Fujifilm X-S1 Review

February 9, 2012 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The Fujifilm X-S1 is a new super-zoom bridge camera. Looking and handling like a DSLR, the Fujifilm X-S1 boasts a 26x zoom lens which covers a 35mm equivalent focal range of 24-624mm and has a maximum aperture of f/2.8. The lens also features mechanical image stabilisation, twist-barrel manual zoom and focusing controls, and a minimum focusing distance of 1cm in super macro mode. Other highlights of the X-S1 include a large 2/3-inch 12-megapixel EXR CMOS sensor, a 3-inch tilting LCD monitor, electronic viewfinder with 1.44 million pixels and eye-sensor for automatic switching, full 1080p HD movie recording with stereo sound, ISO range of 100-12800, High Speed movie capture at up to 200fps, continuous shooting at 7fps at full resolution or 10fps at six megapixels, 0.01 sec shutter lag, full PASM manual controls and support for the RAW file format. The Fujifilm X-S1 is available now for £699.99 / $799.99 in the UK / US respectively.

Ease of Use

The X-S1 is Fujifilm's new flagship super-zoom camera, costing a whopping £300 / $400 more than the HS20EXR model. The X in the product name denotes that the X-S1 sits alongside the X100, X10 and the X-Pro1 as part of Fujifilm's recently introduced premium range of cameras. The X-S1 has a large 2/3-inch CMOS sensor, exactly the same as the one found in the X10. This is more than twice as large as a standard compact camera's 1/2.3in sensor, which should result in better image quality, especially as Fujifilm have sensibly chosen a modest 12 megapixel resolution.

In many ways the X-S1 looks similar to the HS20EXR, looking, feeling and handling very much like a mid-range DSLR. It is quite a big bigger and heavier than its more consumer-oriented sibling, however, and indeed any other super-zoom currently on the market. Designed as a do-it-all, all-in-one solution for the serious photo enthusiast, the Fujifilm X-S1 is more than weighty and well built enough to withstand a few bumps and scrapes. The moulded curves of the DSLR-like body and textured matt black finish deliver a purposeful look that is as aesthetically pleasing as it is practical, with nice chunky controls, an ergonomic control layout that allows both quick and easy access to functions, and a deep hand-grip with a well-thought-out indentation into which a middle finger slots comfortably. This is a camera for which you will very much need to use both hands at once. The two dials on top of the camera are precision milled from solid metal, although all the other external buttons are made from plastic.

At the heart of the X-S1 is the 26x zoom lens which is made up of 12 groups and 17 elements including four aspherical elements and two ED lenses. It also has a 9-blade aperture diaphragm and comes complete with a metal lens barrel with manual zoom and focus rings, just like on a DSLR lens. This versatile lens offers a focal range starting at an ultra-wide 24mm and finishing at an ultra-telephoto 624mm. Throw in the 1cm Super Macro mode and impressive maximum apertures of a bright f/2.8 at 24mm wide-angle to f5.6 at full 624mm telephoto, and it's clear that the X-S1 is perfectly suited for virtually any subject that you can think of, near or far.

To help avoid blur resulting from camera shake when shooting in low light or hand-holding the camera at the telephoto extremity of the zoom, Fujifilm have added a 'belt and braces' solution of high ISO sensitivity, stretching up to ISO 12800 at full resolution (JPEG only), a built-in mechanical stabilizer with Continuous or Shooting Only modes, and digital image stabilisation too if required. Activated via the IS Mode menu option, you can set the system to Continuous, Shooting Only, either mode with the addition of digital stabilisation, or Off. Note that the camera will only automatically adjust the ISO speed when using the Auto shooting mode - in the other modes the ISO speed that you select will always be used, so only the mechanical CCD-shift part of the system is used.

The full 26x zoom range can be accessed in the H.264 MOV format movie mode, with the X-S1 offering full 1920x1080 pixel footage at 30 frames per second with constantly adjusting auto exposure and focus with stereo sound. It can record video clips up to 29 minutes long for the 1920x1080 and 1280x720 pixel formats, with longer times available for VGA and SVGA modes. The dedicated Movie button on the rear makes it quick and easy to shoot a movie without missing the start of the action, and there's a mini-HDMI port for connection to a HDTV (cable not supplied). You can select one of the Film Simulation modes to give your footage a more creative look, and there's the option to take a still photo at any time during movie recording.

