Fantastic controls, a massive zoom, lots of fun features and excellent low-light performance make this the best ultra-zoom camera we’ve ever seen
1/2.3in 10.0-megapixel sensor, 30.0x zoom (24-720mm equivalent), 775g
The HS10 is expensive, but it’s easy to see why. The 30x zoom lens is the biggest we’ve ever seen, and the lens rings for adjusting zoom and focus are so much more responsive and accurate than levers or buttons.
There’s a strip of buttons to the left of the screen for ISO speed, white balance, metering mode, focus mode and focus area, and adjusting them simply involves holding down the button and turning the command dial. There are lots of other options in the menu, but it’s not the easiest to navigate. RAW mode is buried in the Setup menu rather than located alongside the JPEG compression option.
There’s an accessory shoe for an external flash, although the lack of TTL flash support means the flashgun’s power must be set manually. The 3in screen tilts up and down, while a sensor switches to the electronic viewfinder as soon as the camera is raised to your eye.
Videos are captured at 1080p, or in slow-motion video at reduced resolutions at up to 1,000fps for 1/33x playback. Slow-motion video is great fun but the 1080p mode was disappointing. Details were crisp but low-light footage was under-exposed, optical stabilisation failed to keep telephoto shots steady and autofocus and aperture adjustments spoiled the otherwise high-quality soundtrack.
Fortunately, photo quality was much better. Focus was reasonably sharp throughout the zoom range which, for a 30x zoom lens, is a remarkable achievement. It didn’t excel at most focal lengths, but took a clear lead at the 720mm telephoto position, allowing us to take breathtaking photos of the moon’s craters.
Thanks to the modest-resolution back-illuminated sensor, noise was low at ISO 1600, helping to capture sharp telephoto shots in overcast weather. Performance was a little slow, though, taking 2.8 seconds between shots and rising to 11 seconds with the flash at full power.
It’s not perfect, but while the HS10 fails to stand out at modest settings, it excels at the extremes – telephoto, low light, slow-motion – and is a delight to use.
|CCD effective megapixels||10.0 megapixels|
|Viewfinder||electronic (200,000 pixels)|
|Viewfinder magnification, coverage||N/A|
|LCD screen size||3.0in|
|LCD screen resolution||230,000 pixels|
|Zoom 35mm equivalent||24-720mm|
|Image stabilisation||optical, lens based|
|Maximum image resolution||3,648×2,736|
|Maximum movie resolution||1920×1080|
|Movie frame rate at max quality||30fps|
|File formats||JPEG, RAW; MP4 (AVC)|
|Mermory supplied||45MB internal|
|Battery type||4x AA|
|Battery Life (tested)||400 shots|
|Connectivity||USB, AV, mini HDMI|
|HDMI output resolution||1080i|
|Focal length multiplier||N/A|
|Kit lens model name||N/A|
|Accessories||USB and AV cables|
|Exposure modes||program, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual|
|Shutter speed||4 to 1/4,000 seconds|
|Aperture range||f/2.8-11 (wide), f/5.6-11 (tele)|
|ISO range (at full resolution)||100 to 3200|
|Exposure compensation||+/-2 EV|
|White balance||auto, 6 presets, manual|
|Additional image controls||dynamic range, color, tone, sharpness, flash compensation|
|Closest macro focus||1cm|
|Auto-focus modes||multi, centre, face detect|
|Metering modes||multi, centre-weighted, centre|
|Flash||auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction|
|Drive modes||single, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket, zoom bracket|