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THE VERDICT

The Fujifilm X-S1 is a truly remarkable camera. It’s not quite perfect, but it is a hugely competent piece of equipment which can realistically work as an alternative to a comparable D-SLR kit when you really do have to travel light. The irony is that it’s better at this than many CSCs!

There’s been some suggestion in other reviews that the X-S1 is expensive for a superzoom camera, but this really is missing the point. The X-S1 is like no other superzoom camera we’ve seen before and it’s much, much better featured – including, just for starters, key components such as the sensor and the lens– so, consequently, it’s in a whole different league in terms of its capabilities and performance. I’ve also read elsewhere that including such a long focal range is a waste of time and Fujifilm should have opted for something shorter and faster, but again this is missing the point. Having a workable 600mm-equivalent lens in such a compact package is a major part of this camera’s appeal... and without sacrificing a proper wide-angle too.

As far as the Australian market is concerned, the X-S1 appears to be pretty competitively priced compared to the entry-level D-SLRs and comparable CSCs such as Panasonic’s Lumix G3... however, this doesn’t take into account the extra spending needed to equip any of its interchangeable lens rivals with a 600mm telephoto. The ‘all-in-one’ fixed-lens design not only makes for compactness, but eliminates dust problems.

The smaller sensor could actually have been a big issue, but Fujifilm’s EXR architecture effectively counters the traditional performance drawbacks. Not only is the X-S1 unique in the superzoom camera category, it’s a unique configuration full stop. Never before has so much capability in such a compact package been delivered with so
few compromises.

Type: Fixed lens digital camera with electronic viewfinder.
Lens: Fujinon Super EBC 6.1-158.6mm f2.8-5.6 (equivalent to 24-624mm).
Focusing Type & Range: TTL via contrast detection system, 49 points wide-area with auto/manual point selection and centre-point mode. Focus frame adjustable for size. 30 cm to infinity, macro focusing down to 1.0 cm. Face detection mode. Manual switching between single-shot and continuous modes. Low light/contrast assist provided by built-in lamp. Fully manual control available with zoom assistance.
Shutter Type: Combined electronic and mechanical, leaf type.
Shutter Speeds: 30-1/4000 second plus ‘B’.
Metering: Multi-zone (256 segments), centre-weighted average and spot.
Exposure System: Program (with shift), aperture/shutter-priority auto and manual. 17 subject/scene modes with auto scene selection in ‘EXR Auto’ mode. Up to +/-2.0 EV exposure compensation, an AE lock and auto exposure bracketing.
Sensitivity: ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600 and 3200. Extendable to ISO 12,800, but at smaller image sizes.
White Balance: Auto mode with six presets, one custom measurement and manual colour temperature settings (2500 to 10,000 degrees Kelvin). Fine-tuning in the red-to-cyan and blue-to-yellow colour ranges (plus/minus
nine steps)
Sensor: 11 mm Fujifilm EXR CMOS with a 6.6x8.8 mm imaging area, 12.3 million pixels (12.0 MP effective).
Image Size: 4:3 aspect ratio = 4000x3000, 2816x2112 and 2048x1536 pixels. 3:2 – 4000x2664, 2816x1864 and 2048x1360 pixels. 16:9 aspect ratio = 4000x2248, 2816x1584 and 1920x1080 pixels. 1:1 aspect ratio = 2992x2992, 2112x2112 and 1536x1536 pixels. JPEG, RAW (.RAF files) and JPEG+RAW capture modes.
Video Recording: H.264 MOV format at 1920x1080 pixels, 25 fps and 16:9 aspect ratio and 1280x720 pixels, 25 fps and 16:9 aspect ratio. Stereo sound recording via built-in microphones. Stereo audio input provided.
Continuous Shooting: Up to
7.0 fps for a burst of up to 10 images with JPEG/large/fine capture and eight images with RAW capture. Mid and low speed shooting at 5.0 fps and 3.0 fps respectively. High speed shooting at 10 fps with a 6.0 MP image size.
Formats: JPEG and MOV. DPOF and PictBridge compatible.
Flash: Built-in with auto, red-eye removal, fill-in and slow sync modes. External flash units sync via ISO standard hotshoe.
Viewfinder: Electronic LCD eyelevel viewfinder plus 7.2 cm LCD monitor (460,000 pixels), adjustable for tilt. EVF = 1.44 megapixels resolution and 100 percent frame coverage. Eyepiece strength adjustment built-in.
Storage: SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I) memory cards plus 26 MB of internal memory.
Interface: USB 2.0, mini HDMI, A/V output, 3.5 mm stereo
audio input.
Additional Features: Bodyshell sealed against dust and moisture, image stabilisation via sensor shift, magnesium alloy bodyshell, electronic level display, real-time histogram, superimposed grids (3x3, 6x4), two custom camera set-ups, ‘Advanced Anti Blur’ mode, ‘EXR’ modes (Auto, Resolution Priority, High ISO & Low Noise, Dynamic Range Priority), ‘Advanced Shooting’ modes (Motion Panorama 360, Pro Focus, Pro Low Light), ‘Film Simulation’ modes (Provia/Standard, Velvia/Vivid, Astia/Soft, B&W, B&W+Yellow, B&W+Red, B&W+Green, Sepia), picture parameter adjustments (colour, sharpness, highlight tone, shadow tone, noise reduction), dynamic range expansion (Auto, 100%, 200%, 400%, 800%, 1600%), sRGB and Adobe RGB colour space settings, AF/AE lock, dual-delay self-timer (two or ten seconds), auto bracketing modes (AE, ISO, Film Simulation, Dynamic Range), ‘Best Frame Capture’, two customisable function buttons, three custom camera set-ups, in-camera RAW file conversion, ‘Guidance’ displays, playback zoom, 9/100 thumbnail displays, image search modes (Date, Face, Favourites, Scene, Type of Data, Upload Mark), slide show (with fade-in/out), ‘PhotoBook Assist’ function. PictBridge and DPOF compliant.
Power: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery (NP-95 type).
Dimensions (WxHxD): 135.0x107.0x149.0 mm.
Weight: 905 grams (without
battery or memory card).