I think that the Fuji X-S10 is a very attractive camera. When I was first told about it, I was expecting to hear that it has a standard Bayer-pattern sensor and a polycarbonate body, but Fujifilm has pulled out the stops to make a small camera that will appeal to a wide range of photographers. It has the X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor of the X-T4 and a magnesium alloy body, plus Fuji's colour knowhow. It just doesn't have the tradition exposure controls so it looks a lot cleaner and less intimidating. Could it be the Fujifilm camera for people who don't like Fujifilm cameras?
In-body image stabilisation
What is the Fujifilm X-S10?
The Fuji X-S10 starts a new line of Fujifilm X-series mirrorless cameras, it doesn’t replace an existing camera or mark the end of another line. As a mid-range model, it sits below the Fuji X-T4 but above the Fuji X-T200.
Enticingly, inside the new Fuji X-S10 is the same 26.1MP APS-C format X-Trans CMOS sensor and X-Processor 4 as is in the top-end X-T4. That means it should capture the same high-quality images.
Camera type: Mirrorless
Announced: 15th October 2020
Sensor: 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS 4 APS-C sensor
Processing engine: X-Processor 4
Lens mount: X-Mount
Sensitivity range: ISO 160-12,800 expandable to ISO 80-51200
Viewfinder: 2.36-million-dot EVF (100% coverage) with 0.62x magnification
Screen: Vari-angle 3-inch touchscreen LCD
Autofocus system: Intelligent hybrid with up to 425 selectable AF points
Continuous shooting: Mechanical Shutter: 8fps, Electronic Shutter: 20fps continuous shooting at full resolution with AF
Max video resolution: DCI 4K (4096 x 2160) at 29.97/25/24/23.98fps, 4K/30p 4:2:0 8-bit, 4K/30p 4:2:2 10-bit video via the HDMI, Full-HD at up to 240p
Storage: SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-II
Dimensions (WxHxD): 126.0×85.1×65.4mm
Weight: 465g including battery and card
It may sit below the X-T4 in Fujifilm’s line up but the X-S10 has in-body image stabilisation (IBIS). Impressively, Fuji’s engineers have managed to make the IBIS unit 30% smaller than the one in the X-T4 but it still enables up to 6EV of shutter speed compensation. That puts it ahead of the Fujifilm X-H1 which gives a maximum compensation of 5EV but 0.5EV behind the X-T4 which can manage 6.5EV compensation with some lenses.
Giving the X-S10 the same sensor and processing engine as the X-T4 means that the new camera has the same autofocusing hardware and it’s armed with the same algorithm. This means that there are up to 425 individually selectable AF points and the system uses both phase and contrast detection. However, the AF point selection options have changed to Single-point, Zone and Wide. Tracking has gone, but the camera can track the subject within the selected area.
Fujifilm is well-known for its colour science and its Film Simulations modes are very popular. The X-S10 has 18 Film Simulation modes including Eterna Bleach Bypass that was introduced with the X-T4.
As usual, the Fuji X-S10 has a mechanical and an electronic shutter. With the mechanical shutter activated, there’s a maximum continuous shooting rate of 8 frames per second (fps). Switch to the electronic shutter and the X-S10 enables full-resolution shooting at up to 20fps.
Fujifilm is aiming the X-S10 at people who create stills and video, it’s not specifically aimed at one or the other. As such, the Fuji X-S10 has an attractive video specification without some of the complications of cameras aimed primarily at video creators.
The Fujifilm X-S10’s maximum video resolution is 4096 x 2160 (AKA DCI 4K) at 29.97/25/24/23.98fps. That’s uncropped (nice). Internal recording maxes out at 8-Bit 4:2:0 but if there’s an external storage unit connected via HDMI it’s possible to record in 4:2:2 10-Bit.
The X-S10 can record in any of the Film Simulation modes but there’s also F-Log recording for more scope for grading.
As usual, it’s also possible to record Full-HD footage and in Highspeed recording mode it can be set to 240fps for up to 10x slow-motion playback.
There’s also a 3.5mm microphone port and a USB-C adapter is included in the box to connect headphones.
Build and Handling
Fujifilm has made the X-S10’s body from magnesium alloy, which gives it a very sturdy feel in your hand. There’s also an excellent grip on the front with a well-placed thumb-ridge on the back of the camera. With the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS kit lens mounted, the X-S10 fits comfortably into my hand and feels well-balanced. It’s also a camera that you can use one-handed if you need to.
One disappointment on the build quality front is that the X-S10 isn’t weather-proof.
At first glance, the Fujifilm X-S10 could be mistaken for the Fuji X-T30, but look again and you’ll see that the control arrangement is quite different. For a start, instead of the traditional exposure dials, there’s a PASM-type mode dial. That means it looks a bit more familiar to the non-Fujifilm faithful. Someone with a Canon or Nikon DSLR, for example, who’s looking for a small mirrorless camera is likely to feel much more at home with a mode dial than traditional exposure controls.
Front and rear dials on the top-plate give control over the exposure settings. The X-S10 is still compatible with lenses with an aperture ring, but you have the choice over whether you want to use the ring or the command dial to adjust the aperture setting.
If the aperture ring setting is set to ‘A’, the front command dial is used to adjust the aperture in aperture priority and manual exposure mode. The pre-production sample that I used doesn’t have the option to switch the function of the front and rear dials, but the firmware isn’t final so this may be changed before the camera goes on sale.
