FinePix HS25EXR (help with image quality)

Started Jun 11, 2012 | Discussions
R Ken New Member • Posts: 3
FinePix HS25EXR (help with image quality)

Hi all ,

I have just bought a FujiFilm HS25EXR , as an upgrade to my trusty old S5000 Zoom ( Which I recently gave to my brother in Law )

I seem to be have a lot of trouble getting sharp images from it , as can be seen below -
I think I used EXR Auto for the pictures .

The first image was taken at full zoom , and the picture is very grainy and lacking in detail .

This Chaffinch was taken at full zoom as well and the image is very bad with little / no detail - it looks like it was painted with a paintbrush .

This one isn't too bad , but the Sparrow doesn't look quite right , and is lacking in detail .

Also , images taken in less than perfect light are very grainy , with poorly defined edges on objects .
I can add images of this later .

From seeing images online and on this forum , I know that the HS25EXR can produce very good pictures , but with mine it seems to be hit and miss as to wether or not I get a good image .

This is a picture that turned out well , nice and sharp , with good detail .

I must have tried every combination of settings known to man at this stage and I'm starting to regret not keeping my older camera instread of upgrading .

Is it all down to user error on my part or is there a way of testing the camera for faults.

Any help / advice would be appreciated .

Thanks ,
Ken

Nikon Coolpix S500
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PAUL TILL
PAUL TILL Veteran Member • Posts: 9,286
Re: FinePix HS25EXR (help with image quality)

Try shooting at a lower ISO, set it to Auto ISO400 and also shoot at half resolution.

A good starting point would be to set it to EXR DR mode, Auto ISO400, DR400% also try lowering the EV 1 or 2 notches, see how you get on from there.

Paul.
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Greenjax Regular Member • Posts: 132
Re: FinePix HS25EXR (help with image quality)

I have the HS25 too. I benefited greatly from advice from Paul Till and others on settings. I am at work right now, but I'll check my settings when I get home and tell you what I have. The ISO is very important. I try to have mine on 100 or 200 almost all the time and 400 auto when light gets lower. I use EXR resolution priority most of the time.

leanneqld Senior Member • Posts: 1,829
Re: FinePix HS25EXR (help with image quality)

ISO 1600 is not your friend.
--
Very Often In Awe

Rachotilko Contributing Member • Posts: 539
Besides that:

Besides that: don't expect miracles. Although the new devices are much higher speced than the old ones, bear in mind that it is always better to be restrained in your demands.

Think of resolution: having 16MP is really great an option, but on small sensor camera it really only works when you shoot in pertfect light. When the light is bad (and ISO high), then you basically can't crop, and downsampling is usually highly recommended. On Fuji EXR cameras you should take advantage of camera pixel binning (by staying at 8MP while shooting), possibly followed by downsampling (when on high ISO).

Zoom range: having such a range is great, but try to stay away from extremes. Think of them (the extreme ends) as of emergency measures. They help you take shots in demanding situations, but optics gives better results when the very ends are avoided.

ISO: the higher the ISO, the smaller the resulting image should be. High ISO images from small sensor cameras are not to be pixel-peeped, but rather downsampled.

Image stabilization: is fine as an emergency measure (or when focal/subject distances are not extreme), but with tripod you're guaranteed sharper results with truly distant subjects & extended zoom. Just remember to switch the IS off when using tripod (they interfere with each other).

So basically, not expecting miracles - and being reasonable with respect to possibilities of sensor this small - helps you enjoy the camera more. This kind of cameras will reward you when you're humble & cooperative

Baseman Regular Member • Posts: 444
Basic HS Series Settings

Personally I do not like any EXR mode, but do like the Dynamic Range of the EXR sensor in a non EXR mode.

To get this, I have my camera set to 'A' mode and lock down the ISO to 100. In the settings, turn Noise Reduction to Low and Sharpness set to Soft. This is a must due to the 'water colour' effect this sensor produces. You will need to Post Process afterword. For the Dynamic Range, set your Image size to 'M' and myself, I keep my Dynamic Range set to Auto. In a non EXR mode you can still get Dynamic Range up to 400% as long as you have the Image Size set to 'M'.

Curious, did you have the Image Stabilization turned on for your long shots?

I do not have the HS25, I have the HS20. But I believe these settings hold true for the HS20, HS25 & HS30. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

I love the range of features and control this camera offers. It's not a perfect device, but it does get the job done once you go through it's learning curve.

Best of luck!

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nobbyball Regular Member • Posts: 207
Re: FinePix HS25EXR (help with image quality)

Hi Ken

I have the HS30 and here is a similar shot I took of finches using EXR AUTO...

I know when I took this picture I was supported by a viewing screen ledge for stability - but the settings are very similar to yours. Were your pictures hand held?

