Fujifilm X-S10 full review: An image-stabilized camera for (almost) everyone

Introduction

Fujifilm’s X-S10 is a 26MP interchangeable-lens camera that shoots high-quality 4K video and comes with a deep grip and a different, though excellent, control scheme than most other Fujifilm cameras.

The company describes the X-S10 as a cross between the company’s X-T30 and the X-H1 cameras: You get the guts from the former and the design and in-body image stabilization feature (in a new miniaturized form) from the latter. The X-S10 camera is targeted toward users who may have Canon EOS Rebels or lower-end Nikon DSLRs who want something a little more ‘familiar’ than a typical Fujifilm camera. And, with a price of $999 for the body – $100 more than the X-T30 – it’s not necessarily out of reach for that audience.



Key specifications

  • 26MP X-Trans BSI-CMOS sensor
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilization
  • On-sensor phase detection
  • 3″, 1.04M-dot fully articulating touchscreen
  • 2.36M-dot OLED electronic viewfinder
  • 30 fps burst shooting with crop (up to 20 fps without)
  • DCI and UHD 4K capture at up to 30p with F-Log support
  • External mic and headphone sockets
  • 325 shots per charge using LCD
  • USB Power Delivery support
  • Single UHS-I card slot
  • Wi-Fi + Bluetooth
Photo taken with a pre-production X-S10.

ISO 160 | 1/800 sec | F5.6 | XF 16-80mm F4 @ 19mm (28.5mm equiv.)
Photo by Jeff Keller

The X-S10 is very much a blend of the existing X-T30 and X-T4 in terms of specs. You get the same sensor, processor and performance of the X-T4, but with things like the EVF resolution and single, slower SD card slot on par with the X-T30.

You’ll be able to buy the X-S10 in three kits:

Unlike most other Fujifilm cameras, the X-S10 only comes in black.


What’s new and how it compares

Most of the features on the X-S10 are well-established at this point, so in this section we’re going to focus on a few things on this camera that you won’t find on other Fujifilm models.

New IBIS unit

Being a smaller camera, it’s no surprise that the X-T4’s IBIS unit wasn’t going to fit into the X-S10. So, the company designed a new one that is 30% smaller and lighter than the X-T4’s. A new motion sensor makes the unit more efficient, and the X-S10 has a redesigned circuit board that reduces power consumption.

There’s a very small difference in stabilization performance on the X-S10 versus the X-T4: just half a stop. It offers 6 stops of shake reduction on all unstabilized Fujifilm lenses save for the XF 16-55mm F2.8, which weighs in at 5.5 stops. Most stabilized Fujifilm lenses vary from 5.5 to 6 stops, save for the XF 80mm macro, which offers 5 stops. These differences primarily have to do with how much coverage the lens offers outside the sensor area, not necessarily whether the lenses have their own stabilization.

Refined auto and scene modes

Those who stick to auto and scene modes will gain a few new features. The X-S10 now has an ‘auto’ Film Simulation mode which will select between Provia (Standard), Velvia (Vivid) and Astia (Soft) depending on the scene. (Users can still manually select any of the Film Simulation modes offered.) In our testing, the camera seemed to err on the side of selecting Provia, at least with portrait shooting.

Photograph taken on a pre-production camera.

ISO 160 | 1/320 sec | F5.6 | XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 @ 55mm (82.5mm equiv.)
Photo by Jeff Keller

Befitting its mid-range (or ‘more photographer friendly’) status, you can now use any AF area mode in Auto or Scene modes, from spot to zone to wide/tracking. Previous cameras were locked in the ‘wide’ mode.

Lastly, Raw shooting is now available in these modes, rather than the photographer being ‘stuck’ with JPEG.

New joystick functionality

The joystick (officially known as the ‘focus lever’) works a bit differently on the X-S10 than on other Fujifilm models. Now, when you press it inward, it ‘punches in’ to the selected focus point. The clickable rear dials on other Fujifilm models operated this way by default. Simply nudging the stick in any direction allows you to select the focus point, and you can also use the dials to select the focus area mode (single-point, zone, wide/tracking).