Fujifilm FinePix X-S1 Fujifilm FinePix X-S1
Front Rear

In addition to these "normal" movie modes, the X-S1 also offers several high-speed modes. There are three different speeds on offer - 200, 120 and 70fps, with the file size varying from 320x112 to 640x400 pixels respectively. This slow-motion effect is initially very appealing and sure to impress your friends, but there are some drawbacks to be aware of. Sound isn't recorded at all, horizontal bands can appear as the lighting fluctuates, and the actual sizes of the recorded movies are pretty small.

From the front the Fujifilm X-S1 looks like a serious bit of kit. The large optically stabilised zoom lens dominates proceedings, with a push-on lens cap, metal lens-hood and retaining strap provided in the box. Above the lens and extending out across the lens barrel, which boasts a textured surround allowing you to get a good firm grip and achieve a smooth, steady zooming action, is a squat ridge that conceals the small pop up flash (when not in use), which is activated via a dedicated button positioned to the right. Still viewing the X-S1 from the front, the stereo sound speakers are positioned one on either side of the lens barrel, with a familiar dual purpose AF-assist illuminator and self-timer lamp to the left. Behind the pop-up flash is another DSLR-like touch - a hotshoe for additional illumination via an optional external flashgun (EF-42 and EF-20 models). Completing the front of the X-S1 is a handy Focus Mode dial which lets you quickly choose from the AF-S, AF-C and Manual focus modes.

Looking down on top of the camera, viewed from the rear, there's a clearly labeled and logically laid out control set, with a chunky, ridged shooting mode dial which is reminiscent of those found on, yes you've guessed it, DSLR cameras. Ranged around the dial, which turns with just the right amount of resistance for it to lock firmly into place at each setting, are the expected shooting options, such as full auto, program, shutter priority, aperture priority and manual modes, along with three customisable modes (C1, C2, C3) via which favoured shooting settings can be saved for rapid access, plus a scene position mode (SP1) that's pre-optimised for common subjects.

In addition, there are several more shooting modes that are particularly noteworthy. First up is the EXR Auto mode (one of the four EXR modes), which is an 'auto everything' scene recognition mode that's the equivalent of Panasonic's Intelligent Auto mode. Although far from infallible - if you're not paying close attention and it's presented with a busy scene it will call up landscape when macro is needed and vice versa – it instantly makes the X-S1 more beginner friendly, instantly recognising 10 basic scenes and then applying one of the three other EXR modes too.

Fujifilm's EXR sensor can be utilized in one of three ways by the photographer. There's a choice between shooting at full 12 megapixel resolution in High Resolution (HR) mode, or a 6 megapixel image in the Low Noise (SN) mode for shooting without flash in low light conditions, or the Dynamic Range (DR) mode to achieve an optimal balance between shadows and highlights. The latter offers five strengths ranging from 100-1600%. If you can't decide which is best for a chosen scene or subject, then just leave the camera on the scene-detecting EXR Automatic Mode and let it choose for itself.

Fujifilm FinePix X-S1 Fujifilm FinePix X-S1
Tilting LCD Screen Side

Next is the rather misleadingly named Advanced mode, which actually has three options that are well suited to all experience levels. The Pro Low-light mode uses multi-bracketing technology, taking a series of four high sensitivity/low-noise shots in quick succession and combining them into an image with less noise than the single exposures. The Pro Focus mode makes it easier to achieve a blurred background, perfect for portraits where compact digicams traditionally struggle, with three strengths of blurring on offer.

The final Advanced mode is the Motion Panorama option, clearly inspired by Sony's popular Sweep Panorama function. This lets you capture a 120, 180 or 360 degree panoramic image very easily without the use of a tripod. All you need to decide is whether you would like to start from left or right, top or bottom, then press and hold down the shutter release while doing a "sweep" with the camera in hand. Exposure compensation is available before you start the sweep, with the exposure fixed once you depress the shutter button. After you are done with the sweeping, the camera does all the processing required, and presents you with a finished panoramic image.

