Fuji X-S1 First Impressions

I recently highlighted a couple of cameras I really liked the look of. One of them was the Fuji X-S1, a rather dishy bridge camera. I had no intention of buying it, of course. But, wouldn’t you just know. Only a couple of weeks later I stumble across the X-S1 at a price that you just can’t say no to. It was a steal. How could I say no? I didn’t. My Olympus Pen may have just become redundant. I’ll have plenty to say about the Fuji in the next few weeks/months. But today, just a few early sample photos and my first impressions.

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The Fuji is a pretty substantial piece of kit. It’s well made and feels it. Lightweight is not a word you’d use to describe it, by any stretch of the imagination. It carries a fair surplus of weight over other bridge cameras I’ve used before, such as the Panny FZ35. And it feels far more sturdy than the Fuji HS10 I once owned. But I don’t mind the weight – it’s not going to break my back exactly. And it feels nice to hold in the hand. But I will buy a bag for it – it does become a little tiring to be wearing with the supplied neck strap after a few hours!

The camera is awash with buttons and dials too. It’s very fully featured, and incredibly customisable. Accessing settings is quick and easy and it takes just a few minutes to start feeling at home with the camera, although I suspect it’ll take a fair bit longer before I have fully explored every shooting option available.

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The real killer features of this camera though are the lens and the sensor. The latter is twice the size you’d normally find on a cmpact camera, which promises better low light performance. The former is not remarkable in it’s range – Canon have just released their latest bridge model with a 50x zoom, compared to the 26x zoom on the Fuji. But 26x is still pretty awesome, and probably close to the limit for hand held photography. It’s enough to be able to get the details of Nelson’s uniform in Trafalgar Square, or pick to dot of an airplane out of the sky.

The zoom is also manual, which I like. It’s an awful lots smoother than that of the HS10, which clicked up in stages. It also has a feel of quality that the HS10 didn’t quite manage. And when it’s not fully extended to catch far away details, it has a very bright f2.8 aperture that can focus just 1cm away in Super Macro mode.

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I have already uploaded a first set of sample photos on to Flickr, taken during our trip to London at the weekend, and I’m working on a couple of other sets. My initial impressions are extremely positive. It deals with colours and contrast in a very pleasing way, and the photos needed a lot less editing than the produce of my Olympus Pen. Like the HS 10, it’s a really fun camera to use. But better. A lot better. There will be more to come about the X-S1. Watch this space!

10 Comments

  • Wow, those shots are nice. I looked at them at full resolution, and the detail is excellent, and the noise (my pet peeve with digital cameras) is well controlled, with less random color thrown in.

    I’m increasingly tired of lugging around my Canon DSLR. Though it’s a great camera, it feels like it weighs five or six pounds. And the noise performance is probably reflecting the age of the camera.

    I may well have to take a look at the X-S1. Indeed, as Oscar Wilde famously said, “Nothing succeeds like excess.”

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where fall photography season is starting any minute now.

    • Make no mistake, the X-S1 is no lightweight, although it’s probably a little less weighty than the Canon. But of course, with the Fuji you don’t have to drag a bag full of lenses around with you in order to have the right gear for every type of shot.

      It’s feeling very autumnal in the UK right now. Leaves are browning and falling, and the temperature has dropped….

        • that is a mighty zoom on the Canon, but there’s a couple of huge deal breakers for me. Firstly, the sensor is a standard compact sized unit, half the size of the X-S1. But I guess I could live with that. I couldn’t live with the f3.4 aperture at the starting point.

          It seems to me that the race for the most megapixels on a sensor has been replaced with a race for the longest zoom. The race for the former lead to decreased image quality. I suspect the same will be true for the latter….

    • I process all my photos through Adobe Lightroom. Occasionally I’ll use Photoshop, but not so often. I also like Nik Silver Efex, which I use as a Lightroom plugin. Lightroom is the one piece of kit I couldn’t do without though. It’s a fabulous piece of software.

  • I have a fair bit of camera envy right now. It was a Fujifilm bridge camera that I originally wanted, specifically because of its high performance on zoom but I was somehow convinced to buy my Canon DSLR. Now if I want more than a couple of metres of zoom, I have to buy a new lens. Macro? New lens. It makes me sad.

    • There’s pros and cons to both DSLR and bridge camera. Ultimately, you’ll be able to be a bit more creative than me and will get much better low light images. But I just love the flexibility of the bridge. And with the bigger sensor, I’m hoping the image quality will be good enough.

      Don’t be sad! Which ever choice you make, there’ll be times you’ll be out and about and wish you had the other type!

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