Fujifilm Finepix SL1000 vs Finepix HS50EXR : your question, my answers.
Here is the question I got asked by email last week further to the CES 2013 announcements of new cameras in Fujifilm’s range : ‘Hello, The Fujifilm Finepix HS50EXR and the Finepix SL1000 announced at the CES 2013 seem so similar the one to the other ? I’m a simple amateur photographer in search of a good bridge with a strong zoom of good quality. Could you tell me the differences and advantages/disadvantages
of these two cameras ? All the best.”
So, here are my answers :
Indeed these two Fujifilm bridges are very close to identical and are addressing the same passionate amateur audience. They give ample place to manual controls, and both offer extraordinary zoom lenses, one longer than the other. In other words the SL1000 is particularly for very long telephoto lovers. The SL1000 is a new offer in Fuji’s line of bridges where the HS50EXR has picked up the torch of the HS30EXR in the series of “a serious bridge with the ergonomics and look of reflexes”. The technical aspects of the two are quite similar and lead us to ask ourselves what the difference is between the two. Lets look first at what’s similar in these two bridge cameras of the Fujifilm line presented at the occasion of CES 2013 , the FinePix SL1000 and the FinePix HS50EXR:
- -CMOS 16 m.p. backlit sensor
- -HDR mode
- -sweep action panoramic photos
- -Electronic 920,000 dot viewer with eye detector
- -Full HD Video of 1920×1080 pixels: The definition of the video is the same on both cameras, only the cadences are different as we will see below.
- -rapid Autofocus
- -PSAM Modes
So now, what are the main differences between these two bridge cameras ?
Lenses: 42x vs 50x, but what for ?
The Fujifilm HS50EXR lens is already extremely polyvalent with its 42x focal capacity. This 24-1000mm offers a varying wide open aperture of f 2.8-5.6 and is a stabilized lens. It focuses down to only 2.3”(1cm) in macro mode. Its optic formula integrates aspherical ED glass, surface treated with Super EBC. We find exactly the same optical refinements on the SL1000: Aspherical elements composed of ED glass, treated against problems like ghosting with a Super EBC coating, which also improves contrast by eliminating flare. It also can focus down to 1cm in macro mode, and is also graced with stabilization. In contrast its focal length is 50x. This makes it a 24-1200mm. In a bridge camera a super powerful zoom is the key concept. In our humble opinion we wonder if it’s really useful to extend an already super powerful 1000mm to 1200mm. This diminishes the wide open aperture to f 2.9 in wide angle to f 6.5 in telephoto on the SL1000. At 6.5 one needs a lot of light and this pushes one to increase the ISO to compensate even with the lenses stabilization in order to get a sharp photo. So you’ve understood that the SL1000 is really dedicated to extreme telephoto amateurs. We ask though, with a single lens that already has a 24mm for landscapes and a zoom to a 1000mm, isn’t that enough ?
Autonomy: + 50% in favor of the HS50EXR
A bridge is the camera for travel photography. With an autonomy of 350 photos per charge allowed by the SL1000’s lithium battery, it offers enough for a full days shooting. The HS50EXR’s battery goes a step further and offers 500 photos per charge. This 50% extension compared to the SL1000 is a considerable advantage for the HS50EXR as a travel companion.
Vari-angle viewscreen (SL1000) vs Fully articulating viewscreen (HS50EXR)
The two screens compared here are identical in size and resolution: 3”/920,000 dots. The SL1000’s can be changed in angle, which is already nice, but the HS50EXR’s is fully articulated for a much greater liberty while framing.
Video : 60i vs 60p
Full HD is on the menu for both cameras, and both can also shoot at 60fps (frames per second). There is an important difference between the two as the SL1000 films at 60i (interlaced video) while the HS50EXR films at 60p (progressive scan). This may seem like a small detail for the uninitiated, but for video film lovers it really favors a choice for the Fuji HS50EXR.
Image burst speeds
Even with very different single image burst speeds, the effect is limited in our choice between the two contenders. The HS50EXR attains a 9 i/s. This is already an extremely elevated speed. The SL1000 on its side can reach 19i/s. It will be unfortunately limited in its use as it can only record 9 images per burst, which means a burst will only last a fleeting ½ sec.
The difference in the finish of the cameras as well as their slightly different feel betray two quite divergent design philosophies. Notice the mode control rings on the two bodies and you’ll notice the SL1000’s is plastic while the HS50EXR’s is (textured?)crenelated steel. From a user interface point of view we a have a real soft spot for the Fuji HS50EXR which offers a manual zoom ring around its lens, as well as a manual focus ring which are very valuable while shooting.
The Fuji SL1000 is equipped with a motorized zoom, which is less precise and slower than a manual one. There is something to be said however for the steady action of an automatic zoom while doing handheld video shots. The SL1000 does compensate with a double zoom command: the first allows one to use the zoom as on any compact, the a levered command is well positioned on the left side of the lens. Despite all this the refinement of the mechanical manual zoom of the HS50EXR offers it an important advantage in user pleasure.
Not EXR ????