Last year (when the model was released), we must have been pretty busy to take notice of the awesome superzoom font Fujifilm had in store. If you missed our sl300 review, we reckon this is as good. If not, better!
When my review HS30 arrived, I did what any jaded Bloemfonteiner would after discovering your new found photography talent: I booked a chalet on the Golden gate route. The weather made Clarens the best bet, and off I went for perfect weather, approachable restaurants and sidewalks that weren’t so crowded that I had to walk in the street.
But enough about Clarens we’re here for the Camera. And what a camera it is. A few relatively minor features set it apart from the HS20 which makes this the clear winner for at least a few social shooters who fancy carrying a HDMI cord everywhere, If you’re looking to boost the quality of your Instagram shots, you can lock yourself into two years with Samsung’s Galaxy S4 Zoom and save yourself a fair amount of frustration.
I spent a few days wandering around the dorpie, with the camera safely around my neck – the HS30 performed brilliantly, regardless of the shooting situation. I photographed the popular golden gate mountain faces, rowdy youngsters carrying on at a school corner and locals at a nearby farm. The new tilting 3-inch LCD was particularly useful in capturing that last shot, letting me both shoot at a lower angle and avoid attracting attention to the camera and myself.
The final notable physical adjustment is the new Hot Shoe. It looks like a typical hot shoe that you’d find on any ol’ DSLR, but this version adds a multi-pin connector for interfacing with accessories like an OLED EVF or a microphone rig — neither of which I needed to try out on a brief vacation. Some photographers clearly prefer shooting with an EVF, but the tilting LCD suited me just fine, even with the lazy winter sun hitting the camera from above.
The pictures, as expected, look great. The camera did a fine job of exposing, and colors and white balance were spot on. Everything I loved about the SL300 and HS20 is present here, too, so you can absolutely expect a top-shelf experience through and through. The one notable setback is the price. It’ll run you about R4999 which admittedly is a bit more than we’d like to pay, seeing that its rather dated, regardless of its performance. But when you start looking at this strictly as an ILC replacement, that sky-high price tag begins to make a bit more sense. Cheap it’s not, but if you want the absolute best, consider this your only option.