Fujifilm X-S10 Review

Introduction

Released in 2020, Fujifilm’s X-S10 debuts a new lineup in the current XF series to sit in the midrange gap between the X-T200 and X-T4. And it comes to market boasting a brand new design aimed to sway hybrid shooters, existing DSLR owners, and enthusiasts to the Fujifilm ecosystem. It’s also a camera they aim to compete with Sony’s a6400 and Canon’s EOS M6 Mark II.

2020 has been quite an interesting year for camera manufacturers. And several companies have released compelling mid-range gateway cameras with lower price tags and flagship-level performance. And the X-S10 indeed follows suit. On paper, it boasts many high-end features from the flagship X-T4, but with a far more attractive price like the X-T30.

However, Fuji hasn’t historically targeted the mass consumer market. And doing so requires a substantial design change, departing from much of their original heritage. But, is this design too different? Have they gone too far, now alienating current users in their ecosystem? And how does this new release stack up to other models in their current lineup? Let’s find out.

Fujifilm-X-S10-mirrorless-camera-specs

 

What are some of the goods, bads, and uglies of the Fujifilm X-S10? 

Pros:

Image Quality

It obtains the latest 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor, without an Optical Low Pass Filter (OLPF) and the X-Processor 4, a similar configuration to the X-T4 and X-T30. The sensor also uses a backside-illuminated design, which reduces noise and improves overall image clarity by smoothing tones and color rendering. Overall, Fuji made little, if any, comprises here as the X-Trans sensor delivers sharp, detailed images with great color and ample dynamic range. And the image quality produced matches their flagship X-T4 and is currently the best they offer.

Unlike the recently released X-T200, Fuji’s opted to include all 18 of their popular Film Simulations, including Eterna, Eterna Bleach Bypass, and Across. These profiles are an excellent option if you want to recreate classic Fujifilm stock. They’re also ideal for capturing classically style images in-camera, without relying on post-processing software. Additionally, you can customize the Film Simulations to create a more distinct look. Or you can modify the original colors and textures and enable the Grain Effect Mode to replicate authentic film grain. And you can also customize the size of the grain and strength.

It obtains the Color Chrome Effect, so you can add depth, detail, and vividness to alter the image’s color hues.

It offers continuous shooting speeds of 8 FPS with the mechanical shutter or 20 FPS using the electronic shutter, both with AF. Additionally, it obtains the 1.25x Crop Mode, pushing the burst rate to a whopping 30 FPS. And the buffer depth is reasonable, proving 17 RAW’s before slowing.

 

 

Video Quality

On the video front, this camera obtains much of the core functionality from the X-T30. With that, it shoots 4K DCI 30p and 1080p up to 240p for ultra-slow motion video. And it records video to the MP4 or MOV format with H.264 compression and a data rate of 200 MBps. Overall, the video quality this camera delivers is excellent. And it’s directly on par with the X-T30 but closely matches the X-T4, with the main difference being frame rates. The camera over samples from a pure 6K resolution, creating genuine 4K without a crop. And leveraging the in-camera film simulations allows you to record detailed, natural-looking footage with a distinct look that’s well suited for immediate sharing. The camera also offers several high-end video features that can also make it quite capable of professional use.

One of those highlights is it now offers the Full HD High-Speed Rec Mode, which records 1080p videos up to 240p for 10x slow-motion. And it renders the video in-camera to 24p. However, shooting in this mode limits videos to 6 minutes per clip, and they record without sound.

Fuji’s also extended the camera’s record limit to the standard 29 minutes and 59 seconds.

And with the X-Process 4, they’ve also improved the camera’s readout speeds, which greatly reduces rolling shutter when panning.

The camera also obtains the Fixed Movie Crop Magnification option, which fixes the crop ratio to 1.29x. Hence, it’s easier to maintain framing when recording in different formats.

It obtains F-Log, which records flatter footage with a soft gamma curve and wider gamut that’s more suitable for post-processing. It also has the F-Log View Assist for a Rec 709 preview to gauge the footage. However, recording with this profile restricts the ISO range to 640-12,800. So, if you’re recording outdoors, you’ll likely have to attach an ND filter.

It obtains zebras for highlight clipping and warning indication. And you can adjust the threshold levels as needed.

The camera can output a clean 4K 10-bit 4:2:2 signal via HDMI for use with external recorders or monitors.

The AF-Assist lamp doubles as a tally lamp during move recording. You can also customize whether it blinks or remains steady.

It offers in-camera Time Code Settings to sync multiple cameras. And you can adjust the time, frame number, and display settings.

Low Light Performance

It features a native ISO range from 160 to 12,800, further expandable 51,200. And users can expect usable images up to ISO 3,200 or 6,400 with minor processing.