I enjoy using the EXR AUTO in good and variable light for ease of shooting. At other times (and usually when the light is very good) I use P and S modes with ISO never set above 400, and EXR HR mode, again with ISO never set above 400. I have NR at low and Sharpness at standard. I have focus set at spot/centre and metering as average. I have size set to M. I know early on I had issues with wildlife shots when metering was on the default multi setting.

This one was shot through a window, and although not perfect, the lower ISO certainly helped a lot with clarity and IQ.

The final thing I would add is I've found EXR AUTO more reliable since the firmware update - I don't know if it is the same for the HS25 - but it might be since they share the same sensor.

Keep working at it.
Ian

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jcmarfilph Veteran Member • Posts: 7,592
Re: FinePix HS25EXR (help with image quality)

Don't go above ISO-400 unless you are really close to birds and since HS25 doesn't have RAW, your chances of getting clean high ISO is highly unlikely.

These are my settings for birding...

S-Mode | M Size | 1/250s | Auto-ISO400 | -1/3 EV | DR-200 | IS-Continous | Sharpness Low | NR Low | Spot-Metering | Center-AF

-=[ Joms ]=-

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lifeflow Junior Member • Posts: 45
Re: FinePix HS25EXR (help with image quality)

This is what I experienced with my Hs20 - it is so grainy !
It is not the fuji quality I am used to.

I tried as you many settings but gave it all up after a month. Returned the camera and I am now looking for the good old image quality I am spoiled with, but in another cam.

Sorry I can t be of any help to you.

jcmarfilph Veteran Member • Posts: 7,592
Re: FinePix HS25EXR (help with image quality)

lifeflow wrote:

This is what I experienced with my Hs20 - it is so grainy !
It is not the fuji quality I am used to.

I tried as you many settings but gave it all up after a month. Returned the camera and I am now looking for the good old image quality I am spoiled with, but in another cam.

Sorry I can t be of any help to you.

Sorry to hear that it didn't work for you but I will not agree that HS20 is not a good camera. There are tons of very good images posted here and there. If you are shooting above ISO-400, you will definitely get grainy pictures. A grainy with detail is better than a smeared result. If you are shooting in M Size and better in RAW, you can get around that grainy result. If you are not pixel-peeping, leave the NR to Standard and Sharpness to Low.

-=[ Joms ]=-

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Kim Letkeman
Kim Letkeman Forum Pro • Posts: 33,444
some thoughts, some references, and some samples ...

R Ken wrote:

I must have tried every combination of settings known to man at this stage and I'm starting to regret not keeping my older camera instread of upgrading .

Is it all down to user error on my part or is there a way of testing the camera for faults.

The odds of the camera being faulty are quite low. But these ultra long zooms are a bit difficult to shoot.

Here is my article on how to shoot EXR cameras. Try the settings listed in the first section for a while. You might like them.

http://kimletkeman.blogspot.com/2009/10/fuji-f70exr-how-to-shoot-it-mkii.html

Here is a search path to my extensive review / experience report with the HS25.

http://www.google.com/cse?cx=partner-pub-3486568277577421%3Aesofjarifpd&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=HS25+Review&sa=Search#gsc.tab=0&gsc.q=HS25%20Review&gsc.page=1

A few examples of my results from the HS25 ...

From a very long distance ... I could not really see them until I zoomed in, and then only barely.

Details in general are good, but feathers are especially hard to resolve at distance ...

The zoom is simply magnificent ...

Cropped

One thing I do is shoot with soft settings and then process in Lightroom. You might be able to get the camera to spit out similar results, but I cannot say for sure.

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Kim Letkeman
Kim Letkeman Forum Pro • Posts: 33,444
Re: FinePix HS25EXR (help with image quality)

lifeflow wrote:

This is what I experienced with my Hs20 - it is so grainy !
It is not the fuji quality I am used to.

I tried as you many settings but gave it all up after a month. Returned the camera and I am now looking for the good old image quality I am spoiled with, but in another cam.

Sorry I can t be of any help to you.

In another thread you said that you thought that your copy was faulty. Now you say that the camera in general is bad.

Take a look at my other response in this thread and let me know if you would toss the camera for producing those images.

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OP R Ken New Member • Posts: 3
Thanks all .

Hi all ,

Thanks for the replies .

Is there an option to multi quote messages ? I can't find it .

@ Paul Till ,

I have set my camera to the settings you advised , and took a few sample shots .

So far so good . The resulting sots were much better , but there are no birds in the garden at the moment to experiment with .

Which would be preferable - EXR resolution priority or EXR Dynamic Range priority ?

@ Rachotilko

Thanks for the detailed reply .

