Meet Fujifilm’s New Midrange Camera: Fujifilm XS10 First Impressions

The Fujifilm XS10 is a cross between Fujifilm’s flagship XT4 and their tough XH1. There are a few caveats, though.

All the speculation was correct. Yes, the Fujifilm XS10 is real, and we’ve had a short time with it. This cross between a Fujifilm X-H1 and the X-T4 is the company’s new mid-range model. While the X-S line is not a new one for Fujifilm, this is the first camera in the series that will turn some heads. Opting for a simpler design, Fujifilm hopes that the XS10 will attract an entirely new type of customer. Sporting the same sensor as the X-T4, a redesigned IBIS system that’s 30% smaller, and a fully articulating screen, the Fujifilm XS10 sounds delightful on paper. Is it really any good, though? Come and read about our first impressions after the break.

Note: The Fujifilm XS10 we used for this first impressions piece was a pre-production model running pre-production firmware. Because of this, we were not allowed to shoot in RAW. So, all of the images you see in this review are JPEGS, with various built-in film simulations applied. This is not our final review. Our final review will come after we get our hands on a retail model of the camera.

Technical Specifications

All of the technical specifications listed here were provided by Fujifilm:

  • All magnesium alloy construction
  • No weather sealing
  • 5-axis IBIS provides up to 6 stops
  • IBIS unit is 30% smaller and lighter than the IBIS in X-T4
  • 2.36 million dot EVF with 100fps refresh rate
  • Same autofocus system as the X-T4
  • 8fps mechanical – up to 30fps with the electronic shutter
  • 4 custom settings on the mode dial
  • Fully articulating screen with 1.08 million dot LCD
  • Same X-Trans sensor (26mp) and processor as X-T4
  • The control set has been simplified to attract a new customer base
  • 4K 4:2:2: 10-Bit external
  • 30 min record time at 4K30
  • 240 FPS mode in video
  • RAW capture in auto mode
  • New auto film simulation will apply either Provia, Velvia, or Astia based on the scene
  • Controllable focus points in auto mode
  • Foolproof video capture button that will record straight into video program mode
  • $999 body only
  • $1,399 with the XF 18-55mm
  • $1,499 with the XF 16-80mm

Gear Used

We used the Fujifilm X-S10 with the XF18-55mm f2.8-4 R LM OIS lens.

Ergonomics

Just look at that grip!! Seriously, this is the first feature you will see when opening the Fujifilm XS10’s box, and it will fill you with glee. For too long, smaller cameras have had tiny grips that make them very uncomfortable to hold. This is especially true for people with large hands. As soon as I picked up the Fujifilm XS10, it felt like it belonged in my hand. The camera feels secure when held, and there’s enough room for all five fingers to fit on the grip. That’s right, no more pinky dangling. Nicely done, Fujifilm.

While Fujifilm has kept the same vintage aesthetic, you can see that the controls have been thinned out and simplified. In the image above, you can see a control wheel on the top left. This selects film simulations and filters. At the base of this dial is a lever to pop up the built-in flash. To the right of the EVF, you can see the main mode dial. There’s an on-off switch, a dedicated ISO button, and a Q button, which brings up the quick menu. You’ll also see the shutter dial towards the back off the camera and a dedicated record button. The design is simple, yet elegant.

Fujifilm xs10

The XS10 looks every bit a Fujifilm camera. Fujifilm cameras have a unique look, and despite the company’s simpler design language, the camera still looks the part. The whole front of the camera is nicely textured. The aperture control wheel is placed nicely at the top of the grip. The only other control on the front of the camera is the lens release button.

Fujifilm xs10

To the left of the EVF, you’re going to find the shooting modes button and a playback button. To the right of the EVF is a custom function button. This control is followed by an AEL button and the control for AF ON. To the right of the 3-inch LCD, you’ll find just three controls: a joystick, a menu/OK button, and a display/back button. The small thumb rest is well-positioned and helps with overall comfort. The right side of the camera is blank. The left side of the camera houses one flap which hides a USB-C port and a mini HDMI connector. There’s a headphone jack that sits up out of the way of the articulating screen, while the SD card goes in the battery compartment on the bottom. Overall, the Fujifilm XS10 is a well-designed camera that’s comfortable to hold and use for extended periods.

“The camera feels secure when held, and there’s enough room for all five fingers to fit on the grip. That’s right, no more pinky dangling. Nicely done, Fujifilm.”

Build Quality

Fujifilm xs10

The Fujifilm XS10 feels like a solid mid-range camera. This, in part, is due to Fujifilm taking some build cues from the X-H1. The body of the camera is made from magnesium alloy. This means the camera should survive the rigors of daily use with ease. The buttons and dials all feel solid. They certainly provide excellent positive feedback when pushed or turned.

