[CES 2013] Fujifilm has announced its new flagship compact camera at CES: the Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR ($549.95). As you may know, Fujifilm is big into the super long zoom, and this new camera has just that: a 42X optical zoom which can be supplemented by a digital zoom, with which Fujifilm can claim an astonishing 84X overall zoom. To be honest, I don’t really use digital zoom, but for someone who doesn’t want to crop the image on a computer, I can see why that could be handy.Inside, there is a new 16 Megapixel sensor, which doesn’t increase the pixel count when compared to the last generation of high-end Fujifilm FinePix cameras, but it is more performant and has pixels dedicated to phase detection auto-focus (AF). Most compact cameras have contrast-based auto-focus, which works well in bright light, but it can be very slow in low-light. Phase detection is usually faster than contrast-based AF in all lighting conditions.

The Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR support both modes and is smart enough to know when to switch to achieve the fastest auto-focus (Fujifilm claims 0.05sec). This is great. To learn more aboutauto-focus techniques, head to this page. There’s also a new image processor that makes just about every image-related computing a little bit faster, and that’s always appreciable.

There is also a better optical stabilization mechanism built-in, which is handy because with a 42X zoom, you can bet that any shake will be amplified significantly. In the back of the camera, there’s a new 3″ flip-out swivel LCD screen that has 900k pixels. I find the flip-out screen idea to be very nice when shooting videos (the camera supports 1080p/60).

Filed in Photo-Video. Read more about Cameras, CES, CES 2013, Finepix and Fujifilm.

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