Saturday, April 24, 2010

HS10 – My First Impressions and Review Part 1

My son brought home an HS10 to play with tonight. He let me use it for a while, and in fact I plan on staying up some part of the night to run a few tests.

 

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.

DSC_3468_HS10[1]

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.

DSCF5176_HS10_moon[1]You really should click through to see the final result. Wow.

Now here’s the D300 result with its slightly blurred image from that terrible lens combination.

 DSC_3440_moon1[1]

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%.

imageI then tried to replicate a Saturn shot made by someone last week with the HS10. But I could not even see the stars in the LCD or the EVF.

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.

 DSC_3448_saturn[1]And …

 DSC_3461_saturn1[1]

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.

14 comments:

Lili said...

Kim, very high praise indeed and superb example.
Jpeg or Raw, if i might ask?

Lili said...

I ask, because this is one of the best moon shots I have seen in a while, better even than my Olympus DSLR's!

Kim Letkeman said...

Lili: I took three or four images in jpeg + RAW and, when I went for the paring knife to open my wrists, I realized that this is a jpeg-only camera for me :-)

It is seriously slow with that flashing light top left that comes on for no reason sometimes. That's a very annoying thing.

But yes, it is fun so far. But I have not yet shot daylight, long distance, foliage, or my ISO ladders. I hope to get that done before it has to go back in the morning. But I can plan further tests and get it back once or twice over the next few weeks.

Kim Letkeman said...

Lili: For the moon shot, I was pretty surprised. I think the main strength is the very long lens with no mirror slap. All moon shots are in the "danger zone" where the mirror makes a difference. So I should have used mirror lock and cable, but frankly I was too lazy. From that perspective, I kind of gave it to the HS10. But ... the HS10 did a wonderful job. Full marks.

Lili said...

The write speed is about the same as my S6000fd, so no wrist slashing for me should I decide to go this way.
The optics are really very very good.
Seeing Jada and Dave doing the RAW +Jpeg thing and the results they are getting and now your moon....very attractive instrument all of a sudden.
You know me, no fear I would proclaim it the DSLR beater, we all know how THAT path ends...but still as a confirmed bridge user that values portability and silence this "may" be doable after all.
BTW several new shots on my flickr account from the F70
And my F70 cannot focus on the moon :(
Still, I'm loving this little beastie....

Adam-T said...

As someone who has actually tried to zoom a 70-300VR with the hoor reversed (through sheer Laziness), I laughed at your simile with the HS10`s zoom action and the complaints about it .. BTW that`s the best moon shot I`ve seen from an HS10 --- and the worst from a 70-300VR, LOL though I`ve never tried a "Shite" (great british word that) 2X TC on one ;-)

Adam-T said...

As someone who has actually tried to zoom a 70-300VR with the hoor reversed (through sheer Laziness), I laughed at your simile with the HS10`s zoom action and the complaints about it .. BTW that`s the best moon shot I`ve seen from an HS10 --- and the worst from a 70-300VR, LOL though I`ve never tried a "Shite" (great british word that) 2X TC on one ;-)

Kim Letkeman said...

Adam: I put the HS10 in my youngest son's hands and said "zoom the lens" ... in 2 seconds he said WTF? No one can believe that design. Beautiful zoom ring permanently blocked. And yes, that moon shot from the 70-300 was not great ... I gotta take another run at it, this time with mirror up and the cable release. And maybe I'll forego the shitemeister TC and just crop ...

Kim Letkeman said...

Lili: I'm a little concerned about your F70 being unable to focus on the moon. I had few issues I think. I do like some of Jada's bird shots, they are great. But those Raw write times are too high. The jpegs, however are nice anyway if you shoot at 100iso. I will do the ladder sometime tonight and see where that takes me. I've just shot a macro at 1600 and the F70 won easily. That will get posted tomorrow ... right now, I need to shoot the ladder images while I can still keep my eyes open. Cam leaves the house in about 5 hours ...

Lili said...

I missed posted this FTF
My Best so far, but does not compare on cost effectiveness grounds
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4057/4549146957_28af3c5bc7_b.jpg
e510, 70-300mm Zuiko

Kim Letkeman said...

Lili ... that is *superb* ...

Lili said...

Thanks so much, Kim
Your shot inspired me to pull out the stops with the Oly
ISO 100, 1/250 sec, F7.1.
BTW in a Dusk Sky the F70 *will* focus on the moon, ofcourse this time it was on tripod too so that may've something to do with it!

Kim Letkeman said...

Yes, the tripod is necessary. Hopeless without it. Needs lots of time perfectly centered on the moon to get focus.

Lili said...

I did get some moon shots with the F70
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1012&message=35157279
you do awesome work, BTW, in these tests on the HS-10