Why Fujifilm Is About More Than Just Dials – My Fujifilm X-S10 Review
Welcome to my review of the Fujifilm X-S10 for the Fuji X Mount.
As always I purchased this gear with my own money, I have no sponsor and there are no affiliate links on this site. If you’d like to listen to an audio version of this review, you can find that below.
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Earlier in the year I picked up an X-S10 which is my first Fujifilm body ever.
When I own any camera gear, I generally prefer to sell it before it’s replaced to make the most of the resale value. I owned a Canon EOS M50 Mark II and was tempted by the X-S10 for some time but never had enough reason to make the swap for my APSC kit.
This all changed once the R10 and R7 were announced. Although Canon have stated they still have room in their lineup for the EOS-M mount (which they rightfully should), it’s a pretty safe guess to say this will only be the case until the APSC RF lens lineup is more filled out.
Because of this, I felt it was time to make my move so I sold all my EF-M gear and picked up the X-S10 along with the Fujifilm XF 23mm f/1.4 R LM WR lens.
Now I’m not your typical Fuji user as I don’t like aperture rings, manual dials or vintage looking cameras. This may sound strange and you’re probably wondering why I even got a Fuji to begin with.
If you read any forums the general consensus is that if you love manual controls then Fuji is the brand for you but there’s honestly more to Fuji than manual dials and here’s my reasons.
The Film Presets Save Time
This is something you always see Fuji users rave about but it’s hard to understand how great they are unless you actually give them a try. You may be thinking to yourself “I don’t care about film or presets”, but I was someone who would have previously said that statement until I tried them.
Essentially, they let you customize how your images will look using controls like a tone curve, adjusting the RGB volumes of the white balance, adding grain and also choosing from some already predetermined presets like Velvia, Provia and Cinema. Now all cameras have something like this in terms of profiles which you see on Canon such as Standard, Portrait, Fine Detail etc.
The difference between these and Fuji is the latter actually lets you use them as camera profiles in Lightroom. This is a huge deal as your image will look like the JPEG, rather than like your typical flat RAW. Below is an example with the left image being the SOOC RAW ignoring the film preset, the SOOC RAW image when you use the film preset and then the SOOC JPEG.
As you can see the RAW using the film preset looks pretty much like the JPEG. From there you just need to make whatever adjustments you like (if any) and you’re done.
The fact you can really customize this in camera means you can get a great idea of what the final image may look like and for many, you won’t really need to edit your images at all aside from maybe some light adjustments.
I do notice with Fuji the RAW files are much softer compared to the JPEG’s so sharpening is something you’d likely need at a minimum.
The Huge Range of Lenses
As Fuji was focused on APSC only for so long until releasing their medium format line, they have a very nice range of lenses.
This is now going to grow even more with Fuji opening their mount up to third parties. If you look at just first party options, Fuji honestly have most focal lengths covered and offer multiple options for you to choose from.
If we look at third party options, there was already a large range of manual focus lenses but now Tamron are releasing their 11-20mm f/2.8, 17-70mm and hopefully more in the not-too-distant future.
Sigma aren’t letting Tamron have all the fun though as they also released their trinity of fast primes (16mm, 30mm and 56mm) with their 18-50mm f/2.8 standard zoom coming soon which is a lens I intend to buy.
These may not tickle everyone’s pickles as they keep their original design and don’t add aperture rings but for someone like me that isn’t a concern. So far, I’ve only had the chance to purchase the Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN (which I also owned in EF-M mount) which I’m finding works really well on the X-S10.
Keeping Up With the Competition
As I’d never used a Fuji body before and didn’t know too much about them, I was quite surprised at some of the features they have.
When shooting with my Sony camera I love the Zebra highlight warnings which I really wish Canon would add to their new RF mount bodies. While setting up the X-S10, I was very pleasantly surprised when I seen them as an option.
Now you may think, “but my Canon body has this, I just need to go into playback mode and can see them there?”. The way they are implemented on Fuji and Sony is different as you see them live while shooting so it’s much more convenient and really helps you prevent any highlights from being clipped while still getting as much shadow detail as possible.
