Fuji X-S1 review

Fuji's X range-topping 26x zoom bridge camera

Fuji X-S1 review
A high-end 12MP bridge camera can be yours for a pretty price

TechRadar Verdict


  • +

    Rock solid, rugged build

  • +

    Manual operation of zoom

  • +

    Tilting rear LCD screen

  • +

    Large and clear EVF


  • -

    Big, bulky and unsubtle

  • -

    Priced the same as a DSLR

  • -

    Blurry shooting handheld near telephoto end of zoom

  • -

    Small sensor

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Always liked the idea of an all-in-one camera with a massive zoom capability, but hated the often all too-plastic feel? Fuji's X-S1 may, nay will, cause you to re-evaluate the humble bridge camera.

Whereas Fuji has previously applied an 'X' - its signifier of a premium camera - to the Leica-like FinePix X10, for the first time it gives a superzoom that same distinction.

This means that the new 26x optical zoom Fuji X-S1 figuratively sits above the existing Fuji HS20 and HS30 models, even though the latter boast 30x zoom (maximum 720mm equivalent telephoto setting in 35mm terms).

While the construction of all three Fuji HS models to date has for us been more solid than any competing bridge camera, the Fuji X-S1 takes build quality to a new level. It looks and even smells gorgeous, thanks to a rubberised coating adorning the entire DSLR-like body.

Fuji x-s1 review main image

Despite the neck-straining weight of 945g fully loaded, photographers aren't likely to get butter-fingered with this camera, even when manually operating the similarly rubber-entombed zoom, here running from a wide 24mm to 624mm in 35mm terms.

Thankfully this is supported by optical image stabilisation, which is needed.

At a suggested price of £699 in the UK or $949 in the US, the camera is immediately competing directly with your actual DSLR, so once again it's worth weighing up whether a focal range this broad and an all-in-one solution is actually required. Or if a DSLR's lens-swapping flexibility - the X-S1's optic is resolutely fixed - would suit you better.

Fuji x-s1 review set-up menu

The 'X' in the name is not just a marketing ploy. The Fuji X-S1 features the same sensor as that of the X10; namely 12 megapixels and 2/3-inches in size, once again using Fuji EXR CMOS technology which, in slightly gimmicky fashion, can be deployed in a choice of three ways, as it can on Fuji's existing compacts.

We also get an EXR processor, delivering a blink-and-miss-it 0.01 second shutter lag. And the attendant features we'd expect on an enthusiast's camera are all present and correct: full manual control via P,A,S,M modes, manual focus and raw shooting option, Full HD video capture with dedicated record button snuggled just below the shooting mode dial, 10fps burst shooting at 6MP, Fuji's film simulation modes buried in the menus, 500 shot rechargeable battery, plus a panorama mode that can take in the full 360 degrees. Phew!

Gavin Stoker

When not wrestling wild bears or leaping tall buildings in a single bound, Gavin Stoker can be found editing British Photographic Industry News, the UK's longest running and only photo trade title. He has over 25 years of camera testing and reviewing under his belt.