Fujifilm X-S1 Review - Digital Photography School

Fujifilm X-S1 Review

I nearly missed this one. It was only while previewing the glamourous new Fujifilm X-Pro1 that this fixed lens sibling showed its presence. And it was well worth the effort to suss out its talents.

Fujifilm-X-S1_Front_Left_624mm.jpg

I have to admit to a partiality to maxi zoom cameras … yes, I know they can be difficult to use, especially at full zoom. But, hey, how to catch that shot!

Before this model, I had a passionate affair with Canon’s PowerShot SX30 IS, resplendent with a 35x zoom.

Then Nikon hit the streets with a Coolpix P510, packed to the gunwales with a 42x zoom! Is there no end!

But apples should be compared with apples: the Canon 35x zoom camera weighs in at 552 grams, while this Fujifilm has a 26x zoom, weighs 905 grams and is nearly twice as large. Also: the Canon has an 11mm CCD while the Fujifilm has a 16.9mm CMOS.

Most Fujifilm consumer cameras are labelled ‘FinePix’ … this one is not! Instead it stands in the X range of models, which includes the X-Pro1, X10 and X100, although the latter is labelled a ‘FinePix’!

Fujifilm X-S1-front-flash.jpg

So we can presume the company regards the Fujifilm X-S1 as a premium camera. And, at a quick glance, I tend to agree.

Fujifilm X-S1 Features

The lens is a fast f2.8 and stretches from 24-624mm as a 35 SLR equivalent.

For what it’s worth, the sensor is identical to that used in the X10. Maximum image size captured by the 12 megapixel CMOS is 4000×3000 pixels, so you can expect a print of 34x25cms. Movies can be shot at Full HD 1920x1080p resolution in MPEG4.

Fujifilm-X-S1_UP_24mm.jpg

Although on the heavy side, the body is nicely balanced, enveloped in a textured, rubberised coating, pronounced speed grip at right.

Fujifilm-X-S1_Back_Left.jpg

I found the top LCD finder excellent in brightness and sharpness but, if you wanted to, you could happily use the rear LCD screen for outdoor viewing, its brightness variable via the menu … or you can use a sunlight mode which kicks up the screen luminance quite considerably. The LCD screen swings away from the body, upwards and downwards.

The top mode dial carries control points for exposure in auto, Program AE, shutter or aperture preferred as well as manual. Also accessed here are points for three custom settings, an advanced mode, EXR mode which allows you to maximize settings for specific purposes (resolution, ISO noise and density range). Whilst the dial is enjoyably large, the text large and clear, I did occasionally and accidentally bump the dial off the chosen setting.

Nearby is the command dial, used to select specific settings; this appears to share functions with the rear jog wheel. Also on the top deck is the power lever, shutter button, exposure compensation button and the Fn1 button that takes you directly into options for image size/quality/dynamic range etc.

fujfilm-x-s1-1.jpg

fujfilm-x-s1-2.jpg

fujfilm-x-s1-3.jpg

fujfilm-x-s1-4.jpg

fujfilm-x-s1-5.jpg

fujfilm-x-s1-6.jpg

At the camera’s rear, flanking both sides of the 7.6cm LCD screen is found an array of buttons for direct selection of white balance, ISO, replay, AE/AF lock, shoot RAW, display options, macro, flash options, viewfinder choices plus the inevitable movie record button. Saves a lot of messing around with the menus.

If you think this a run-of-the-mill digicam … think again. This is one for the knowledgeable. Not for the occasional shooter. The external control options would frighten off most family snappers.

The lens itself should warn you of the camera’s superior prowess: comprised of 17 elements, including four aspherical and ED (extra low noise dispersion) elements, it can focus down to 30cm … but, by selecting Super Macro Mode, it can focus down to 1cm.

Whilst, these days, a 12 megapixel image is not considered ‘top of the pile’, the camera can still shoot continuously at 7 fps at the maximum size.

fujfilm-x-s1-pano.JPG

The motion panorama feature works well, capturing vertically and horizontally in 120, 180 and 360 degree sweeps. Unlike some other systems, you can’t shoot a horizontal sweep with the camera held vertically … by so doing, you could get a pano with useable height. Oh well!

Movies

I found the movie mode to be quite useable, with focus working all the time, as long as you didn’t zoom in. Exposure changes from dim to bright took a little while to catch up.

If you want to shoot stills mid-movie, you can select a still image or movie priority: with the former, the video capture is interrupted momentarily to snare a maximum 2816×2112 pixel image; with the latter, the still image size is determined by the movie frame size selected but the video capture is not interrupted.

