Fujifilm announced seven new cameras today, six of which have long zooms while one is a tough camera that can take a beating. You’re going to hear a lot of similar announcements from the major camera companies at CES 2013 as they abandon basic point-and-shoots for models that can compete against smartphones, and Fujifilm is no exception.
Although Fujifilm unveiled a 50x mega-zoom (details below), the company’s top new model is actually the $549 42x FinePix HS50EXR (shown above), which arrives in March. Not only does it have a 24-1000mm lens, the camera features a new half-inch EXR CMOS II sensor with phase detection for improved focusing speed. Fujifilm claims .05 seconds but we’ll believe that when we get our hands on a review unit. The camera has Intelligent Hybrid Autofocus, which uses phase detection and contrast AF, switching between the two for best results. This “hybrid” AF and its variations is another growing digicam trend for 2013. Although it may look like a DSLR and can grab 11 fps at full resolution, it can only do so for a maximum of 5 frames – a very un-DSLR spec.
Fujifilm is one of the few companies that still offer a DSLR-like manual zoom control on a mega-zoom and you’ll be twisting your left hand on the HS50EXR’s lens itself to move through the focal range – rather than pushing a toggle switch near the shutter button. Since this is a mega-zoom, optical image stabilization is a given as is Full HD video (1080p/60 fps). Phase detect is used for video and you’re recording stereo sound.
It has a 3-inch vari-angle LCD and an electronic viewfinder (both 920K dots), eight art filters, shoots RAW, and has a battery rated 500 shots.
Moving down a big notch in price and overall features is the $399 HS35EXR with a 30x manual zoom (24-720mm) and 16MP EXR CMOS sensor. For the lower price, you’ll lose the hybrid AF, LCD resolution drops to 460K pixels, and HD video is 1080p/30 fps. There are only six art filters, too.
Matching the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS as king of the mega-zooms is the new FinePix SL1000. Like the SX50, it has a 50x optical zoom with a range of 24-1200mm. We really liked the Canon and can’t wait to get our hands on a production SL1000 to compare both. The camera has a 16MP 1/2.3-inch BSI CMOS sensor and is capable of grabbing 10 fps for a maximum of nine frames. A nice addition is a second zoom control on the lens itself so you use your left hand to zoom in and out while your right forefinger is on the shutter, like a DSLR. The SL1000 has optical image stabilization, shoots Full HD videos at 1080/60i, has a tilting 3-inch LCD, and an EVF; both LCD and EVF are rated 920K dots.
More Long Zooms
The new S8300 and S8200 add two more mega-zooms to the 2013 Fujifilm lineup. The S8300 ($399) has a 42x lens (24-1008mm) while the $299 S8200 is 40x but offers “only” 24-960mm. Both feature 16MP BSI CMOS sensors, shoot 10 fps for 10 frames, and capture Full HD videos 1080/60i with stereo sound. They run on four AAs.
The FinePix T550 is the final Fujifilm long zoom announced at CES. Available for $159, the T550 has a 12x zoom (24-288mm) and is much more compact than the other new models. This model uses a 16MP CCD chip, not CMOS, so fast response is not a strong suit. Video resolution is only 720p. Still, it’s affordable, has a 3-inch LCD (460K), has six art filters, and charges via USB.
Major manufacturers at CES are also pushing rugged cameras. Fujifilm, however, has played in this sandbox for years and their latest edition is the FinePix XP60 ($199). The camera offers four-way protection, which means it’s waterproof to 20 feet, shockproof to 5 feet, freeze-proof to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, and dustproof – in other words, a great camera for the beach or the slopes.
The XP60 has a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor with CMOS Shift Image Stabilization, a 5x zoom (28-140mm), a 2.7-inch LCD monitor, and takes Full HD videos 1080/60i. You can grab 10 fps for 10 frames, plus there are six art filters to play with.