Although undoubtedly fun, there are a few catches. The final panorama is of relatively low resolution, and if you do the sweeping too slowly, or you let go of the shutter release button too early, the panorama will be truncated. If the exposure varies throughout the scene, then some areas will be over or under exposed, depending upon the exposure value that was chosen as the panorama was started. Finally, people and indeed anything that moves in the frame are recorded as several ghost outlines, which means that you can really only record static, empty scenes, something that Sony have solved in the latest iteration of their Sweep Panorama feature.

To the right of the shooting mode dial is a smaller command dial with a positive clicking action which is used for scrolling through features and captured images, and will feel immediately intuitive to anyone who has handled a DSLR before. The same dial is also used to change the aperture and shutter speed when using the more advanced shooting modes. In the Manual mode, you hold the Exposure Compensation button down with your forefinger and give the dial a flick with your thumb to change the aperture, not quite as intuitive as having two separate command dials. Otherwise the exposure compensation button works largely as you'd expect, with a visual slider graph on screen accompanied by a live histogram.

Fujifilm FinePix X-S1 Fujifilm FinePix X-S1
Top Front

Next to the EV button is the rather innocent-looking Continuous Shooting button, which accesses one of the X-S1's mouth-watering features. Pressing this button brings up seven options - Still, Top, Best Frame Capture and four different kinds of bracketing (exposure, ISO, film simulation mode and dynamic range). Choosing Top allows you to choose from four speeds - Super High, High, Middle and Low, which shoots 10 fps at 6 megapixels, 7ps at 12 megapixels, 5ps at 12 megapixels, and 3ps at 12 megapixels respectively (maximum of 8 frames). 7ps at full resolution is faster than most compact cameras and indeed most comparable DSLRs too. Choosing Super High then Best Frame Capture shoots at 10fps at 6 megapixel resolution from the moment that you focus and then saves up to 16 images including pre-recorded frames. Once the burst is completed, it takes over fifteen seconds for the camera to clear the buffer, during which you cannot take another picture. It's important to note that when shooting RAW only the Middle and Low continuous shooting speeds are available.

Forward of these two controls is the main shutter release button encircled by the on/off power switch. Flick this to On, and the rear LCD or electronic viewfinder – depending on which one you previously had selected – blinks into life, a process taking around two seconds, which for once is not quite as good as most DSLRs. Note that you can speed this up to just over 1/2 second by choosing the Quick Start Mode option, which we'd strongly recommend. It also takes the camera a few seconds to wake-up if you let it go into sleep mode. Still, the Fujifilm X-S1 is very fast to determine focus and exposure with a half press of the shutter button, taking less than 0.18 seconds to lock onto the subject. Both JPEGs and RAW files are quickly committed to memory in single-shot mode with only the briefest pause between each one, which is a big reason for choosing the X-S1 over the HS20EXR (which suffers from slow RAW writing speeds). JPEG or RAW images are committed to SD / SDHC / SDXC cards, although there's no card supplied out of the box, with just the 25MB internal capacity to fall back on, enough for 5 large JPEGs.

Completing the top of the X-S1 is the first of two Function buttons, marked Fn1. This can be configured to 1 of 9 different options, with the same options also available for the Fn2 button on the rear of the camera. They're an excellent idea which truly makes it possible to control all of the camera's key creative controls with a single press of a button, rather than having to delve into the menu system as on most compacts.

Moving to the rear of the X-S1, your attention is immediately drawn to the large 3-inch monitor, which offers 100% scene coverage and a respectable resolution of 460K dots (the same as the HS20EXR). The X-S1's LCD screen can be moved 90° upwards and 45° downwards to get your shot or aid visibility, but unlike some other cameras it can't be pivoted left or right, or indeed turned so the screen is protected face-into the body when not in use. While some may debate whether an adjustable LCD is an essential feature or a sales gimmick, once you get used to using one it's something you find yourself missing when it's not there, proving particularly useful when holding the camera above your head or as a waist-level finder for more candid shots. The LCD also features a clever Sunlight mode for brighter conditions, activated by holding down the EVF/LCD" button for a few seconds.

