The Fujifilm X-S1 is the latest X series camera from Fujifilm, who are currently market leaders in the Bridge Camera market, with cameras such as the HS20EXR selling well, as well as having a wide range of ultra-zoom cameras with SLR styling. The X-S1 is their premium camera with a heavy focus on image quality.
Fujifilm X-S1 Bridge Camera Features
The X-S1 features a wide angle f/2.8 - 5.6 26x optical zoom lens, a 35mm equivalent of 24 - 624mm, with a metal lens barrel, and Fujifilm are keen to point out that the majority of expense comes from the high quality all glass lens design and metal barrel construction. The camera has a rubberised coating around the body and metal dials. The X-S1 also has 52x Intelligent Digital Zoom and can also focus down to just 1cm in Super Macro mode. To help take sharp images, the X-S1 has a new image stabilisation mechanism which also compensates for camera shake when the shutter release is pressed.
The 12 megapixel 2/3 inch EXR CMOS sensor is the same sensor used in the Fujifilm FinePix X10, so noise performance is expected to be the same or similar to the X10 and it features 9 aperture blades designed to enhance bokeh / out of focus areas.
There are 4 aspherical lenses, aiming to deliver sharp image quality with rich resolution while keeping the camera small enough to carry it around everywhere with you. The lenses are spherical, aspherical and ED x2. The ED lens help prevent chromatic aberrations and muddy colours when shooting with the lens at its longest. All the lens elements have been treated with multilayer Super EBC (Electron Beam Coating) to reduce ghosting and lens flare.
ISO100 - 3200 is available for shooting at full 12 megapixel resolution, but can be extended up to ISO 12800, with a reduced image size. There is also a wide dynamic range, up to 1600%.
The X-S1 can shoot 360° panoramas, which are taken using a right-left or up-down sweeping method and are stitched together in-camera. The camera can also shoot full 12 megapixel images at nearly 7 fps (max. 8 frames) or shoot at 10fps at 6 megapixel resolution (max. 8 frames). There are a range of film simulations available, including: PROVIA / Standard Mode, Velvia / Vivid Mode, ASTIA / Soft Mode, Monochrome Photography, B&W / No Filter, B&W / Ye Filter, B&W / R Filter and B&W / G Filter.
There are 4 different auto bracketing functions: AE (can be set in ±1/3, ±2/3 and ±1 EV steps), ISO Sensitivity (Setting is possible in ±1/3, ±2/3 and ±1 EV steps), Dynamic Range (100%, 200% and 400%) and Film Simulation (PROVIA, Velvia and ASTIA).
The X-S1's built-in RAW data converter lets you view and edit your results without the need for your PC. The conversion of RAW data not only takes into account exposure compensation, white balance and other in-camera image quality control settings, but also lets the user apply Film Simulation modes in the converter mode.
The X-S1 shoots full 1080p HD videos and can be connected to a HD TV for viewing on a large screen. The camera can also be connected to an external stereo microphone to achieve stereo recording. Other movie recording modes include high-speed recording, freezing the action at up 200fps! High Speed Movie can be recorded at the following speeds and sizes: 200fps (320 x 112 pixels), 120fps (320 x 240 pixels), 70fps (VGA 640 x 480 pixels).
12 megapixel 2/3 inch EXR CMOS sensor
24mm wide to 624mm ED telephoto lens, f/2.8 at the wide end
12 group, 17 element lens, 4 Aspherical Lenses, Super EBC Coating
Optical image stabilisation
3 inch, 460k pixel tilt screen
Large EVF, 1.44million dots
1cm Super Macro
ISO100 to ISO3200 at full resolution
7fps continuous shooting at full resolution
10fps continuous shooting at 6 megapixels
RAW Support, PASM Manual Controls
Full HD video, 30fps with stereo sound, microphone socket
360 Panorama mode
Fujifilm X-S1 Bridge Camera Handling
At first glance the X-S1 looks very much like an SLR and the top of the camera features a flash hot-shoe, metal dials and a number of quick access buttons letting you quickly change the exposure compensation, continuous shooting, Fn1 button, and 3 custom modes on the dial. There is also a dedicated button which allows you to switch quickly to JPEG+RAW shooting.
The focal length you are shooting at is displayed on the barrel of the lens, along with 35mm equivalents. Placed on the front of the camera is a focus mode selector lever allowing you to switch between AF/S (Single AF), AF/C (Continuous AF) and MF (Manual). If you are moving up from a compact camera, the number of buttons may be quite daunting initially. They are all well spaced-out and easy to press.
