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3.7 out of 5 stars
Fujifilm XF1/Blk 12MP Digital Camera with 3-Inch LCD (Black)
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365 of 382 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon November 19, 2013
This review is going to be a short one, only to warn those of you who might be considering this camera of its fatal flaw, from my experiences with these.

During this past summer we bought not one, but four XF1s among the friends and family. I loved the Fuji. The EXR sensor was made famous by its X100 for great signal to noise ratio, low light capability, and saturated colors. It has incredible and accurate JPEG colors that requires little to no adjustment to look amazing. The lens is tack sharp. The zoom lens starts at a very good 25mm wide range with a big f1.8 aperture. Add optical image stabilizer and a low noise sensor, it's a champ at low lights. There is full manual control with RAW. The video looks great at 1080p. The menus and controls are well thought out. Focus is fast and accurate. The build quality was excellent, felt solid in the hand, and it looked great (in my opinion). This was a camera that performed like much larger bodies with larger sensors, at a fraction of the size and cost.

The twist lens is a bit of a nuisance and requires both hands for operation, while not really booting any faster than if it had a power button (it still takes a second or so to turn on after the lens extends). I didn't understand the design decision, other than perhaps by doing so it results in a quieter operation without motor noise, and possibly better reliability as well.

The lens, alas, became the fatal problem, which I'll describe in more detail later. During the summer we shot thousands of pictures, and the camera failed within 6 weeks, right outside the return period. Granted, I shoot a lot more than the average user, but there was no explanation for this. I thought maybe we did something that caused this failure, but in reality we babied the camera without ever abusing it.

However, in time, ALL of the other three cameras developed the same problem. I purchased these in July, and the last one developed this problem at the beginning of November--the one that's probably the least used. This denotes that the problem isn't isolated, but results from a design flaw, that in my four cameras, caused a 100% failure rate.

The problem, which eventually renders the camera inoperable, comes in stages. The process is identical for all four of the XF1 cameras, occurring at zoom range after 35mm. It approximately develops as follows:

- After a good number of shots (it varies a bit on this one, from 1000-5000 frames, probably depending on how often the lens was turned or how it was assembled?), you start noticing some strange blurs around the edges, particularly for telephoto end of the lens. It's easy to put it off as a lens quality issue.
- Then, you'll notice that exposure goes haywire around the telephoto end. It would either grossly overexpose or underexpose, and using compensation or manual override wouldn't do anything. Sometimes it would appear as if the sensor is screwed up, giving garbled images while metering/focusing. Restarting the camera would fix it, until you try to take shots at the tele end again. (at least two other reviewers mentioned this early stage problem)
- Soon after, when you zoom over 35mm, and physically move the camera, you will get "Lens Control Error" which requires a reset. On one of the slower progressing cameras, this developed into a full fledge problem where anything after 35mm will give a shaky image on the viewfinder, like the optics have come loose (or I think something went wrong with the image stabilizer)., and you will easily get "lens control error" with any sudden physical movement. For the other three XF1s, it's more of a abrupt degeneration to the point where the "lens control error" will occur every time you zoom past 35mm, with a noticeable shift in image on the LCD (as if optics suddenly tilted/shifted).
- My friend who kept on using his at 25mm range, thinking he could make do with it as long as it's not zoomed in. However, it eventually worsened that it'll give "lens control error" at 25mm too, rendering the camera completely unusable at shooting photos. (video included)

The 100% failure rate, the speed at which it failed, as well as the identical progressions and symptoms suggest that this is a highly repeatable and non-random issue. There is clearly a design flaw. My family has gone out of the country with two of the cameras, with no warranty service available to them. My friend and I are stuck with ours, and will take up Fuji's warranty service in the coming days. The dilemma for us is whether if we even want this replaced with the same camera, knowing the same design flaw persists; That's unless Fuji had figured this out with a good fix, something I have found no evidence of so far. It seems like a near certain loss that's difficult to recover; and it's a shame since the camera was such a great performer and so portable.

While the price of XF1 has come down due to its end-of-life status, I would still advise against the purchase of this camera. As of right now we're looking to probably get either a flawed replacement, or a "repaired" camera that's only 3 months old. Neither is ideal, and you can avoid my predicament by getting something else, possibly XF1's latest successor, the Fuji XQ1 or other capable pocket cameras. I hope this helps.

___________________________________
11/20/2013 update:
Here is the latest update. I just got off the phone with the Fuji Pro Repairs (1-800-800-3854 Option #1 and then Option #2. That's the only way to reach them since all my emails got a terse reply making me call this number). They weren't particularly helpful, to say the least, and were pretty dismissive about the problems I experienced. They were fighting to talk over me, stressing again and again how they have never heard of this problem, how they never see this online and in their own service bulletin, and how they have worked there for a long time to know better, etc. Frustrated, I asked to speak to the call center manager, who were no better for it--same dismissive attitude, and almost identical "the cameras are great because we've never heard of this problem in the X years I've worked here" rhetoric. (Perusing Amazon reviews, I could see lens control error just a few reviews earlier than mine. He probably thought it's isolated like myself. I did until my other 3 broke).