Fujifilm FinePix X-S1 Fujifilm FinePix X-S1
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

Top-left of the LCD is a small button for swapping the display between the LCD monitor and the 0.47-inch, 1440,000 dot resolution electronic viewfinder with 100% scene coverage and surrounding eyecup. The EVF also has its own dioptric correction wheel to its immediate left, which is far less stiff and physically larger than found on competing models, meaning that for the myopic adjustment can be made in a faction of a second. The electronic viewfinder display is very large and bright and offers an excellent level of detail that surpasses most other super-zooms - it's actually so good that we used it almost exclusively in preference to the LCD screen. Another welcome addition comes in the form of a sensor which automatically switches between the EVF and viewfinder when you hold the camera up to eye-level, speeding up the transfer from using the LCD to taking a shot through the EVF. Note that this feature can be turned off if you find it annoying.

To the left of the LCD screen is a vertical column of five small buttons which provide direct access to most of the X-S1's key controls, once again mimicking the control layout of several entry-level DSLR cameras. Starting from the top, there are buttons for image playback, metering (multi pattern, spot or average), AF mode (center, multi, area or tracking), ISO speed and White Balance. All five buttons also perform actions during image playback, denoted by the blue symbols, resulting in a logical system that provides quick and easy access to most of the camera's key functions.

To the right of the screen is the previously mentioned one-touch movie record button and a self-explanatory AE/AF lock button. Below is a familiar four-way controller with a dual-purpose Menu/OK button at its centre. Ranged at north, south, east and west around this control are variously, the configurable Fn2 button, the various flash modes, the self timer options, and shifting focus from infinity to either macro or super macro. Press the Menu button in shooting mode and you get a comprehensive choice of options from two main folders., Shooting and Set-Up, with up to 6 screens containing 6 icons per screen. Most of the options are the "set once and forget" kind, so you won't have to dip into the menu system too often. Below the navigation pad is a dual-purpose control marked Display/Back that switches between the various LCD modes and also allows you to retrace your steps at any point and the RAW button which toggles RAW mode on and off.

The right hand flank of the Fujifilm X-S1 features a flip-open compartment for the SD / SDHC / SDXC card slot, while the left has a rubber flap hiding the X-S1's mini-HDMI port, the regular USB and AV out sockets,and a port for an external microphone. The base of the Fujifilm X-S1 features a screw thread for a tripod, made of metal but not in line with the lens barrel, and a sliding door hiding the compartment for the NP-95 Li-ion battery that's stored within the handgrip. Battery life is excellent at around 450 shots or 500 if you exclusively use the EVF.. There are metal loops either side of the body for attaching the provided strap.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 12 megapixel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 4.5Mb.

The Fujifilm X-S1 produced images of excellent quality during the review. It handled noise well, with a little noise appearing at ISO 800 and then becoming progressively worse at the faster settings of ISO 1600 and 3200, along with a smearing of fine detail. The headling-grabbing settings of ISO 6400 and 12800 are both actually shot at a reduced resolution (medium and small respectively) and they're noisy too. Chromatic aberrations were very well controlled, with limited purple fringing effects appearing only in high contrast situations. The 12 megapixel images were just a little soft straight out of the camera at the default sharpen setting and require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can change the in-camera sharpening level.

Macro performance is excellent, allowing you to focus as close as 1cm away from the subject when the lens is set to wide-angle. Commendably barrel distortion is well controlled even at the 24mm focal length. The built-in flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and adequate overall exposure, although there is noticeable vignetting at 24mm. The anti-shake system works very well when hand-holding the camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range. The maximum shutter speed of 30 seconds allows the cameras to capture enough light for most after-dark situations.

The EXR modes offer a choice between shooting at full 12 megapixel resolution in High Resolution (HR) mode, or a 6 megapixel image in the Low Noise (SN) mode for shooting without flash in low light conditions, or the Dynamic Range (DR) mode to achieve an optimal balance between shadows and highlights. The Pro Low-Light scene mode produces better image clarity at high ISO levels at the expense of a loss of fine detail, while the Pro Focus mode effectively throws the background out of focus for portraits. The Motion Panorama mode works largely as advertised, making it simple to take hand-held low-light and wide-vista shots, although there is a clear ghosting effect around any moving subjects.


There are 8 ISO settings available on the Fujifilm X-S1. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting:


ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)


ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)


ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)


ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)


ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)


ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)


ISO 6400 (100% Crop)


ISO 12800 (100% Crop)


Focal Range

The Fujifilm X-S1's 26x zoom lens provides a focal length of 24-624mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.




Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little bit soft at the default sharpening setting, and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)


File Quality

The Fujifilm X-S1 has 2 different image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

12M Fine (4.51Mb) (100% Crop) 12M Normal (3.00Mb) (100% Crop)
12M RAW (18.8Mb) (100% Crop)  

Chromatic Aberrations

The Fujifilm X-S1 handled chromatic aberrations very well during the review. Just a little purple fringing was present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the example below.

Chromatic 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic 2 (100% Crop)


The Fujifilm X-S1 offers a Super Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 1cm away from the camera. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject in Macro mode (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop


The flash settings on the Fujifilm X-S1 are Auto, Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Slow Synchro, and any of those modes combined with Red-eye Reduction. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (24mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (24mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (624mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (624mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. Neither the Auto or Red-eye reduction mode caused any amount of red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)

Red Eye Reduction

Red Eye Reduction (100% Crop)


The Fujifilm X-S1's maximum shutter speed is 30 seconds, which is great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 15 seconds at ISO 100. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Image Stabilisation

Image Stabilisation is Fujifilm's name for anti-shake, which in the X-S1 works via a sensor-shift mechanism. To test this, I took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with anti shake turned off, the second with it turned on. Here are some 100% crops of the images to show the results. As you can see, with anti shake turned on, the images are much sharper than with anti shake turned off.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)

1/12th / 24mm
1/15th / 624mm

EXR Mode

The Fujifilm X-S1 offers three EXR options. Resolution Priority (HR) mode uses all 12 megapixels to capture the highest resolution image. High ISO & Low Noise (SN) mode combines adjacent pixels to create larger photodiodes and improve low-light quality in the resulting 6 megapixel image. D-Range Priority (DR) mode simultaneously takes two images and then combines them to produce a 6 megapixel image with increased dynamic range. Here is an example which was shot using each EXR mode.

Resolution Priority (HR)

100% Crop

High ISO & Low Noise (SN) 100% Crop
D-Range Priority (DR) 100% Crop

Dynamic Range

The Fujifilm Finepix X-S1 has three dynamic range settings - 100% (on by default), 200%, and 400% - and an Auto setting if you want to let the camera take control. These settings gradually increase the amount of detail visible in the shadow and highlight areas, with the side-effect of more noise appearing in the image. Note that you can't actually turn this feature off.






Pro Focus

The Fujifilm X-S1's Pro Focus mode makes it easier to achieve a blurred background, perfect for portraits where compact digicams traditionally struggle.

Pro Focus Off

Pro Focus Off (100% Crop)


Pro Focus On

Pro Focus On (100% Crop)

Pro Low-Light

The Fujifilm X-S1's Pro Low-Light scene mode produces better image clarity at high ISO levels, with the camera automatically taking a series of four high sensitivity/low-noise shots in quick succession which are then combined together using in-camera processing into an image with less noise than the single exposures. The main drawback is a noticeable softening of fine detail.

Pro Low-Light Off

Pro Low-Light On

Motion Panorama

The Fujifilm X-S1 allows you to take panoramic images very easily by 'sweeping' with the camera while keeping the shutter release depressed. The camera does all the processing and stitching, and there are three views available. The main problems are that the resulting image is of fairly low resolution - 1080 pixels high and 5760 pixels wide for the 360 degree image - moving objects are recorded as "ghost" images, and different lighting sources cause obvious vertical streaks to appear.

120 Degrees
Full-size Image
180 Degrees
Full-size Image
360 Degrees
Full-size Image

Film Simulation

The Fujifilm Finepix X-S1 offers 8 different film simulation modes to help repliatce the look of your favourite film stock from the past.

Provia / Standard

Velvia / Vivid


Astia / Soft

Black & White


Monochrome + Yellow Filter

Monochrome + Red Filter


Monochrome + Green Filter


Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Fujifilm X-S1 camera, which were all taken using the 12 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample RAW Images

The Fujifilm X-S1 enables users to capture RAW and JPEG format files. We've provided some Fujifilm RAW (RAF) samples for you to download (thumbnail images shown below are not 100% representative).

Sample Movie & Video

This is a sample movie at the highest quality setting of 1920x1280 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 16 second movie is 27.9Mb in size.

