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Fujifilm XS-10: Review



Image Quality

Fujifilm's XS-10 uses Fuji's excellent and soon to be classic and legendary 26mp backside illuminated X-Trans sensor paired with Fuji's fast and powerful X-Processor 4, the same imaging sensor and pipeline as Fuji's Xpro3, X-T3, and X-T4, etc. In other words, Fuji's best so far. And it truly is class leading.



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A word about the X-Trans sensor. It's taken me years to come to appreciate what Fuji has done, but now that I understand it and have adapted to it, I have trouble when I go back to a bog standard Bayer array sensor like on most all other digital cameras. The X-Trans advantages are much more than just moire mitigation. The colors and organic feel of the images is subtle but transformative. It allows the APS-c based Fuji cameras to punch way above their class in terms of image quality and output. The Fuji market share is growing in time when most other manufacturers are losing their shorts, so I can't be the only one who appreciates the revolutionary Fuji X-Trans IQ. A lot of people balk because Adobe products don't play nice with Fuji: that's on Adobe, not Fuji. My non Adobe products workflow is the best I've ever used with either X-Trans or Bayer, and is totally X-Trans friendly, bringing out the best in the X-Trans. I use Fuji's own Silkypix based Raw converter which is free to only convert my raw files, no post processing or changes just a conversion to a 16 bit Tiff and then bring that Tiff into Affinity Photo ($25 USD on sale.) But I only do this when I need to do serious post processing, a lot of the time I just use Fuji's excellent Jpegs with the Fuji industry exclusive film simulations already applied. This sensor and processor create the best APS-c image quality of any camera made right now, it is the industry leader.

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Film Simulations

All the new ones are here. Classic Negative, Eterna, Eterna Bleach Bypass (? - whatever) Classic Chrome, Across, Velvia, Provia, Astia etc. I mostly use Eterna for video, and Velvi\a, Provia and Astia for Landscapes and personal work. Acros is fun as well. All of these are easily customized for shadow and highlight tones as well as clarity and sharpness. You can dial this camera (and most Fuji's) to shoot exactly what you want in camera and produce a stunning jpeg, or bases for Raw conversion. A nice addition is the brief information and history of the film in which the simulations are based on by hitting the Q button when in the film simulation selection menu. It's probably very helpful for those unfortunate individuals who were born after the era of film and have no idea what actual Velvia or Provia was like...


The Camera

$995 USD puts the Fujifilm XS-10 pretty square in the middle of entry level pricing, but feature wise it's much more than an entry level camera. The design seems to be an attempt by Fujifilm to make a camera that's less traditionally “Fuji,” and more appealing to the mass market: namely DSLR users who are tired of putting on their glasses every time they want to chimp their image having to look at the rear LCD, not being able to see the diopter corrected information or image in their electronic viewfinder because DSLR's aint got one...

One thing most DSLR's have is lots of dials. The XS-10 doesn't disappoint here, they're all there. Front, back and even a dial to the left of the EVF, all unmarked and fully customizable. This camera is almost ridiculously customizable to the point of being overwhelming. I would recommend new users to just use the camera as is and change stuff when and as the need arises. But more experienced users will find that after a little use the camera easily becomes their own as they get things set up exactly the way they like to work. Fuji has really done an excellent job, accomplishing something that most other manufacturers make a complete hash of. Listening to your customers and caring about what your doing actually pays off in the long run. Well done Fuji.

The XT cameras have a retro vibe going on and when you get used to it, it's a fast and intuitive interface and way of working (just like most film cameras used to be.) But the XS-10 is a more modern DSLR design but with Fuji's ultimate customization and careful thought to the interface as value added: in a word brilliant.


There's a big grip like the XH-1, but it's still a small camera. My pinky does kind of hang off the end. It doesn't bother me, but some people don't like that. I have an L bracket which extends it a bit and is more comfortable overall, I just take the “L” part off because for video I don't need it (you don't shoot vertical videos too often) and it doesn't play nice with the fully articulated screen. But without the L bracket I still find the camera VERY comfortable to hold.

There are three possible customizable choices across the top if someone were so inclined to use back button focus. I don't, those who do seem to be understandable picky about that buttons placement. Fuji's has made it so that most everyone should find the “perfect” placement option for them. Amazing.

Inside the grip we have Fuji's 126 battery turned sideway along with a UHS-I SD card slot. The 235 battery would have been better, but the 126 is not really a problem. I have 12 of them and they are cheap and plentiful. They are small and light and I usually carry 3-4 spares. No big deal. It would have been nice to start switching over to the new battery though. The SD card in the battery grip is not ideal either, and there's only one, and it's UHS-I, but at this price point it doesn't limit what this cameras was intended for, or performance in any way. It's not like the Sony A7C where the card slot is bizarrely on the left side of the camera, which is just weird.