I personally think there hasn't been as many complaints surfacing on their bulletin (if true) because XF1 is evidently a low volume seller, judging from the sometimes low clearance prices required to move them since summer. There's also plenty of mentions to this problem around the web when you Google "xf1 lens error". That notion was likewise vehemently dismissed by Fuji's reps, again stressing that they have never seen or heard of it, in their bulletins or on the web. They suggested that it could very well be a firmware problem (when it's obviously physical with the optical wobbling and shifting of preview image.) I was treated like this crazy idiot who just didn't know what I was talking about.

I inquired the possibility of replacing my broken XF1 with a different camera, since I was convinced that XF1 is flawed. I got slightly different replies. The first rep said that depending on their tech department's determination, they may replace it with "at least an XF1", which lead to the possibility of something different/better. I asked to speak to the manager because the rep said only the manager could decide. However, the manager said there's "zero possibility" that it would be replaced with anything other than XF1, at best. As you might imagine, both the rep and the manager made it clear that they would be doing me a favor by replacing it with another XF1, which they stubbornly believe is a bulletproof pro camera that only insane people would find otherwise. They said that the only thing I could do is to send it in and have them look at it, then they'll decide whether to repair or replace. I would have to write a letter, explaining the problem in detail, put in any sales receipt or what not, and they'll determine what to do.

Everything I just spoke on the phone--as difficult as it was to explain to deaf ears--would not go on record apparently, until I send in the camera and a letter (maybe that's part of the reason why they have no record of the problem in their service bulletins?). No RMA case was created (they couldn''t). No shipping label would be provided--I'd have to ship with a trackable service at my own cost. They'll just contact me when they receive it, if I put my contact info on the letter. When I suggested that the lack of at least a RMA seems unstructured and unsafe, I got another rant on how they've been doing this for 35 years with no problems.

So this call accomplished little, other than finding an unwillingness by Fuji to acknowledge this as a flawed design, and their complete lack of awareness to this problem. I'm not feeling terribly optimistic with the warranty service now--quite the contrary. Yet seeing how the broken camera is completely useless in my hands anyway, I will ship mine back to them just to see what happens.

The address to send the camera to for repairs:
Fujifilm Camera Repairs
1100 King George Rd.
Edison, NJ 08837

I encourage those who may have the same problem as mine to bring it to Fuji's attention. This certainly shouldn't have been a non-issue. I will report back when I have updates.
___________________________________
12/2/2013
Just got off the phone with Fujifilm service center in Edison, NJ again. The camera has been received by Fujifilm on 11/26/2013 according to Fedex. I have just received an email this afternoon at 3:43pm:

-------Begin email insert------
Thank you for using FUJIFILM Service and Support. Your product was received into our system today, 12/2/2013, at our Edison service center. It is our goal to have your repair completed and shipped to you within 10 business days from today. Due to holidays or parts availability, repair time may increase. You will receive an E-mail with tracking information on the day your repair is shipped.

If your repair is out of warranty, you can Approve or Refuse the estimate online by clicking the following link: https://camerarepair.fujifilmusa.com/CheckOrder or by calling 1800-659-3854 and follow the prompts to the Digital Camera Repair Dept. Please supply the above Repair Reference number.

If a response is not received within 2 weeks, your repair will be shipped back to the address given as a "No Reply to Estimate"

You can always check the status of your repair by also clicking on the link above and supplying your Repair Reference Number.
-------End email insert------

So it looks like it's in the process, and they are apparently going with the repair route. Since it's apparently an automatically generated message, I thought maybe repair can equal to replacement. At any rate, there's a confusing bit about how I need to respond to them in 2 weeks, so I used the website link to check up the repair status, and I got the following:

-------------Begin estimate insert-----------
Order Status
WAITING FOR ESTIMATE APPROVAL
Estimate Charge ($)
140
Shipping Charge ($)
18
Tax ($)
11.66
Total Charges ($)
169.66
---------End estimate insert -----------------

It looks like they are waiting for my approval of $169.66 to have the camera repaired! I called up the number provided in the email (which didn't really lead directly to the repair center. I needed to navigate 3 levels of menus, option 1, 2, 4 I believe for pro repairs), asking about why I was charged this amount when it should have been under warranty.

