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Fujifilm X10 Digital Camera Review

fujifilm20120519ba.jpgDigital Camera Review by: Keith Parsons 

 

The instantly obvious thing about the X10 is it looks like a traditional 35mm rangefinder camera from yesteryear although upon closer inspection there are some great features specific to a digital camera like a 2.8” LCD screen for example.

In the current digital camera market where smart phones are becoming increasingly affordable and better equipped with quality cameras, manufacturers of “traditional” digital cameras are finding it increasingly hard to compete. One way that has been incredibly successful is to bring out a digital camera that doesn’t look like a digital camera and fuji has achieved this to much success with its X range and specifically its “premium compact” X10.

 

Appearance and Functionality


Giving off a nostalgic feel in your hands the body is made from a thick metal design and speaks of quality not seen in camera manufacturing for many years. A rubber plate has been added to the front to provide strong grip for your right hand. Included is a leather neck strap, a nice addition compared with the usual cotton wrist strap associated with compacts. Turning the power on is done unconventionally by twisting the lens clockwise and it is these sort of unusual touches fuji has added to the X range that stand it out from the crowd.

fujifilm20120519bb.jpgThe button configuration might seem confusing to an owner more practiced on basic compact auto functions (due to the amount of them), although the camera can easily be set to full auto via the main function dial atop the body for simplified use. It will however not take very long until the user becomes familiar with the functions and will find them to be very natural and offer a large range of camera control.

Interestingly the X10 offers metering in 3 different modes (Multi, Spot and Average) to allow for further user control. The X10 has exposure control available in all of its function modes, a big miss on a lot of other 'compact' cameras. Exposure control is accessed by a dial located conveniently close to the shutter on the top of the cameras body and offers under and over exposure of 2 stops.

The menus are approached via a button located centrally on the rear of the camera and are set out to minimise confusion with logical progression from image settings through to more secondary background functions.

There a number of modes to select and the function dial lets you choose quickly your desired function from Auto, EXR, Program, Shutter, Aperutre, Manual, C!, C2, Movie, Sp and Advanced. EXR mode (in short) is an advanced automatic function that allows for higher dynamic range and allows the camera to intelligently select appropriate settings especially in low light whilst holding to picture quality! What a mouthfull. The inclusion of shutter priority and aperture priority modes as well as an manual mode is a big plus for the X10 as it can be rare to find a compact with this capabilitiy.

Raw shooting is Possible with the X10 and once again is a feature not often found within compact cameras. Notice the trend? File size is around 12mb and in RAF format and can be accesed with a single touch of the RAW button rather than fighting with a menu and missing the shot.

The X10 contains a film simulation feature whereby the user can select from a number of popular fuji films (Velvia, Provia, Astia and a range of B&W filters) that are overalyed to an image. The real beauty over actual film however is that film speed no longer applies and the film simulations are available at all ISO levels!

All compact cameras should contain a flash and the X10 certainly does. With the flick of a swtich a  flash pops out of the top left of the camera to give extra light when needed. Whilst the flash is well built it feels a little underpowered although an external flash can be added to the cameras hotshoe to solve this problem.

Battery life on the X10 is quite reasonable with Fuji quoting around 270 frames with the LCD on and around 640 frames with it off. Though this is all a guide and using the flash constantly will decrease battery life rather quickly. Charging is done externally with the included charger, a feature becoming lost as many manufacturers opt for in camera charging. I personally prefer it be done externally as the heat created by charging can put unnecessary strain on a cameras internals.

 

Image Quality


The X10 couples a 12 megapixel 2/3 inch EXR CMOS sensor with an EXR processor to deliver very high quality images. The X10 is the baby brother to the X100 and X1 Pro and although it doesnt feature an APS C sized sensor it also doesnt cost anywhere near as much (RRP). Though the image quality is really quite sensational for a camera in its range.

fujifilm20120519bd.jpgISO range is from 100-12800 and noise only begins to become apparent at 800 ISO although even at 1600 ISO images are still more than usable. You would find that images shot above 1600 ISO are perhaps only printable at around A4 before detail begins to become lost amongst noise. However if shooting in the EXR mode you will find that the camera can be pushed a little further (around 1 stop) before noise becomes apparent, testament to the succes of Fujis EXR technology.

Most tones are reporduced quite well and can be really enhance with the use of some film effects for subtle shifts in saturation. Auto white balance also works well and can be set to a range of manual settings including rather interestingly an underwater preset.  

 

Lens Quality

 

Sitting fixed to the camera is the Fujinon 4 x optical zoom lens. It is a 28-112mm (35mm film equivalent lens) with metal construction. The lens contains an impressively large aperture at f2.0 at 28mm and hardly saccrificing any aperture for zoom with f2.8 at 112mm. Giving a great bokeh    (charecteristic of the blur) effect especially in shallow depth of field portraits.

Super macro allows for focusing around 1.0 cm from the front of the lens and will allow the user to get more than close enough to most objects.

The build quality of the lens is sturdy with a solid metal casing covering the lenses 9 groups containg 11 lenses (3 aspherical). Though the lens itself just sits nicely in your hands and is protected with a metal lens cap when not in use.  

 

LCD / Viewfinder


fujifilm20120519bc.jpgAnother great aspect of the X10 is the built in VF. Although it only offers 85% coverage of the scene it feels so incredibly natural to lift the camera to your eye, compose the scene and then shoot. A diopter is also included in the viewfinder for those with glasses to adjust accrodingly.


The 2.8 inch LCD however gives 100% coverage of the scene. With 460,000 dot resolution images appear clear and contrasty when played back though you will find that as always LCD screens are prone to glare in harsh lighting situations like direct sunlight.