Product Images

Fujifilm FinePix X-S1

Front of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix X-S1

Front of the Camera / Pop-up Flash

Fujifilm FinePix X-S1

Isometric View

Fujifilm FinePix X-S1

Isometric View

Fujifilm FinePix X-S1

Isometric View

Fujifilm FinePix X-S1

Isometric View

Fujifilm FinePix X-S1

Rear of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix X-S1

Rear of the Camera / Turned On

Fujifilm FinePix X-S1

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed


Fujifilm FinePix X-S1

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

Fujifilm FinePix X-S1

Rear of the Camera / Info Display

Fujifilm FinePix X-S1

Rear of the Camera / Function 1 Menu

Fujifilm FinePix X-S1

Rear of the Camera / EXR Mode

Fujifilm FinePix X-S1

Rear of the Camera / Advanced Mode

Fujifilm FinePix X-S1

Rear of the Camera / Tilting LCD Screen

Fujifilm FinePix X-S1

Rear of the Camera / Tilting LCD Screen

Fujifilm FinePix X-S1

Top of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix X-S1

Bottom of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix X-S1

Side of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix X-S1

Side of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix X-S1

External Connections

Fujifilm FinePix X-S1

Front of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix X-S1

Front of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix X-S1

Memory Card Slot

Fujifilm FinePix X-S1

Battery Compartment


With the new X-S1, Fujifilm have produced the ultimate super-zoom bridge compact camera, with a long list of desirable features, intuitive user interface and excellent image quality. The only real drawback is the price-tag, which puts the X-S1 up against mid-range DSLRs and high-end compact system cameras as well as its main superzoom rivals.

Building on the success of the HS10 and HS20 EXR super-zooms, the X-S1 is an altogether more serious proposition - bigger, heavier, sporting a better electronic viewfinder and image sensor, offering faster RAW processing, start-up, shutter-lag and focusing times - it really does fix the main issues that we had with the HS20 EXR. Although the lens isn't quite as long at a "mere" 26x, the new 2/3-inch sensor results in much better performance particularly at the higher ISO speeds. We wouldn't hesitate to use the X-S1 at ISO 100-800, and even ISO 1600 and 3200 are usable for smaller prints and the web, putting the X-S1 well ahead of all other super-zoom compacts. That doesn't compare so well to similarly-priced DSLRs or compact system cameras, though, so you really need to decide if the do-it-all approach of the X-S1 makes up for the drop in image quality.

The X-S1 excellent electronic viewfinder is comparable to the best compact system camera's viewfinder, offering a large, bright and detailed display that's a veritable joy to use. Fujifilm have also rectified another common fault of typical super-zooms - namely slow operation - with auto-focusing, start-up, shutter-lag and file write times all quick enough so that you don't notice them in every-day use, even when shooting RAW+JPEG files together. Finally we have a superzoom camera that can boast similar responsiveness to a DSLR.

The X-S1 offers the main benefit of being a real all-in-one alternative to a DSLR. with no need to buy or change lenses thanks to the high-quality 26x lens, which is remarkably distortion-free and admirably fast at either end. The manual zoom and focus rings further reinforce that DSLR feeling, as do the external flash hotshoe, command dials, tilting LCD screen, full range of manual shooting modes and RAW format support. Full 1080p movie recording with stereo sound is the icing on the cake, making the X-S1 a viable replacement for your video camera too.

All of these improvements and features do come at a literal price though - £699 / $799 is an awful lot of money to pay for what is a fixed-lens compact camera, easily making the X-S1 the most expensive super-zoom on the market. Having said that, it's also easily the best-in-class super-zoom, offering a compelling mix of features, performance and image quality that no other rival can match. If you want one camera that can do it all, then look no further than the Fujifilm X-S1.

4.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4.5
Features 5
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 4.5
Value for money 4

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Fujifilm X-S1 from around the web.

whatdigitalcamera.com »

The very concept of a superzoom is to give an all-in-one package; a camera system that's somewhere between a compact and DSLR that also has a significant zoom range. Enter the Fujifilm X-S1. Although it may look similar to many other superzoom cameras (and you'd be forgiven for mistaking it for a DSLR), underneath the hood is a large 2/3in sensor size (the same as found in the high-end X10 compact camera).
Read the full review »

neocamera.com »

