After much consideration and debate I decided to get Fujifilm's HS 30 as a replacement for my rather pathetic s1730. I've had brand experience with fujifilm, and the reviews of this particular product have been nothing short of glowing. I can confirm that this is indeed an excellent camera, and most importantly a consideration for an aspiring enthusiast photographer who would rather not undergo the expense of buying a DSLR. Basic Stats 16 Megapixel EXR sensor with sensitivity up to ISO 12800 max aperture of f2.8 (down to f11) and shutter speeds from 1/4000 to 30 seconds and 11fps continuos shooting. Its biggest feature is the 30x zoom (according to the lens barrel thats equivalent to 24/720mm) and onto of that there is a 2x digital zoom. Ergonomics & Build The 30 is quite a large and heavy camera, but not so much that is becomes overly uncomfortable to use for long periods of time. The grip is deep and textured, and the entire body of the camera is covered in a soft rubberised texture, which makes it comfortable and grippy. All the buttons are fairly easy to reach, although some can be tricky to press while keeping your finger on the shutter. The two mode dials are angled and click very satisfactorily. The tiltable screen makes down low and up high shots much easier and the EVF is crisp and clear (also features a diopter) The camera feels quite rugged and strong, despite being being made mostly of plastic. The only parts that are a cause for concern to me are the plastic tripod mount and the battery cover, which feels slightly wobbly. One the one regrettable occasion I dropped it (onto concreat as well) left the camera pretty much unscathed apart from scratching on the rubber eyepiece. Cool Features The camera has an excellent macro and super macro ability that allows photos of up to 1 cm, creating lovely DOF and clarity. There is also a 360 degree panorama sweep feature. Fun but mostly pointless is the slomotion film feature which allows slomo film tab the cost of quality. The camera allows simulation of various films such as provia, astia, velvia, b&w and sepia. The addition of a hot shoe as well as the normal pop up flash is a nice addition Photo-taking The 30 is quite easy to use, thanks to the various buttons and the handy mode dial, that allows you to quickly change setting such as aperture and such like. The tilty screen as I've said is very handy and the lurvely EVF makes bright light shooting a breeze. The photos are sometimes subject to motion blur, with the advertised image stabilisation not doing much. The manual zoom is extremely nice to have, but isn't the best for video, with a quite audible scraping noise as you zoom. The manual focus is nice to have, but if you've ever used a DSLR you will find it quite sluggish and laggy compared. The menus are all well designed and relatively simple. Summary Excellent camera for an excellent price, but isn't without a fault. Although the EVF and manual focus are nice, they are not going to please someone who is used to DSLRs.