Sadly, Fuji don’t have a bulb timer but they do allow shutter speeds longer than 30 seconds which is great for those of us who like long exposures. This allows you to simply trigger the exposure and it will end at the set time rather than having to keep your hand on a trigger or anything like that.
Their app also works pretty well if you need to copy over images to your phone or use it as a remote trigger. I do find connectivity to be quite good with the app as well and it does connect a bit faster/easier compared to other brands but that may just be me.
Although not a feature on the X-S10, newer bodies like the X-H2 also include animal Eye-AF and some vehicle tracking too. This shows Fuji does try to keep up as much as they can and aren’t in a small bubble like some would let you believe.
Another thing to mention which was controversial is the fact Fuji now makes cameras with a PASM dial. Some see this as betrayal and straying too far from their roots but having these bodies opens them up to new customers like myself who don’t like all manual controls.
One last point is the sensor and IBIS. For a camera at this price point, having a BSI sensor with IBIS is such great value. You are getting the X-T4 sensor for a much cheaper price and only missing out on a few features.
Now when it comes to the downsides, many will likely not agree but these are my personal annoyances.
The first thing is the lack of a Bluetooth remote. From what I’ve found as of writing the only options are either wired remote triggers or something from JJC like the RR-100 that uses the remote trigger port (which I believe the X-S10 needs an additional adapter to use), which has the receiver that needs to be plugged into the camera and a trigger for that receiver. For me wired are not ideal and the JJC one needing additional adapters is a hassle too.
You have both the Canon BR-E1 and Sony RMT-P1BT which both work really well and are used over Bluetooth. On certain Canon/Sony bodies you also have Infrared remotes which you can get for really cheap of eBay and Amazon. These are also not available on Fuji. Since the X-S10 does have Bluetooth, I really hope they make a proper wireless remote in the not too distant future
The next issue I have is with the autofocus on the X-S10 which I believe is similar to many other Fuji bodies. Although not as bad as what you may think, it certainly doesn’t match the competition in many ways.
Eye-AF for example has a tendency to find eyes or even faces in places they don’t exist such as couches, walls and other strange items. This can be really annoying when you want it to focus on something, but it keeps initiating on Eye-AF for no reason. In terms of accuracy and tracking, the camera does a decent job, but I do find my old Canon EOS M50 Mark II managed to not only track better but was also much more accurate for Eye AF.
I did notice some images that my Sony or Canon bodies would never miss (like someone standing static) the Fuji would have more trouble with and I had less keepers. Technique and being used to how other brands AF works could create some user error, but I do find with Canon/Sony you can just put the camera in Wide AF area and it will know what to focus on without any input.
This is also quite lens dependent. I found the Sigma 56mm or the Fuji XF 23mm f/1.4 R LM WR for example focused significantly better than the Fujifilm XF 27mm pancake lens which would struggle with even simple tasks. It’s also worth noting that I mainly shoot in AF-C and not AF-S as I personally find keeper rates to be much higher that way.
The last and minor annoyance would be the lens designs. With Canon RF lenses they don’t have aperture rings and instead have a Control Ring which you can pretty much customize to whatever you like or disable it altogether. This is much more useful compared to Fuji’s plain aperture ring which has the one limited functionality.
Many love Fujifilm for their manual controls so would disagree with me on this but I just like the added functionality. I wouldn’t say it’s a full negative having one, just not a full positive.
All About the Images
Here is a collection of images taken with the X-S10 along with lenses including the Fuji XF 23mm f/1.4 R WR LM and Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN lens
The Fujifilm X-S10 offers a very affordable gateway into the Fuji ecosystem for those who want something similar to other brands (PASM dial) with all the features that make Fujifilm what they are (film simulations and excellent rage of APSC lenses). You may feel limited in some situations when it comes to AF tracking although this will all be forgotten when you bear witness to the image quality this camera gives you in return.
What I like
- Image quality & dynamic range
- Colors and film presets
- Size and weight
What I don’t Like
- Autofocus tracking could be better
- Lack of dedicated Bluetooth remote
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