I did a quick experiment using the settings from Paul Till , and zooming in up to 20x seems to be clear ( with no tripod / handheld camera ) .

I think I'll have to try not to zoom above this unless I can lean the camera on something solid or invest in a small tripod at a later stage .

@ Baseman

I'll try your settings tomorrow , and see what I get . Thanks

I did have Image Stabilization turned on , but I was holding the camera by hand , no tripod .

@ Nobbyball

I was holding the camera by hand .

There is a firmware update , but it only mentions something about taking still pictures when in movie recording mode in the release notes .

http://www.fujifilm.com/support/digital_cameras/software/firmware/s/finepix_hs25exr/index.html

@ jcmarfilph

Thanks for those settings , I'll try them tomorrow .

@ Kim Letkeman

Thanks for that , There's plenty of reading on your blog to keep me going for a while (and some great pictures) .

.
.
.
.

From reading the replies , the impression I get is that I should set Noise Reduction to Low and Sharpness set to Soft or Medium .

I had mine on high for both .

How much of a difference does it make ?

.
.
.
.
.

Thanks again for all the replies , I was getting really frustrated with the results I was getting from my new camera .

I can already see an improvement just by following some of the settings and advice listed above .

I really like the feel of the camera , and the manual zoom is a great feature.

Hopefully , over the next few days I can experiment with the settings listed above and try to get the best out of it .

.
.
.

On a side note , I emailed FujiFilm Ireland the other day asking if it would be possible to get a printed owners manual .

They replied a couple of hours ago telling me that they don't have any / there is none available , but that they have printed it out for me on A4 pages and it's on it's way to me .

It'll be much easier to read that looking at the pdf on a computer screen .

Thanks again for the replies and help ,

Ken

Kim Letkeman
Kim Letkeman Forum Pro • Posts: 33,444
Re: Thanks all .

R Ken wrote:

@ Kim Letkeman

Thanks for that , There's plenty of reading on your blog to keep me going for a while (and some great pictures) .

Thanks. The main article's first section will give you the settings I use for well over 90% of my shooting.

From reading the replies , the impression I get is that I should set Noise Reduction to Low and Sharpness set to Soft or Medium .

I set things up that way in order to allow much more latitude during subsequent processing. If you let the camera apply strong tone and sharpening, then in cases where it is inappropriate, it is too late to fix. I use the least heavy handed processing in cam that is possible (RAW when available) so that I can do all the processing.

I had mine on high for both .

Generally, I find high tone curves create blown highlights and blocked shadows, even when in an EXR mode. And high sharpening almost always creates visible halos. Visible even at web sizes (I have some shots I took that need to be put into an article.)

How much of a difference does it make ?

As above.

Note: If you choose to not process your images, then you will be left with trying combinations of sharpening and tone against film modes to get the right look. There might be a combination in there somewhere, but I can assure you that JPEGs require a fair bit of appropriate sharpening to pull out the detail that is there.

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OP R Ken New Member • Posts: 3
Re: Thanks all .

Kim Letkeman wrote:

R Ken wrote:

@ Kim Letkeman

Thanks for that , There's plenty of reading on your blog to keep me going for a while (and some great pictures) .

Thanks. The main article's first section will give you the settings I use for well over 90% of my shooting.

From reading the replies , the impression I get is that I should set Noise Reduction to Low and Sharpness set to Soft or Medium .

I set things up that way in order to allow much more latitude during subsequent processing. If you let the camera apply strong tone and sharpening, then in cases where it is inappropriate, it is too late to fix. I use the least heavy handed processing in cam that is possible (RAW when available) so that I can do all the processing.

I had mine on high for both .

Generally, I find high tone curves create blown highlights and blocked shadows, even when in an EXR mode. And high sharpening almost always creates visible halos. Visible even at web sizes (I have some shots I took that need to be put into an article.)

How much of a difference does it make ?

As above.

Note: If you choose to not process your images, then you will be left with trying combinations of sharpening and tone against film modes to get the right look. There might be a combination in there somewhere, but I can assure you that JPEGs require a fair bit of appropriate sharpening to pull out the detail that is there.

Thanks for the reply ,

Over the next couple of days , I'll be experimenting and I'll turn down the sharpening and noise reduction and I'll take some before and after shot to compare .

Thanks again .

Ken

Danielepaolo
MOD Danielepaolo Veteran Member • Posts: 4,552
Re: Thanks all .

R Ken wrote:

From reading the replies , the impression I get is that I should set Noise Reduction to Low and Sharpness set to Soft or Medium .

I had mine on high for both .

How much of a difference does it make ?

