At first, casual, glance, the Fuji X-S1 might look like a Dslr, but it isn’t one. It’s sensor might be double the size of a standard compact, but it’s still dwarfed by the sensors sitting in Nikon’s and Canon’s DSLR range. So you’d expect it to be stretched to it’s limits in low light. You’d expect some noise. The question is, just how much noise, and how well does the camera perform when the sun goes down.
I did expect it to create a nice image at a low ISO with a long exposure sat on a tripod. It met and exceeded my expectations. As far as I can see, the maximum length of exposure is 30 seconds (unless there’s a bulb setting I haven’t encountered yet) which is good enough = it’s rare I’d find myself in a situation needing to shoot for longer than 6 or 8 seconds.
At an ISO of 3200 there is very visible noise. I have used Lightroom to damp it down a bit, and could have improved it a bit further. The image above was taken with the camera steadied against a handrail. Is it a usable setting? Just about, maybe. Sometimes. At a push. The Fuji has a variety of auto ISO settings, which allows you to tell it what’s the highest ISO you want to use. I think I’ll set that to 1600.
Having said that, the EXR mode, which shoots a series of photos before creating a single, reduced noise image, works quite well. The photo above was shot at ISO 3200. And whilst not perfect, it really isn’t too bad at all.
The photo above was shot hand held at an ISO of 1600. Again, not perfect. But it’s not too bad. The conclusion I’ve coome to with the X-S1, is that I’m more than happy to shoot at ISO 400 to 800, where image quality remains high and relatively noise free (for a compact!) and will stretch to ISO 1600 if necessary. But by that stage I might want to reach for a tripod. ISO 3200 is for serious emergencies only. There’s a few more low light photos on Flickr – click here.