketing, plus the ability to recognize the faces of eight specific individuals, and to automatically correct red-eye. Connectivity in the Fujifilm HS20 includes an optional cabled remote release, and a high definition mini-HDMI video output.

The Fujifilm FinePix HS20 ships from late March 2011, priced at around US$500.