You can change the functions of the joystick to a limited extent. Pushing the joystick straight inward will allow you to change the focus area instead of punching in (or you can assign it to do nothing), while nudging it in a direction can only adjust the focus point’s size and position (rather than also allowing you to change the focus mode with the dials).

It can also be assigned to switch between detected faces in a scene if you enable this capability in the menus. It can be found as ‘Setup -> Button/dial setting -> Focus lever setting’. For ’tilt,’ we recommend placing it in Direct AF Point Selection / Face select.’ If you don’t want the camera to be preoccupied with faces in a scene, you simply press in on the joystick, and you can go back to picking your AF area yourself.

Unfortunately, the X-S10 doesn’t remember whether you’ve opted out of the face selection mode in favor of selecting your own point after a power cycle. You’ll need to push the joystick in each time you start up the camera to get out of face selection mode. Still, we like the ability to have all of this available from the AF joystick, instead of requiring a custom button for ‘Face Selection’ as we’ve seen on previous Fujifilm cameras.

Updated Film Simulation mode interface

Now, when you switch Film Simulation modes, which you can do using the top-left dial or the menus, you can press the Q button to see a description of what each mode does, along with an image resembling a classic film box.

Compared to…

The closest competitors to the X-S10 in our opinion are the Nikon Z50, Olympus OM-D E-M5 III and Sony a6600. The Nikon is a bit cheaper, but lacks the in-body image stabilization of the X-S10, E-M5 III and a6600. It’s also worth pointing out that the Olympus and Sony cost a few hundred dollars more than the Fujifilm. (Sony offers the a6400 for less, although again it doesn’t have stabilization.)

Fujifilm X-S10 Nikon Z50 Olympus E-M5 III Sony a6600
MSRP (body) $999 $859 $1199 $1399
Sensor res. 26MP X-Trans 21MP 20MP 24MP
Sensor size APS-C APS-C Micro 4/3 APS-C
Image stab. In-body Lens only In-body In-body
LCD type Fully articulating Tilting Fully articulating Tilting
LCD size/res 3.0″ / 1.04M-dot 3.2″ / 1.04M-dot 3.0″ / 1.04M-dot 3.0″ / 921k-dot
EVF res / mag
(equiv.)
2.36M-dot
0.62x
2.36M-dot
0.68x
2.36M-dot
0.68x
2.36M-dot
0.71x
Built-in flash Yes Yes No No
Burst w/AF 20 fps 11 fps 10 fps 11 fps
Video res. 4K/30p 4K/30p 4K/30p 4K/30p
(1.23x crop)
Log F-Log
(8-bit internal, 10-bit over HDMI)
No OM-Log
(8-bit)
S-Log
(8-bit)
Mic / headphone socket Yes / Yes (with adapter) Yes / No Yes / No Yes / Yes
SD card speed UHS-I UHS-I UHS-II UHS-I
Battery life (LCD) 325 shots 320 shots 310 shots 810 shots
Weight 465g (16.4oz) 450g (16.9oz) 414g (14.6oz) 503g (17.8oz)

Return to index


Body, controls and handling

As mentioned earlier, the overall design of the X-S10 is different than the majority of Fujifilm cameras, though it does resemble the much larger X-H1 from the front, and has similarities with the X-T200 to the left of the grip. Its DSLR-shaped body has a prominent EVF ‘hump’, on which you’ll find the built-in flash, along with a large handgrip.

The X-S10’s build quality is so solid we wondered if it was weather-sealed (unfortunately, it’s not)

The X-S10’s build quality is very solid, to the point where we wondered if it was weather-sealed (it’s not). The only parts that feel plasticky are the two unlabeled dials on the top plate and the door that covers the HDMI and USB ports.

The handgrip is deep and well-designed, and gives you easy access to the front dial and nearby buttons. Controls on the rear plate are fairly sparse, but it feels like the right amount for the camera’s target audience. On the other hand, we found ourselves wishing for a dedicated switch for focus mode, like many other Fujifilm offerings.