And there's also a very usable pop up flash, cool.

The Lenses

A camera is only as good as it's lens system, and here is where Fujifilm's commitment to APS-c puts them way ahead of the competition. The worst lens Fuji makes is just good. Most are great. None are bad. They tend to be pro level build quality at consumer prices. When they used to run sales all the time they were absolute bargains. At full retail pricing they are value for money, built for the long haul and with excellent image quality. Not attributes most digital products imbue these days. Charlene Winfred's XPro1 and 35mm 1.4 is a testament to that! And being a mirrorless system almost any vintage lens can be mounted and used with a cheap adapter.

Sport and Action

8 frames per second, 30 frames per second with electronic shutter sports mode all with auto focus. It's mostly the X-T4's AF system which is Fuji's current best right now. Tracking is decent and so is eye AF, and very usable, but just a hair behind the Canon and Sony's. But Fuji is still coming on strong and we might be just a firmware update away from industry leading AF. I'd be surprised if there are not a lot of Fuji engineers racking overtime working on doing just that. In the meantime, it's very capable and usable if you do your part.

Fuji has shrunk the IBIS

As small and thin as the XS-10 is there is a totally current and capable IBIS unit inside. (In Body Image Stabilization, up to 6 stops) The fact that the XS-10 is so thin and has IBIS in it kinda points to the future Xpro4 as definitely having IBIS, but we'll see on that one. This XS-10 works great with the f2 “Fujichron” prime lenses as they don't have any in lens image stabilization like my main zooms do; the 10-24/18-55/55-200. It's a welcome addition for the small f2 primes and also means that more tripod-less landscapes are possibly doable in the future. And of course there's IBIS with video which is match made in hybrid camera heaven.

As mentioned before there's a fully articulated screen which makes total sense on this camera and is a great choice for it. The video specs are why, this is a great hybrid video/still camera and excells in that roll. Anything other than a fully articulated screen would have been a mistake. It's not ideal for still as it doesn't play nice with L brackets but other than that it's almost mandatory for the solo content creator or serious video enthusiast. It's a decent 1 million dot screen, same as on the X-T3, and clear and usable. Not as buttery and luscious as the 1.6 million dots on the X-T4 and Xpro 3, but totally serviceable. And while were talking about dots, the EVF is a pretty bog standard 2.6 million dots with decent but not exceptional magnification. It's usable with no apparent issues or foibles. If you were constantly switching between an X-T3 or X-T4 and an XS-10 at a wedding for instance you might start to notice it's not as good, but otherwise it's fine, just not Fuji's best, but better than some other camera companies which are not as good and have some very noticeable usability defects.


Video

Eterna profile – 4K/30 – 1080P/120 - HDMI port gets you 4:2:2 10 bit - It's 8 bit recording for in camera video. The mic jack is the standard 3.5mm, no adapter needed and is not in the way when you articulate the screen to the forward position. 30 minutes of 4K recording time, overheating shouldn't be much of an issue, decent performance. There's front and rear customizable tally lights.

The video auto focus has face and eye detect that work very well for the most part. Occasionally the XS-10 gets confused and it's annoying, but generally it's all usable. Again, were really only a firmware update away from from best in the industry AF performance. It feels like the hardware is capable but the software hasn't been fully perfected. Fuji is so close and I'm sure working very hard on this as I write this.

The video IBIS works a treat for static subjects and handheld. Walking or panning can still be a bit jittery/jerky, again a firmware tweak is probably still needed to smooth things out a bit and equal or exceed what other cameras are capable of like the Olympus EM-1 mark II/III, etc.

But the negatives are really picking at very small nits in what is in it's totally probably the best all around hybrid video camera made (other than the Fujifilm X-T4) and especially for the price. It pretty much a hybrid video shooters/solo content creators wish list made into a camera.

In Summation

It's a brilliant hybrid camera. There's no weather sealing if that's important. It's $700 USD cheaper than the Fujifilm X-T4. It's a formidable package in it's own right with extreme levels of customization and very friendly ergonomics. It's a great one camera does it all option for the beginner or enthusiast or an excellent 2nd back up stills camera to an X-T3 or X-T4 and main video camera for the solo content photographer creator, which is how I use it. I also use it as my everyday walk around camera EDC, replacing my XPro3 (which I still use when I specifically want the “rangefinder” experience.) The inclusion of IBIS makes a huge difference when I'm not bringing a tripod (EDC) and want to only bring my 16/23/35/50 small primes.

Fuji X-Trans cameras require a bit of investment and faith because they are not like anything else, but in the end, I find them to offer image and video quality I have not been able to get out of any other digital camera. Maybe it's my ongoing love affair with large format film that makes me able to appreciate the Fuji IQ? I do know that the Fuji's produce the most “analogue” looking digital images I've ever produced, and that's as high a praise I can give to a digital camera...

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