The service rep looked up the info and said that they found a ding on the front of the lens housing, suggesting impact damage, resulting in the lens error, and the warranty was voided. I tried to explain how the front lens housing has a very thin sheet metal, and can easily be dinged (e.g. putting it in the pocket with other things?), and how I have three others in pristine condition with the same problem, proving its irrelevance. I sent this camera (my friend's) in because it's got the most advanced development of this error, where it shows up without having to zoom.

The representative wasn't belligerent and defensive like last time, but he went on to say that's how the tech reported it and he couldn't do anything about it. He suggested to transfer me to the manager, so I could speak to him. I had him do that, but after a few minutes the same rep returned, saying how the manager was able to lower the bill to $100. I said that's not going to cut it (this really isn't about the money), and I needed to speak to him (even though it really didn't seem like we'll get anywhere), so he transferred me.

After a minute, a brusque and rushed voice came on and said "hello", and I responded a few times; but he apparently had a problem hearing me (not sure why), and he hung up on me. I had to call again, immediately, navigating through the menu and holds, asking again to speak to the manager, Dan Scarola. This time it went straight to his voicemail, saying that he's out for the day. I left a message, again explaining the situation, and left my number, asking for a call back.

So, that's the latest update. Needless to say, I'm more than disappointed. I'll try to reach him tomorrow, and if that doesn't get anywhere (a rather likely event), I'll be forced to cancel the estimate and get the broken camera back--it doesn't make sense to pay $100-$169.66 for a half-measure repair on a 199 camera (it also seems strange that the rather exorbitant estimated cost can be so arbitrarily adjusted). I don't even think it's worth the $7 FedEx shipping I paid for sending it in (not sure why Fuji's charging $18), if they are only going to do a repair without acknowledging the evident and a repeatable engineering flaw. Not only will I end up with repaired/refurbished cameras, they will most likely develop the same errors again.

The inclination to downplay camera problems and voiding warranty really brought down my expectations to nothing, and my initial "wait and see" sentiment became that of an outrage. I have had a great opinion on Fuji's recent cameras, and I recommend them heartily to family and friends (hence the 4 XF1s). Yet this good feeling has gone negative through the recent dealings with Fujifilm. I actually have other new Fujifilm X series cameras, and now not only am I leery about my future support, but that I just don't want to deal with Fujifilm anymore.
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196 of 209 people found the following review helpful
I'm a camera nut. I use my 5D MKIII and 7D to make a living. I've also gone through a variety of compact cameras. I always carry a camera, and unless I'm specifically out on a shoot, I don't want to lug abound my big camera and lens. My camera of choice has been the Panasonic Lumix ZS20 14.1 MP High Sensitivity MOS Digital Camera with 20x Optical Zoom (Black), and for the price it's still a great camera. The Fujifilm XF1, although it has lower resolution, has now replaced it. Two words: Sensor size.

This uses a much larger sensor than your standard point and shoot - 2/3 of an inch. For a point and shoot/compact/pocket camera, it's unusual. True, more and more manufacturers are producing cameras with larger sensors, and eventually DSLR's (large cameras with mirrors) will be replaced by mirrorless models. For now, I love my DSLR and really, really like the XF1. There are a lot of things to like. The larger sensor means that more light is captured and the pixel quality is superior. Result - better low light photos and crisper, better quality photos. A 12mp camera with this large sensor will produce images with better quality than even an 18mp camera with one of those teeny sensors.

Example sensor sizes:
Standard compact camera: 3.2 x 2.4 mm (7.68 mm surface area) and 4.8 x 3.6 mm (17.28 mm surface area)
Panasonic Lumix ZS20 6.08 x 4.56 mm (27.724 mm surface area)
Fujifilm XF1/: 8.8 x 6.6 mm (58.08 mm surface area)
Canon 7D: 22.3 x 14.9 mm (332.27 mm surface area)

OK, so I take this thing out of the box. It is very retro. My GF's comment - "It looks so old that nobody will bother stealing it..." The controls seem minimal, but there are more than you first realize. This is the first camera I have found that is impossible to turn on without step by step instructions. There's a decal on the camera explaining it (poorly.) There's a mini guide to turning it on. There are several pages in the manual. It's clever, but it's something Rube Goldberg could have dreamed up. Twist the lens. Pull the lens out. Twist it again. We have power! Since the lens has a manual zoom (yes, a manual zoom), when you zoom out (go wider) you can accidentally turn the camera off. Bizarre. It's like the Nostromo self destruct mechanism on the original Alien movie.

The external controls are varied - on top we have the popup flash (feels cheap), a function button (Fn - so small it's easy to miss), the shutter release and the selector dial. On the back are two dials, a rocker and four buttons. This camera has so many features that several levels of menus are needed. This makes if difficult to find features. But - and this is rare on this type of camera - you have three custom function buttons. You can set the camera up the way you want, then save this configuration to a custom setting. Three different configurations. That's something some DSLR's don't even have.