The Fuji X-S1 is a prosumer ultra-zoom built around a larger-than-usual 2/3" CMOS sensor and a mechanicaly-linked ultra-wide 26X optical zoom lens with stabilization built-in. This lens is equivalent to an outstanding 24-624mm, reaching beyond most super-telephoto lenses.
Read the full review »


Effective Pixels 12.0 million pixels
Sensor type 2/3-inch EXR CMOS with primary colour filter
Storage media
  • Internal memory (approx. 26 MB)
  • SD / SDHC / SDXC(UHS-I) memory card*2
File format
still image
JPEG (Exif Ver 2.3)*3, RAW (RAF format), RAW + JPEG
(Design rule for Camera File system compliant / DPOF-compatible)
H.264 (MOV) with Stereo sound
Number of recorded pixels L : (4:3) 4000 x 3000 / (3:2) 4000 x 2664 / (16:9) 4000 x 2248 / (1:1) 2992 x 2992
M : (4:3) 2816 x 2112 / (3:2) 2816 x 1864 / (16:9) 2816 x 1584 / (1:1) 2112 x 2112
S : (4:3) 2048 x 1536 / (3:2) 2048 x 1360 / (16:9) 1920 x 1080 / (1:1) 1536 x 1536

<Motion Panorama>
360° Vertical 11520 x 1624 Horizontal 11520 x 1080
180° Vertical 5760 x 1624 Horizontal 5760 x 1080
120° Vertical 3840 x 1624 Horizontal 3840 x 1080 
  name Fujinon 26x optical zoom lens focal length f=6.1 - 158.6 mm, equivalent to 24 - 624 mm on a 35 mm camera full-aperture F2.8 (Wide) - F5.6 (Telephoto) constitution 12 groups 17 lenses (4 aspherical molded lenses, 2 ED lenses included) 
Digital zoom Intelligent digital zoom approx. 2x (1.4) (up to 52 x when combined with optical zoom)
Aperture F2.8 - F11(Wide)
F5.6 - F11(Telephoto) 1/3EV step (controlled 9-blade aperture diaphragm)
Focus distance (from lens surface) Normal Wide : Approx. 30 cm / 0.9 ft. to infinity
Telephoto : Approx. 2.0 m / 6.5 ft. to infinity Macro Wide : Approx. 7 cm - 3.0 m / 2.8 in. - 9.8 ft.
Telephoto : Approx. 2.0 m - 3.5 m / 6.5 ft. - 11.5 ft. Super Macro Approx. 1.0 cm - 1.0 m / 0.4 in. - 3.3 ft
Sensitivity Auto(400) / Auto(800) / Auto(1600) / Auto(3200) / Equivalent to ISO 100 / 200 / 250 / 320 / 400 / 500 / 640 / 800 / 1000 / 1250 / 1600 / 2000 / 2500 / 3200 / 4000* / 5000* / 6400* / 12800* (Standard Output Sensitivity)
  • * ISO4000 / 5000 / 6400 : M mode or lower, ISO12800 : S mode
Exposure control TTL 256-zones metering, Multi / Spot / Average
Exposure mode Programmed AE, Aperture Priority AE, Shutter Priority AE, Manual
Shooting modes SP Natural Light & Flash, Natural Light, Portrait, Portrait Enhancer, Dog, Cat, Landscape, Sport, Night, Night (Tripod), Fireworks, Sunset, Snow, Beach, Party, Flower, Text MODE DIAL EXR, AUTO, Adv., SP, C3, C2, C1, M, A, S, P
Image stabilisation Lens shift type
Exposure compensation -2.0EV - +2.0EV 1/3EV step
Shutter speed (Auto mode) 1/4 sec. to 1/4000 sec., (All other modes) 30 sec. to 1/4000 sec.
Continuous shooting TOP Super High : approx. 10 fps (Size M, S)
High : approx. 7 fps (Size L, M, S)
Middle : approx. 5 fps (Size L, M, S)
Low : approx. 3 fps (Size L, M, S)
*SD memory card with a class 4 write speed (4 MB/sec.) or better is recommended.
*The frame rate varies depending on the shooting conditions or numbers of frames in continuous shooting. others Best Frame capture :
Super High : approx. 10 fps 8 / 16 frames (Size M, S)
High : approx. 7 fps 8 frames (Size L, M, S) / 16 frames (Size M, S)
Middle : approx. 5 fps 8 frames (Size L, M, S) / 16 frames (Size M, S)
Low : approx. 3 fps 8 frames (Size L, M, S) / 16 frames (Size M, S)
Auto bracketing AE Bracketing : ±1/3EV, ±2/3EV, ±1EV
Film Simulation Bracketing : PROVIA / STANDARD, Velvia / VIVID, ASTIA / SOFT
Dynamic Range Bracketing : 100%, 200%, 400%