Distortion

In terms of distortion it showed very slight pincushion distortion at the zoom’s wide end and no problems at the tele end.

Startup

Two seconds from power up I could shoot my first shot; follow-ons came in at about a second a pop.

Fujifilm X-S1 ISO Tests

Fujifilm X-S1 ISO 100.JPG

Fujifilm X-S1 ISO 400.JPG

Fujifilm X-S1 ISO 800.JPG

Fujifilm X-S1 ISO 1600.JPG

Fujifilm X-S1 ISO 3200.JPG

Fujifilm X-S1 ISO 6400.JPG

Fujifilm X-S1 ISO 12800.JPG

By ISO 3200 noise was becoming evident, although only slight.

At ISO 6400 noise was very apparent but in my opinion certain subjects would be OK.

ISO settings of 6400 and 12,800 are taken at a maximum size of 2816×2112 pixels. Noise and lack of definition off the scale — unusable.

Chair 4.3.12.JPG

Flower 1.JPG

Fujifilm X-S1 Verdict

Quality: I found the test shots to be way above average in colour accuracy and sharpness.

Why you’d buy the Fujifilm X-S1: the 26x zoom appeals; full control of your exposures … and I mean full!

Why you wouldn’t: too heavy and large for your needs; too many options for your ability.

A plus: you can load the SD card through a slot on the side of the camera. Great for tripod-mounted shooting sessions.

IMHO this camera is the closest thing to a DSLR in a fixed lens model, with all the bells, whistles, brass handles and comforts you’d ever need!

Fujifilm X-S1 Specifications

Image Sensor: 12.0 million effective pixels.
Lens: Fujinon f2.8-5.6/6.1-158.6 mm (24-624mm as 35 SLR equivalent).
Effective Sensor Size: 16.9 mm EXR CMOS.
Metering: 256 zone, multi, spot, averaging.
Exposure Modes: Auto, Program AE, shutter and aperture priority, manual.
Shutter Speed: 30-1/4000 second.
Continuous Shooting: 7 fps.
Memory: SD/SDHC/SDXC cards plus 26MB internal memory.
Image Sizes (pixels): Stills: 4000×3000 to 1536×1536.
Movies: 1920x1080p 30fps; 1280x720p 30fps, 640×480 30fps.
Viewfinder: 11.9mm (1,440,000 pixels) plus 7.5cm LCD screen (460,000 pixels).
File Formats: RAW, JPEG, RAW+JPEG, MPEG4.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 100 to 12,800.
Interface: USB 2.0, AV, HDMI mini, external mic.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery, DC input.
Dimensions: 135x107x149 WHDmm.
Weight: 920 g (inc battery and card).
Price: Get a price on the Fujifilm X-S1 at Amazon

Summary
Reviewer
Barrie Smith
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Fujifilm X-S1
Author Rating
3

Read more from our Cameras & Equipment category.

Barrie Smith is an experienced writer/photographer currently published in Australian Macworld, Auscam and other magazines in Australia and overseas.

  • http://disney-photography-blog.blogspot.com/ Alexx

    Very nice.

    I thought it was a DSLR.

    http://disney-photography-blog.blogspot.com/

  • http://-- rajendra shingade

    i was confused to buy or not x-s1 but your reviev helped me and made my mind to buy
    thank you
    rajendra

  • Rabbitto

    Are you sure that you can’t take portrait orientation panoramas? You can on the X10 and this is essentially the same internals with a different body and lens.
    As it’s an X10 sensor it has been reported as suffering for the dreaded blooming or orbs issue and a sensor swap from Fuji is reportedly on the way after the X10s have been sorted out.
    There a numerous reports of lens droop at maximum extension due to poor tolerances. I have even seen reports of people using cardboard or similar products to jam in the gaps to try to reduce or eliminate the droop.’
    All in all a nice but flawed attempt from Fuji. I would steer clear of this camera for a while an wait an see if Fuji fix up the initial problems with a mark 2 version.

  • Sun Lai Yung

    I moved from a Fuji HS 10 to Fuji X10 this January. I have enjoyed the X10 and did not encounter any orbs. I believe XS-1 will be great. Thank you Barrie for the article.

  • Russell Adams

    I have owned Fuji’s S200EXR for 3 years now and thoroughly enjoyed it. Everyone who sees it and it’s pictures believe it to be a DSLR. These are GREAT camera’s for a shooter who wants more control over their pictures but doesn’t care to lug around extra lenses.