Perhaps the most notable thing that differentiates the X-S10 from the X-T30 and X-T4 is that, instead of having dedicated dials for shutter speed and exposure compensation, there’s a traditional mode dial and then customizable command dials for your exposure parameters. While Fujifilm traditionalists may scream in horror, the switch to a mode dial is part of the company’s outreach to beginners and upgraders from DSLRs who seek something more familiar.

The LCD and electronic viewfinder specs are unremarkable for this class. The former is 3″ in size and has a resolution of 1.04 million dots. The usual touchscreen features are here: you can tap to focus, change menu options and swipe through photos you’ve taken. The OLED viewfinder has 2.36 million dots, a magnification of 0.62x and a refresh rate of up to 100 fps in ‘Boost’ mode: the same as on the X-T30.

‘Boost’ mode takes the viewfinder up to 100fps

The camera doesn’t have the clever ‘slider’ interface when you’re browsing through Film Simulation modes, and there aren’t any selfie modes like you’ll find on the (lower-end) X-T200 and X-A7.

The X-S10 also has Fujifilm’s standard Auto ISO behavior, giving you three sets of ISO ranges you can customize, each with a minimum shutter speed threshold. There is an ‘auto’ setting for the shutter speed, but it only allows for 1/focal length speeds, with no option to bias it faster or slower.

The X-S10 uses the same NP-126S battery as the X-T30, and not the higher capacity NP-W235 pack found on the X-T4. The official CIPA battery life is 325 shots per charge when using the LCD. Unless you’re using Wi-Fi a lot, you’ll likely do quite a bit better. The camera can be charged and operated over its USB Type-C connector, though to do the latter you’ll need a USB PD compatible power source.

Return to index


Image quality

As a team, we find Fujifilm’s default Provia profile to give pleasing color response across a variety of situations. Out-of-camera JPEG.

ISO 200 | 1/ 60 sec | F2.8 | Fujifilm XF 27mm F2.8
Photo by Carey Rose

Our test scene is designed to simulate a variety of textures, colors and detail types you’ll encounter in the real world. It also has two illumination modes to see the effect of different lighting conditions.

As you might expect given its sensor and processor, the Fujifilm X-S10 turns in essentially identical image quality to the higher-end X-T4. That means that Raw detail capture is solid against its 24MP peers. Noise levels at higher ISO values also look great, but we do think there might be a bit of noise reduction going on that is helping to tamp down on some chroma noise.

JPEG color looks excellent as well, with pleasing yellow tones that are free of green-tinge and blues are mostly free of magenta. Fujifilm’s JPEGs don’t give you quite as much fine detail as Sony’s a6600 at lower ISO values, but at higher ISO values it puts up a good show of detail while tamping down on distracting noise.

Dynamic Range

The Fujifilm X-S10 has plenty of dynamic range for most purposes. The out-of-camera JPEG of this image showed nearly white-clipped sky in the top left corner, and pitch-black lake reflections on the right side of the frame. These were easily recoverable once the Raw file was pulled into Photoshop. You can also make some of these edits in-camera, as well as fine-tune the JPEGs.

ISO 160 | 1/200 sec | F5 | Fujifilm XF 27mm F2.8 | Processed in Adobe Camera Raw
Photo by Carey Rose

The Fujifilm X-S10’s dynamic range is, again, identical to the X-T4. The sensor has what’s called a ‘dual gain design’. This means that at very low ISOs, you get maximum dynamic range, and at higher ISO values, starting at ISO 800, you get a little less total dynamic range but you also get less shadow noise. As we’d expect, this means the lower ISO settings are a touch noisier, when lightened, compared to this better-optimized mode.

That said, the brightened ISO 160 image isn’t dramatically noisier than the native ISO 3200 result. This suggests that in its low gain setting, the camera isn’t adding too much noise to the images. This means you can underexpose an image with the purpose of using a low ISO to preserve highlight information, rather than using a higher ISO setting, without too much of a noise penalty; or you can shoot at ISO 800 mode instead of a higher ISO with essentially no noise cost.

