Customer Review

126 of 130 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Photographic Tool, July 18, 2013
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This review is from: Fujifilm X-S1 12MP EXR CMOS Digital Camera with Fujinon F2.8 to F5.6 Telephoto Lens and Ultra-Smooth 26x Manual Zoom (24-624mm) (Electronics)
The X-S1
I only write this review to enlighten some people about what this Camera really is, and why I bought it. Take this writing for what you believe it to be.

As a Photographer for over 40yrs, and a never ending Student of the Art, the X-S1 intrigued me from the moment I first became aware of it in Feb. of 2011. In my lifetime, I have had the good fortune to own some pretty fine equipment. It does not matter what the brands of those tools were, nor does it matter how much gear I had. I just know that I was really tired of the amount of gear I had. So I decided to read all the information that I could get my hands about the Fuji X-S1. At first, like many other great cameras that have come along, the X-S1 had some early troubles. There was a sensor problem, which caused white (Or bright) Orbs to appear on some Photos. That and a few other problems have long since been corrected by Fuji. In my research of this camera I spoke with lots of owners of this camera. I did not find a single "Knowledgeable" owner who did not love it! Not one! I downloaded the User's Manual from Fuji in March of 2011. I read, and reread this document until I knew the camera inside and out. This is something that is a pet peeve of mine. Why do people buy nice/complex things and never read the User Manual? Why? This is something that a long time ago, my Flight Instructor made very clear to me. Now really, would you fly a plane you did not know anything about? If your answer yes...well, forget buying this camera. Actually, this is a very easy camera to become very easy to use. Of course if you want to, you can put it full auto mode and get very good photos right out of the box. But...if you are a serious shooter, or want to become one, this is the camera for you. As I said earlier, I have had some pretty nice gear in my life time, but I can't think of one that equals this one. Yes, I mean that! There are those that think that "Bigger & Most Expensive" is the way to go. Believe me, it isn't. If I could go back in time, and could have this camera, I would be forever happy. Ok...a few words about this beast.

Build quality is solid, better than any bridge camera on the market, guaranteed.
Controls: Intuitive, fast, and precise. The Manual Zoom is nothing but PURE SILK.
Auto ISO'S of 400, 800, 1600, 3200
Manual ISO's of 100 - 12,800
All the standard modes; M, AP, SP, P, AUTO
Excellent Manual Controls
Plus; 3 Custom Settings of C1, C2, C3. For those that don't know what that means, I will tell you in simple words. If you would like to go out and photo bids in flight, you could set the C1 Mode as this: (ISO Auto 400) ( Focus: Hard) (Burst (fps) at the frames per sec you wish.) (Exp. Spot) (Focus: Area) (Film Simulation: Velvia) and whatever others your tastes might be. Select Custom Settings on the "Shooting Menu", select "C1", and the camera will be set to this when you rotate the Mode Dial to C1. If you like to shoot Macro shots, then program C2 for all the setting you prefer for shooting Macro Shots, select Custom Settings from the "Shooting Menu", select C2 and click OK. If you see something when you're out shooting, and it dictates a Macro Mode, just spin the Mode Dial to C2 and your ready to shoot. You also have C3, for another type of shooting. You don't have to reset your camera constantly. A Blessing for those of us old timers let me tell you!!
Several other dedicated button for things like; AE, AF, ISO, WB, Picture Playback and Delete. Dedicated Buttons, no having to go into a Menu and look for them.
Two Fn Buttons. Fn1 and Fn2. These work like the C1, C2, C3, as mentioned above except they are limited to a choice of 3 options for each button. Amazing, just 3 options each! What is one to do with only 3 options? LOL
Video: Stereo HD Video, with all the bells and whistles. (320 fps) You will be impressed! Just "RTFB". I'm not a Video Man, but it is impressive.
Image Quality: In my opinion, as good as it gets. This reminds me of the two guys arguing who's Stereo has the highest frequency response. Can you hear over 16,000 Hz? I don't think so. I could go on the "Tech Trail" here but I refuse to do that. Why? Because it's pointless. Most of the arguments I hear about some of the hot topics are by some people who "Shadow Box" real well, but have never been in a ring. I really avoid things these days. It's just a waste of time!
The Lens: For the record, the lens used in this camera is a spinoff of the same lenses that Fuji uses for their big broadcast lenses that you enjoy when you watch coverage of the big events such as The Olympic Games, Golfing Events, and "Monday Night Football as well. And it is made by the same technicians. Even the lens coatings are the same. That's Cristal Clear to me!
How fast is the recovery time on the Shutter, how fast dose the Flash Recycle, how fast is the Auto Focus ? Do you really want those numbers? They're out there, look them up. But the simple answer is this: "They are faster than Ali". What does that tell you?
Size & Weight: Equal to most DSLR'S. I find the weight to this camera to be perfect for comfortable and rock solid shooting. End of that story!
LCD & EVF: The LCD is as good as you will need, and I might add that is very good! Moveable up or down. Works great, what else can one say?
EVF: Well now...that is a thing of "Pure Beauty"!! I will describe it this way; it's like putting your eye up to a nice size hole on the side of a crystal clear fish bowl. It really is a thing you have to experience for yourself to appreciate. Really, it's just too hard to describe.
This camera is a very well thought out piece of top quality engineering, loaded with very High Tech features that are actually very easy, and intuitively fun to use.
In ending this mess I will tell you this: I use this camera on a limited professional basis, as well as it has become my best friend. I would seriously put this camera up against anything in its class, including many DSLR's, and would not hang my head at the end of the day.

