My HS50 EXR - Impressions ...

Started Mar 27, 2013 | Discussions thread
TwoMetreBill Senior Member • Posts: 1,352
Re: Stevo ...

Having owned a S100, S200 and HS20 and used a friend's S100, HS10 and X-S1, I would rate IQ as follows from worst to best:

  1. HS10/20 - just plain pitiful for anything other than posting images on the web or printing up to 4x6. The lens wasn't sharp outside of 50-200 equivalent. Junk food.
  2. S100 - significantly better than the HS10/20 but still poor with all the fringing which wasn't too hard to remove with software. Both S100s performed the same even though purchased several months apart. The lens wasn't sharp outside of 40-300 equivalent. Still junk food.
  3. S200 - while not great, a huge improvement over the above bodies. For a small sensor camera, delivered about as good as could be expected of the technology. Definitely usable IQ. The lens wasn't sharp outside of 40-300 equivalent.
  4. X-S1 - significant jump in IQ and actually produces decent images up to ISO 400, 800 if one is not being too fussy. Lens sharpness quite good from 30-400mm, 24 and 500+ quite soft.

Usability is another matter which is the reason I sold all of mine after 3-4 months of use:

  1. Manual focus unusable on any except the X-S1 where it is pretty good and excellent considering the price of the camera. The LCD resolution is just too low.
  2. Autofocus accuracy abominable on the HS10/20, poor on the S100 and fair on the S200. All 4 of them seemed to want to focus on the highest contrast in the image regardless of the focusing mode. If manual focus had been usable then the S200 might have been an OK camera. Only the X-S1 can occasionally achieve accurate autofocus at the longest end.
  3. RAW is absolutely necessary to get decent quality, again for other than web posting or small prints. RAW operation is so slow as to be unusable that for slow shooting not too bad on the X-S1. Given that none of these cameras are for rapid action whether BIF or sports, the X-S1 is OK for landscape work.

So what about the HS50 which I don't own. My only comparison is downloaded images and specifications.

  1. IQ is an improvement over all the previous HS and S cameras especially at higher ISO's, 400-1600.
  2. While the lens is not terribly sharp at 1,000mm, it is an improvement up to 600mm over the prior cameras.
  3. Manual focus at least matches the X-S1.
  4. Autofocus simply in a class of its own, none of the other cameras can even begin to compare. See BIF comment below.
  5. RAW shooting speed, again a huge improvement though still not in the league DSLRs. Many owners (see this forum) are finding it usable for BIF which is a first for any superzoom.

Conclusion: the HS50 is worth trying considering the low cost. Counterpoint, based on prior announcement history, the HS60 should be out by March 2014 and might have one of the new sensors.

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