Fujifilm X-S10, a Surprising Camera

I have been shooting with the Fujifilm X-S10 for a few days now, and I am impressed by what is an entry-level camera in the X series. I was concerned at this low price point that the camera might disappoint but that has not been the case. I would venture to say that this camera might not only attract entry-level photographers but tempt advanced photographers as well. After all Image quality is a key attribute, and with quality improving every year, for an advanced user, this may be a way of keeping costs down when upgrading. What follows are my thoughts on why that might be and my personal experience with the camera.

Courtesy of DPReview for their review and more images click here

Articulating LCD

The fulling articling rear screen (LCD) at first appeared awkward to me and when extended seemed much more fragile. After using it for a while I found I often left the screen turned into the camera rather than exposing the LCD to potential damage. The result was less distraction from the LCD, so now the main reason I leave it this way is it has improved my shooting experience. The screen resolution seemed fine to me but it is less than the flagship camera, 1,040,000 versus 1,620,000. So I am now feeling the fully articulating LCD is a big improvement from the tilting screen.

Image Quality (IQ)

I can definitely tell the difference in dynamic range recovery between a GFX 50R and the S10, but then that is to be expected. However, reexperiencing the expanded depth of field reminded me of the usefulness an camera with an APSC sensor can be in certain lighting situations . The camera has the same sensor and processor as the flagship camera, the X-T4, so in terms of IQ (image quality), it is excellent. The X-Tran sensor seems to provide very high-quality resolution, which Fujifilm suggests rivals medium resolution full-frame cameras.

Images courtesy of camerasize.com for more detail size options click here
mages courtesy of camerasize.com for more detail size options click here

Retro Look Issue

I have used many Fujifilm cameras with retro dials, which I love for their simplicity of operation, and for aesthetic reasons as well. They are just great looking cameras that allow one to emerge oneself in the process of creating photographs without having to worry about the menu system, making the camera in a way move into the background where it belongs. This camera provides an array of buttons and dials but they are unmarked and a labelled PSAM has been added. This is quite a departure from all previous designs. As I usually use cameras in manual mode, I have little use for this dial unless I am asking someone else to use my camera. In this case the dial’s automatic settings can be quite useful, and should that photographer be more familar with other brands of cameras then this dial will make them feel right at home.

This departure from the retro look bothered me a great deal, but after fielding the camera I am finding default settings make the camera perhaps easier to use. The retro dials of other Fujifilm cameras allow me to move through the full range of settings whereas the back and front dials only allow minor movement. If I set the speed on the top dial to 1/125, the back dial only allows me to adjust the speed between 1/80-1/160/ This means if I am making a large change to the speed I have to do this on the top dial, which sometimes means taking my eye away from the EVF and disrupting my capture process. The X-S10’s dials both front and back allow me to select the whole range of the dial, and their placement is much closer to the thumb than say the speed dial on the X-T4. My major adjustments to the settings are now being done without the need to look away from the EVF. This means aside from aesthetics, this camera for me, is simpler to use in the field than the X-T series. (It should be noted that on the X-T4 and other Fujifilm bodies if you turn the shutter speed dial to “T,” you can then do much longer exposures by simply controlling the shutter speed with the rear thumbwheel.)

It is important to mention, especially for those transitioning into the Fujifilm world that the JPG engine on this camera, like all Fujifilm cameras, is one of the best in the industry. Their JPGs are based on decades of developing film and so each film simulation mode is named after a film type, I usually set the camera to Velvia when shooting landscapes. In this away, although I am shooting RAW, the EVF gives me more detailed information about the colours in the scene I am viewing, something that becomes important when processing the RAW images. But those who want lots of options for their JPGs and are inclined to shy away from processing RAW images, the following film simulations are very useful:

  • Provia the cameras default setting is based on Fujichrome Provia an all round general purpose film.
  • Velvia typically used for landscapes and nature photography produces very vibrant images.
  • Astia on the other hand with a softer contrast still provides a look that enhances interior photographs and portraits.

