Fujifilm X-S10 Overview
A bit less than a month ago, a new camera from Fujifilm became publicly announced. This is the X-S10, a camera considered by Fuji as the sweet-spot between their X-T30 and X-H1 cameras. And comes with a huge appeal for some Canon and Nikon shooters who are tempted in getting their hands around something from this other Japanese brand.
The compact design here isn't a synonym for delicate or elegant. This camera has a similar look as the X-H1, in the small size of the X-T30; hence the crossover mentioned by the manufacturers themselves. The X-S10 has precisely designed to be a versatile mirrorless camera for everyday usage, while keeping the reliable feeling of some compact DSLR cameras (more like the ones designed by Nikon rather than Canon to be honest). And by everyday content creation, we mean both photo and video of course.
With an APS-C format 26.1MP BSI sensor, a working ISO sensitivity range of 160-12800 (expandable to 80-51200), 5-axis in-body image stabilization, an 180 degree vari-angle touchscreen LCD, 4K video recording capabilities and more, this is a compact and lightweight general photography and vlogging camera.
Important Notice regarding Availability: the camera is already out of stock in Amazon, but still available for pre ordering at B&H. Oh, and the retail on this is $999.00 body only, with two kit options available for $1,399.00 with a 18-55mm lens or $1,499.00 with a 16-80mm one.
So without further ado, let's break it down!
Despite the design similarities, this is a completely new body from Fujifilm. And we aren't quite sure if that had this in their plans or not, but with new dimensions came a new necessity along the way. What happened is that the X-T4's IBIS unit couldn't fit in the X-S10's body, therefore they had to design a completely new device in or to cope with the 30% space reduction inside the camera. And unlike our friends here, Fujifilm has a thing for excelling their own marks when it comes to delivering innovation.
The new IBIS unit offers 6 stops of shake reduction on all unstabilized Fujinon lenses but the XF 16-55mm F2.8, which remains at 5.5 stops. Still, five and a half stops of shake reduction is insane, making almost any situation decent for shooting. And regarding stabilized Fujinon lenses, this also has an impact of 5.5 to 6 stops, but the XF 80mm macro, which offers 5 stops.
About the sensor, it comes with the expected current Fujifilm standard, an APS-C-sized 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor. It supports shooting high-resolution stills, DCI/UHD 4K video at 30 fps with a sensitivity from ISO 160-12800, and continuous shooting up to 8 fps with the mechanical shutter. The BSI design of the sensor provides reduced noise and enhanced clarity. It is paired with the X-Processor 4, allowing it to achieve faster performance and better responses.
But wait, there is more. It also enables a hybrid autofocus system that combines 425 phase-detection points with a contrast-detection system for a quick and accurate AF performance. Another fine compliment for stills and video is a 5 stop-effective sensor-shift image stabilization system which reduces overall camera shakes with almost any lens attached to it.
Are We Capable of Trusting the Engineers?
Exposing in manual mode is quite a delight, and we are not going to deny it. But that doesn't entitle us to under-see what some people do while relying in automatic or program modes. These modes tend to deliver flat results, yes; but only because we are perceiving perfection as dull and boring. Engineers have worked extremely hard to produce artifacts capable of reading any type of light, and telling the camera which shutter speed, aperture and ISO sensitivity has to be used depending on the light coming through the lens at any given moment. Therefore, their materialization of perfection is often perceived by us photographers as "flat".
Apparently, Fujifilm is trying to send us a subtle message regarding auto by including some automatic features in their film simulations as well as making auto a bit easier to select than in other models. If you are currently a Fuji shooter, you'll quickly reckon that selecting auto is not that intuitive, actually it requires us to drive both shutter speed dial and aperture ring on the lens to A in order to achieve a program mode. So, what is this "Auto" thing about? Are they trying to ask us to trust them out? Are they trying to tell us that the camera will render a certainly pleasing aesthetic while still in Auto? Who knows, but this is something worthy of testing out.
Side Note on the Film Simulation Auto Mode: The camera will select between Provia (Standard), Velvia (Vivid) and Astia (Soft) depending on the scene, and Users can still manually select any of the Film Simulation offered modes.
Color Before Anything Else
And speaking of film simulations… With 85 years of film development, it is no secret that Fujifilm has a huge legacy when it comes to color rendition or science as some might call it out there. Fuji shooters are very well aware of the pleasures of the built-in film simulations these cameras have, and the X-S10 has 18 modes, which includes Fuji's most recent creations. Which are Eterna Cinema, for soft colors and rich shadow tones which are perfect for achieving film look movies. And Eterna Bleach Bypass, for unique colors with low saturation and high contrast for those creative shooters who want to flex the full range of visual aesthetics available in this camera.
Nice Feature: With so many modes having a brief description of what each simulation does really comes in handy. Whenever you switch film simulations (which you can do using the top-left dial or the general purpose menu), you can press the Q button to see a description of what each one does, along with an image resembling a classic film box from the old days. This last part isn't necessary, but it looks awesome!
Let us briefly describe some of the simulations we already know from past Fuji cameras:
- Acros is based in the homonymous monochrome film several seasoned photographers would recall.
