Fujifilm X-S10 First Impressions

October 15, 2020 | Mark Goldstein | Compact System Camera | Comment |

We've spent some time using the brand new Fujifilm X-S10 mirrorless camera before today's official launch.

Billed as the ultimate all-rounder that offers something a little bit different, this APS-C sensor camera marks quite a departure from the usual Fujifilm blueprint.

The 'S' in the product name doesn't officially stand for anything in particular, but could represent small, secure, simplicity, stabilised, or all four.

So ahead of our full review, check out our detailed first impressions of using the Fujifilm XS10 now...

Small and Light

Fujifilm X-S10

Weighing in at 465g and measuring 126 x 85.1 x 65.4mm, the X-S10 is 20% lighter and 10% smaller than the X-T4, which in turn is slightly lighter and smaller than the X-H1 model.

Physically it sits between the X-H and X-T series, looking like those two cameras have been merged together to create the new X-S series.

In terms of its marketing position, it sits above the X-T30 and below the X-T3 and X-T4 in the current X-series range.

Despite being so small and light, the X-S10 offers a very impressive level of build quality – much better than the X-T200, for example - something that we didn't expect from what is after all a sub-£$1000 camera.

Note that as per all other Fuji mid-range cameras, the new XS10 doesn't offer any level of weather-sealing. You'll need to step-up to the X-T4 to get that.

Large Hand-grip

Fujifilm X-S10

The Fuji X-S10 has an impressively large hand-grip for such a small camera, which is the direct result of the battery being moved into the grip to accommodate the new IBIS unit.

It's big enough to wrap three fingers of your hand around, with your right forefinger operating the shutter button.

The large grip helps to make the camera more stable when paired even with one of Fujifilm's larger telephoto lenses.

In-body Image Stabilisation (IBIS)

Fujifilm X-S10

Despite being substantially smaller and lighter than the other two Fujifilm cameras that have IBIS, the X-H1 and X-T4, the new XS10 still manages to squeeze in a very good stabilisation system.

This is the first time that in-body image stabilisation (IBIS) has been incorporated in a mid-range Fujifilm body.

The first Fujifilm camera that had this feature was the now discontinued X-H1, which was launched back in 2017 to not-so-popular acclaim, mainly because it was much bigger in order to incorporate the IBIS unit.

Fujifilm's engineers were then hard at work in the intervening three years and managed to drastically shrink the IBIS unit in the X-T4, making it 30% smaller and 20% lighter than the one in the X-H1.

Now with the new Fuji X-S10, they've shrunk the IBIS unit further still, once again making it 30% smaller and lighter, but this time compared to the one in the X-T4.

The only slight drawback to this impressive size reduction is a modest reduction to the amount of stabilisation that's on offer.

The 5-axis system in the X-T4 provides up to 6.5 shutter steps of compensation, whereas the one in the X-S10 tops out at 6 stops.

This is still half a stop better than the 5.5 offered by the X-H1, though, which is no mean feat given the overall size of the new camera.

PASM Dial, No Manual Controls

Fujifilm X-S10

The XS10 has a shooting mode dial on the top-plate rather than the usual array of manual controls that Fujifilm include on their higher-end cameras.

So instead of the ISO dial, Shutter Speed dial and Exposure Compensation dial which adorn the top of the X-T4, there's a Function dial on the left of the X-S10 which by default changes the film simulation mode, and a traditional PASM dial on the right.

This simplified interface has been designed to be less intimidating to new users who don't already have a vested interest in the Fujifilm X-series system, or to those who don't appreciate manual controls as much as a simpler, more streamlined control layout.

Importantly the X-S10 still offers both front and rear command dials, though, which along with the customisable Function button still make it easy to quickly change the shutter speed, aperture and exposure compensation, depending on which shooting mode you're currently using.

Also found on top of the camera are the ISO and Quick Menu buttons, along with the one-touch movie record button.

On the rear of the XS10, the View Mode, AEL and AF ON buttons all double up as customisable Function buttons, while the 8-way AF joystick is a great addition to a mid-range camera.

The X-S10 impressively offers no less than four Custom shooting modes on the PASM dial, and even better than that, you can choose to store AF/MF and shooting settings in each mode as well as the image quality setting, making it easy to setup different custom modes for different shooting scenarios/techniques. Note that this only works for stills, not movies.

So despite the lack of traditional Fujifilm manual dials, the X-S10 still provides more than enough controls for the enthusiast user, as well as a simpler interface for beginners.

DCI 4K/30p and 1080/240p Video

Fujifilm X-S10

The X-S10 has a pretty good movie mode that more than holds its own against its main rivals.

It offers a highest quality rate of DCI 4K/30p with no crop recorded in 4:2:0 8-bit internally and 4:2:2 10-bit via the micro-HDMI port to an external recorder.

The F-Log profile is available, and movie compression is Long GOP only, with no All Intra option.

The maximum recording time is 30 minutes, which is actually 10 minutes longer than on the X-T4.