The camera has a generous rubber grip to hold onto at the front and a large rubber grip at the back for your thumb. To make sure you can get a firm grip on the camera, you can hold the zoom tightly with your left hand thanks to the large rubberised zoom control on the lens. When using the lens at a long length and shooting up or downwards there is clearly zoom creep, which you need to watch out for. All lids for cards, batteries etc. are sealed to prevent moisture and dust getting in and the lens hood is made from metal.
Larger buttons on the back are designed to improve access to controls, as well as a second Fn button. The EVF has built in eye-detection to allow the camera to switch automatically to the EVF when the camera is brought up to your eye. The LCD screen tilts, making it easier to shoot at difficult angles.
The menus are well designed and easy to navigate. The battery has a CIPA rating of 500 shots, meaning it will last for a good day or two of shooting. We tested each camera's performance at focusing, shutter response, shot-to-shot time, continuous shooting etc. and have posted the results below. To test this we took 6 or more shots and calculated the average.
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo
Shot to Shot (without flash)
Shot to Shot with Flash
Continuous Shooting (JPEG) - Low
Continuous Shooting (JPEG) - Medium
Continuous Shooting (JPEG) - High
Continuous Shooting (JPEG) - Super High
Continuous Shooting (RAW) - Low
Continuous Shooting (RAW) - Medium
When shooting in continuous shooting mode, or taking many shots quickly in non-continuous shooting modes, the camera was able to keep up a decent rate of fps for the first four or five shots but really slowed down after this.
Fujifilm X-S1 Bridge Camera Performance
Images taken on the X-S1 are consistently well exposed, with both superb colour reproduction and detail. Whether shooting wide, or with the full optical zoom, detail is strong throughout the image, with just a slight softening in the extreme corners. As well as having an ideal zoom range to take close up pictures of distant objects, the lens has a minimum focusing distance of just 1cm, allowing the camera to take excellent macro images.
Fujifilm X-S1 Lens test images
Noise does not affect images at ISO 100, with only a very slight increase when shooting at ISO 200, ISO 400 and ISO 800, with images remaining sharp throughout this range. ISO 1600 is where a slight softening begins to appear due to the level of noise, with this becoming more apparent at ISO 3200. You can shoot with confidence that you're images are going to look good throughout ISO 100 - 3200, the typical ISO range found on a digital compact camera. The X-S1 can also shoot at ISO 6400 and ISO 12800, with image size limited to 6 and 3 megapixels respectively. The images produced and are only going to be suitable for sharing on the web, rather than large prints.
Fujifilm X-S1 ISO test images
The following images have been taken using some of the scene modes available. Landscape mode gives superb blues and greens, with portrait shots having excellent skin tones and no red-eye when using the flash.
Fujifilm X-S1 Sample Photos
More sample shots taken on the X-S1.
Fujifilm X-S1 Other sample images
Under the incandescent lighting in our studio, the auto white-balance (AWB) setting produces an image with a slight orange cast, with the incandescent preset performing slightly better. Under the fluorescent lights, the AWB setting performs well, with the three different fluorescent presets giving a colour cast in the image.
Fujifilm X-S1 White-balance test images
The X-S1 has a range of film simulations, examples of which are below.
The Fujifilm X-S1 can be purchased for just under £600. Other cameras to consider are the Nikon Coolpix P510 with 42x optical zoom and 16 megapixel sensor priced at £399.00, Fujifilm FinePix HS30 EXR with 30x optical zoom and 16.0 megapixel sensor at £469.00 and the Leica V-Lux 3 with 12.1 megapixel sensor and 24x optical zoom at £689.00
Fujifilm X-S1 Bridge Camera Verdict
At around £600, the X-S1 is going to be quite an investment for the average person, so is it worth the money? Its features make it an extremely ideal option for someone wanting more than they get from a compact camera, but aren't interested in carrying around a number of lenses. With its zoom range of 24 - 624mm (35mm equiv.) and manual controls, it is very much like having a DSLR camera with the kind of lens range that would normally involve carrying a bag full of heavy lenses.
Image quality is fantastic, with low levels of noise up to and including ISO 3200. A couple of issues include the camera struggling to focus occasionally, particularly on objects closer to it and continuous shooting mode slowing significantly after just a few frames. If you can look past these issues and have the budget available, the Fujifilm X-S1 is well worth the outlay.
The Fujifilm X-S1 packs an impressive range of features and superb image quality.
Fujifilm X-S1 Bridge Camera Pros
Excellent zoom range
1cm minimum focusing distance
Great build quality
Full 1080p video mode
High-speed video shooting
Full manual controls
Excellent image quality
Noise performance up to ISO 3200
Fujifilm X-S1 Bridge Camera Cons
Inconsistent white-balance performance under studio lights
Price makes camera quite an investment
Focusing struggles on occasion
Continuous shooting rate slowed significantly after just a few frames
Occasional zoom creep