Fujifilm X10 Review

Night Photography and Noise

We went back to the scene where we shot night photos with the Pentax Q since we were curious to see how two cameras compare at their lowest ISO setting at night. We first shot the X10 in Av mode at f/5.6 and ISO 100 to match the Q, which had been set to Av mode, f/5.6, ISO 125 (its lowest setting). We had to dial in -1 EV exposure compensation on the X10 resulting in a 3.1-second shutter speed where the Q had given us a 2-second shutter speed. We show the JPGs right out of the cameras using auto white balance. We had lens correction enabled on the Pentax. Both cameras were set at 12 MP resolution and were mounted on a tripod. The focal lengths were 35mm (eqv.) on both cameras.

The first two entries in the drop down are reduced size images for those with slower connections.

Night Scene Low ISO

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The X10 has a more accurate white balance under artificial light and produced more contrast. Thanks to the extra contrast it initially appeared that the X10 had more resolution, but upon closer inspection, we found the cameras equal in this camp. Both cameras have noise well under control.

Our next comparison is man vs. machine. We compare our preferred shooting mode, Av, f/5.6 at ISO 100 with what the camera picked in EXR Auto mode.

Night Scene Av vs. EXR Exposure Mode

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The EXR Auto mode picked extended dynamic range (DR200) which forced the camera to drop resolution to 6 MP. The sensitivity picked by the camera was ISO 800. We see that noise becomes an issue at ISO 800 despite the reduction in resolution. EV compensation is not available in EXR Auto mode.

Finally we ran through the entire ISO range. Note that due to the characteristics of the sensor resolution drops to 6 MP at ISO 6,400 and 3 MP at ISO 12,800.

ISO Noise Comparison (reduced size)

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The images are clean up to ISO 3,200. At ISO 6,400 the image quality deteriorates more significantly (notice the letters in Washington become fuzzy), but even ISO 12,800 can be used in a crunch for small prints and web use.

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