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

The Fujifilm FinePix X-S1 faces the competition

Fujifilm FinePix X-S1 vs. Fujifilm FinePix X10: the same sensor?

In our tests on the X-S1, we see results that are extremely close to those for the X10. With just one single point between the two DxOMark Scores, the difference is insignificant, and the closeness of the scores certainly leads one to believe that the same 2/3" 12 Mpix CMOS sensor is at the heart of both of these Fuji-X cameras. Fuji has intelligently reused the same sensor in two cameras that are polar opposites to one another: on the one hand, a fairly bulky bridge with a powerful lens; and on the other, a more conventionally ergonomic expert compact endowed with a 4x focal range, bright wide-angle lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.0.

Fujifilm X-S1 vs. FinePix F600 EXR

Unsurprisingly, the X-51’s bigger but lower-resolution sensor turns in a performance that is a notch higher than the Finepix F600 EXR’s backlit 1/2.3" 16Mpix CMOS sensor:

  • Color depth: 1 bit more
  • Dynamic range: 1/2EV
  • Low-light ISO: 1/2EV

But these results are still fairly flattering for the FinePix F600EXR, which acquits itself very well on the DxOMark test bench: it is far from being truly outclassed by the X-S1 despite the differences in sensor size and resolution.

Fujifilm FinePix X S1 vs. Canon PowerShot S100: 1/2EV more sensitive

Slightly larger, but on the same order as the 1/1.7" Canon S100 sensor (the benchmark for large-sensor light compacts), the Fujifilm X-S1’s 2/3" CMOS sensor takes the lead with a low-light sensitivity score that is 1/2EV ahead — a significant difference attributable to its larger sensor surface size. Portrait and Landscape scores are very close.

Fujifilm FinePix X S1 vs. Canon PowerShot S100: SNR

But keep in mind that we are comparing the sensors of two cameras with radically-opposed design philosophies here: on one side, the Canon S100 is a compact APN equipped with a 5x lens (24-120mm); on the other side, we have a much heavier and bulkier bridge camera equipped with an ambitious 26x lens, and with more carefully thought-out ergonomics — less like a compact, but with a user interface similar to another large-sensor expert compact, the Canon G12.

Fujifilm FinePix X S1 vs. Sony NEX-5N

Given the difference in sensor sizes (the NEX-5N’s is more than four times larger than the X-S1’s), there is nothing astonishing about Sony’s compact hybrid flattening the Fuji in all categories:

  • Color depth: +3.2 bits
  • Dynamic range: +1.5EV
  • Low-light ISO: +2.3EV

However, from a strictly functional point of view, there are no Sony E lenses capable of covering the X-S1’s focal range amplitude (between 24mm and 624mm).

Fujifilm FinePix X S1 vs. Sony NEX-5N: SNR
Fujifilm FinePix X S1 vs. Sony NEX-5N: Dynamic Range

Fujifilm X-S1 vs Canon PowerShot G1 X

As you can see from the comparative test scores, both cameras’ sensor results are not as different as one might expect in terms of dynamic range.  The G1 X is ahead of X-S1 in terms of color depth, with a noticeable 1.3-bit advantage to the Canon. There is also an area in which the 2/3" sensor of the X-S1 cannot compete with the sensor of the Canon G1 X: low-light sensitivity. The Canon G1 X is 2.5EV better under low-light and that will be obvious on the high ISO images of both cameras. Low-light performance is clearly the main asset of Canon's premium compact camera.

Fujifilm X-S1 vs Canon PowerShot G1 X: SNR