This low amount of read noise means it’s reasonable to reduce exposure and lighten shadows at the time of capture, when you’re shooting high-contrast scenes at base ISO. Overall, the X-S10’s Raw files should give plenty of processing latitude.

Return to index


Autofocus

Unlike many competitors, the Fujifilm X-S10 does not offer an animal-specific AF mode, so this image of a very friendly and patient mallard was made using a single point over the subject’s eye. But also, goodness, ISO 3200 looks mighty good these days. Out-of-camera JPEG.

ISO 3200 | 1/ 320 sec | F5.6 | Fujifilm XF 18-135mm @ 135mm
Photo by Carey Rose

The X-S10’s autofocus system is a match for the X-T4’s. This means that you get a variety of area modes, including a ‘tracking’ mode when using continuous autofocus, which shows the user a green box on the subject the camera is tracking, and the X-S10 lets you position the box in the frame to specify the subject you want to track.

For sports and action, we can’t wholeheartedly recommend the X-S10’s subject tracking

There is also a face and eye detection system that can be enabled or disabled via a custom button. This mode more or less sits on top of your standard AF mode, and should so choose via the menus, you have the option of using the AF joystick to toggle between faces in a scene, or to override the system altogether and give you a standard AF area if you want to focus on a non-human subject in a scene where there are human subjects.

To assess tracking performance, we have a cyclist weave around the frame in a way the camera can’t necessarily predict. As you can see, the Fujifilm X-S10 struggled with hunting in and out of focus, just like we saw on the X-T4. We use the XF 50-140mm F2.8 zoom for this test.

If you’re a sports or action photographer, we can’t wholeheartedly recommend using the X-S10’s tracking. You’ll get better results using a single point or ‘zone’ of autofocus points and follow the action yourself, and you may want to fine-tune the AF custom settings for really unpredictable action. But for casual users, the face / eye detection and subject tracking will likely be effective for most photography.

Return to index


Video

Click or tap the video above to jump to hearing our resident video expert, Jordan Drake, give his take on the X-S10 as a video camera.

The X-S10’s video features are essentially the same as the X-T30’s, but they’re still worth a quick mention.

The camera captures oversampled DCI and UHD 4K video, at frame rates of up to 24p and 30p, respectively. Fujifilm estimates that you can record up to 30 minutes of 4K video, thanks in part to a new heat dispersion system that uses the magnesium alloy front plate as a heat sink. The X-S10 can also capture high speed Full HD video at up to 240 fps.

The magnesium alloy front plate is used as a heat sink to allow longer recording times

As in stills mode, the X-S10 can take advantage of its capable on-sensor phase detection system for face and eye tracking, though unfortunately, this is the only kind of tracking you get in video (you cannot use subject tracking on a non-human subject). As with stills, the camera allows you to quickly switch between faces using the joystick. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be a bit unpredictable and hunt in the middle of your clips, since it doesn’t seem know what to do if it briefly loses the face it was tracking. The in-body image stabilization system is along along for the ride, and shake can be reduced further with electronic IS (which adds a 1.1x crop).

We did find that the stabilization is fantastic for keeping handheld static shots from shaking too much, but it will occasionally fight you a little bit if you’re doing an intentional pan.

Video quality is essentially a match for the X-T30 (and the X-T4 in comparable modes). This means great overall detail capture in 4K, and decent but moiré-prone Full HD capture. Its 4K footage is basically head-and-shoulders above what’s possible on Canon’s EOS M6 Mark II, a little stronger than Nikon’s, and really close to the Sony a6600 (though without the Sony’s very noticeable rolling shutter artifacts).

The camera supports flat F-Log recording for preserving the option to color-grade later, but only captures 8-bit 4:2:0 video internally. For more flexible 10-bit 4:2:2 output, you’ll need an external recorder or the higher-end X-T4, which can record such footage internally. When F-Log is in use, you can turn on the View Assist feature, which gives you a feel for what the footage will look like when graded. The X-S10 also features the Eterna profile, a favorite of video shooters.