When it comes to my DSLR, I shoot manual. I'm happy to see that the camera has a full manual mode, in addition to the many other modes. The auto-focus is near instant, the image quality amazing. Granted I've only used it for a day (shot around 200 photos and did not kill the battery.) I'll have it in my pocked for a while and will use it almost every day - I'll update as I gain more experience with it. Features? Exposure bracketing. Flash bracketing. Panorama stitching and even more.

After a day of using this camera I am impressed. I did add a screen protector (I have a bunch on hand that can be cut to size) as the screen is plastic and I hate scratched screens. I also have a bunch of small camera bags on hand. Tried a few of them, finding that the Case Logic TBC-312 Pocket Video Camcorder Case with Storage (Black) fit perfectly.

The camera stores photos in two formats: RAW and jpg. RAW is also called a "digital negative" - RAW format is RAF. Photoshop and Lightroom support it. Jpg file, Fine: 1.3 to 2.2 meg each image. RAW format 19 to 21 meg (numbers vary depending on colors and detail.)

RAW and JPG has an image resolution of 4000x3000 pixels. If you use some of the special "pro" effects (pin focus, etc.) the image size drops to 2816x1221 pixels. Panorama size is 11520x1080.

Apart from the case you'll also need an SD card. A proprietary battery is included, as well as a charger, USB cable and wrist strap.

OK, so who (whom?) is this camera for? The serious amateur would be happy. The pro looking for a more portable pocket camera would like it (but no interchangeable lenses). A beginner may be overwhelmed at first, but just use full auto and you're all set. It a camera that someone with limited (or no!) camera experience can use, then grow into as skills improve. It has all the features you'd ever want. A pro or serious amateur will be surprised at the feature set. You'll have several "oh - it does that?!?" moments.

11-26-2012: Been toying with the video. I love high speed video. The XF1 shoots 70fps at 640x480, 120fps at 320x240 and 200fps at 320x112.
Effects can be "stacked" (my term). For example, if you set the film type to B&W, turn on bracketing and shoot - you'll get three B&W shots.
Battery - the battery drains when in the camera, even if the camera is off. The battery died in-camera. Put it away with 1/2 power. Two days later it was dead. So check and charge the battery before using! Have also been noticing more of the attention to quality - for example, the SD card slot. It's metal lined, not plastic. Plus - even if you try - you can't slide the SD card lock switch up. That's a GOOD thing. I have four other compact cameras. Another Fuji, a Panasonic, a Kodak and a Sony. You have to be cautious with all of them - slightly angled and the lock switch slides up, and your photos can't be saved. You need to remove the card, unlock, and replace. There is also SOME internal memory. You can capture a few images, but not enough to replace even the smallest memory card. But it's better than nothing if you forget to put in the memory card and discover this once you're away from home.
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128 of 141 people found the following review helpful
on June 30, 2013
(Hedy Lamarr was a world class mathematician who, among other accomplishments, invented and patented frequency-hopping spread-spectrum transmission of radio signals -- a fundamental building block of modern avionics and cell phone technology; she was also an aviatrix whose skills rivaled those of Amelia Earhart. However, BECAUSE Hedy Lamarr was a major Hollywood movie star and pin-up model, her substantial intellectual accomplishments often are overlooked or lightly dismissed.)

Do not allow the pretty face of the very petit faux leather clad Fujifilm XF1, and its (seeming) paucity of knobs and dials and levers, to deceive you. The XF1 is a technologically advanced high-end instrument with provision for fully manual adjustments of shutter speed and aperture, of zoom, manual-by-wire focus adjustment, RAW recording capability, etc. (all at the user's option, of course). AND the XF1 has a simply superb fast lens that illuminates a photo sensor that is quite large for a camera that is in its class or close to its external dimensions. (But you did notice, didn't you, that the XF1 is stylish and will fit in a pocket or purse?)

First and foremost, the Fujifilm XF1 is an EXR technology camera. That means that it gives the best results at "half resolution." The Fujifilm XF1, which has a sensor with twelve million photosites, is marketed as a twelve megapixel (12 MP) camera because many consumers mistakenly believe that there is a direct relationship between the pixel count and quality/performance, and consequently demand high pixel counts, and because Fujifilm wants to sell cameras, its mentions of megapixels in its advertising of the XF1 states the MAXIMUM megapixel resolution image that the camera can deliver instead of the megapixel resolution of the BEST QUALITY image that the camera can deliver. The Fujifilm XF1 IS CAPABLE of taking pictures at 4000x3000 (12 MP) resolution; you CAN use it that way simply by setting the image size to "Large." But (as users of other Fujifilm EXR cameras already know) shooting an EXR camera in just the same way that you would shoot a competing compact camera is a bit like using a Ferrari sports car to haul a heavy trailer; you will not be taking advantage of the Ferrari's special strengths in accelerating and braking and handling, and you will be disappointed by its inferior trailer-hauling capability. Where the XF1 REALLY shines is when it is set to take advantage of EXR by exposing pictures at "Medium" size (2816x2112 pixels, or 6 MP resolution), still using ALL twelve million photosites, but using six million of them to ENHANCE the "first" six million: making the XF1 one of the best 6 MP cameras the world has yet known ... because of its exceptional ability to capture wide dynamic range.

