Fujifilm X-S10 initial review


When you first catch a glimpse of the Fujifilm X-S10, your first thought might be ‘this is a Fujifilm?’ With a deep grip, more pronounced viewfinder ‘hump’ and a big dial that adjusts your shooting mode rather than the shutter speed, the X-S10 is something of a departure in design from previous midrange and high-end X-series cameras.

The company describes the X-S10 as a cross between the X-T30 and the X-H1: 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 camera is targeted toward users who may have Canon 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.)

The X-S10 is very much a blend of the 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. All stabilized Fujifilm lenses vary from 5.5 to 6 stops, save for the XF 80mm macro, which offers 5 stops.

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.)

Photograph taken on a pre-production camera.
ISO 160 | 1/320 sec | F5.6 | XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 @ 55mm (82.5mm equiv.)

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 being ‘stuck’ with JPEGs.

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 mode (single-point, zone, wide/tracking).

You can change the functions of the joystick to a limited extent. Pushing inward can edit 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 (rather than also allowing you to change the focus mode with the dials). It can also be assigned to switch between detected faces if face detection is enabled.

Updated Film Simulation mode interface

Now, when you switch Film Sim 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 from the old days.

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, though it 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
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
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)

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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 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.

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. 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. Fujifilm hasn’t left more experienced users out in the cold: there are still plenty of dials and menus that can be customized.

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 100 fps: the same as on the X-T30.

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 lower-end models like the X-T200.

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 (battery life numbers for the EVF were not available at time of publication). 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.

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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 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. The camera allows you to quickly switch between faces using the joystick. 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).

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. 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.

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.

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Initial impressions

I’ve long been a fan of Fujifilm cameras and, if I wasn’t already invested in an older Canon system that admittedly gets a dwindling amount of use, I would consider switching over. I’ve always been happy with Fujifilm’s out-of-camera JPEGs and extensive lens collection, and it recent years the company has made great strides in terms of autofocus and video performance.

I’m also one of those people who still likes shooting with a DSLR. I like my optical viewfinder and the large grip that helps my somewhat shaky hands get a better hold on the camera. With the exception of the aging X-H1, Fujifilm’s X-series cameras just aren’t very ‘grippy’. And while many people like having the shutter speed dial on the top plate, I use it so rarely that I’d gladly trade it for a mode dial.

ISO 160 | 1/110 sec | F4.5 | Fujifilm 18-55 F2.8-4 @ 51mm equiv.
Photo by Jeff Keller

The X-S10 gives me what I’ve been waiting to see on a Fujifilm camera. I’ve got my large grip, a mode dial, in-body stabilization and many of the features from the X-T4, packed into a solid, portable body. I can get to both dials and the joystick without moving my hand, and the latter is in a better location (and feels better-built) than on the X-T30. Yes, a larger, higher resolution EVF would’ve been nice, but the 2.36M-dot panel on the X-S10 is typical for this class.

While I had only had a few days with the X-S10, a lot of how it will perform is a known quantity. The sensor, processor and AF system are the same as on the X-T4, which means great image quality and very respectable autofocus. The X-S10’s video specs surprised me given its price, and I can’t imagine that too many potential buyers of a $1000 camera want or need the additional capabilities of the more expensive X-T4.

ISO 160 | 1/480 sec | F4.5 | Fujifilm 18-55 F2.8-4 @ 83mm equiv.
Photo by Jeff Keller

While some Fujifilm traditionalists may scoff at the idea of a more ‘conventional’ X-series camera, I’m glad to see that the company broke the mold on the X-S10. For those folks (myself included) who want the shape and controls of a DSLR – and I believe there are many – it’s a really nice option to have.

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Sample gallery

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

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Fujifilm X-S10 Specifications

MSRP $999 (body only), $1399 (w/18-55mm lens), $1499 (w/16-80mm lens)
Body type
Body type SLR-style mirrorless
Body material Magnesium alloy
Max resolution 6240 x 4160
Image ratio w:h 1:1, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels 26 megapixels
Sensor size APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm)
Sensor type BSI-CMOS
Color space sRGB, Adobe RGB
Color filter array X-Trans
ISO Auto, 160-12800 (expands to 80-51200)
Boosted ISO (minimum) 80
Boosted ISO (maximum) 51200
White balance presets 7
Custom white balance Yes (3 slots)
Image stabilization Sensor-shift
Image stabilization notes Up to 6 stops with select stabilized lenses. 5-5.5 stops with other lenses.
CIPA image stabilization rating 6 stop(s)
Uncompressed format RAW
JPEG quality levels Fine, normal
File format
  • JPEG (Exif v2.3)
  • Raw (Fujifilm RAF, 14-bit)
Optics & Focus
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Phase Detect
  • Multi-area
  • Center
  • Selective single-point
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Touch
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Autofocus assist lamp Yes
Digital zoom Yes
Manual focus Yes
Number of focus points 425
Lens mount Fujifilm X
Focal length multiplier 1.5×
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCD Fully articulated
Screen size 3
Screen dots 1,040,000
Touch screen Yes
Screen type TFT LCD
Live view Yes
Viewfinder type Electronic
Viewfinder coverage 100%
Viewfinder magnification 0.93× (0.62× 35mm equiv.)
Viewfinder resolution 2,360,000
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed 900 sec
Maximum shutter speed 1/4000 sec
Maximum shutter speed (electronic) 1/32000 sec
Exposure modes
  • Program
  • Aperture priority
  • Shutter priority
  • Manual
Built-in flash Yes
Flash range 7.00 m (at ISO 200)
External flash Yes (via hot shoe)
Flash X sync speed 1/180 sec
Continuous drive 20.0 fps
Self-timer Yes
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Average
  • Spot
Exposure compensation ±5 (at 1/3 EV steps)
AE Bracketing ±5 (2, 3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV, 2 EV steps)
WB Bracketing Yes
Videography features
Format MPEG-4, H.264
  • 4096 x 2160 @ 30p / 200 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 4096 x 2160 @ 25p / 200 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 4096 x 2160 @ 24p / 200 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 4096 x 2160 @ 23.98p / 200 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 200 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 3840 x 2160 @ 25p / 200 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 3840 x 2160 @ 24p / 200 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 3840 x 2160 @ 23.98p / 200 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 240p / 200 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 120p / 200 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 200 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 50p / 200 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 200 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 25p / 200 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 24p / 200 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 23.98p / 200 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
Microphone Stereo
Speaker Mono
Storage types SD/SDHC/SDXC slot (UHS-I supported)
USB USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 GBit/sec)
USB charging Yes
HDMI Yes (micro-HDMI)
Microphone port Yes
Headphone port No
Wireless Built-In
Wireless notes 802.11b/g/n + Bluetooth
Remote control Yes (via smartphone)
Environmentally sealed No
Battery Battery Pack
Battery Life (CIPA) 325
Weight (inc. batteries) 465 g (1.03 lb / 16.40 oz)
Dimensions 126 x 85 x 65 mm (4.96 x 3.35 x 2.56)
Other features
Orientation sensor Yes
Timelapse recording Yes
GPS None

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