Fujifilm designed the X-S10 with the younger generation in mind. Why? Because Fujifilm believed that the retro design of cameras like the X-T series may have been putting off those who are new to photography. So is the sleek and modern Fujifilm X-S10 more than just a pretty face? Let’s find out.
I’ve had the Fujifilm X-S10 in for review for a few weeks now. I have put the camera through its paces to see what this mini X-T4 can do and to see if the radical design changes Fujifilm has implemented make a huge difference to the user experience. Read on to find out more.
- Small lightweight body
- 5-axis IBIS
- Functional design
- Fully articulating screen
- Good autofocus
- Great image quality
- Fantastic price
- Terrible buffer
- UHS-I only
- No weather sealing
- Mediocre battery life
Fujifilm X-S10 — Technical specifications
All of the technical specifications for the Fujifilm X-S10 have been taken from the product listing page at B&H Photo:
- 26.1MP APS-C X-Trans sensor
- 5-Axis IBIS
- 4K at 30 fps, Full HD at 240 fps
- 425-point hybrid AF system
- 2.36m-dot 0.62x OLED EVF
- Battery life: Approx 325 shots
- 3.0″ 1.04m-Dot Vari-Angle Touchscreen
- Mechanical shutter: Up to 8 fps
- Electronic shutter: Up to 20 fps
- Operating temperature: 14 to 104°F / -10 to 40°C
- Weight: 415 g / 0.91lbs (body), 465 g /1.02lbs (body with battery and memory)
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 5 x 3.4 x 2.6″ / 126 x 85.1 x 65.4 mm
Fujifilm X-S10 — Ergonomics and build quality
Despite its small size, the Fujifilm X-S10 is ergonomically sound. The first thing you’ll notice is the large, deep grip. Grab it and you’ll find that there’s plenty of space between the grip and the lens so your fingers won’t get jammed.
The indent to rest your finger in the grip is nicely placed, and the grip is large enough that your pinky won’t dangle off the bottom. The thumb rest on the rear of the camera combined with the large grip makes the X-S10 a delight to hold.
The top panel is simple. There’s the main mode dial, a dial that controls film simulations, a shutter speed dial, an ISO and a quick menu button, a record button and the on/off switch. The rear of the camera is dominated by the three-inch touch screen. Two buttons flank the EVF to the left. They control drive modes and playback.
Two buttons to the right control AEL and AF/ON. There’s a joystick to the right of the fully articulating LCD, which is a nice touch, and then you’ll find the menu and back buttons.
Fujifilm has done a nice job with the ergonomics here. The X-S10 looks clean, simple, modern and approachable. It feels great in the hand.
The body of the X-S10 is made from magnesium alloy. When the dials are turned and the buttons are pressed there’s nice feedback. The hinge that enables the screen to articulate is plastic but it feels robust, and the faux leatherette texturing is nice as well.
The Fujifilm X-S10 is one of the most well-built entry to mid-range cameras I have used. I have taken it with me on numerous shoots and it has held up to everything I have put it through. However, there’s one caveat — there’s no weather sealing.
Fujifilm sells this camera as a non-weather-sealed model so I have not tested it in the rain or inclement weather, and I do not recommend that you do either. This is one of the biggest disappointments when it comes to the Fujifilm X-S10. I understand needing to create a gap between it and the X-T4, but Fujifilm could have put at least some weather sealing into this body. As long as you don’t tempt fate by using it during bad weather, the X-S10 should last you a long time.
Fujifilm X-S10 — Ease of use
The Fujifilm X-S10 is an easy camera to approach and use. The new modern design that ditches the vintage dials should appeal to photographers who are picking up their first dedicated camera. The vari-angle touch screen makes capturing images at odd angles easy and it lends itself well to hybrid creators who intend to use this camera for videography projects and vlogs.
The menu system that Fujifilm uses is a little antiquated but it does the job. Menus are laid out logically and are easy to navigate. It would be nice if it was touch-friendly though. The Fujifilm film simulation dial is nice. It makes switching between JPEG film profiles easy. The dial, along with several other buttons can also be reassigned to different functions, so you can set up the camera to work for you.
The EVF isn’t the best out there. However, the 2.36 million dot display gets the job done. It’s clear and easy to see. You can increase the refresh rate by using boost mode but it comes at a cost to battery life. The 3-inch LCD is a touch screen. You can use it to focus, take photos and you can use swipe gestures to perform actions. Those coming from a smartphone to this camera will appreciate that functionality. You can make the X-S10 as easy or as complex to use as you wish. It’s a camera that a photographer could grow with.
