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- Fujifilm X-S1
- Fuji attempts to build a true bridge camera.
Fujifilm X-S1 First Impressions Review$799.95
The menu system is standard Fujifilm issue, nearly identical to that in the HS20EXR/HS30EXR and X10. The key difference is that playback-related menus have green tabs now, while shooting modes have red and blue tabs.
The main menu is tiered by category (shooting, playback, and setup), with multiple pages in each category. Scrolling through the menu can take a while.
No quick or function menu here, since there are direct-access keys for white balance, ISO, autofocus, auto exposure, and drive mode among others, plus two assignable function keys. That covers most commonly adjusted settings, so a quick menu would probably be redundant. The access-heavy scheme should keep most users out of the half-clumsy main menu system anyway.
Ease of Use
If you've used the Fuji HS20EXR, you'll know exactly how to use the X-S1. For the majority of readers who haven't, it offers more hands-on control than most superzooms, but isn't as nimble as most DSLRs. Auto mode felt quick and reliable on the showroom floor, and it also incorporates EXR Auto mode, which leaves it up to the camera to pick one of the X-S1's alternative processing modes and is just as easy to operate as regular auto mode. But with all of its buttons and menu options, it's probably too intimidating for novices and even casual users, and its potential will go unused if it's left in auto mode; this is really designed for shooters with some photography experience.
Size & Handling
The X-S1 is about the size of a mid-range DSLR, notably bigger than Fujifilm's HS-series superzooms, which are already bigger than just about any other bridge models out there. It's too big for a purse, so travelers will need to store it in its own bag, and carry it with a neck strap during the day.
With two hands and a neck strap, it handles as naturally as a DSLR. The contours are cozy, and the buttons fell under our fingers. It's covered in a rubber coating that's deceptively soft and comfortable and easy to handle. The manual, twist-barrel zoom mechanism is exceptionally smooth and nicely weighted—apparently it's built using some of the same techniques as Fuji's broadcast-quality lenses. The dials are metal, with a nice weighting. Some buttons are a bit clacky, and others a bit soft, but those are the only weak spots on a camera that otherwise feels like a high-quality product, built with lots of attention to detail.
With that solid construction comes a heck of a lot of heft. The X-S1 falls within the weight class of the Nikon D5100 or Canon T3i. We held it with one hand while we took product photos on the CES showroom floor, and it was pretty well strained after about a minute. Bridge cameras are usually light enough for single-mitt gripping, but not the X-S1.