Focusing Performance

It obtains a similar high-end AF configuration as the X-T4. In this case, it features a 425 point Hybrid phase-detect AF system, which covers nearly the entire sensor. And it can also focus in as little as 0.02 seconds or down to -7 EV, with compatible lenses. The latest Face and Eye-detection algorithms here are quite tenacious at maintaining focus as subjects move across the frame. And the camera remains confident even if subjects wear accessories or in backlit scenes.

Additionally, Fuji’s also revised AF-C during movie recording for smoother tracking, even in low light or using F-log. Plus, they’ve improved the Auto and SP modes, so the camera recognizes various scenes and follows the subjects accordingly. As it stands, this camera delivers AF performance that matches the higher-end X-T4. And it’s the best Fuji offers.

It also obtains AF-C custom settings. This submenu lets you customize the focus tracking parameters for AF-C, such as tracking or speed sensitivity. And it gives you the freedom to tailor the camera’s focusing performance to the subject at hand.

It offers several focusing aids for manually focusing, including Focus Check, the Manual Focus Indicator, Digital Split Image, Microprism, magnification, and peaking.

Display & Viewfinder

It features an OLED electronic viewfinder with a resolution of 2.36M dots, 0.62x magnification, and 100 Hz refresh. This is a similar configuration to the one found on the X-T200. But, given this camera’s price point, this display is par for this segment’s course. And it’s reasonably sharp, detailed, and accurate.

It also features a 3.0-inch vari-angle touchscreen with a resolution of 1.04M dots. And this fully articulating screen is ideal for the demographic Fuji aims, as it provides the most versatility when shooting both stills and videos. The display also obtains Fuji’s full suite of touch functionality, including touch AF, touch shutter, swiping in playback, pinch to zoom, and full menu navigation.

Like the X-T200 and X-T4, you can also adjust both the color (WB) and the EVF and rear display brightness.

User Interface

It obtains Fuji’s latest menus and user interface, which uses a modern and updated look. And like the X-T200 and X-A7, they’re also fully touch-enabled. Overall, existing users will find them familiar and easily mastered. But there are many settings, so it’ll take new users some familiarization time.

Fuji’s added four custom shooting modes on the Mode Dial, C1-C4. These preset banks allow you to quickly recall full shooting setups without having to recreate them painstakingly.

It obtains the Quick Menu, accessed by the Q button, so that you can customize a list of 16 of your most-used settings.

The camera offers four customizable function buttons and four additional touch buttons, T-Fn1-4. Plus, it obtains the customizable Function Dial from the X-T200. And it provides unrivaled flexibility in this regard at this price point.

It obtains Movie Optimized Control, which disables all of the physical controls and lets you change settings in silence using the touchscreen. And it’s a useful option if you want to prevent camera sounds from picking up in the recording.

Like many recent releases, both still and video settings are independent. And this makes changing between each mode seamless.

It obtains the customizable My Menu so that you can save a preset menu of your favorite options.

Fuji’s now allowed all 18 Film simulation modes for use in the Auto/SP modes. And it’s also now possible to create RAW images in these modes, making them an excellent option for one-off critical moments. Additionally, they’ve refined these modes to make images more vivid, natural, and less prone to losing details.

Physical Layout & Ergonomics

Fuji’s historically known for its unique and classically styled designs. However, this camera departs from those traditions in the hope of tailoring the camera to a more diverse audience. And it now takes several design cues from the flagship X-H1, such as magnesium-alloy front and top plates, to add durability. But in a much smaller and lighter form factor similar to the X-T200 and X-T30. And at only 415g body alone, it’s similar in weight to these cameras, which is surprisingly lightweight considering its apparent size at first glance.

But, understandably, the overarching design becomes the most apparent change. Fuji opted to redesign this new lineup with more traditional DSLR styling. But, they’ve also simultaneously taken several cues from other recent releases in the process to streamline the handling and shooting experience. One of those changes is the switch from large knurled dials to a conventional Mode Dial.

This is an interesting change, but it streamlines the interface and makes the camera less intimidating to beginners or new users. However, the camera keeps the function dial of the X-T200, dedicated Exposure Compensation, ISO, and dual control dials. And combined, these deliver extraordinary one-handed operation. Fuji’s also done away with the traditional Viewfinder Display Toggle button. Instead, replace it with an additional FN button, which is innovative and well placed.

Yet, despite the otherwise compact body, the camera provides an enormous grip, the largest outside of the X-H1. And it’s adequately recessed, making it supremely comfortable and secure. And it’s a significant departure from traditional X-T designs.

