I’ve been using the Fujifilm X-S1 daily for about a month, during which time I’ve taken 1000 photos. Since my first digital camera 12 years ago, I have pursued superzooms, high-end point & shoot cameras. These cameras are sometimes called “bridge” cameras because some of their features are similar to those found on DSLRs, which are cameras with removable, interchangeable lenses, unlike point & shoot cameras that have non-removable lens.
In a dozen years, I have had over half a dozen superzooms. When I started, superzooms were those that had 10x magnification or more. This ‘x’ factor refers to the difference between the wide angle and the maximum zoom.
Until now, each new camera I have bought had more zoom than the previous. I have the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS, which has 50x. Often, these numbers are converted to the older scale used on pre-digital 35mm cameras. The Canon zooms from 24mm to 1200mm. The Fujifilm X-S1 is ‘only’ 26x, zooming from 24mm to 624mm. However, the images the Fuji captures are consistently superior to the Canon’s or any other digital camera I have used. The main reason for that may be the fact that the X-S1 has a larger image processor, the chip that converts light into digital information. Larger is better in this regard for a host of reasons. Don’t be fooled by reported resolution because that is often achieved by shrinking pixels to pack more into a small chip. (I’m looking at you, Sony, my former favorite.) A larger pixel processes light better and is subject to less interference (noise). The Canon and Fuji have the same resolution (12MP) but the Fuji’s pixel size is over twice the Canon’s.
Another strength of the X-S1 is the electronic viewfinder, which has the highest resolution I’ve encountered on any point & shoot. You can distinguish details in that little eyepiece.
Finally, autofocus on the X-S1 uses 49 points, whereas the Canon uses 9 (and poorly at that, in my opinion).
Another photographer would highlight different features. In fact, though I recommend www.snapsort.com for comparing cameras, that site gives the Canon a score of 100 (#1 rank) and the X-S1 only a 64 (#15). (See comparison.) Snapsort clearly isn’t emphasizing the features I consider most important after using quite a few superzoom point & shoot cameras.
Below, the two cameras appear side by side (Canon left, Fuji right).
With zooms extended.
The Canon is an impressive camera in such a small package. However, it has disappointed me too often. The autofocus is wacky. The Fujifilm’s manual zoom has a very nice feel (it’s that large ribbed section in the photo). I’d rather carry the Canon but I’d rather use the Fujifilm X-S1.
PS: Two months ago, I returned the Fujifilm HS50 EXR because it wasn’t any better than the Canon. I’m keeping the X-S1. (Snapsort.com ignores that the HS50 has even smaller pixels than the Canon, jamming 15.9MP into the same small chip. See their comparison of the two Fujis side by side. Amazingly, they rate the HS50 higher: 74, #8. This is what comes over overemphasizing zoom and resolution.)