  • hamburger

    I might just put the Canon SX40 on ebay and pick this baby up… looks like a real game changer for the p&S crowd with this lens sensor combo!

  • MJ

    I need you or some one to compare the Fuji to the Sony HVX 100 (or new 200) . I’m not seein how the Fuji could be better. (???)P

  • http://facebook.com/dougsilva.net Doug Silva
  • http://facebook.com/dougsilva.net Doug Silva

    PS, mj, sensor size matters a lot.

  • julie emond

    I own 3 fuji’s. one is the S100fs, the 2008 foregoer of the new X-S1 IMHO. Although I have been extremely happy with it, I wanted more zoom and other bells and wistles as I became more familiar with the various available options on cameras. I really liked the zoom and macro and supermacro all in one camera and it has served me well in the last 3 years and years to come I hope. Sturdy and reliable. I wished the New X-S1 had a larger sensor. For me to upgrade to the X-S1 did not make sense, just a few more options besides the 26x zoom. I decided to upgrade to the Canon 60D for $600 more than the $800, X-S1, including 3 IS lenses and a bag full of assessories. I’ll keep my S100fs for quick travel shots, but HAPPY with the 60D. At the time I bought the S100fs, I wasn’t ready for a DSLR, so for those who are not, the X-S1 will be an excellent lead-in.

  • Jay Krohnengold

    I have wanted to get my hands on this camera for months. I live in San Francisco. Believe it or not, I can’t find a store within 75 miles of here in any direction. I’ve almost given up. When I called Fuji, they couldn’t tell me, either. Do I have to buy it from Amazon just to feel the camera? Kind of ridiculous!

    All ideas welcome.. Thanks!

  • Jerry Sorrow

    I have an HS30 EXR and the new X-S1 the HS30 has no lens creep or droop, but in any position other than wide the lens creeps rather quickly and has lots of droop on the long end. I sent mine back to Fuji to fix this because the review I had read said these cameras had no creep, but mine certainly did. I live in Japan and bought my camera through Amazon the price was much better 60,000 yen. So to contact Fuji I went through their global site; apparently even though I could send them an e-mail in English there is no-one there who can read it; as they didn’t answer any of my questions and ignored all the information I sent them. Finally had my wife read the rather small warranty card and found a number to call and they picked up my camera in one day and hopefully will correct the lens problem. You certainly could not use this lens on a tripod with any up or down hill angle due to the creep and that’s nonsense since Fuji brags so much about the high quality of this lens. Hope to get my camera back soon.

  • Bill

    Dose this camera have a “Bulb Mode”?? I want to know if you can use a cable release, and lock the shutter open for long exp. like 1min. or 1hr.?? Thanks Bill

  • Jay

    I could never find a camera store that carried this model, either in the SF Bay Area or Los Angeles. I would not buy it if I couldn’t put my hands on it first.

  • Barrie Smith

    No, as I recall, it does not have a Bulb mode.

  • Subramoniam

    I have this and is a wonderful camera. With one lens you can cover almost everything in good light. I repeat good light. Even night shots in an auditorium are good. Colours and sharpness are great. Shots with X-S1 are here. http://www.flickr.com/photos/64618899@N04/sets/72157629217920220/ . See the birds. They have not been sharpened much on the PC.

    I am thinking of retiring my SONY DSLR and the lenses – too tiring to carry around. Was thinking of getting a 70-400G lens for my upcoming vacation. The weight is weighing me down and will carry X-S1.

Some older comments

  • Subramoniam

    August 10, 2013 01:51 am

    I have this and is a wonderful camera. With one lens you can cover almost everything in good light. I repeat good light. Even night shots in an auditorium are good. Colours and sharpness are great. Shots with X-S1 are here. http://www.flickr.com/photos/64618899@N04/sets/72157629217920220/ . See the birds. They have not been sharpened much on the PC.

    I am thinking of retiring my SONY DSLR and the lenses - too tiring to carry around. Was thinking of getting a 70-400G lens for my upcoming vacation. The weight is weighing me down and will carry X-S1.

  • Barrie Smith

    March 1, 2013 03:27 pm

    No, as I recall, it does not have a Bulb mode.

  • Jay

    March 1, 2013 12:28 pm

    I could never find a camera store that carried this model, either in the SF Bay Area or Los Angeles. I would not buy it if I couldn't put my hands on it first.