They’ve even capitalized on this design further by repositioning the shutter release, which is now seated on the front grip. This is a small change here, but it makes depressing the shutter more comfortable than having it in line with the body. So, with the redesigned grip, gone are the days of having to purchase an external accessory. Instead, the camera is now quite comfortable, even if you have large hands.

Overall, the design change is welcomed. But it does create a contention point for long-time users who prefer the nostalgic look featured on most of their recent releases. Even so, this camera does provide the best handling and shooting experience of all Fujifilm cameras below the X-H1. So, this trade-off is minimal in the overall grand scheme. And, given the level of customization, it’s clear Fuji doesn’t want to pigeon hole users. And both beginners and advanced photographers will be pleased with the layout, design, and level of versatility.

Like the X-T200, it has a dedicated video record button.

It features a rear AF joystick for menu navigation or quick AF point selection.

The AF-On button is now slightly larger and more comfortable for those who prefer back-button focusing.

Niche Features/Extras

It features 5-axis in-body image stabilization, which Fuji rates for up to 6.0 EV stops of compensation, outperforming the X-H1. And it’s the first midrange camera to use a motion sensor retention mechanism to act as a shock absorber to reduce vibrations and shutter shock. Additionally, this IBIS system also pairs with compatible optically stabilized Fujifilm X lenses, further improving performance.

And it also provides a 4-axis Digital IS for video recordings or IS Boost Mode for locked off shots. Sure, this module is 30% smaller than the higher-end X-T4, but it still performs beautifully, and it allows you to capture sharp handheld shots at ¼ second shutter speeds. Overall, this system is well implemented and is excellent.

It features built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) connectivity for wireless image transfer, firmware updates, geotagging, or remotely controlling the camera via the camera Remote app. Additionally, you can also use the camera as a high-quality webcam with a distinct film look by installing Fuji’s X Webcam software.

It has a USB-C port, which supports charging, and Fuji supplies a headphone output adapter with purchase. Connecting this adapter allows you to monitor audio while recording. And you can also adjust the levels via the menu.

It has a microphone input, and you can adjust the levels, enable a wind cut, low cut, or limit or via the menu.

It has a built-in pop-up flash.

It obtains the Photobook Assist feature from the X-T200, which lets you create a photobook of 300 of your favorite images.

It offers extensive in-camera editing functionality, including RAW conversation, red eye removal, crop, rotate, and more.

It has in-camera image rating.

It obtains the Voice Memo setting so that you can add a voice recording to the current photograph.

It obtains several lens corrections, such as Distortion, Color Shading, and Peripheral Illumination corrections.

It has a fully silent electronic shutter.

It has built-in Panorama.

It has a built-in intervalometer for time-lapses, and it also offers exposure smoothing.

It has Multiple Exposures.

It has Flicker Reduction, which reduces the flicker caused by shooting under fluorescent or similar light sources.

It has HDR, and the camera takes three separate exposures combined into a single image.

It offers several bracketing options, including ISO, White Balance, AE, Film Simulation, HDR, Dynamic Range, and Focus bracketing. And the camera automatically varies the focus with each shot when using Focus Bracketing.

It obtains the Pre-Shot mode, which captures a series of images using the electronic shutter before depressing the shutter button. It’s a helpful option for sports or wildlife, where timing is key to capturing decisive moments.

Cons:

Image Performance

Strangely, the camera lacks the side-by-side Film Simulations preview, a feature offered on the entry-level X-T200. This was a helpful display option that helps select the appropriate film simulation before committing to shooting. And it generally saves time chimping away by reviewing images in playback.

Video Capabilities

It lacks the new higher-end H.265 codec. And this is a potential limitation if you want the maximum detail the sensor provides, as this format produces less compressed footage than H.264.

Like many cameras that offer super-slow-motion recording modes, this camera also takes a quality hit when recording at 240p. Shooting in this frame rate causes a noticeable drop in image quality and fine detail. But, it’s better than not having it, in all fairness. And it does work with IBIS and AF, so a fair trade-off. If you want to maintain detail, 120p is best.

Autofocus Performance

While this is Fuji’s best implementation of phase-detection yet, face and eye-detect will lose track of subjects every once in a while. And when this occurs, it’ll sporadically jump to either the background or foreground. And, sadly, the conditions that cause this are a bit random. So, the system is slightly unpredictable in this regard. Otherwise, it’s generally quite good.

Battery Life

It uses Fuji’s long-stand W126S battery, the same as the X-T3 and the X-T200. But, sadly, battery life is average for a mirrorless camera. Fuji rates the camera at 325 shots per charge, just shy of the 350 shot standard for mirrorless cameras. Alternatively, it provides 55 minutes of 4K or 65 for full HD. Typically 90 minutes here is standard. As such, we highly recommend getting a spare battery with this camera.