ISO Sensitivity Bracketing : ±1/3EV, ±2/3EV, ±1EV
Focus mode Single AF / Continuous AF (EXR AUTO, Movie),
Manual AF (One-push AF mode included) type TTL contrast AF, AF assist illuminator available AF frame selection Multi, Area, Tracking
White balance Automatic scene recognition
Fine, Shade, Fluorescent light (Daylight), Fluorescent light (Warm White), Fluorescent light (Cool White), Incandescent light, Custom, Colour temperature selection (2,500K - 10,000K)
Self timer 10 sec. / 2 sec. delay , Auto Release
Flash Auto flash (super intelligent flash)
Effective range : (ISO AUTO (800))
Wide : Approx. 30 cm - 8.0 m / 0.9 ft. - 26.2 ft.
Telephoto : Approx. 2.0 m - 4.0 m / 6.5 ft. - 13.1 ft.
Flash modes Red-eye removal OFF : Auto, Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Slow Synchro.
Red-eye removal ON : Red-eye Reduction Auto, Red-eye Reduction & Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Red-eye Reduction & Slow Synchro.
Hot shoe Yes
Viewfinder 0.47-inch, approx. 1440,000 dots, TFT colour LCD monitor
Approx. 100? coverage
Diopter adjustment : -5 - +3 m-1(dpt)
LCD monitor 3.0-inch, approx. 460,000 dots, TFT colour LCD monitor, approx. 100% coverage
Movie recording 1920 x 1080 pixels / 1280 x 720 pixels / 640 x 480 pixels (30 frames / sec.) with stereo sound
Optical zoom (manual) can be used.
Photography functions EXR mode (EXR Auto / Resolution priority / High ISO & Low noise priority / Dynamic range priority), Face recognition, Face Detection, Auto red-eye removal, Film simulation, Framing guideline, Frame No. memory, Histogram display, Advanced mode (Motion panorama360, Pro focus, Pro low light), High Speed Movie (70 / 120 / 200 frames/sec.), Electronic level, One-touch RAW, Advanced Anti Blur, Focus check, Colour space
Playback functions Face Detection, Auto red-eye removal, Multi-frame playback (with micro thumbnail), Protect, Crop, Resize, Slide show, Image rotate, Voice memo, Histogram display, Exposure warning, Photobook assist, Image search, Favorites, Mark for upload, Panorama, Erase selected frames, RAW conversion
Other functions PictBridge, Exif Print, 35 Languages, Time difference, Silent mode, Shutter sound
Terminal Video output NTSC / PAL selectable with Monaural sound Digital interface USB 2.0 High-Speed HDMI output HDMI Mini connector External microphone ø3.5 Mini with Stereo sound
Power supply NP-95 Li-ion battery (included)
Dimensions 135(W) x 107(H) x 149(D) mm / 5.3(W) x 4.2(H) x 5.9(D) in.
Weight Approx. 945 g / 33.3 oz. (including battery and memory card)
Approx. 905 g / 31.9 oz. (excluding battery and memory card)
Operating temperature 0°C - 40°C
Operating humidity 10% - 80% (no condensation)
Battery life approx. 460 frames (*4)
approx. 500 frames (using EVF)
Accessories included Li-ion battery NP-95
Battery charger BC-65N
Shoulder strap
Lens cap and Lens cap cord
Lens hood
USB cable
Owner's manual
Optional accessories Li-ion battery NP-95
Battery charger BC-65N
Shoe Mount Flash EF-42 / EF-20
Remote release RR-80
  • *1 Number of effective pixels: The number of pixels on the image sensor which receive input light through the optical lens, and which are effectively reflected in the final output data of the still image.
  • *2 Please see the Fujifilm website to check memory card compatibility.
  • *3 Exif 2.3 is a digital camera file format that contains a variety of shooting information for optimal printing.
  • *4 CIPA Standard

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