The biggest disappointment is that there’s no weather sealing. Apparently, sealing was left out to keep the size of the camera down. We were also told it’s because with sealing, 4K30 30 minute record limits probably wouldn’t have been reached. We don’t buy that. The Fujifilm X-S10 is basically a mini XT4 with a few features stripped out. So, we assume weather sealing has been left out to artificially create a gap between the Fujifilm XS10 and the XT4. Still, first impressions of the build quality are good. We feel like you could drive fence posts into the ground with the camera body, just don’t do it in the rain. We need to spend longer with the XS10 to give a more detailed analysis.

Ease of Use

Fujifilm xs10

Fujifilm has adopted a new design philosophy for the Fujifilm XS10. Fujifilm wants to attract customers who aren’t accustomed to film-era control dials. So, the dials that can be found on the X-T4 have vanished. Instead, Fujifilm went with standard controls that can be found on cameras from any other manufacturer. This may be disliked by longtime Fujifilm fans, but the layout works well. I have found that the Fujifilm XS10 is easy to pick up and use. The small number of physical controls won’t overwhelm newcomers, which is the point with this camera.

Fujifilm xs10

One strange decision, though, is the lack of touch functionality. If you’re going to remove the dials, why not put the touchscreen to work? We know Fujifilm has a friendly touch interface available, they use it in the X-T200. So, the decision not to use it in the X-S10 is puzzling. The EVF is a 2.36 million dot affair. This is a step down from the EVF in the X-T4. Having said that, it still looks nice. The LCD is 3-inches in size and has a resolution of 1.08 million dots. You’ll find 18 film simulations and 13 filters, which make the camera fun to use. In the battery compartment, there is space for just one SD card slot (UHS-I). You can also charge via USB-C.

The fully articulating screen makes getting shots low down or from high above easy. The 5-axis IBIS has worked well so far. One second handheld exposures are not a problem. However, after 178 shots, the NP W126S battery was down to 50%. We will need to do further shooting to really test the battery. If you’ve used Fujifilm cameras before, you’ll feel right at home. If you’re new to Fujifilm, this camera will break you in easy.

Autofocus

Fujifilm xs10
ISO 3200 Eye AF. Acros

Autofocus has been a mixed bag so far. This could be due to the camera running on pre-production firmware. So, we will revisit this in our full review. I have found that in great light, the Fujifilm XS10 is a snappy performer. You’ll have outstanding performance using almost all focusing modes. There’s no animal eye AF. Still, human Eye AF has worked well so far.

However, in low light situations, autofocus speeds did take a hit. In some situations, I could not get the camera to focus; it would hunt and then give up. Unfortunately, tracking is a mixed bag. Tracking my dogs, the XS10 had a roughly 55% keeper rate. Again, though, this is a pre-production unit. So the benefit of the doubt will be given until we get our hands on a full production unit.

Fujifilm xs10
Fujifilm xs10
Fujifilm xs10
Fujifilm xs10
Fujifilm xs10
Fujifilm xs10

Image Quality

Fujifilm xs10

Fujifilm would only let us capture JPEGS with the pre-production camera. The JPEGS haven’t disappointed. High ISO output (ISO 6400) is excellent, and the colors overall are fabulous. The Highlights, shadows and noise are controlled well. The film simulation and filter modes are fun to use and produce great results. Take a look for yourself. We will, of course, give a much more in-depth look at image quality in our full review.

If you’re looking for cool presets to use with this camera, consider those from PhotoWhoa.

Handheld 1 second.
ISO 6400
Acros
Acros
Classic Neg
Velvia
Fujifilm xs10
Velvia
Fujifilm xs10
Classic Chrome
Fujifilm xs10
Fujifilm xs10
Handheld 1/20th sec
Fujifilm xs10
Toy camera filter
Fujifilm xs10
Miniature filter
Fujifilm xs10
ISO 6400, Acros
Fujifilm xs10
ISO 6400, Acros

First Impressions

The Fujifilm XS10 is a thought-provoking entry into the Fujifilm line up. The XS10 sits firmly between the entry-level X-T200 and the flagship X-T4. What this means for the X-TXX line going forward is unknown. Still, what we do know is that this camera has some of the great rugged qualities from the X-H1. You can expect similar overall performance as the X-T4 in terms of image quality. The pre-production body we had felt great in hand and performed solidly overall. The IBIS system seems to be great. The JPEGS looks quite splendid, though RAW performance is yet to be seen. Still, we can’t imagine they would be much different from the RAWS that come from the X-T4.

We still need to see how well the camera body holds up to more extensive testing. Processing the RAW files from the full production model will give us a better understanding of the cameras dynamic range capabilities. We’re also interested in seeing if the autofocus system gets any tweaks before launch as well. The Fujifilm XS10 has a great entry price of just $999. This, of course, makes it the same price as the now aging X-T3. You can also buy the Fujifilm XS10 with two lens options. Bundled with the 18-55mm f2.8-4, the Fujifilm XS10 will cost $1,399 and bundled with the 16-80mm f4, it will cost $1,499. The Fujifilm XS10 will launch in mid-November. Stay tuned for our full review.