  • Bill

    March 1, 2013 04:05 am

    Dose this camera have a "Bulb Mode"?? I want to know if you can use a cable release, and lock the shutter open for long exp. like 1min. or 1hr.?? Thanks Bill

  • Jerry Sorrow

    August 12, 2012 08:44 am

    I have an HS30 EXR and the new X-S1 the HS30 has no lens creep or droop, but in any position other than wide the lens creeps rather quickly and has lots of droop on the long end. I sent mine back to Fuji to fix this because the review I had read said these cameras had no creep, but mine certainly did. I live in Japan and bought my camera through Amazon the price was much better 60,000 yen. So to contact Fuji I went through their global site; apparently even though I could send them an e-mail in English there is no-one there who can read it; as they didn't answer any of my questions and ignored all the information I sent them. Finally had my wife read the rather small warranty card and found a number to call and they picked up my camera in one day and hopefully will correct the lens problem. You certainly could not use this lens on a tripod with any up or down hill angle due to the creep and that's nonsense since Fuji brags so much about the high quality of this lens. Hope to get my camera back soon.

  • Jay Krohnengold

    May 3, 2012 05:56 pm

    I have wanted to get my hands on this camera for months. I live in San Francisco. Believe it or not, I can't find a store within 75 miles of here in any direction. I've almost given up. When I called Fuji, they couldn't tell me, either. Do I have to buy it from Amazon just to feel the camera? Kind of ridiculous!

    All ideas welcome.. Thanks!

  • julie emond

    May 1, 2012 03:42 am

    I own 3 fuji's. one is the S100fs, the 2008 foregoer of the new X-S1 IMHO. Although I have been extremely happy with it, I wanted more zoom and other bells and wistles as I became more familiar with the various available options on cameras. I really liked the zoom and macro and supermacro all in one camera and it has served me well in the last 3 years and years to come I hope. Sturdy and reliable. I wished the New X-S1 had a larger sensor. For me to upgrade to the X-S1 did not make sense, just a few more options besides the 26x zoom. I decided to upgrade to the Canon 60D for $600 more than the $800, X-S1, including 3 IS lenses and a bag full of assessories. I'll keep my S100fs for quick travel shots, but HAPPY with the 60D. At the time I bought the S100fs, I wasn't ready for a DSLR, so for those who are not, the X-S1 will be an excellent lead-in.

  • Doug Silva

    April 28, 2012 06:07 am

    PS, mj, sensor size matters a lot.

  • Doug Silva

    April 28, 2012 06:04 am

    mj, try http://www.dpreview.com/products/compare/side-by-side?products=sony_dschx100v&products=sony_dschx200v&products=fujifilm_xs1

  • MJ

    April 28, 2012 01:32 am

    I need you or some one to compare the Fuji to the Sony HVX 100 (or new 200) . I'm not seein how the Fuji could be better. (???)P

  • hamburger

    April 28, 2012 01:16 am

    I might just put the Canon SX40 on ebay and pick this baby up... looks like a real game changer for the p&S crowd with this lens sensor combo!

  • Russell Adams

    April 27, 2012 12:48 pm

    I have owned Fuji's S200EXR for 3 years now and thoroughly enjoyed it. Everyone who sees it and it's pictures believe it to be a DSLR. These are GREAT camera's for a shooter who wants more control over their pictures but doesn't care to lug around extra lenses.

  • Sun Lai Yung

    April 26, 2012 09:55 pm

    I moved from a Fuji HS 10 to Fuji X10 this January. I have enjoyed the X10 and did not encounter any orbs. I believe XS-1 will be great. Thank you Barrie for the article.

  • Rabbitto

    April 25, 2012 01:04 pm

    Are you sure that you can't take portrait orientation panoramas? You can on the X10 and this is essentially the same internals with a different body and lens.
    As it's an X10 sensor it has been reported as suffering for the dreaded blooming or orbs issue and a sensor swap from Fuji is reportedly on the way after the X10s have been sorted out.
    There a numerous reports of lens droop at maximum extension due to poor tolerances. I have even seen reports of people using cardboard or similar products to jam in the gaps to try to reduce or eliminate the droop.'
    All in all a nice but flawed attempt from Fuji. I would steer clear of this camera for a while an wait an see if Fuji fix up the initial problems with a mark 2 version.

  • rajendra shingade

    April 24, 2012 10:18 am

    i was confused to buy or not x-s1 but your reviev helped me and made my mind to buy
    thank you
    rajendra

  • Alexx

    April 22, 2012 01:59 am

    Very nice.

    I thought it was a DSLR.

    http://disney-photography-blog.blogspot.com/

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