The IBIS system in the X-S10 is quite fantastic. It’s 30% smaller than the IBIS system in the X-T4 and it provides six stops of compensation compared to the 6.5 stops in the X-T4. However, you can still handhold this camera down to one second with good technique. Not many people walk around shooting with the shutter set to one second, but it’s nice to know you can do it if you want to.
During real-world use, the IBIS system allows you to keep your ISO lower and use slower shutter speeds. It will also make lenses without stabilization easier to use. It’s great to see a camera in this price range have such a good IBIS system.
Buffer performance and battery life
The Fujifilm X-S10 is capable of shooting eight RAW frames per second using the mechanical shutter and 20 RAW frames per second using the electronic shutter. The weak link, though is that Fujifilm decided to use a UHS-I card slot.
Fujifilm RAW (RAF) files are 60MB in size, so the buffer fills up quickly. When you combine this with SD cards that have slower write speeds you get a major bottleneck. When shooting in bursts I would get 17 images captured before the buffer was full. It would then, on average, take one minute fifteen seconds before the card finished writing. If you plan on using this camera to capture a lot of bursts you’ll be disappointed.
Battery life is also subpar. From a full charge, (charging is done in-camera via USB-C) the battery icon turned red after 287 shots. This is without using boost mode and with minimal chimping. Adding features like IBIS is all well and good but when you choose to use old battery tech that was already questionable when it came to its performance, that’s an issue. Be prepared to carry extra batteries with you.
Fujifilm X-S10 — Autofocus performance
Autofocus performance is satisfactory. In single point and single shot modes, autofocus performance is fast and accurate. There are 425 autofocus points to choose from which makes it easy to capture what you want. You’re not going to have any issues in good or low-light situations.
The X-S10 has issues when it comes to continuous focus and tracking. When using continuous focus, the camera regularly lost the subject I was tracking. During bursts, my keeper rate was only around 70%. However, human face detection and eye AF worked well. So, for photographers who shoot portraits, documentary photography or street, you’ll find the autofocus performance is good enough. Action photographers, look elsewhere.
Fujifilm X-S10 — Image quality
Image quality is the same as the X-T4, which is to say, it’s very good. The X-S10 is capable of producing detail-rich images that boast beautiful colors. It’s not too shabby when it comes to low light performance ether. Let’s break things down further.
The Fujifilm X-S10 offers good performance when it comes to dynamic range. In practice, you’ll find that unless you over or underexpose by ridiculous amounts, you’ll be able to recover and retain plenty of detail. Still, the X-S10 does much better when it comes to recovering shadows over highlights.
As you can see in the comparison tool, shadow recovery is impressive. Modern sensors spoil us with their abilities to shoot and capture detail in challenging conditions and the X-S10 is no exception here. It’s a great performer.
The JPEGs that the Fujifilm X-S10 produces are fantastic. There are 19 film simulations to choose from when you include all of the different Acros and Monochrome modes. Colors are some of the best in the business.
The camera doesn’t apply heavy noise reduction or sharpening. The highlights and shadows are also well controlled. If you want a camera that you can just go out and shoot JPEGs with, the X-S10 is one of the best you can get your hands on.
High ISO performance
The Fujifilm X-S10 does a great job up to ISO 6400. After that, a lot of color noise is introduced. If you like shooting in black and white and can embrace the noise, you’ll have no issues pushing ISO higher. The X-S10 is a solid performer though and it will get you clean detailed images that look great up to ISO 6400.
The Fujifilm X-S10 is a great camera to step up to
For just under $1,000 the Fujifilm X-S10 packs a lot of tech into a small lightweight body. The camera has a vari-angle LCD, a good EVF, IBIS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity for easy image sharing, and, of course, the fantastic 26.1-megapixel X-Trans sensor. The images that come out of the X-S10, both RAWs and JPEGs sing. You’ll not be disappointed. The design of the X-S10 is also pleasing and the controls are easy to learn.
Apart from there being no weather sealing, the X-S10 is a solid camera that should stand up to the rigors of daily (dry) use. Autofocus performance is decent. For hobbyists, amateurs, and those who are just beginning their journey into photography or videography, performance will be just fine. However, I would not recommend the X-S10 to those who do any pro work due to some continuous autofocus issues, poor buffer, and mediocre battery life.
Overall, though, I would recommend (and have recommended) this camera to budding photographers and videographers who want to make the jump up to a more substantial camera over their phone. For under a grand the feature set is excellent.
If you’re ready to step up from your smartphone the Fujifilm X-S10 is a fine option. This camera’s feature set, which includes a 26.1-megapixel sensor, IBIS, a vari-angle touch screen, a good EVF, and multiple 4K video modes is perfect for budding photographers and videographers. At just under $1,000 this well-made camera is an absolute bargain.