"Dynamic range" is what allows a camera to record both very bright areas and very deep shadows in the same scene without the bright areas fading to featureless white or the shadows either blocking up as featureless black or appearing very grainy from electronic noise. Small, pocketable, cameras must have small sensor chips inside, and -- to be blunt -- small sensors, generally, are deficient in ability to capture wide dynamic range. The main reason why so many photos taken with camera phones are unsatisfying is that camera phones have very limited dynamic range.

EXR cameras are the exception to the general rule that small sensors cannot deliver dynamic range. A full explanation of Fujifilm's unique EXR technology, the first fruits of which hit the market at the beginning of 2009, is beyond the scope of this review. However, DPReview.com, which is a subsidiary of Amazon.com, and is Amazon.com's sister site, has provided detailed and illustrative technical explanations in two or more articles. Amazon's software that automatically removes all links to any site other than Amazon.com prohibits my providing links to the DPReview.com articles within this review; but if you visit DPReview, seek out editor Richard Butler's April 2009 review of the Fujifilm F200EXR camera (the first commercial product to offer EXR), and the July 11, 2012, review written by editors Amadou Diallo and Barney Britton of the Fujifilm X10; the technical explanations commence, respectively, at page 2 of the F200EXR review and at page 9 of the X10 full review. The more recent (and fuller) review of the Fujifilm X10 camera is perhaps more poignant, because the X10 shares its 2/3" sensor with the XF1, which has an "EXR-II Processor" CPU upgrade from the "EXR Processor" CPU of the X10; the XF1 also has later firmware to go with the upgraded processor. And if on DPReview.com you look up the December 2013 review of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1, a camera with a sensor roughly four times the size of the sensor on the XF1, in the first ("Cameras Compared") chart substitute the Fujifilm X10 camera (which is the only EXR camera that you can choose) set to "EXR DR 400" for the Fujifilm X-M1 camera, you will see that the Fujifilm X10 thrashes all of the other cameras at ANY of their DR settings in the breadth of its dynamic range; the Fujifilm XF1 would show identical results to those of the Fujifilm X10.

When a Fujifilm EXR camera is set to EXR mode (on the mode dial atop the camera) with "DR priority," OR is set to P (program) mode at M (medium) size and set to "DR400" dynamic range, the EXR sensor exposes immediately adjacent pixels at two different durations (the equivalent of shutter speeds), then processes the pixels in tandem, integrating the different readings, to give the resulting image the shadow depth of the longer exposure and the highlight depth of the shorter exposure, yielding images with a dynamic range that is -- BY FAR -- superior to the dynamic range that the XF1's peers among compact cameras yield. But to get that dynamic range the XF1 needs to process the photosites in pairs; so, instead of an image of 4000x3000 pixels, you get an image that is a little more than seven-tenths as wide and seven-tenths as tall: 2816x2112 pixels. The resulting 6 MP EXR-processed photo is a deeper, richer image than the 12 MP image that the same XF1 would take when set to Large size (which disables the EXR processing).

But don't you "need" more than six million pixels; aren't more pixels "better"? You may be surprised: the famed "Retina" display on the largest of the new Apple Macbook Pro computers is 2880x1800 pixels; if you could translate the pixels of a 6 MP Fujifilm XF1 photo to the Macbook Pro screen pixel-for-pixel, the photo would use all but 32 pixels (about 1/7 of an inch) on each side of the width of the screen, and the image would run 156 pixels (a bit more than 2/3 of an inch) above the top and 156 pixels below the bottom of the screen. In other words, you could not fit more resolution onto the big Mac Retina screen than what a 6 MP image supplies. On a more conventional high definition 1600x1200 resolution monitor, or a 1920x1080 resolution HDTV, the entire screen could show only about a third of the pixels of the Fujifilm XF1 M size photo at one time, and you would need to use sliders to pan the photo on the screen. If you are having color prints made from a 6 MP digital image, the processing will literally have to throw away a portion of the pixels for any print size up to 8" x 10" or (depending on the print machine) even 11" x 14" prints. If instead you are having an 8" x 10" print made from a 12 MP digital file, all of the "extra megapixels" (compared to the 6 MP file) are simply wasted, and are sent to the discarded bit trash heap. (For a 16" x 20" or larger size print, you do have a chance to get an improved print with more than 6 MP, but are you really looking to make easel-sized prints from a camera that you can put in your pocket?)

