But first, a few *initial* impressions.
The menus are pretty good. They have the new feel of the F80EXR. It is nice to have lots of buttons on the body and they behave pretty well, dSLR like. I find it Nikon-like, which is a *very* good thing, being as Nikon are known for ergonomics of the bodies.
Then we get to the zoom ring. Huh? It feels like trying to zoom the 70-300VR while the lens hood is mounted for storage. And that’s incredibly irritating.
The AF is slow, slow, slow …
The viewfinder is a joke. The LCD on the back is nice, though, so I would use that.
The tripod mount is way off center. Real nice for panorama people :-)
The lens is not half bad so far. My first test, and the only comparison I have in this first post is the HS10 at 720mm against the D300 + 70-300VR + Kenko 2x. This is a horrid combination, as it is well understood that 2x teleconverters are shite, and that consumer zoom lenses look terrible with any teleconverter, much less a 2x. But what the heck … gotta give it a go …
Prepare to be surprised. The HS10 did very well. I set it up with a generic plate for my Feisol 3471 tripod and Markins M20L ball head. That provides a steady mount for literally any equipment, so minime presented no challenge.
Shot by the D3000 at 3200 ISO by the light of one old compact fluorescent bulb. Used flash to light the HS10 and that forced me to go B&W because of the mixed temps.
Now here is the result. I shot a lot of garbage before I figured out what exposure I wanted. I ended up going for the sunny 16 rule, which is f/16 and 1/ISO. I shot at 100, so this image should have been at 1/100s. But in the end, I shot it at 1/60s at f/8 and 100 ISO.
Now here’s the D300 result with its slightly blurred image from that terrible lens combination.
The HS10 image is very clean. It looks like many telescope images I’ve seen … I was wondering about why until I realized that the surface of the moon is extremely fine textured, so the NR of the HS10 would smooth that our nicely. It looks absolutely great at 100%.
So I gave up after torturing myself for a while and turned to the D300 and its crappy combo. Well, I think I resolved the rings, albeit poorly.
I’m not willing to believe that those bumps on the sides of every shot of Saturn are coincidences :-)
So … all in all, the HS10 was pretty fun for shooting the moon. Extremely sharp images appear to be possible. I used a pro-grade tripod and head, I turned IS off, and I released with the 10 second self-timer. That makes a difference, and never forget it.
But the ergonomics leave so much to be desired. Going after planets should be done afocal through a telescope eyepiece … at least you have a glass focuser instead of that horrific EVF.