Photography

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!

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