The Fujifilm XF1 is not only "an" EXR camera; it is an evolved, latest generation, EXR camera. The XF1's 2/3" sensor is the largest Fujifilm EXR sensor yet (the Fujifilm X10 and X-S1, both EXR cameras, also incorporate a 2/3" sensor); and it is quite a bit larger -- 34 percent greater surface area -- than the 1/1.7" sensors that are found in competitors like the Canon G15 or Panasonic LX7. The sensors of the "early" 2009 Fujifilm EXR cameras comprised charged-coupled devices (CCD) to capture the image; as late as 2011, the excellent Fujifilm X10 camera deployed a front-illuminated CMOS sensor in place of the CCD sensor in order to gain faster response; now the XF1 ups the light-gathering ante further, by incorporating a backside illuminated (BSI) CMOS sensor. BSI CMOS provides a greater light-gathering surface than front-illuminated CMOS for any given sensor size. A result is that the XF1 has the fastest focusing speed of any contrast detection autofocus compact Fujifilm camera to date, and at higher ISO settings the XFI images exhibit very low noise for such a compact camera.

The 4x zoom (technically, varifocal) LENS of the XF1 (equivalent to a 25 mm to 100 mm zoom in 135 full frame format) incorporates more advanced technology than any other non-interchangeable zoom lens that Fujifilm has fitted to any consumer camera to date. (That statement will be regarded as heresy by owners of the Fujifilm X10 and X20 cameras, but it is true.) The XF1's lens has seven elements (all of them glass) in six groups, an unusually low count for a 4x zoom lens with a bright maximum aperture (at the wide end) of f/1.8. All other things being equal, the lower the element count, the better, because every air/glass and glass/glass interface within a lens is an occasion for reflections, reducing light transmission, and, in the bounces back and forth, introducing veiling flare. An amazing statistic: The Fujifilm XF1 lens has no fewer than four aspherical elements (more than half of its seven elements) and three elements of extra low dispersion (ED) glass; compare the 4x zoom lens fitted to the XF1's sisters, the Fujifilm X10 and X20, a lens that deservedly has garnered fulsome praise from many discerning critics: that lens features eleven elements in nine groups, among which are three aspherical elements (one fewer than the XF1's lens has) and two ED glass elements (one fewer than the XF1's lens has). You will not find ANY other lens of ANY camera manufacturer that has a higher proportion of aspherical and ED elements than the lens of the XF1.

**Edit 2013 October 7: The just-announced Zeiss Otus manual focus 55 mm f/1.4 prime lens for full-frame Nikon and Canon 35mm DSLRs will have twelve elements in ten groups, and six of those elements will be "anomalous partial dispersion" glass elements (one element is aspherical); the recommended retail price for the Zeiss Otus 55/1.4 lens will be 2,940 euros (plus VAT) or US$3,999.

The technique of applying a coating to the surface of a lens to decrease reflections at the glass/air interface and thus to increase the transmittance of light through the lens, has been around since the 1930s, but until the early 1960s, the method to apply the coating was vapor deposition (think of the water condensing on the outside of a glass of ice water on a humid day). When Fujifilm's predecessor corporation was awarded the contract to supply the broadcast lenses for the television cameras in the venues of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Fujifilm -- which, as a manufacturer of photographic film, had long experience in applying coatings to substrates -- developed (and patented) a completely new process, electron beam coating, or EBC, to apply antireflective coatings to the individual lens elements. The EBC process (which "paints" on a coating in the manner of the beam that "paints" an image on a cathode ray television tube) allows a thinner layer of coating to be applied, and allows application of some coating materials that are not susceptible to be applied by vapor deposition. Although the 1960s patents have expired, Fujifilm still protects its EBC trade secrets, and for five decades has remained the world leader in lens coating technology. The lenses of other high-end Fujifilm fixed-lens cameras, including the more expensive X100S, X20, and X10, feature a "Super EBC" evolution of the EBC coatings that incorporates improvements to EBC that Fujifilm has made over those five decades. But recently Fujifilm has made a further quantum improvement to the EBC process, which it calls "High Transmittance EBC" (acronym: HT-EBC), which Fujifilm heretofore has used only on its broadcast lenses and on some of the very expensive XF series interchangeable lenses for its high-end X-Pro1 cameras, such as the $700 Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4.0 Lens Zoom Lens. You can read about HT-EBC on the Fujifilm Global website under "XF Lens - Lens Technology." The XF1 is the first (and, so far, the ONLY)** fixed lens Fujifilm camera to have the HT-EBC coatings applied to its lens surfaces; all 14 surfaces of the XF1's seven lens elements have individual HT-EBC coatings. Compared to the XF1's lens, lesser lenses from other camera makers have only selected surfaces coated, and often those coatings have been applied using the inferior vapor deposition process.