Menus

While the main menus are well-organized, new users will find them quite complicated. This is a fairly advanced camera for the price, so there’s quite a learning curve. Be prepared.

Ergonomics

Both the battery and SD card are in the same compartment. And as always, this positioning makes changing either tedious when using accessories.

Lacking Features

The camera only offers a single SD card slot. But frustratingly, the SD slot only supports the older and slower UHS-I standard, not the faster UHS-II.

Due to size, it uses the HDMI Micro (Type D) connector, which isn’t the most reliable connection for external devices.

It lacks weather sealing.

Is this a good beginner camera?

Yes.

It’s an excellent option for beginners and new Fujifilm users. And it provides a nice step-up in quality over the entry-level X-A7 and X-T200, without being overly difficult to master. Fuji also made enormous improvements to this camera’s general usability by refining the SP (Scene Position) and Auto modes to simplify the process of capturing great images.

And the excellent touch interface and streamlined layout let you customize the camera to your liking. Overall, it’s a strong option and one that’s well suited for long-term growth as you develop your skills.

What are the best lenses & bundles for the Fujifilm X-S10?

General Photography: 

Fujinon XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR

Macro Photography:

XF60mmF2.4 R Macro

Landscape & Astrophotography Photography:

Fujinon XF16mmF2.8 R WR

Portrait Photography:

Fujinon XF50mmF2 R WR
XF90mmF2 R LM WR

Sports & Wildlife Photography:

Fujinon XF200mmF2 R LM OIS WR

Product & Still Life Photography:

XF60mmF2.4 R Macro

Extra Batteries:

Fujifilm Battery NP-W126S

SD Cards:

SanDisk Extreme PRO 32GB
SanDisk Extreme PRO 64GB 
SanDisk Extreme PRO 128GB

Tripods & Gimbals:

Manfrotto Befree Advanced Travel Tripod
E-Image 2 Stage Aluminum Video Tripod
Zhiyun Weebill S Compact Gimbal Stabilizer

Microphones & External Recorders:

Rode Wireless Go
Rode VideoMicPro

Is this a good camera for you?

Yes.

This is an excellent traveling camera. And the updates to the SP and Auto modes with RAW support make it a powerful option for seasoned shooters looking to capture a fleeting moment.

Current Fujifilm owners should consider upgrading, particularly if you have the X-A7, X-T200, or X-T30. This camera is quite the package at this price point, given the enormous improvements to AF, IBIS, ergonomics, and updated film simulations. The only reason to get the X-T30, in particular, is if you prefer its retro design. But, if you can overlook that, then you’ll acquire Fuji’s best all-rounder at this price.

In some ways, this camera impedes the flagship X-T4’s territory and will mark a suitable alternative for many users. It obtains several of its highlight features such as 1080p 240p, similar AF system, IBIS, sensor, and film simulations. So besides the higher end codecs, bitrates, All-I, HLG, dual card slots, weather sealing, and 4K 60p, you get everything.

Many of these features are suited to particular niche audiences. So, for most users, this will become a natural way to get Fuji’s best. Otherwise, it makes a solid b-camera and backup for existing Fujifilm shooters.

This camera is also reasonably capable of shooting sports, wildlife, and journalism. It offers fast shooting speeds of 8 FPS or 30 with the 1.25x Mode. And it’s a solid contender here for the price unless you want a larger buffer and 15 FPS continuous shooting of the X-T4.

This camera is also an excellent choice for videographers given its sharp 4K video, tally lamp, robust AF, and IBIS. And for this price, it’s currently one of the better options around. It’s also doubly capable for content creators, vloggers, or YouTubers looking for a lightweight yet capable option.

In the end, Fujifilm’s X-S10 is a powerful and surprising release on their end. And given its target audience and the goal to accommodate the mass consumer, Fuji’s configured this camera perfectly. As a package, it bundles many of its finest technologies, now with a familiar body design, added comfortable and more customization.

And it’s an excellent option for entry-level DSLR shooters and the ideal choice for photography enthusiasts looking for the next set up in capabilities. Fuji’s provided a lot of value for the money here, with minimal sacrifices or compromises. And this camera perfectly marriages power, comfort, and portability. Right now, this is arguably their best all-round camera. And if you don’t need specific high-end power features, this is currently your best option.

Overview
  • Image Quality
  • Video Quality
  • Focusing Performance
  • Low Light Performance
  • Dynamic Range
  • Battery Performance
  • Display & Viewfinder
  • User Interface
  • Physical Layout & Ergonomics
4

Summary

The Fujifilm X-S10 perfectly blends power, comfort, and portability. And given its price point and feature set, it’s arguably Fuji’s best all-rounder to date.