Fuji x-s1 review

A premium camera that is also a bridge camera, or vice versa, the Fuji X-S1 certainly feels like Fuji's best superzoom yet - even if its focal range doesn't quite match that of, say, the Fuji HS20.

The Fuji X-S1's build quality really makes the strongest impression, knocking spots off rivals such as the Canon PowerShot SX40 HS, Olympus UZ models, Panasonic DMC-FZ48 and FZ150, and even the Nikon Coolpix P500.

In other words, the Fuji X-S1 looks and almost handles like a professional camera, even if in truth its best bet in terms of finding an audience is probably the amateur photo enthusiast with deep pockets, who probably already owns a mid-range DSLR, a decent premium pocket camera, and is now looking for something with a longer lens for a bit more poke.

While just two short years ago Fuji was probably best known for its stack 'em high, sell 'em cheap point-and-shoots, the introduction of the 'HS' bridge models followed by the X series compacts, and now this jack-of-all-trades premium bridge model, shows that it is really raising its game.

Fuji has now got the cameras. Now all it needs is for the photographic community to get back behind it.

We liked

The Fuji X-S1 sports a design and finish nearly up there with the semi-pro DSLR that one could otherwise buy for the same price. If you enjoyed the previous Fuji HS series superzooms then this one, while not overly dissimilar, is a stonker.

We disliked

While the focal range offers a great range of framing opportunities and suggests itself as perfect for candid photography, it's almost impossible to avoid blur when shooting handheld towards maximum zoom, which somewhat defeats its usefulness for those who don't constantly pack a tripod. Also, you'll want to stick at ISO 3200 or below, despite the temptingly wide ISO range on offer.

Final verdict

The Fuji X-S1 is an ideal purchase for the photography nut looking for one camera that can do it all, and prepared to compromise on having image quality not quite on a par with a semi-pro DSLR that one could buy for a similar outlay.

As with any superzoom, it really is about whether you need that whopper of a lens on the front. If you do, then the Fuji X-S1 is presently about the best big zoom bridge camera that's out there.

Bear in mind, however, that while it looks like an SLR it has a compact camera sized sensor.