The people I shoot for are a selective and very critical group, and they are really more than happy with my work. And as you may have guessed, yes I love this camera! If you are a pro or want to be a pro someday, go out and buy yourself the X-S1. You won't need all those other lenses, clean any sensors, or drag around a suitcase to get those OMG shots. Remember this Quote by Ansel Adams: "The best part of any camera is the six inches behind it! (That's close enough to the original quote for me) I hope this helps!
Thanks, Bill Boone
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Comments

Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 31 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 12, 2013 3:34:20 PM PDT
Well put. Since you seem to be an expert in handling X-S1, I have some questions for you:
I borrowed this for a few weeks from my friend and also reading several forums and people were complaining the following:

The pictures come out soft at the telephoto end of the zoom. I'm thinking of adding more sharpness to the picture in the camera itself. Will this solve this issue?. Also, can I automatically make X-S1 to go to the set sharpness by adding it to the custom C1/C2/C3 option when I zoom to the telephoto end?.

The AF sometimes hunts to focus on a specific object. I'm not sure whether people are referring to when in daylight or in low light. Will switching to manual focus solve this issue whenever AF has issues?

You had mentioned the best setting for taking birds on flight. What about soccer, safari shooting etc?. Also, if you could provide us the settings for taking the best macro shots, low light shots etc. that would be awesome.