** Edit November 2014. The Fujifilm X30 camera. successor to the Fujifilm X10 and X20 cameras, has the same design lens as its older siblings, but in the X30, the lens elements now are coated with the HT-EBC coatings.

The proof that all of this advanced (and expensive) technology -- aspherical elements, ED elements, and HT-EBC -- works is in the doing: the lens of the XF1 produces stunningly sharp results with minimal flare. The image quality is -- in one word -- superb. As the 1960s Konica commercials used to say, "the lens alone is worth the price" of the camera.

Fujifilm has continued to refine its "jpeg engine," the software that converts the information received at the sensor into an image file with a .jpg suffix; the XF1's jpeg engine may be the current champion in objective and subjective color rendition among all camera makers worldwide. The company's decades of experience in making color film has given it a deep. deep corporate knowledge base in color rendition that other companies continue to discover requires years -- decades -- to develop. The XF1 gives the user several ways to take advantage of that Fujifilm expertise, even allowing a user of the XF1 to choose whether he or she wants to shoot with the color curve and rendition of Provia (the most versatile of the Fujifilm color films), or Astia, the Fujifilm color film the flattering tonal renditions of which is favored by portrait photographers and wedding photographers, or Velvia, the punchy color of Fujifilm's bright color slide film. The photographer with a Fujifilm XF1 in his or her hands can make that choice on every shot -- or he or she can have the camera "bracket" shots, taking three exposures in quick succession, each with a different film simulation color curve.

Unusually for a camera of its physical size, the Fujifilm XF1 also can produce RAW files for advanced post-processing, and can do so either in RAW-only shooting mode or making RAW+JPG pairs of each exposure. A RAW file contains all of the information from the sensor, plus information about the camera's settings. In the XF1 (except in some exceptional circumstances when the camera is set for Medium size, RAW+JPG is selected, and certain ISO settings are active), the RAW files are very large, nearly 20 MB each; but access to a RAW version of the exposure allows the user to apply his or her own color curves and other settings in developing a final .jpg file. The Fujifilm XF1 contains in firmware a RAW converter -- to make a smaller .jpg file from the RAW file -- in fact to enable making several .jpg files, each different -- without altering the RAW file, and Fujifilm supplies on a CD right in the XF1 box (also downloadable on-line) a copy of "RAW File Converter EX powered by SilkyPix" (both Windows and Mac versions), which is a specialized version of the commercial SilkyPix RAW converter that is available for other digital cameras. The supplied Silkypix software has a complex and nonintuitive user interface, and its documentation is poor, but it has strong capabilities for the few who are willing to struggle through the very steep learning curve. Other major vendors of RAW conversion software (Adobe, CaptureOne, Iridient) produce RAW converters for Fujifilm's format, but their EXR-specific products have lagged a generation behind updates of the RAW converters that the same vendors make for Canon and Sony and Pentax and Nikon; and, as of this writing, Apple's Aperture3 pro photo program still does not support the RAW format of Fujifilm's EXR technology cameras at all. So most XF1 users will probably want to employ (and enjoy) the XF1's excellent jpeg engine -- or use the in-camera firmware RAW converter -- until the software writers catch up with a more attractive option.

Two special features of the XF1 deserve further comment: As far back as the Fujifilm Finepix F70EXR 10MP Super CCD Digital Camera with 10x Optical Dual Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.7 inch LCD of 2009, which we have been using for four years, Fujifilm introduced a "Pro Low Light" mode to allow photos to be taken in dim ambient light without the noise of high ISO or the various problems of a flash. Pro Low Light shoots a scene that otherwise would require, for example, at ISO 200, a 1/15 second shutter speed, by shooting in rapid succession four higher ISO exposures at one quarter (in this example, 1/60 second) the shutter duration; then, by combining the four exposures into a single image in the camera, the inherent digital noise of the higher ISO is averaged out and the result is remarkably like a 1/60 second exposure at ISO 200. The technique works very well for a very steady (preferably tripod-mounted) camera and a still subject, but not so well if the photographer has shaky hands or if a breeze rustles the leaves in the shot. Pro Low Light still exists in the XF1, aided greatly by the faster response of the BSI CMOS, so the steadiness of the photographer's grip is now less of an issue. But -- under another name -- the technique has cropped up in another place in the XF1 as a feature called "Advanced Anti-Blur," available in EXR Auto mode only. Combined with the excellent lens shift optical image stabilization of the XF1, Advanced Anti-Blur shoots several very short duration shutter speed exposures in very rapid succession, then combines them in-camera into a single image that -- while not stopping action -- goes an extra step toward making low-light photography of subjects in motion better defined. It is a worthwhile feature.

