Fujifilm's been cranking up its superzoom cameras' specs for years now. The FinePix HS50EXR, which packs in a new 24-1000mm equivalent lens, has its sights set on, well, something miles away in the distance we'd imagine.
When we've reviewed the FinePix HS30EXR and other Fujifilm superzooms in the past, the manual zoom lenses have impressed, and the HS50EXR has a similar hands-on solution. The lens barrel is controlled manually, while a secondary focus ring sits behind, towards the camera's body. The latter ring will rotate infinitely in a smooth motion, although we did feel that the construction was a little light and plasticky, not so much like a well-oiled, higher spec focus ring.
Previous Fuji superzooms have suffered from a "freeze" phenomenon when at the fullest extent of their zooms, whereby the camera will cease to show autofocus in real time. The HS50EXR appears to have fixed this long standing issue, as even at the 1000mm equivalent we were able to watch the camera slipping into focus at all times - far better for keeping an eye on the subject at hand.
The 1000mm zoom may sound crazy long, but it's helped along nicely by optical image stabilisation to steady the preview image. You'll still need steady, steady hands, but it works well and the f/2.8-5.6 maximum aperture still means a reasonable amount of light is available at this focal length.
Elsewhere the 920k-dot electronic viewfinder is large to the eye and holds enough detail, while the vari-angle LCD screen, which is the same resolution, is good quality for this consumer level.
Looks like improvements all around then, although we weren't able to test out image quality so that important clincher is still the unknown quantity.