Thanks for your excellent review.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 13, 2013 3:25:43 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 13, 2013 3:44:38 PM PDT
Bill Boone says:
Thank you for the complements. Expert...? Anyway here are my answers:
1) I think the softness at max zoom is present on all Zoom lenses. Don't confuse a zoom lens with a telephoto lens. Fixed telephoto lenses (ie; 200mm, 400mm, 800mm) are indeed sharper than that of a "Zoom Lens"! That said, you can set the sharpness of the X-S1 in camera. As for myself, I have the Sharpness set at "Medium Hard" for all general photography. I set this according to what I am shooting. For example: When shooting a model in a romantic setting, I set the sharpness to "Soft". If I am shooting Archetechur, I set the sharpness to "Hard". The sharpness really only effects the very edges (cheek lines, edges of buildings ect...) in a photo. If you set the Sharpness to any setting, then pick a custom set (C1,C2,C3,) that setting will remain there until you change it.
As to the C1,C2,C3, Modes; I set mine like this:
C1) Birds in Flight. (BIF) Sharpness- Hard, ISO- 400 Auto, Highlights- Standard, Dynamic Range- 200, Film Simulation- Velvia, Shutter Priority- 1000.
C2) Lightning Storms. Sharpness- Hard, ISO- 200, Mode- Manual at f/4, Shutter- Bulb. (cable release, so I can vary time. Ie: 15-32 seconds. Dynamic Range- Auto
As to a Macro Settings: This hard to describe because there are so many variables (as in all photos) But...I will say that when shooting macros, you should use a small aperture such as f/8 or smaller to achieve a good depth of field. One point you need to know is that in crop sensor cameras (X-S1) they by nature have a great depth of field. On the X-S1, f/8 is equivalent (approx) to f/32 on a full size sensor camera, and f/11 is about f/64.
I also changed the WB Shift to +3 on the Ye scale. If you spend the time with a subject, or subjects you are familur with as far as constant color is concerned, you can make the camera (fine tune it to your eye) do a lot as far as making your pictures shout "OMG". This however is too time consuming for this writing, but I'm sure you get the idea. Take time, take notes, review your shots carefully, and set this camera up the way that pleases you. It takes a lot of work on your part, but so does all the other good things in life!
Auto Focus Hunts: This can be a problem at times. Most often it is because some people do not understand how AF works. Again, this is too time consuming here, but understand this: When you adjust your AF (on the external button on back left side of camera, second button down) set it to its "Smallest Square" in the viewfinder or LCD. Then, when attempting to focus in AF Mode, put the small square on the "EDGE" of your subject, so the AF can locate a point to focus on. If you need, switch to the MF mode. This should solve you problems.
As far as soccer or fast action, use the "SP MODE", scroll down to the sports mode, and use this. As you grow more informed, you will find there are several ways to do this.
I hope this helps you in your quest. Again I will say this: The X-S1 can be something that will make you find that "OMG" shots are in you. They certainly are in this camera; you just have to learn its language...then TALK TO IT! Thanks, Boone

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 18, 2013 8:55:55 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 18, 2013 9:28:36 PM PDT
Nice reply. I'm not a pro shooter and I'm torn between HS50EXR and this. HS50EXR has vastly improved AF (due to added phase AF along with contrast AF). The only thing that is holding me off in getting HS50EXR is the not so smooth manual zoom ring as folks have been saying. I had it for a few days and returned it. It is no match to the excellent buttery smooth manual zoom ring found on X-S1. I don't know whether the smoothness will happen on HS50 after few weeks of usage. Btw, what is the serial number of your X-S1. Does it begin with 23A...?. I read that Amazon is shipping the old ones that are problematic. Finally, any good digital photography book you can suggest to take me from a novice to a pro when using the X-S1?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 18, 2013 9:17:49 PM PDT
Bill Boone says:
Thank you for the compliment! Just got my X-S1 on July 2nd. The SN begins with 23A. I highly recommend "Understanding Exposure" by: Bryan Peterson, as well as; Tony Northrup's DSLR Book: How to Create Stunning Digital Photography. Thanks, Boone

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 18, 2013 9:29:41 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 18, 2013 9:32:50 PM PDT
Did you buy it from Amazon?. Any comments on HS50EXR?. How does the "Tony Northrup's DSLR Book: How to Create Stunning Digital Photography" apply to X-S1?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 19, 2013 2:19:25 PM PDT
Bill Boone says:
No comments on the HS50. Yes I got the X-S1 through Amazon. These books are for photo information. I was not saying they had anything to do with the X-S1. Thanks, Boone

Posted on Dec 2, 2013 5:18:28 PM PST
Thank you for taking the time for writing up a useful review of this camera. I found your review to be thorough and will be moving up from the Canon Digital ELPH series of cameras (which will still come in handy). Wanted to take the plunge into something more substantial and think this will do the trick. Just wanted to say thanks. I am sure i will have a question or two later...

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 3, 2013 10:49:22 AM PST
Bill Boone says:
Robert, your welcome. "This is really THE CAMERA". I use it everyday, and it is that good. End of story. Thanks Boone.

Posted on Dec 16, 2013 11:11:56 AM PST
Kort says:
Excellent review Bill. I couldn't agree more. I'm still exploring all that the X-S1 has to offer, but I've post a preliminary review that seems to hit on similar points from your review. Thanks for sharing your insights!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 17, 2013 11:02:15 AM PST
Bill Boone says:
Your welcome! Study this camera, learn to use it! It is that good. The price dropped, I just hope that there will be a XS-2. In case there isn't, I am buying a second XS-1. Bill Boone
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