In Auto and the semi-automatic exposure modes, the front command dial is used to adjust exposure compensation.
Over on the left of the top-plate, there’s a function dial and a sprung switch to pop-up the flash. By default, this dial is set to adjust the Film Simulation mode (there are 18 in total), which is handy, but it can be set to also adjust exposure compensation in manual exposure mode. That’s useful when you’ve got the sensitivity (ISO) set to Auto. Alternatively, the dial can be turned off but it’s hard to imagine why you’d want to do that.
On the back of the camera, just below the function dial, there are two buttons. One accesses the drive mode options in shooting mode and is the delete button in playback mode, while the other is the playback button.
The drive mode button gives access to all the features you’d expect including the bracketing options (auto exposure, ISO and white balance), plus the HDR, panorama and multiple exposure settings.
It’s great to see that Fujifilm has enabled up to 9 images to be composited in-camera and that the blend mode can be set to additive, average, light or dark.
Between the shutter release and the rear command dial on the top of the camera, there are three buttons. The one nearest the shutter button is the video record button. This responsive and easy to find when you have the camera to your eye – you don’t always want to use the rear screen when you’re shooting video.
Further back, there are the ISO and Q (Quick menu) buttons. I occasionally pressed the Q button when I reached for the ISO button when I was looking in the viewfinder but I think with more time using the camera, I would find the right one instinctively.
I tend to use the rear screen on a camera when I’m navigating a menu, which means I’m usually looking at the back of the camera. That makes the location of the Q button the top of the camera a bit strange, but it also means that it’s out of the way (so it’s not pressed accidentally), and the back of the camera has plenty of room for my thumb.
I can live with that location, but others may wish to use the custom settings to change the function of another button, such as the AE Lock or AF On button on the back of the camera to access the Quick menu. The Q button can then be given the function of the other button.
Stills and Video Menus
No matter what setting is selected on the mode dial, you can record video by pressing the record button. However, if video is selected on the dial, the main and quick menus are tailored to video. That means you don’t have to sift through options that you don’t need.
Also, when you switch from aperture priority, for example, to video mode on the mode dial, the exposure settings are as you left them last time you use the video mode. That’s very handy!
There’s an option in the menus to set the exposure mode for video recording.
Fujifilm X-S10 Viewfinder
Like X-T series cameras such as the Fujifilm X-T200 and X-T4, the Fuji X-S10 has its viewfinder in the centre of the top-plate. This makes it look like a retro-style mini DSLR.
With 2.36million dots, the viewfinder shows plenty of detail. It’s not as large as the X-T4’s viewfinder, so you’re aware that you’re peering in past the surround, but it’s still good.
Fujifilm X-S10 Screen
On the back of the Fuji X-S10, there’s a 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen. This also provides a clear view but in bright sunlight, I’d like to be able to make it a little brighter than the maximum +5 value currently enables.
The screen is responsive to touch, and if the option is activated in the menu, you can use swipes to access key features.
Although the main menu options can’t be selected by touch, the Quick menu options can, which speeds up the process of adjusting settings.
Although the Fuji X-S10 that I shot with wasn’t a final production sample, we are allowed to publish some images and video with the caveat that the image quality may be subject to change.
That said, the Fujifilm X-S10 I had produced some excellent-quality images. As usual with a Fuji camera, the colours are great, with an interpretation to suit most tastes. The Default exposure mode also proved reliable – backed by the accurate preview in the viewfinder which ensures you only apply exposure compensation when it’s required.
Fujifilm X-S10 Image Quality
The results produced by the production sample of the Fuji X-S10 appear to confirm that the new camera is capable of producing identical images to the X-T4. Noise is controlled very well throughout the native sensitivity (ISO) range, and only a hint of fine detail is lost the out of focus areas of ISo 12,800 Jpegs. As yet, I can’t process the raw files to compare the results.
As it has the same sensor, processing engine and autofocus (AF) algorithm as the Fujifilm X-T4, the Fuji X-S10’s focus acquisition and AF tracking should be the same as the flagship camera’s.
As the camera I had was pre-production, I haven’t carried out a full range of tests on it, but naturally, I subjected it to some Ottofocus testing and it coped well. With the activate AF point over Otto, my border terrier, the X-S10 was able to keep him sharp as he ran around a field. Happy days.
This video was shot on a pre-production sample of the Fujifilm X-S10. Final image quality may vary.
It was shot in C4K (4096 x2160) 25p with the image stabilisation on.
The Fujifilm X-S10 is interesting. It has much of the great technology that’s in the Fuji X-T4 in a more ‘everyman/woman’ body. I use and test wide variety cameras on a frequent basis and I really appreciate Fujifilm’s traditional exposure controls. The Fujifilm massive also love it, but there are far more photographers who have never used those type of controls and might find them off-putting.
Happily, the controls on the Fuji X-S10 work well and the camera feels great in your hand. Fuji’s colour science is widely respected and this, plus a different design, could help draw more photographers to the company.
Fujifilm isn’t stupid, it knows that it holds a unique position in the marketplace and it won’t walk away from the control arrangement that its user-base loves, but it may have come up with a canny way of welcoming more to the fold at an interesting time in the industry.