Super-zoom digital cameras have been around for a long time, but it seems that recently most of the manufacturers are treading water with their designs, with only one or two models in their range and only updating them at irregular intervals with more powerful sensors and ever-longer zoom ranges. The only company that seems to put any effort into the super-zoom market is Fujifilm, which has no fewer than nine such cameras in its range, including the FinePix S2500HD, the outstanding FinePix S200 EXR and today's review camera, the new FinePix HS10.
The S200 EXR was always going to be a tough act to follow, so Fujifilm has pulled out all the stops and loaded the HS10 with every feature they could think of, including several new ones that are unique to this camera. Its basic specification is impressive to say the least. It has an amazingly powerful but very compact 30x zoom lens, the longest zoom range of any current camera, with a focal length range equivalent to 24-720mm, a maximum aperture of f/2.8-5.6 and manual zoom control. It has a 10.0-megapixel 1/2.3-inch back-illuminated CMOS sensor, a 3.0-inch 230k articulated monitor, a field-sequential 0.2-inch 200k resolution electronic viewfinder, and can shoot full 1080p HD video with stereo sound.
With most other manufacturers concentrating their development efforts on long-zoom compacts and new mirrorless system cameras the HS10 doesn't have a lot of direct competition. The newly announced Panasonic FZ100 offers full HD video and a 24x zoom lens, but its closest competitor is the 18-month-old Canon PowerShot SX1 IS, which features full HD video, stereo audio and an articulated monitor, but only has a 20x zoom lens. It's also about the same price. The Fuji HS10 is currently selling for around £399, but Fuji cameras tend to fall in price quite dramatically after a few months.