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Fujifilm X-S1 Bridge Camera Review

Here is our full review of the Fujifilm X-S1 bridge camera.

|  Fujifilm X-S1 in Compact Cameras
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Fujifilm X-S1

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

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).

Fujifilm X-S1

Key Features

  • 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

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.

Shutter Response   0.05 secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.3 secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.6 secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   2.1 secs
Shot to Shot (without flash)   1.1 secs
Shot to Shot with Flash   1.1 secs
Continuous Shooting (JPEG) - Low   2.9 fps
Continuous Shooting (JPEG) - Medium   3.6 fps
Continuous Shooting (JPEG) - High   3.8 fps
Continuous Shooting (JPEG) - Super High   7.3 fps
Continuous Shooting (RAW) - Low   0.9 fps
Continuous Shooting (RAW) - Medium   0.8 fps

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

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.

Fujifilm X-S1 Digital filters

Video Mode

The X-S1 records at full 1080p HD at 30 fps, with optical zoom available during recording. Videos can also be shot at 70 fps (640 x 480), 120 fps (320 x 240) and 200 fps (320 x 112).

Value For Money

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
360° panoramas
RAW shooting
Full 1080p video mode
High-speed video shooting
Full manual controls
Tilting screen
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


Fujifilm X-S1 Specifications

Max Aperturef/2.8 - f/5.6
35mm equivalent24mm - 626mm
Optical Zoom26x
Image Sensor
Pixels12Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4000
Pixels (H)3000
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor Size2/3 inch
Sensor Size (width)8.8mm
Sensor Size (height)6.6mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution460k dots
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus1cm
Focusing modes
  • Manual
  • Spot
  • AF Tracking
  • Multi
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
  • TTL
ISO sensitivity100 - 12800
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting10fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS30
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLi-ion battery NP-95
Battery Life (CIPA rating)500shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsLi-ion battery NP-95, Battery charger, BC-65N Shoulder strap, Lens cap and Lens cap cord, Lens hood, USB cable, CD-ROM Owner's manual

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Photographs taken using the Fujifilm X-S1

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kodachrome 10 779
22 Feb 2012 4:05PM
Looking back over some of my Fuji HS10 landscape pictures and now reading this excellent review of the XS-1, I wonder why I sold my Fuji. The colours in my view are some of the best I have seen and are as described in the review 'fantastic'. However, the XS-1 does need to drop in price to at least an entry level DSLR to be competative and entice people away from the SLR or the jump up from compact. Its too expensive for one set of people and not competative enough for another section of the market. Hopefully, it will find its own level and price in the market place. I'm very tempted but not at that price.

22 Feb 2012 4:25PM
I have been (and I still am) a big fan of the Fuji-film HS20.
For over six months I found it to be a great camera and done all I needed,(that was once I discovered the manual mode).
But people move on, and I think I'd gone just about as far as I could with it,and I wanted something with just a bit better image quality without giving up the versatility of the super-zoom and the full manual control.

Well I think Fuji must have heard me ..

Enter the X-S1..
It's more or less still the HS20,"but much more"
all the shortcomings (or quirks as I call them) of the HS20 seem to have been sorted,

the viewfinder, (now great)
the burst mode ( now continuous, and it can also use100 ISO,(not limited to 200 minimum like before)
the slow focusing, (much faster now)
the slow write speed( much faster ,not a problem)
The image quality (noticeably more refined)
take a look -
manual focusing much more responsive.
you can also use the full '12mp' so you have that extra crop factor
and there are many things I've probably forgot to mention

So far it's all good, and no negatives (price? you get what you pay for...)

Tony ..
9 May 2012 4:16PM
After owning several Canon compacts and EOS Models, plus a few of the Fuji compacts, this model in MY Opinion is the best by far,
I can find no faults.

malcolm C
11 Jun 2012 10:18PM
Just bought one from amazon .has great reviews also some bad reviews mainly from dslr users,been using a Panasonic FZ38 for a couple of yrs just got tired of several wasted shots as these cameras can be a bit temperamental at times so thought it was time to upgrade.
The choice was between Nikon d3100,Panasonic FZ150 or the Fujifilm X-S1 .
DSLR was a put off for me lugging extra lens and bags around plus the cost of Nikon lens as they are not cheap with the cost of the cam+ 900-1,000s with little difference in image quality.So i decided that this cam did not warrant the extra cost considering the d3100 is only an entry level dslr .
Fujifilm X-S1 looks like an dslr with manual controls and the quality of the images seen on flickers are very good but would not go as far to say its as good as a mid range dslr.
Tried a Panasonic FZ150 and found it similar to my old FZ38 out of focus in zoom at times although quality is loads better than the FZ38 as you would expect with the speed of technology in resent yrs ,This camera was my second choice as it does produce some very sharp precise shots. The Fujifilm X-S1 has easy manual controls and quality zoom and looks to be the best bridge cam out there at this present time,in my opinion its worth 500 when you dig deep into what this camera can do ,so decided this is the one for me
pjbw 10 United Kingdom
15 Jul 2012 12:31PM
My heavily used 2006 Sony DSC-R1 is bound to expire sometime. Any replacement must have an EVF at least as good and no geometric lens distortion throughout its (admittedly limited 5x optical but perfectly adequate for me) zoom range (one reviewer did find 1% barrel at 24mm equivalent).
I live in the back of beyond and have no camera shops nearby which would stock the like of the X-S1 so I could look at one. A pity then that the ISO grids in the review were not taken at the 6.1mm focal length (or were they too horrific?) and also an indication of what data if any can be seen in the EVF.

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