updated 07:55 am EST, Thu November 24, 2011
Fujifilm X-S1 catches high-end compact shooters
Fujifilm chose an unusual Thursday launch to bring out a new long-zoom compact intended to serve virtually every experienced photographer who doesn't need interchangeable lenses. The X-S1 carries the same 2/3-inch, 12-megapixel CMOS-based EXR sensor as the X10 semi-pro camera to shoot better in low light and combine pixels to reduce noise or boost dynamic range at a lower resolution. Its 26X, 24-624mm equivalent lens both has optical stabilization as well as a nine-blade aperture that produces a very soft background in macro or portrait shots as close as 0.4 inches.
The camera builder is aware of the optical issues common to long-zooms and has a 17-element lens array, with two elements using enhanced dispersion, to theoretically keep the image sharp. It also promises a precise but smooth barrel zoom with a metal housing.
It can shoot as high as ISO 12,800 in an EXR mode and up to seven frames per second in full-quality JPEG. Shutter lag is as low as a hundredth of a second, Fujifilm said. It records as much as 1080p video with stereo audio.
As an X-series camera, it has full manual controls, including a generic dial for controlling functions based on context, as well as quick access to focus, ISO, and other modes. Both a three-inch tilting LCD and a 1.4-megapixel electronic viewfinder provide the previews. Build quality is an unusual focus for the class: all dials are metal, and the body is rubberized to improve grip and toughen the design.
So far, Fujifilm has unveiled the X-S1 for Canada, Japan, and the UK. Japan will get it first, on December 7, while Canada is slated for February. Although a US release hasn't been narrowed down yet, the Canadian price of $799 is a clue as to what it will cost if and when it's released further south.