Fuji X-S1 – Zoom

My fellow blogger, Steve, has been eyeing the new Canon SX50 recently, with it’s enormous 50x zoom lens. I think he has birding shots in mind. There’s a review here for you Steve – Photography Blog. It’s not a bad review. But I have reservations about the Canon. And if I were buying for birding, my reservations would be all the greater. Incidentally, if I weren’t going to buy the Fuji X-S1 (which, of course, I already have) then to be honest I’d go for the new Panasonic Lumix SZ200 rather than the Canon.

Like the Fuji, the SZ200 is limited to ‘just’ a 26x lens. But it maintains f2.8 all the way through the range – incredible. And vital if you’re wanting to shoot something small and nimble. The Canon, on the other hand, starts at f3.4, which is disappointing to say the least. I’ve been out and about trying to snap a few bird shots with my Fuji, and I can attest to the fact that it’s a difficult ask for a compact, regardless of the range of the lens. Truth be told, it’s even harder in the gloomy light of a dull English autumn, when most of the birds I see want to blend into even darker backgrounds. It’s tough for the Fuji, using just half it’s available range. I suspect Canon SX50 owners will be far more frustrated.

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The eagle above was shot in Budapest, from about 20 foot away. Another tough feature of birding is the detail – feathers and hair are difficult subjects for a camera to capture. View the eagle in Flickr up close and that’s obviously the case for the Fuji. But I like the overall quality of the image. So long as you don’t look too closely, it’s fine. I have a few other birdy photos in an album on Flickr – click here.

There are times it’s nice to have a long zoom. It brings the moon into reach. Our sky bound friend may or may not be made of cheese, but he (or she? ) can also be difficult to capture. You need a nice clear, crisp evening and a bit of patience. I could do better than this one. But I’ll say this for the Fuji – it took this image hand held. That’s really not a bad shot at all for a hand held effort.

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I’m coming close to finishing my series of posts on the Fuji X-S1. The next post will be the last – the verdict. Before I sign off here though, I’ll just point out a few more features of the camera. Firstly, the Pro Low Light mode. You frame, press the button, and the camera reels off four shots in quick succession. All at a high ISO. And then it combines them into a single image. The idea is to reduce the amount of noise. It’s surprisingly effective. Lastly, the Panorama mode. I took a whole bunch of Panoramas in Budapest. The resolution is reduced. But it’s a quick, easy and generally satisfactory method of getting a widescreen sweep of a landscape. It works a ton better than it did on the Fuji HS10. In fact, all the special features works a ton better with the X-S1 than they did with the HS10.

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