If a DSLR and multiple lenses more hassle than they're worth and you'd much prefer manual exposure modes and an almighty zoom, then a bridge camera is the answer. Fujifilm and Nikon have been at the forefront of camera creativity recently, with the release of the Fujifilm Real 3D W1 and world's first projector cam the Nikon S1000PJ.
Fujifilm's FinePix HS10 boasts a whopping 30x zoom and the Nikon Coolpix P100 has a generous 26x zoom. So, both CMOS 10-Megapixel models offer a lot of reach, but which is the best for getting close to the action?
Check our our Fujfilm HS10 and Nikon P100 gallery here:
Design and build
Fujifilm: Looks like a small DSLR and measuring at 130x91x126mm, it's the same size as one more or less. It's made from good quality texturised plastic, feels robust and made to last. However, the flimsy scroll wheel on the back lets it down.
Nikon: The Nikon is made of smooth plastic and on the surface looks like the cheaper option. However, all buttons and controls are exceptionally well made and should last the test of time. At 114x83x99 it’s significantly smaller than the Fuji too.
Ease of use
Fujifilm: Its DSLR-style ergonomics means the HS10 is incredibly delightful to use. The grip is comfortable and the HS10 feels reassuringly weighty in the hands. The controls are all well placed: we particularly like the convenient buttons on the left of the LCD giving instant access to key controls like White Balance and ISO.
Nikon: More compact and lighter than the Fuji, the P100 is far more portable. A rubberised grip and thumb pad, contrasting to its smooth plastic body, makes it comfortable to hold. Controls are well placed, but the menu system can be a bit fiddly.
Fujifilm: The HS10 boasts a powerful 30x Fujion lens, which gives a 35mm focal length equivalent to 24-720mm. You operate the lens by moving the barrel, as you would on a DSLR.
Nikon: Just being beaten by the Fujifilm, the P100 offers a 26-378mm Nikkor ED VR 26x wide-angle zoom lens, which is still a monster focal length, if not quite as wide. Like a compact camera, you operate the zoom lens via a wide/tele button.
Fujifilm: The 10.3 megapixel HS10 boasts a huge feature set including HD video, and an advanced set of manual controls, including Manual, Shutter and Aperture priority, as well as Auto, Scene Recognition Auto, Panorama, plus a wealth of scene modes. The HS10 has a built-in mechanical stabiliser and digital image stabilisation and is capable of ISO 6400.
Nikon: Like the Fujifilm, P100 has an excellent feature set which also includes full manual controls, Scene Recognition and customisable options. Unfortunately some of cameras best features are hidden away in the menus.
Fujifilm: The HS10 features a 3-inch vari angle LCD made from 230,000 dots.
Nikon: A 3-inch vari angle LCD, but at 460,000 dots it's brighter than the HS10's.
Fujifilm: Pictures taken using the HS10 are excellent. It’s particularly good at handling noise – it’s only really noticeable when you hit ISO 800. Macro performance is excellent.
Nikon: Picture quality isn't great unfortunately. Images are softer on the P100 than the HS10 and the colour isn't as accurate, although they are bright and natural looking.
Storage and battery
Fujifilm: The HS10 accepts SD and SCHC cards and offers 43MB internal memory. Disappointingly, the HS10 comes with only 4x AA batteries, which Fujifilm claims shoots approximately 300 frames, depending of course on the type of AA battery used.
Nikon: Like the Fujifilm, the P100 also takes SD and SDHC cards and 43MB internal memory. It uses a supplied Nikon EN-EL5 Lithium-ion Battery, which can take 250 shots from a single charge.
Fujifilm: HDMI connectivity and high speed USB 2.0.
Nikon: Again, HDMI connectivity and high speed USB 2.0.
Value for money
Fujifilm: You can pick a Fujifilm Finepix HS10 for £374, comparable to a cheap DSLR.
Nikon: The P100 is priced much more competatively at £100 less at £274.
Fujifilm: A great bridge camera that handles well, offers an almighty zoom, boasts an impressive feature set and importantly gives great quality pictures. A clear winner.
Nikon: A the price point it’s a decent offering which gives a lot of reach and loads of setting options. If zoom and reach are more important than image quality, you'll like it.
Overall Winner: Fujifilm