Fujifilm X10 Review
When you first unpack the Fujifilm X10 it impresses you with its Leica looks, build quality and compact retro design with all buttons and dials placed just right. However, when you start using it thinking you can exercise control over shutter speed, aperture, and other shooting parameters, frustration sets in.
There are simply too many confusing restrictions and inter-dependencies in aperture, shutter speed, sensitivity, dynamic range and noise control for the camera to be useable in anything but one of the fully automatic modes, shooting JPG only. The sensor also disappoints somewhat. It is not up to the level of resolution available from similarly-sized 12 MP sensors with the photo-sites arranged in the traditional Bayer pattern. The Fujifilm EXR sensor may have a better dynamic range and better noise suppression but it comes at the cost of resolution. In order to benefit from these advantages the resolution must be set to 6 MP or even 3 MP. However, if you mainly view your images on a monitor and don't make big-size enlargements, even 6 MP is more than adequate in for such use the image quality and color rendition is astounding.
On the plus side, and it is a big plus, the X10 has a bright optical view finder which comes in handy in bright light where other compact cameras with nothing but the LCD monitor for image composing become utterly useless.
The lens is of very high quality, it surpasses most other compact cameras including the Pentax Q 02 Zoom Lens by boasting a fast aperture of f/2 to f/2.8 and a very useful zoom range equivalent to 28-112mm in the old days. Distortion, aberrations and flare are also very well controlled.
Pros and Cons
|+ Build quality||- High ISO available only at 6 MP or 3 MP resolution|
|+ View finder (despite coverage)||- Extended dynamic range not available at full resolution|
|+ Handling (except for manual focus)||- Fast shutter speeds available only with small apertures|
|+ Built-in flash as well as hot shoe||- Difficult to use except in full auto modes due to many inter-dependent settings|
|+ Fast lens of excellent quality||- Manual focus sluggish|
|+ Accurate auto focus||- Somewhat low image quality for a 12 MP sensor|
|+ Useful zoom range||- Short battery life|
|+ Shake Reduction|
|+ Much better than your average P&S|
Who is the Fujifilm X10 For?
If you usually shoot with a DSLR and are looking for a compact camera where you can exercise full manual control over exposure and focus just like with the DSLR you may want to look elsewhere. If you come from a traditional point-and-shoot or of you just want a compact companion to your DSLR primarily for use in auto mode, the Fujifilm X10 is a good choice. In the EXR Auto mode it takes care of the complex interrelated settings and in most cases picks the appropriate setting for the scene. The image quality is close to excellent and the drop in resolution to 6 MP in high contrast or low light scenes is not a factor when sharing the images on the web or making small er medium sized prints.
Fujifilm X10 or Pentax Q?
The Fujifilm has a number of advantages over the Pentax Q: It has a view finder so that you acn actually frame your images in strong light, it has a fixed lens thus doing away with sensor dust issues, the zoom range of the lens is very useful although not as wide at the short end as the Pentax Q (but longer at the other end), and the lens is a fast f/2 to f/2.8 throughout the zoom range. If you want to be able to exercise full control over the shooting parameters under all conditions and adapt all sorts of lenses, and if you are willing to pay $200 more and live without a view finder, you might instead consider the Pentax Q. Click on the image below to read or review of the Q!