To speed things up, you can download LUTs (look-up tables) directly from Fujifilm for both F-Log and Eterna, to get you nearly ready-to-go footage that you can tweak further if you so desire.

One new feature that video shooters may appreciate is that the camera now counts up from zero seconds when recording, rather than counting down from whatever the capacity of the memory card is.

The X-S10 has 3.5mm mic socket, and adds a headphone connector if you attach the included USB dongle. Audio levels can be adjusted, and both wind and low cut filters are available.

Return to index


Conclusion

What we like What we don’t
  • Lovely image quality
  • Excellent grip, comfortable handling
  • Strong video feature set
  • Effective in-body stabilization
  • Compact size, good build quality
  • Can use USB-C port for headphones with included dongle
  • Improved control/input in Auto modes
  • USB charging
  • Autofocus tracking performance lags behind the competition
  • Viewfinder is a bit small
  • More custom buttons would be nice
  • No separate charger included
  • So-so battery life
  • Auto ISO could be more flexible

The Fujifilm X-S10 is one of those cameras that is sure to tick a lot of boxes for a lot of people. At a suggested price of $1000 body-only, it’s not what most average consumers would consider ‘cheap,’ but if you’re into photography and are looking to get a serious camera that can do a little bit of everything, the X-S10 represents really solid value for money.

Handling is a particular strong suit. The mode dial and triple customizable control dials make the X-S10 an easy camera to quickly manipulate settings with. We do wish there was another customizable button or two, but the touchscreen (with customizable ‘swipes’) and AF joystick are welcome.

Processed in Adobe Camera Raw.
ISO 160 | 1/600 sec | F5.6 | Fujifilm XF 27mm F2.8
Photo by Carey Rose

Image quality is beyond reproach. With 26MP of resolution (plus an effective in-body stabilizer to help you get the most out of that resolution), a pleasing and tuneable JPEG engine, and a broad lineup of high-quality lenses, the X-S10 churns out really fantastic images. Video features are also strong, with detailed 4K capture, Log recording and the option for using an external mic and headphones.

The Fujiflm X-S10 is an easy camera to recommend for photographers of all kinds

So are there any real downsides to the X-S10? The most significant is in terms of autofocus. While single autofocus and using a single point or zone in continuous autofocus work well, the X-S10’s subject tracking is simply behind the competition at this point. Other than autofocus, we find that the viewfinder is on the small side and we wish the Auto ISO settings were more flexible.

But really, the Fujifilm X-S10 is an easy camera to recommend for photographers of all kinds. If you’ve been eyeing the Fujifilm lineup for a while but didn’t necessarily need dedicated shutter speed, ISO and aperture dials that have become signature on their mid-and-high-end cameras, the X-S10 is well worth a look.

Compared to…

Against Sony’s a6600, the Fujifilm X-S10 has more friendly controls, a better touchscreen interface and more video features. On the other hand, Sony’s autofocus implementation is simply superb and you may find there are more affordably priced lenses at your disposal.

When pitted against the Nikon Z50, Fujifilm’s X-S10 has more resolution, but handling is almost a wash (both cameras handle exceedingly well). Faster burst speeds and a few more video features may sway users in the Fujifilm’s favor, but the Nikon is a competent all-rounder as well.

The Olympus E-M5 Mark III is our last comparison, and is also a fantastic option. Its smaller and lower megapixel sensor means it can’t match the Fujifilm X-S10’s 26MP of resolution nor its dynamic range, but the Olympus is a good match in terms of shooting speed, plus it is incredibly well-built.

Return to index


Sample galleries

Please do not reproduce any of these images without prior permission (see our copyright page). We make the originals available for private users to download to their own machines for personal examination or printing (in conjunction with this review).

Pre-production gallery

Photos are from a pre-production camera. Fujifilm has requested that Raw images not be made available for download.

Return to index


Scoring

Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category. Click here to learn about the changes to our scoring system and what these numbers mean.

Return to index