- Astia provides a subtle contrast and color saturation with an ideal look for portraiture uses.
- Classic Chrome is a favorite among many photographers who enjoy the aesthetic delivered by the one and only, Kodachrome 64. For those who aren't familiar with this particular look, the results produce muted tones and deep colors.
- Classic Neg offers muted contrasts yet vibrant colors with a vintage feel.
- Provia is based on the standard contrast and normal saturation color transparency Fuji film.
- Velvia gives high contrast, high and vivid color saturation.
Beyond simulating specific film types, a grain effect mode is also available to replicate the look of old film photos with an organic textured appearance. Something more noticeable when doing some prints.
All this plasticity enhances the photographers workflows into making them spend more time shooting in the camera than developing and post producing their files on a computer. In simple words, things like these allow Fuji shooters to make perfect shots right inside their cameras.
So, How Does it Feels?
Current Fuji shooters will feel this a bit bulkier due to the prominent hand grip and the generous electronic viewfinder, but new adopters will have less trouble adapting to the Fuji X system thanks to these. Despite the X-S10 offering a distinct design, it does have a slight resemblance with the iconic X-H1 as some layout similarities with the X-T200. It is the humpy structure where the electronic viewfinder has been placed which still feels quite odd, especially because in the SLR and DSLR eras, it was needed to be this shape and size due to the internal pentaprism, nowadays is just pointless, but will give it a go.
As everything Fuji makes, it feels well built, but don't expect it to withstand too much mistreat since it isn't weather-sealed. Nevertheless, the only sections of the camera that feel a bit plasticky are the two unlabeled dials on the top plate and the door covering the audio, USB and HDMI ports. About the vastly aforementioned grip, it is way deep, almost like the one on a DSLR, but very well designed. It provides easy access to the front dial and nearby buttons, and the controls on the rear side of the camera are very well laid out.
Without a doubt, the most notorious distinction between the X-S10 and other current Fuji cameras in the market like the X-T30 and X-T4 is the fact that rather of having dedicated dials for exposure compensation and shutter speeds, there's a Canonistic or Nikonistic "Mode" dial instead. Again, this camera isn't that aimed towards current Fuji shooters who undoubtedly felt the transition back in the day. This, along with many other features, is part of the Fuji mindset of being less aggressive towards beginners and upgraders from DSLRs who are still seeking something more familiar before moving on. And don't worry, for $1,000.00 Fuji wouldn't have turned the back on current X shooters, the camera still has plenty of dials and menus that can be fully customized.
For a price tag like the one on the X-S10, having such a fine LCD vari-angle touchscreen and generous electronic viewfinder is a delight. The screen features a 3" diameter and has a resolution of 1.04 million dots, which you might recall as a standard, but remember that this camera is extremely compact. The expected touchscreen features are present, tap to focus (checked), change menu options (checked) and swipe through photos (checked). On the other end, the OLED viewfinder features 2.36 million dots, a magnification of 0.62x and a refresh rate of 100 fps, just like the one present on the X-T30.
Energy-wise, it uses the same NP-126S battery as the X-T30, which for the price is alright, we can't have the higher capacity NP-W235 pack found on the X-T4, but that's ok. We can always have an extra battery pack in our pockets couldn't we? Unless you are a heavy WiFi user, Fuji's official packs are rated to produce 325 shots per charge when using the LCD. Another nice thing to have is that the camera can be charged and operated via its USB Type-C connector.
Last but Not Least
Regarding the theme on video, if you are familiar with the X-T30 we have nothing new to say to you. But if you aren't, let us expand.
When it comes to video or movie recordings, the X-S10s comes with powerful capabilities, making it a great visual solution. It allows recording in cinema-quality DCI 4K/30p and super-slow motion Full HD/240p. And when combining axises (that's the five-axis IBIS with a four-axis digital image stabilization feature) you'll get some insane footages along the way.
Pro's Note: 4:2:2 10-bit color via HDMI.
The X-S10 records oversampled DCI and UHD 4K video, at frame rates of 24p and 30p, and the guys over at Fujifilm promised us that one can record up to 30 minutes of 4K video. Oh, and the magnesium alloy in the body is used as a heat sink to allow longer recording times. Isn't that awesome?
Wrapping it Up!
With a vast camera offer, Fujifilm seems to have no fear towards product cannibalism! And we are quite happy with that. Making camera decisions is always a tough call, especially when the offer is crowded with so many similar cameras. Yet, Fujifilm has been able to find different user niches, making the decision stages quite easy to overcome.
The X-S10 is clearly aimed towards the few shooters who are still reluctant to mirrorless camera systems. And with such a tailored solution for them, it would be quite impossible not to tease them out. Of course, some DSLR shooters will still remain shooting with their bulky cameras until the last frame, and there is very little for innovative brands like Fujifilm and Sony to do about their calls. On the other hand, the X-S10 is also aimed for the entry-level and new-coming photographers who still have this odd idea that to be a pro, you need a bulky camera in your hands. Ergo, this camera has not been made for loyal Fuji shooters but for those who are still left outside their ecosystem.