Fujifilm X-S1 Digital Camera Review$799.95
Ease of Use
- Automatic Features
- Buttons & Dials
- Effects, Filters, and Scene Modes
- Instruction Manual
Like many higher-end Fujifilm models, the X-S1 has both a standard auto mode as well as EXR auto mode, which switches to one of the system's alternative capture and processing techniques.
EXR mode is the best way to approach automatic shooting with the X10; the shots generally turn out cleaner, sharper, and with a more balanced dynamic range than they do out of the standard auto mode, and they never look worse. The High ISO & Low Noise and D-Range Priority modes do chop the resolution down to 6 megapixels, which is low by current standards but still dense enough for decently large prints.
Buttons & Dials
The X-S1 has an excellent control scheme. The layout feels as natural as a DSLR, with plenty of dedicated and direct-access controls, as well as two assignable function (Fn) keys.
Just about all of the most commonly adjusted shooting options have a dedicated key: ISO, white balance, metering, autofocus, EV compensation, burst mode, self-time, flash, movie mode, RAW, EVF/LCD toggle, AF/AE lock, playback, and macro mode. There's a focus-mode switch on the front panel as well, which makes it very convenient to switch modes. It's great for hands-on shooters. Auto-shooters can just flip the mode dial to Auto or EXR and ignore everything else, but that's wasting the potential.
Effects, Filters, and Scene Modes
The X-S1 is a no-fun, all business camera. Just kidding—but seriously, it has no picture effects or digital filters, which is uncommon these days. It does offer a healthy selection of scene modes, as well as a handful of "advanced" modes.
The menu system is typical Fujifilm fare, pretty much identical to the system in the HS20EXR/HS30EXR and X10. The key difference is that playback-related menus have green tabs now, while shooting modes have red and blue tabs.
Per usual, the menu system is tiered by category (shooting, playback, and setup), with multiple pages in each category. The setup menu, for example, is six pages, and includes options for everything from image stabilization to screen brightness to RAW shooting to card formatting.
No "quick" or "function" menus here. That's fine by us, because instead we get a boatload of direct-access keys, covering white balance, ISO, autofocus, auto exposure, drive mode, exposure compensation, video recording, and playback mode, plus two assignable function (Fn) keys. Almost all of the most commonly adjusted are accounted for, so a quick menu would be redundant. The access-heavy controls scheme should keep most users out of main menu, which is great, since it's relatively clunky.
The X-S1 ships with a full, printed user's manual. That shouldn't be a surprise with an $800 camera, but we've reviewed a few that only include a quick-start guide and a CD with a PDF version of the manual. Good work, Fuji.