Fujifilm FinePix X-S1 review: an expert compact performance from a bridge-format camera

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Camera Review
Introduction | Fujifilm FinePix X-S1 Sensor performance | Fujifilm FinePix X-S1 Versus Competition | Conclusion
Fujifilm FinePix X-S1

The Fujifilm FinePix X-S1 belongs to the Fuji X family of premium cameras, which are characterized by high-end specifications, high-quality optics, and an exemplary finish. The Fujifilm X-S1 offers a 26x lens that covers an ideal 24-684mm focal range. Its maximum aperture is quite generous for a bridge (f/2.8–5.6) and its optical formula incorporates four aspherical lens elements and two UD glass elements. In the field, photographers will appreciate its manual zoom ring. The Fuji X-S1 differs from all its competitors with its 2/3" CMOS sensor, slightly larger than the biggest (1/1.7") sensor for expert compacts (Olympus XZ-1, Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5, Canon PowerShot S100), and 50% bigger than the usual 1/2.3" bridge sensors.

With a DxOMark Overall score of 49, the Fujifilm X-S1 takes the 140th position in the DxOMark camera sensor score database. The Fujifilm X-S1 gets better results than a lot of ambitious cameras, like the Olympus XZ-1, the Panasonic LX-5, or the Samsung EX-1 — cameras aimed at true photo enthusiasts.

The X-S1’s Portrait score (20.4 bits, ranked 139th) lines up with its Overall score.

With a Landscape score of 11.2EV (87th), the X-S1 achieves a wider dynamic range than its Overall score might lead one to think. (And for this score, we did not take into account the camera’s DR EXR mode.)
Even though its low-light score of ISO 216 fits right in with its overall score (the X-S1’s rank is 140th for both scores), the X-S1’s relatively poor low-light score should be taken into account by those desiring to take sport action shots and to work in dim light. Yet if you absolutely want to buy a bridge camera, the X-S1 is the best-ranked for low-light score.

Fujifilm FinePix X-S1

EXR operation

The Fuji X-S1 sensor operates differently depending on shooting conditions (priority resolution, sensitivity, or dynamic range). This is part of the EXR system that Fujifilm developed (see details here).

EXR in other Fuji cameras has been lauded for its efficiency in DR (dynamic range) mode, but we cannot validate its real impact here because EXR mode is not available for manual exposure.