A DSLR-styled fixed-lens BRIDGE camera but, with a 30x zoom and a host of EXTRA features, could be the best yet
Design & Performance
In the hand, the HS10 feels solid and well made. Despite its size, the grip is deep and just long enough to get three fingers around. In terms of size it is comparable with Panasonic’s G-series models, or Samsung’s NX10, but for telephoto shots they would become significantly heavier and larger, and struggle to match the 720mm in terms of focal length. When zooming, the barrel extends to just over twice its length, but remains solid and focal lengths are marked along the barrel. Manual focus is possible using a smaller ring around the base of the lens and the screen provides a magnified view for accuracy.
The HS10’s top panel slopes backwards, making the dials easy to access. The rear is dominated by the 3in screen, with some handy function buttons to its left, and a d-pad to the right, with a couple of extra buttons, including a direct video record button. The tilting screen is a real winner; even in bright conditions the screen is easily visible. This is important as the viewfinder offers a very small viewing size that seems overly recessed into the camera, and the auto sensor is often slow to react or over-eager in turning off the main screen in bright light.
It would be easy to forget that we are talking about a sub-£400 compact camera, as in many ways, the HS10 performs like a budget DSLR. For a contrast-detect AF system, the focusing is rapid and accurate, and the focus tracking is impressive, though still requires additional time once the shutter button is pressed to obtain focus. The metering appears adept at coping with most conditions and, as is preferable, tends to lean to a slight under- exposure under trickier conditions. Write speed is around 2secs for a JPEG, which though a little slow, does not affect its ability to hit the stated 10fps burst but only up to seven frames. When switching to Raw files, this increases to 3sec or 4sec for Raw+JPEG, and allows just six Raw or five Raw+JPEG files to be shot, and can take over 15secs to clear the buffer.
General shooting is very good – if avoiding the EVF – and offers a wide choice of apertures from f/2.8 to f/8 (f/11 in Manual mode).
The LCD screen, despite its relatively low resolution, is very nice to use and the Motion Panorama is perhaps one of my favourite features on the HS10. The Motion Remover (removes moving objects, such as people, from your scene) and Multi Motion Capture (multi exposure effect) are quite clever but difficult to perfect and of less practical use. The HD video capture is certainly an added bonus, and the addition of the slow-motion (fast shutter) modes is great fun to use. It’s just a slight shame the resolution of the image suffers so much in these modes, especially at 1,000fps.