Hands-on with the Fujifilm X-S10

Meet the Fujifilm X-S10 – a camera the company is calling a cross between an X-T30 and its older X-H1. That basically means that here we have a compact camera with the best APS-C size sensor Fujifilm has to offer (from the X-T30 / X-T4) but with a really nice, sizable grip and in-body stabilization inspired by the X-H1.

In the time we’ve had the X-S10, we have to admit we’re impressed. We think it offers a lot of bang for the buck, and its simplified control scheme will appeal to a lot of users, including those upgrading from older DSLR cameras in particular.

Sensor, performance, and look at that grip

The X-S10 comes with the same 26MP X-Trans sensor we’ve seen in a handful of Fujifilm’s other cameras, and that’s a good thing. It offers excellent noise performance and very fast readout speeds, which help boost autofocus performance and video capability. Based on our preliminary testing, we’d expect autofocus performance to be essentially on par with the X-T30 / X-T3 / X-T4 cameras, which is to say, darn good.

Video specs are solid too: You can record up to 4K/30p, 8-bit files internally. If you use an external recorder, you can boost that to 10-bit 4:2:2 files, which is handy for people who want to do some post-production work on their clips.

Burst speeds are great for a camera of this class. You can shoot at up to 8 fps with the mechanical shutter, and up to 20 fps with the electronic shutter (and a further 30 fps with a 1.25x crop). Unfortunately, we don’t yet know the buffer depth of the X-S10 (how long you can shoot bursts before the camera slows down), but we’ll be testing this when we get a final review sample.

And lastly, check out that grip! It’s generous and comfortable, and makes handling the X-S10 a breeze with lenses big and small. But although the X-S10 feels incredibly solid in your hand, it doesn’t come with any claims of weather-sealing.

New stabilizer

The X-S10 is equipped with an all-new, compact stabilizer unit built specifically to fit inside the camera’s smaller body. It tops out at 6 stops of shake reduction with stabilized lenses, and varies from 5 to 5.5 stops with unstabilized lenses.

Those figures mean that with a 50mm-equivalent lens, you should be able to handhold images with a reasonable degree of success at shutter speeds of 0.6 seconds or even slower.

Control scheme

But where the X-S10 really stands out – among Fujifilm cameras, at least – is right here. Most Fujifilm cameras are covered in ISO, shutter speed and exposure compensation dials, but not this one. This one uses a mode dial, customizable control dials under your forefinger and thumb, and a third customizable dial on the left shoulder of the camera.

While manipulating those manual dials on other cameras could get you into a ‘program auto’ mode, on the X-S10, that’s made much easier by just rotating the mode dial to ‘P’. Fujifilm is banking on appealing to a different subset of users with the X-S10; a group that either sees no need for dedicated dials for exposure parameters, or those coming from other cameras with this style of control scheme, which is basically ubiquitous among entry-level and mid-level DSLRs.

Fujifilm has also said that the full Auto mode has been tweaked to give users a bit more control over autofocus and image quality parameters while also automatically choosing a film simulation mode depending on the scene. Lastly, it’s worth noting that the X-S10 has a built-in pop-up flash which you trigger with the small switch on the far left, and the top plate is also where you’ll find customizable ISO and movie record buttons. The ‘Q’ button brings up the camera’s customizable Quick Menu on the rear screen or in the viewfinder.

Control scheme

The rear of the camera is fairly spartan. You get a customizable drive-mode button on the top left, a customizable button just to the right of the EVF, the requisite Playback, Display / Back, Menu / OK and AEL and AF-ON buttons as well as an AF joystick. We actually find that, overall, we prefer the control scheme on the X-S10 to, say, the X-T30; we collectively thought the X-T30 was a bit cramped, and we’d knock the joystick by accident all the time. On the X-S10, there’s plenty of room for your grip hand and the joystick is perfectly placed.

The rear screen is touch sensitive, and as you can see, is a side-hinged design, which may appeal to video shooters more than a simple tilting design. At the top of the camera is a fairly middle-of-the-road 2.36M-dot EVF, which does at least offer a great refresh rate and good contrast.

Ports

Along the side of the X-S10, we see a 3.5mm microphone port as well as USB-C and micro-HDMI ports. The USB-C port can be used for data transfer, it can charge the battery or you can also attach an included dongle adapter to plug in a pair of headphones for audio monitoring while shooting video. However, based on your usage, it’s worth being aware of the fact that the positioning of the ports may get in the way of the fully articulating screen.

Battery and storage

Power for the X-S10 comes from the standard Fujifilm NP-W126S battery pack, found in a number of its other cameras. Battery life is rated by CIPA for 325 shots if you’re primarily using the rear LCD, but we’d expect far more than that in normal use, especially if you watch your Wi-Fi use and keep the pop-up flash popped down.

One small disappointment is that the single SD card slot is only UHS-I compatible, so you won’t gain any speed benefit from UHS-II cards. It’s not a huge deal on a camera at this level, but considering how fast the X-S10 can shoot burst images, it would have been nice to see the faster slot included.

Hands-on with the Fujifilm X-S10

And that concludes our short tour of the Fujifilm X-S10. While it may not be a revolutionary camera, it looks like a really well-rounded model at a good price, and one that may tempt new users into the Fujifilm ecosystem.

What do you make of the Fujifilm X-S10? Let us know in the comments.

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