 

Video


The X10 also manages to pack in 1080p Full HD video redording with stereo audio accesed via a seperate video mode on the function dial. A plus for the X10 is that due to having an externally controlled lens zooming is completely functional in video, many compacts do not allow zoom with video. The quality of the video is quite good considering the size of the sensor.

 

 

 

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Conclusion


Fuji have added a very attractive option to the pointy end of the compact market. The X10 is a premium camera and this is evidenced by all of the little extras like a viewfinder, manual mode, RAW file capabilities and even right down to touches like a metal lens cap.

It must be rememberd that the X10 falls into the compact range and yet when you look through the specs sheet it challenges a number of DSLR type cameras for features. I find it incredibly hard to fault the X10 on anything at all actually and if you are after a compact camera that acts like a much larger DSLR style camera without the size, then the X10 should be right at the top of your wishlist.

 

Accessories Used During Testing:

SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s SD Card 

Tamrac Aero 36 / 3336 Camera Bag 

 

Recommended Retailer:

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View / Buy The Fujifilm FinePix X10 

 

 

Appearance rating 5 stars
Functionality rating 5 stars
Image quality
4.5 stars
Video quality
4 stars
Lens quality
4.5 stars
View finder (EVF)
4 stars
LCD screen (Rear)
4 stars
Value for money 4 star
Street Price $699.95
SPACER.GIF  
Effective Pixels 12.0 million pixels
Sensor Type
2/3-inch EXR CMOS with primary color filter
Image Sizes 3 Sizes / 4 ratios/ 3 motion panoramas
Lens Type: Fujinon 4 x optical zoom lens
Focal length: f=7.1 - 28.4 mm, equivalent to 28 - 112 mm on a 35 mm camera
Full-aperture: F2.0 (Wide) - F2.8 (Telephoto)
Constitution: 9 groups 11 lenses (3 aspherical glass molded lenses included)
Lens Mount
-
Resolution Settings: Stills L : (4:3) 4000 x 3000
L : (3:2) 4000 x 2664
L : (16:9) 4000 x 2248
L : (1:1) 2992 x 2992
M : (4:3) 2816 x 2112
M : (3:2) 2816 x 1864
M : (16:9) 2816 x 1584
M : (1:1) 2112 x 2112
S : (4:3) 2048 x 1536
S : (3:2) 2048 x 1360
S : (16:9) 1920 x 1080
S : (1:1) 1536 x 1536

Motion Panorama
360° Vertical 11520 x 1624 Horizontal 11520 x 1080
300° Vertical 9600 x 1624 Horizontal 9600 x 1080
240° Vertical 7680 x 1624 Horizontal 7680 x 1080
180° Vertical 5760 x 1624 Horizontal 5760 x 1080
120° Vertical 3840 x 1624 Horizontal 3840 x 1080
Resolution Settings: Video 1920 x 1080 pixels
1280 x 720 pixels
640 x 480 pixels
30 frames / sec. with stereo sound
Optical zoom (manual) can be used. 
Face Detection Yes
Manual Focus Yes
Auto Focus Yes
Aperture Priority Yes
Shutter Speeds (Auto mode) 1/4 sec. to 1/4000* sec., (All other modes) 30 sec. to 1/4000* sec. * 1/4000 sec. at small aperture, 1/1000 sec. at full aperture
Shutter Priority Yes
ISO Auto / Equivalent to ISO 100 / 200 / 250 / 320 / 400 / 500 / 640 / 800 / 1000 / 1250 / 1600 / 2000 / 2500 / 3200 / 4000* / 5000* / 6400* / 12800* (Standard Output Sensitivity) * ISO4000 / 5000 / 6400 : M mode or lower, ISO12800 : S mode
LCD Monitor 2.8-inch, approx. 460,000 dots, TFT color LCD monitor, approx. 100% coverage
Viewfinder Optical zoom viewfinder
Approx. 85% coverage
Diopter adjustment : -3.5 - +1.5 m-1(dpt)
Flash Auto flash (super intelligent flash)
Effective range : (ISO AUTO (800))
Wide : Approx. 50 cm - 7.0 m / 1.6 ft. - 22.9 ft.
Telephoto : Approx. 80 cm - 5.0 m / 2.6 ft. - 16.4 ft. 
Hot Shoe Yes
White Balance Automatic scene recognition
Preset : Fine, Shade, Fluorescent light (Daylight), Fluorescent light (Warm White), Fluorescent light (Cool White), Incandescent light, Underwater, Custom, Color temperature selection 
Self Timer 10 sec. / 2 sec. delay
Stills Format/s
JPEG (Exif Ver 2.3)*3, RAW (RAF format), RAW + JPEG
(Design rule for Camera File system compliant / DPOF-compatible)
Video Format/s H.264 (MOV) with Stereo sound
Video Recording Time/s -
Storage Type - External SD / SDHC / SDXC (UHS-I) memory card
Storage Type - Internal
-
Connectivity Video output: NTSC / PAL selectable with Monaural sound
Digital interface: USB 2.0 High-Speed
HDMI output: HDMI Mini connector
Power Source Battery charger BC-45W
Battery Options Li-ion battery NP-50
Battery Life -
Dimensions 117.0 mm (W) x 69.6mm (H) x 56.8mm 
Weight Approx. 350 g / 12.3 oz. (inc. battery & memory card)
Approx. 330 g / 11.6 oz. (exc. battery & memory card)











 


 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

About Fujifilm

 

FUJIFILM brings continuous innovation and leading-edge products to a broad spectrum of industries, including electronic imaging, photofinishing equipment, medical systems, life sciences, graphic arts, flat panel display materials, and office products, based on a vast portfolio of digital, optical, fine chemical and thin film coating technologies. The company was ranked number 15 for U.S. patents granted in 2006. Fujifilm is committed to environmental stewardship and good corporate citizenship.

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