This long-zoom bridge camera features the new 16-million-pixel EXR CMOS sensor and offers a real alternative to a compact system model. We put it to the test
Noise, Resolution and Sensitivity
Dynamic range optimisation pulls detail out of the shadow areas and retains highlights, but produces a lower-resolution file
Images have a pleasant, natural colouring and appear well detailed. However, when viewed at high magnification a mottled texture is apparent even at ISO 100, which increases as the ISO is raised. It is best to keep the ISO under 1600, although due to the smaller file sizes at ISO 6400 and 12,800, the images are still usable. On our chart at ISO 100, the HS20 reaches just 20, which is closer to what we could expect from a 10-million-pixel DSLR. This falls to 14 by ISO 3200 and to below 12 on ISO 12,800.
With high-contrast scenes the camera begins to struggle to maintain a full range of detail, and therefore even bright landscapes can be left with an almost black foreground or bleached-out sky. The EXR dynamic range expansion does an impressive job of improving this, but it does reduce the pixel dimensions of the image.
Resolution charts: These images show 72ppi (100% on a computer screen) sections of images of a resolution chart, captured with the lens set to its 100mm point. We show the section of the resolution chart where the camera starts to fail to reproduce the lines separately. The higher the number visible in these images, the better the camera’s detail resolution is at the specified sensitivity setting.