The Fuji XS10 also has the 1080p/240p 10x slow-motion mode, first seen on the X-T4, and the same digital image stabiliser which works in conjunction with the in-camera and lens-based systems.

Other key video features include IS Mode Boost, dedicated movie recording mode accessed by the shooting mode dial on top of the camera, different Main menu and Quick menu systems for stills and video modes, a 3.5mm MIC socket and a USB-C to headphone adapter provided in the box.

Finally the X-S10 has a brand new video feature never before seen on a Fujifilm camera - a count-up clock that displays the card capacity in hours and minutes when the camera is in Standby mode, which switches to showing the recording time in minutes and seconds in the Record screen.

So the main differences between the XS10 and the X-T4's video mode are the maximum frame rate in 4K - 30fps versus 60fps -, the movie compression - Long GOP versus Long GOP/All Intra -, the internal bit rate - 8-bit versus 10-bit -, and the recording time - 30 mins versus 20 mins.

Eterna Bleach Bypass Film Simulation

Fujifilm X-S10

The new Eterna Bleach Bypass film simulation that first made its debut on the X-T4 has also now been included on the X-S10.

This is principally aimed at videographers who want a similar look to films like Seven, Saving Private Ryan and Fight Club, providing a hard tonality to the footage.

Better Film Simulation And Auto Modes

Fujifilm X-S10

Fujifilm have also made some improvements on the XS10 to their almost legendary range of film simulation modes and to the beginner-friendly automatic shooting modes.

As well as being able to quickly select one of the 18 film simulations using the Function dial, you can view a short description of each one by pressing the Q button.

There's also a brand new algorithm for the Auto and Scene Position shooting modes, where the camera will attempt to automatically improve a landscape image, for example, by applying the clarity control and colour chrome blue to enhance the sky.

There's a new Auto film simulation mode, which chooses between Provia, Velvia and Astia, depending on the scene.

For the very first time, Raw files can be recorded in the Auto and SP shooting modes - previously only Fine or Normal JPEGS could be selected.

And last but not least, the AF mode can also now be selected when using the Auto and SP shooting modes, with a choice of single point, zone and wide (previously only wide was available).

LCD Screen and EVF

Fujifilm X-S10

The X-S10 has a 3-inch 1.04M-dot vari-angle LCD screen that can be tilted out to the side and rotated forwards, and also folded against the back of the camera to help protect it when not in use.

The EVF is a 2.36M-dot unit with 0.62x magnification, 100fps refresh rate and a built-in eye sensor.

Burst Shooting

The X-S10 offers 8fps continuous shooting when using manual shutter, increasing to 20fps when switching to the electronic shutter without any crop, or 30fps with a 1.29x crop applied.

Pop-up Flash

Fujifilm X-S10

Fujifilm still believe that a built-in flash is an important feature on their lower-mid tier cameras, so the new X-S10 comes with a pop-up flash that's activated by a switch on the left of the top-panel.

Memory Cards

Perhaps unsurprisingly given its size, the Fujifilm X-S10 only has a single SD UHS-II memory card slot, rather than dual slots, which is more inconveniently housed in the battery compartment on the bottom of the camera, rather than on the side.

Image Quality

Fujifilm X-S10

Impressively the Fujifilm X-S10 has exactly the same 26 megapixel APS-C sized BSI X-Trans image sensor as the X-T4 and the X-Pro3, so still image and movie quality should be pretty much the same.

We've already shot a gallery of sample JPEG and Raw images and movies for you with a pre-production version of the X-S10 which you can check out, and we'll be bringing you even more sample images when we get our hands on a final review sample.

Take a look at some sample JPEG and Raw images and movies taken with the Fujifilm X-S10 camera

Pricing and Availability

In the UK the Fujifilm X-S10 will go on sale in mid-November 2020 priced at £949 body only, £999 with the XC 15-45mm lens, £1299 with the XF 18-55mm lens, or £1399 with the XF 16-80mm lens.

In the US, the X-S10 body-only is $999, with the XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R lens kit $1399, and with the XF 16-80mm F4 R OIS WR lens kit $1499.

Early Verdict

Fujifilm see the X-S10's main rivals as being the Nikon Z50, Sony A6600 and Canon EOS M6 Mk II, all cameras with APS-C sensors, but all lacking the breadth of lens support that Fujifilm currently offers (35 native lenses in total).

With the recent drive towards ever more full-frame cameras, retailers are apparently excited by the prospect of a cheaper, sub-£$1000 APS-C camera, as not everyone wants to spend more than that on a high-quality camera.

With 53% of the UK cameras market being comprised of sales of non-full-frame - 10% MFT and 43% APS-C - Fujifilm strongly believe that there's a big potential audience for the new XS10.

Having spent a little time with the new X-S10, we can certainly see their point. It's an intriguingly different proposition to the X-T and X-H series cameras in terms of its design, yet one that offers the same image quality and a lot of the core features at a lower price-point.

What do you think of Fujifilm's new mid-range mirrorless marvel? Leave a comment below!

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