I like a proper camera. Don’t get me wrong, like most people I take more photos on my phone than with any other device. But when it comes to capturing images properly – photos to hang on the wall or feature in Trail – I want a proper camera with all the manual controls, plenty of technological wizardry, and that will produce pictures of the utmost quality. For that reason I still adore my DSLR, but it is a little on the hefty side and I’ve long been considering switching to a more svelte model. Which is where the FUJIFILM X-S10 comes in...
Mirrorless cameras don’t have the optical viewfinder and clunky mirror that bulks out an SLR, but the good ones are not that much smaller. The X-S10 is different. Body-only (£949) it weighs just 465g (including battery and SD memory card) and measures just 126mm wide × 85.1mm high × 65.4mm deep, which puts it close to some ‘compact’ camera sizes. Of course, that’s without a lens, but even with the FUJINON XF16-80mmF4 lens I used mounted on the front the X-S10 still felt wonderfully balanced and nimble in the hand, despite being a high-quality lump of glass.
Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that FUJIFILM has had to sacrifice a few features from its larger mirrorless offerings in order to accommodate the smaller X-S10 body. As such, the X-S10 is not weather-proofed, which is a bit of a shame given how much of my photography takes place in the wild weather of the mountains. The controls are also a little fiddlier than on my larger DSLR – particularly when wearing gloves – although the extended handgrip makes the X-S10 comfortable to hold and also useable one- handed. Great when hanging off a scramble trying to find the perfect angle!
What’s more surprising, though, is how much FUJIFILM has managed to cram into the X-S10. The camera’s in-body image stabilising unit is 30% lighter and smaller than the larger X-T4 camera, yet offers an incredible 6-stops of stabilisation. The 3-inch rear monitor is fold-out and touchscreen, making the X-S10 a treat to compose with and intuitive to use. And for those of us who like to blog and share our photos, the X-S10 can be linked to your smartphone by Bluetooth for instant social media posting.
But all of this means nothing if the output from the camera isn’t up to standard. No worries here. Buried within the magnesium alloy body of the X-S10 is FUJIFILM’s 26.1MP X Trans CMOS 4 imaging sensor and an X-Processor 4 processing engine. These combine to produce outstanding images under any lighting conditions, and a range of features and functions allow images to be tweaked and tailored in-camera. As someone who came to photography when film was the only format available, I particularly like the various film simulations modes which mimic the contrast and colours of a range of heritage films, from FUJIFILM’s Superia negative film to its Provia slide film. Although if you ask me you can’t beat its classic Velvia mode for mountain landscapes.
Light on the hand and in the pack but big on features, the X-S10 is a fantastic mountain-scape capturing tool – just make sure you take care of it!