OLY MFT -> Fuji X-S10 - First Impressions

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
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Re: OLY MFT -> Fuji X-S10 - First Impressions

LarsPolarBear wrote:

This thread is mostly aimed at m43 shooters that are looking for an alternative (especially after the Oly sale to JIP) and might consider the Fuji X-S10.

I have been shooting Oly m43 (16 MP) for 6 years and I enjoyed the experience of having a competent and small camera system. I had bought the Pen E-PL7 for its small size, light weight (travel and street), the availability of a small long lens for wildlife (Oly 75-300mm) and the availability of a small, quality and well thought through underwater housing for scuba diving.

However, I have now outgrown the camera and lenses and was looking for some time for an alternative. I did patiently wait for the OMD E-M5 III, but was underwhelmed by it and thought is was totally overpriced for its abilities... ...but then, suddenly out of nowhere the X-S10 appeared and I was immediately fascinated by it, it ticked sooo many of my boxes, that I went and bought it even though it just came to market (which I don't tend to do) and there is no underwater casing available (yet).

So, What did I get? To replicate my current system I got the following:

- Fuji X-S10 with 16-80 f4 kit lens for hiking, travel and general shooting;

- Fuji 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 for wildlife (local and international travel) and hiking;

- Fuji 23mm f2 for low light and street photography.

So, I have spend a week with it now and have only started to get used to it, therfore this is NOT review, but just a first impressions account. Ones first reaction to something new are often the most honest reactions and less tainted by overthinking, therfore I thought it might be useful for others in a similar situation.

Arrival of the boxes:

I had immediate buyers remorse, "what a big mistake", I thought, it was just sooo much bigger and heavier than my old system and I was afraid it would just collect dust at home. However, when unpacked the lenses felt good, I loved the ergonomics of the camera with its deeper rip and the position of the dials. So, I was ready to try it out...

First shots:

After my first very anxious shots I turned to my wife and said: "I am not giving this back! I am going to fight anybody who tries to take it away from me!!!" I just loved it! The AF was sooo much better (the Oly E-PL7 does not have the newer PDAF 20MP sensor, but relies on CDAF). The camera lies well in one's hand even with the heavy 100-400mm and the IBIS together with the OIS does a beautiful job to steady the view.

When I went out to shoot wildlife for hours by walking around (no tripod), the deep grip helped a lot with the weight to just have it dangle around on one hand. However, my right arm was a little sore after 4+ hours of holding it in my hands, which would have not happened with the Oly.

While battery life is limited, the well positioned on/off switch makes it easy to conserve energy. The use of the Focus Joystick is relatively intuitive and even better once you have read the manual . I have not yet had too much practise with the focus tracking, but it is significantly better than on the Oly. I will take the camera out for street shooting later this week and might update my views here later

Menu System and Operations:

Even though, the Oly menu system having been heavily criticised, I kind of liked it due to the ability to customise basically everything. Well, the Fuji menu system is as confusing to someone new to it, as the Oly system, and it offers a (almost) ridiculous amount of customisation. Yes, you have to read the manual (I am still on it) - unfortunately the manual is as bad as the Oly one, keeping things more obscure to those who are not in the know, than really explaining the function, especially beginner will struggle with it.

Pictures and PP Workflow:

My first reaction to my initial pictures taken (long way to go, to fully master the whole potential of the camera), was excitement and relief. Yes, I did not make a massive mistake! I liked to colours and the detail of the pictures, and "yes", the AF had nailed it! When shooting the Oly, I did not go above ISO 800 to avoid too much noise (wildlife needs a lot of cropping), however, on the Fuji I am ok with shooting ISO 2000, paired with the faster 100-400mm lens, it allows for much faster shutter speeds and significantly more keepers.

Currently I am still struggling a little with the PP workflow. My main software is LR 6.14 and Pixelmator Pro (I hate subscription models), which are both not compatible with the X-S10's RAW files, so I have to convert to DNG. I have tried Adobe DNG Converter and Iridient X-Transformer, but am not fully convinced yet. I still have to try Capture One, but would like to avoid having to learn a new software. While I had done my homework on the file size, it is still shocking to having to deal with the significantly larger Fuji files, almost killing my computer (one might add the price of a new computer to the switching cost, if you are not in the possession of the high performance machine).

Interesting to me was, that getting used to the new aspect ratio is a little harder than anticipated. M43 is having a 4:3 aspect ratio and APS-C is 3:2. It is like a painter having had one size of paper for years and suddenly they are not selling it anymore and he has to paint on a different size of paper. You get used to visualizing the picture even before you pick up the camera, and this vision is based on the aspect ratio you are used to.

Furthermore, due to the different aspect ratio, the increase in MP from 16 to 26 is less significant for wildlife cropping, since you cut away a lot on the sides, without much magnification effect.

Preliminary Conclusion:

So, would I do it again and would I recommend it to others?

Yes, I would do it again! I think the camera gives me lots of room to grow and I enjoy shooting it and looking at the results, something that was not true anymore for the system it replaces.

If it is right for you, depends a lot on your needs and your commitment to photography. I find that the size of the camera with the lenses (not just the 100-400mm) demands more commitment to take it with you. The small sized and lightweight m43 cameras can be easier taken with you in a casual way. However, the outcome is also significantly better with the Fuji. It is a little like: "Do I only bring my iPhone or do I bring the camera?".

I hope this little write-up gives a little more a user perspective to those out there having to make the choice of switching camera systems, going beyond the technical specs.



PS: Here some of my first attempt, as said this is just the beginning...

Young Goshawk

Woodpecker in Mangrove Forest with difficult lighting

Buffy Fish Owl trying to sleep


Hornbill ready to feed his babies

I did a lot of testing recently of em5.3/em1.3/x-t4/x-t3 and have eventually settled on x-s10. I prefer size of em5.3 but needed the grip so the x-s10 fits the size category well

Here's a couple of images that shows how close em5.3/x-t4 actually are in landscape!

x-trans = Capture One

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