I could go on but the camera itself allows you to change films very quickly by turning the left dial on the top, a great advantage for new photographers. In addition to this by depressing the “Q” button while selection a film mode you get a detailed explanation of the the additional film modes: Provia, Velvia, Astia, Classic Chrome, Pro Neg (Hi, Standard and Classic), Eterna, Eterna Bleach ByPass, Acros, Monochrome +G filter, and Sepia. Like other camera systems these film types can be tweaked, but having such a list of films to choose from, which Fujifillm is constantly updating, is a great asset for a beginner and those who like to get it right in camera.


The positioning of the dials is much improved in terms of quick access and moving the “Q” and ISO buttons to the top of the camera stops the accidental triggering of these buttons when placing your thumb on the back of the camera. It also facilitates a firmer worry-free grip on the camera. The deeper front grip on the camera made me feel I had more control over the camera when accessing the dials and buttons. I can not say enough about how much more pleasurable it is to hold this camera.

The extended grip places the shutter button forward on the camera, providing easy tactile access to both the ISO and “Q” buttons using my index finger. Ergonomically I feel this is the best grip of all the Fujifilm cameras currently available for purchase. It is light in the hand, a bit too light for some of my lenses but the grip makes it so much easier to hold with these lenses. When I put the 50mm f2 on it the balance was perfect, I am going to guess the 23 or 18 f2 would feel the same as well. The grip is perfect as I have not felt it might slip out of my hand, an uncomfortable distracting feeling I get with a lot of other cameras.

Five-Axis Stabilization

I am enjoying this camera a lot and the image stabilization is a great addition to this price point. I have been able to effectively use it down to 1/10 while holding the camera in a less than desirable position. The only other Fujifilm cameras, aside from the GFX medium format cameras, with five-axis stabilization, are the X-H1 and the X-T4 both larger cameras and the X-H1 is now discontinued. This stabilization system also works in concert with the Fujifilm lens that also has OI ( optical stabilization). As I mentioned earlier this allows me to stay off my tripod much further into the evening than ever before. In artificial lighting situation, a lot more tripod free night photography is now possible, freeing me up to concentrate on the scene unfolding around me.

What are you Missing?

Having compared it favourably with the X-T4, you may be asking what has been removed to create the X-S10. The two biggest differences are the lack of weather sealing and a second card slot on the X-S10. To some, this may be a deal-breaking but having shot with a number of cameras with two slots I have rarely used the second slot as modern SD cards are more reliable and have much larger storage. I have still used an X100f and an X-E3 neither of them have weather sealing and this has not been problematic for me (both have single SD slots). I imagine most photographers are reluctant to expose their equipment to weather where sealing is needed. Some landscape photographers shooting in hostile climates or venturing into the surf with their tripod will likely want the weather sealing.

The following are some of the key differences:

Stabilisation lens limitation5 stopsUp to 6 stops with some lenses and 5-5.5 with others
CIPA6.5 stops6 stops
LCD screen dots1,040,0001,620,000
Viewfinder magnification.931.16
Viewfinder resolution2,360,0003,690,000
Minimum shutter speed900 sec30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/4000 sec1/8000 sec
Built in flashYes, 7 mNo
Flash sync speed1/180 sec1/250 sec
Video FormatsMpeg-4, H.264Mpeg-4, H.264, H.265
Modes4 additional modes
SD Storageone UHS-I slottwo UHS-II slots
Weather Sealing noyes
Battery Life325500
For a more detail comparison click here


This is an excellent value for money when you consider you are getting the same image quality as the $2300 CAD X-T4 for $1350 CAD. Unless you are shooting in inclement weather lack of weather resistance should not an issue. Although the resolution of the LCD and EVF is lower, and there are higher quality LCDs and EVFs on the market, which may be important for some photographers, this resolution works for me. I am more concerned about the IQ of the camera. Given the reliability of SD cards these days a single slot should not be a problem for most photographers except perhaps some videographers, or wedding photographers.

This may not be a flagship camera with all the bells and whistles but it does have excellent image quality, great ergonomics and is easy to use. The price is very attractive, and they have not removed anything that would impact image quality. It should appeal to both amateur and experienced photographers.



With thanks to Rob Will for the care he took in assisting me with this article, you can find his site at www.robertwill.com.