A new member will shortly take its place alongside the X10 retro compact and the FinePix X100 in Fujifilm's premium X Series cameras. The X-S1 bridges the gap between compact point-and-shoot cameras and digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) models - featuring a relatively large sensor, 26x superzoom lens, built-in flash and the ability to record full high definition movies.
Even though the new Fujifilm X-S1 has the same 2/3-inch, 12 megapixel EXR CMOS sensor as the X10, the company has still managed to squeeze in a 24-624mm equivalent Fujinon 26x optical zoom lens made up of 17 glass elements in 12 groups, including four aspherical (for sharpness and resolution) and two ED lenses (to minimize chromatic aberrations and prevent muddy coloring). All lens elements have been treated with a multi-layer super electron beam coating to reduce ghosting and lens flare. Fujifilm says that its Intelligent Digital Zoom effectively doubles the focal range without affecting image quality - taking the telephoto end up to the dizzy heights of 1248mm (in 35mm equivalent terms).
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At the other end of the zoom capabilities, the X-S1 can get as close as 1 cm to the subject, thanks to a Super Macro Mode. The ever popular bokeh effect is given a helping hand from a lens aperture comprised of nine blades, and low light shooting shouldn't present too much of a problem - with a sensitivity range of ISO100 to ISO3200, and a boost possible right up to ISO12800 in small image format.
The X-S1 features a high performance EXR processor featuring two CPUs, an EXR Core and a reconfigurable processor, along with a newly developed lens shift image stabilization mechanism. It can be ready for action in as little as 0.6 seconds using Quick Start Mode. There's a brisk 0.18 second, 49-point autofocus, and a claimed shutter lag of 0.01 seconds makes it possible for up to seven frames per second (fps) continuous shooting at full resolution, or ten fps with a reduction in image quality. A feature called Best Frame Capture can record up to 16 frames around the time of shutter release, giving users the opportunity to select the best image.
Users can trust the camera to automatically choose the best settings for a given shot, or can opt for more DSLR-like control from the PASM exposure modes and manual options on offer to fine tune color levels and tone, or sharpen up image crispness and clarity. This process is helped by the results of various image quality settings being accurately reproduced through the 0.47-inch, 1.44 million dot electronic viewfinder with 100 percent coverage and diopter adjustment. Fujifilm has also included eight film simulation settings to dial in an old school feel.
A full coverage, 3-inch, 460,000 dot resolution, tilting LCD display is also available for photo framing and navigating through menus and settings, and comes with a useful daylight mode that makes for comfortable viewing in bright conditions.
The X-S1 is capable of full 1080p movie recording at 30 fps with stereo sound, which can be output to a big screen TV or high definition monitor via the included HDMI port. The camera has both JPEG and RAW image capabilities (RAW image viewer and conversion software is included), and stores images and video to SD/SDHC/SDXC media cards. The included lithium ion battery should be good for 460 frames between charges.
The camera has been sealed against dust and moisture, treated to a rubberized coating, and sports metal dials.
A forthcoming UK release sees the Fujifilm X-S1 carrying a suggested retail price of GBP 699 (US$1,088).
An overview of the main features can be seen in the following video: