At the time of writing this the HS30 is still proving hard to find here. There are various outlets that have it but strangely the more mainstream suppliers such as Dick Smith and Harvey Norman to name but a couple don't appear to be holding stock.
Those more mainstream online suppliers such as Photo & Video International have them stocked but at a premium price even though they say its a "Special Introductory" price.
However for those more budget minded or cash strapped can of course jump online and order one through these folk.
You can save yourself a Bundle too by doing this.
Their current HS30 price is $579NZD and that includes GST.
Their current HS25 price is $475NZD and that represents extremely good buying. Especially as their current price for the HS20 is $488NZD and is a "special " price to boot.
My answer is go for the HS25 as a minimum. Why?
Simple really, you get a lot of the new advances as seen in the HS30, intelligent zoom,new sensor,etc. You get the same body as the HS10/20 and the same EVF. You also get the same LCD as the HS20 and that's much better than the HS10's. This isn't a problem if you are like me, needing to wear glasses and as I wear graduated bifocals the EVF really isn't all that relevant.You don't get RAW image format and for most of us that's not a huge loss, but a few may grumble. You also don't get the improved manual zoom, but unless you are using a tripod for that type of photography that's really a non issue as well. Both also sport the improved AF & write speed times although to date I haven't heard much from users as to just how much it has improved.
You do still retain the AA batteries, and that to me is a very good thing. To date I have seen reports that the claimed 600 shots on a fully charged battery in the HS30 is accurate, however I'm a fan of rechargeable Lithium AA batteries. A set of these will give me well over a 1000 shots and I usually review most images and have my camera set to auto switch off at 5 minutes. AA batteries are like coke vending machines. Every corner store anywhere on the planet stocks coke and AA batteries. For the traveler that's a very good thing and one I'm finding I'm reluctant to give up.
For those who want an improved manual zoom, with improved body to accommodate it, much improved EVF, standard lithium battery,RAW images capability then the camera for you will be the HS30 and at $579.00 its a bargain too.
In fact there isn't too much separating all three cameras with the HS25 really being a partly updated HS20 and the HS30 having the more complete suite of tools and improvements. I had really wanted to get an XS1 but having now seen a good many images from the XS1 its a camera I will avoid this time round. Hopefully its shortcomings will be addressed in the next iteration. For now it looks like the HS30 has the goods to give the XS1 more than a run for its money and at current pricing you could buy two HS30's for around the same money.
Up until recently I had decided not to get a new camera this year and wait and see how things went with the X series camera recalls and in fairness to Fuji they have now stepped up to the plate and offer a solution for the X series owners. I have been pushing the HS20 pretty close to its limits lately and was hoping to step up to a better unit. That now looks increasingly like the HS30 is the unit I will go for even though I don't like losing the AA batteries.
There looks to be enough improvement in the sensor to warrant another HS series camera, but as its almost winter now I will most likely procure the unit towards late winter early spring. Doing so will allow sufficient time to see how the improvements go in the XS1 before I make a new purchase. For those of you who cant wait just click on the caption under the images and it will take you to the website for Expert Infotech.