When Fujifilm announced the X-S10, I was horrified to see it had a PASM dial for setting Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, or Manual mode.
Between that, the unmarked front and rear dials, the missing D-Pad, and the growing trend among all camera manufacturers away from a tilting rear LCD in favor of the more video-friendly “tilty-flippy” screen, I was sure Fujifilm had lost its way if not its mind.
I took a deep breath and then tried to get my head around Fujifilm’s strategy. I came to understand that making a camera with a PASM dial was a deliberate move to broaden their appeal and woo photographers from competing systems where the use of dedicated shutter speed dials and aperture rings — the traditional Fuji approach — is uncommon.
Either way, I decided the X-S10 wasn’t meant for me, and I wasn’t even in the market for a new camera.
Fast forward to September 2020, when I decided I wanted a Fuji body with the X-Trans IV sensor. I sometimes shoot RAW, but over the past couple of years have committed to getting things right in-camera and using OOC JPGs whenever possible, and I liked the look of the new Classic Negative film simulation.
Six Fuji bodies use the new sensor: the X-Pro3, X-T3, X-T4, X-E4, X100V, and X-S10.
The beautiful X-Pro3 captured my heart, but I couldn’t justify the cost.
I’ve toyed with getting an X-E body several times before, but I don’t like where Fuji is going with its controls on that series.
Last spring, I purchased an X100F for its aesthetics, build quality, and ethos, and I prefer its control layout compared to the X100V. So, despite being a fantastic camera, the V was off the list.
The X-T4 is a great camera but was too video-centric for me as a stills shooter, and though not as costly as the X-Pro3, it still wasn’t budget-friendly.
The X-T3 would have been perfect with its tilting rear screen and relatively affordable price tag, but for whatever reason, Fuji opted not to include Classic Negative on the final firmware update, so sadly, it too got scratched off the list.
By pure process of elimination, I took another look at the X-S10.
Yes, it has a tilty-flippy screen which I don’t like because of the “disconnected” feeling I get having to look off to the side of the camera when composing a shot, but since I shoot using the viewfinder 99% of the time, was it really the big drawback I was making it out to be?
Yes, it had a PASM dial, but was I a proponent of the usual Fuji dials and controls because they made things easier, or because I liked the aesthetics and the nod to the film cameras I grew up using?
The X-S10 certainly won me over on the value front, particularly when bundled with the 16–80mm f/4 zoom, making it a very appealing “take everywhere” combination.
As it turned out, it didn’t take more than a few days with the X-S10 to realize the benefits of its control layout and design. I still have dedicated exposure compensation and shutter speed dials even if they aren’t labeled as such, and I can still use the aperture ring on the lens to set my f/stop if I want to. The deep grip makes it comfortable to hold, the IBIS works a treat, the bundled 16–80mm f/4 zoom is a gem and Classic Negative nails that nostalgic look.
And while I still love the dedicated dials on my other Fuji bodies, especially the X100F, the PASM dial isn’t the deal-breaker I thought it would be. If anything, it makes the X-S10 more flexible in the real world.
After initially mid-judging it, the X-S10 has won me over and is turning out to be one of the most enjoyable Fujifilm cameras I have ever used.