Top critical review
45 people found this helpful
A very good attempt to fill a niche.
on November 21, 2011
A quick personal background.
I've been shooting for nearly 25 years and consider myself an "enthusiast." I'm primarily a Nikon user and my experience is nearly all of the F-series SLR's and D-series DSLR's from 1985 onwards. My last point-and-shoot for family vacations and daily walkaround is the venerable Lumix LX3 - pretty good high ISO performance, fast f/2.0 lens, 24mm wide.
Why another P&S ? (The wife asked too.)
Primarily because the LX3's 60mm wasn't long enough for those times you want to shoot an architectural detail from the street or isolating a subject. But also because I wanted a less obstrusive, lightweight camera for street shooting with OVF operation and small lenses (I cannot afford the M9). My first unit towards this goal was the Fuji X100 but I promptly resold it after a week simply because:
a) it didn't have image stabilization and my less-than-steady-hands are showing on my low-light images,
b) for the price, I think it should have an option for a telephoto lens even if it were just for 5% of my shots,
c) the 35/2 lens doesn't focus as close as my Nikon 35/2 unless you switch to macro mode which interrupts my flow,
d) its price-vs-value-vs-features was neither here nor there
Fortunately, Fuji announced the X10 not too long after. At half the price, a 28-112 fast zoom, image stabilization, manual zoom control, and a OVF - it sounded like we have a winner.
Here's my initial feedback after a week with the X10 with the LX3 as reference:
- as small as most mirrorless designs although it is not back-pocketable (the Canon S100 and some Sony's are)
- I love the manual zoom, but may appeal only to DSLR users (my favourite zooms are the 16-35 and the 70-200)
- shooting through a viewfinder is a more natural way for me to shoot than via an LCD that I have to hold 12" away from me (I'm 40)
- noiseless stealth operation, unless you turn on the shutter sound feature
- fast focusing
- EXR function with increased DR mode works great
- fill flash for portraits works great up to 20 feet
- I wish it was a 24mm wide, but the panorama mode made up for it
- the OVF needs adjusting to as it covers only 85% of the actual frame
- the OVF has zero display and it would have been great even if they just added the focus box with focus lock indicator as I don't know where I'm focusing on most of the time
- the menu system is counter intuitive and I kept having to look for the Metering option (spot, average, matrix)
- battery life is really, really short - whereas I can get away with 2 batteries with the LX3 for a normal day of shooting, I probably have to have 3 batteries with the X10
- the combi/spin wheel feels loose when turning and does not provide the right tactile feedback
These are my initial feedback on the ergonomics and I will update my review once I fill up my 16Gb card. What I will continue to test is shooting street scenes using a quick-draw-and-quick-hide approach using the OVF. I don't expect it to be as responsive as I would use a DLSR - draw, focus, lock, shoot, tuck away - but I hope to go as close as I can.
If it doesn't work out, we have another option in as far as my quest for a mirrorless camera with fast, small lenses - the forthcoming Fuji LX.