It will make a big difference. You need to take control of these settings and do it yourself in post processing (PP)

Setting sharpness to high will result in grainy pictures as noise is sharpened particularly at high ISO value like you used. If you set to low you pictures will be softer and you will need to sharpen in PP. You get to control the sharpening if you do it yourself, a much better option.

Same for NR, do it yourself. This time with NR set to high smearing may result resulting in loss of details and a watercolour effect. Again do NR in PP.

-- hide signature --

Apologies if my lack of photographic knowledge is catching.

Conrad Birdie Veteran Member • Posts: 6,809
Re: FinePix HS25EXR (help with image quality)

I think the biggest issue is your ISO setting.

In good daylight settings, I always use ISO 100, or maybe even ISO 200 if I want to be able to increase my shutter speeds. Clearly the grain is a direct result of ISO being 1600. You can see that in your last photos, when ISO's were 320, and 200 respectively.

One of the biggest complaints I have with my Fuji F300EXR is the smearing look of the images also. I have tried pretty much everything to be honest. I have even gone to setting the ISO to auto 400 for night photography and using my tripod to get good shots. I rarely, if ever use an ISO above 400 anymore because of the noise and smearing.

R Ken wrote:

Hi all ,

I have just bought a FujiFilm HS25EXR , as an upgrade to my trusty old S5000 Zoom ( Which I recently gave to my brother in Law )

I seem to be have a lot of trouble getting sharp images from it , as can be seen below -
I think I used EXR Auto for the pictures .

The first image was taken at full zoom , and the picture is very grainy and lacking in detail .

This Chaffinch was taken at full zoom as well and the image is very bad with little / no detail - it looks like it was painted with a paintbrush .

This one isn't too bad , but the Sparrow doesn't look quite right , and is lacking in detail .

Also , images taken in less than perfect light are very grainy , with poorly defined edges on objects .
I can add images of this later .

From seeing images online and on this forum , I know that the HS25EXR can produce very good pictures , but with mine it seems to be hit and miss as to wether or not I get a good image .

This is a picture that turned out well , nice and sharp , with good detail .

I must have tried every combination of settings known to man at this stage and I'm starting to regret not keeping my older camera instread of upgrading .

Is it all down to user error on my part or is there a way of testing the camera for faults.

Any help / advice would be appreciated .

Thanks ,
Ken

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Conrad Birdie

"The truest measurement of a man's heart is not what he does when he has wealth, but what he does when he doesn't".

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NOEL 100 Contributing Member • Posts: 685
Re: FinePix HS25EXR (help with image quality)

Good day Ken,

I happily owned an S5000 for time before moving to the S6500. Initially I though the 6500 had a problem, the pictures compared to the 5000 were soft and I couldn’t work out why. It worried me so much I put it up a couple of threads on this site asking the gurus opinions. In the end the general feeling was that the S5000 was hard on its jpeg sharpening where as the 6500 was more balanced. Indeed the 6500 was one of Fuji’s better shooters and I still have mine even though I’ve recently bought a HS30.

The HS30/25 can get pretty close to the sharpness you’re used to on the S5000 but many forum members don’t like the settings, they tend to find them too sharp and would rather do sharpening in PP.

I guess that once you become more familiar with the HS30 you’ll find the settings that suit your tastes it may take a bit of time but hey that’s the fun.
The first photo is from my S5000, nice and sharp although a bit of noisy.

A second one from the HS30 with settings sharp.

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Noel 100

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Conrad Birdie Veteran Member • Posts: 6,809
Re: FinePix HS25EXR (help with image quality)

Clearly much better. Of course the ISO levels are considerably more in line with the available light also. Very nice Photos.

NOEL 100 wrote:

Good day Ken,

I happily owned an S5000 for time before moving to the S6500. Initially I though the 6500 had a problem, the pictures compared to the 5000 were soft and I couldn’t work out why. It worried me so much I put it up a couple of threads on this site asking the gurus opinions. In the end the general feeling was that the S5000 was hard on its jpeg sharpening where as the 6500 was more balanced. Indeed the 6500 was one of Fuji’s better shooters and I still have mine even though I’ve recently bought a HS30.

The HS30/25 can get pretty close to the sharpness you’re used to on the S5000 but many forum members don’t like the settings, they tend to find them too sharp and would rather do sharpening in PP.

I guess that once you become more familiar with the HS30 you’ll find the settings that suit your tastes it may take a bit of time but hey that’s the fun.
The first photo is from my S5000, nice and sharp although a bit of noisy.

A second one from the HS30 with settings sharp.

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Conrad Birdie

"The truest measurement of a man's heart is not what he does when he has wealth, but what he does when he doesn't".

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NOEL 100 Contributing Member • Posts: 685
Re: S5000

The old S5000 didn't produce too bad a picture considering it was a 3mp camera.

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Noel 100

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