The majority of the negative comments about the XF1, here on Amazon and elsewhere, are about the Fujifilm XF1's zoom ring on/off switch. Frankly, most of the ire directed at the zoom ring on/off switch sounds to me like the comments of a man who has driven manual transmission vehicles all his life but now -- driving for the first time a car with an automatic transmission -- he complains that every time that (out of habit) he slams his foot down where the car's clutch pedal -should- be, the brakes screech the car to a stop. "I have this ingrained habit, so this, which contravenes my habit, is WRONG."

TO THE CONTRARY, that feature happens to be the the one that, more than all others, positively influenced my own decision to purchase an XF1; the zoom ring on/off control of the Fujifilm XF1 IS different, but it is BETTER; it cuts seconds off the time needed to get ready to shoot, and it can make you a better photographer.

Most compact cameras with zoom lenses default to the widest angle of the zoom when the camera is turned on. If you like super wide angle photographs, where faces feature big noses and tiny ears because of perspective distortion and the subjects that you are shooting get lost in the clutter of far too much distracting detritus to the right and detritus to the left and detritus above and detritus below, then a camera's default to wide-wide angle is fine for you; but if you plan to shoot only at the widest setting, then your perfect camera does not need a zoom lens at all -- in fact, your perfect camera probably is an iPhone or an iPad.

But if you want ever to shoot those "other" compact cameras at a focal length other than wide-wide, you are going to have to use a control, typically a tiny spring-loaded lever, to zoom the lens with an electric motor. Almost invariably, however, motor-driven zoom from wide to tele is not continuous. Although a zoom lens may have an overall range from 25 mm equivalent to 100 mm equivalent, only a few of the intermediate focal lengths between 25 and 100 can be set. There will be a half dozen or so discreet steps (individual focal lengths) where the electronics can set the zoom, and possibly none of those steps will give you the framing you really want. Also, when you push the fiddly lever for the zoom, if the camera has a wide zoom range, chances are that you will overshoot: instead of going from 25 mm equivalent to something in the 80 mm range for a good head and shoulders portrait, suddenly you are all the way at maximum zoom and the viewing screen is filled with only a portion of the subject's face. You try to adjust back downward, and now your zoom overshoots again to give you a top-of-the-head to knees view of your subject who by now has tired of waiting for you to set your hardware and has started a conversation with someone else.

As noted above, we have been using a Fujifilm Finepix F70EXR 10MP Super CCD Digital Camera with 10x Optical Dual Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.7 inch LCD for four years; we have run off about 6,000 shots with it; and we have been there, done that. Attempting to set the 70EXR's 10x zoom (27 mm equivalent to 270 mm equivalent) to an equivalent focal length of 80 mm, even after four years of practice, is an exercise in frustration, typically requiring at least two to three seconds, often much more, jiggling back and forth, and by then, all too often, the moment is gone, sometimes gone forever.

The zoom lens of the Fujifilm XF1 is, first, continuous, and, second, manually controlled. You can set it anywhere from 25 mm equivalent to 100 mm equivalent, just as precisely as you want. The choice of magnification and framing is yours; you can magnify the portion of the scene that you want to feature just right while cropping some ugly distraction out of the frame altogether. It is very hard to do that with a stepped, motor-controlled zoom lens.

With a little photographic experience, you get to know just about where you want the zoom to be before you have the camera out of its pouch. On the Fujifilm XF1, I can be thinking "about 70 mm equivalent" even as I am putting my fingers around the large and unfussy zoom ring that also serves as the camera's on switch, and then I zoom to that point (the equivalent focal lengths are clearly marked right on the zoom ring) in the very process of turning on the camera. As I frame the subject, I may come back a bit to 65 mm or zoom out a little further to 80 mm, but -- starting from the 70 mm setting -- it is EASY and completely unfussy to do so with the Fujifilm XF1. I have experienced first hand electronically controlled zoom with twitch levers and stepped choices, and I can testify from first hand experience that the way that zooming a lens on a compact camera SHOULD be accomplished is the way it is done on the Fujifilm XF1.

A peripheral comment on the SDHC cards that are most compatible with the Fujifilm XF1: some of the features of the XF1, including RAW and RAW+JPG formats, video (movies), and stitched panoramas, write very large files to the memory card. For those tasks, you need a -fast- card: Class 10 or -- better -- UHS-I. We have used the XF1 with two different Class 10 SDHC cards, and the subjective speed difference between an "only" Class 10 and a Class 10 UHS-I card is night and day. The Sony SF8NX/TQM 8GB SDHC Class 10 Memory Card is a good, competent, Class 10 "only" card, perfectly adequate for taking JPEG still photos; but, compared to the Lexar Professional 400x 8GB SDHC UHS-I Flash Memory Card LSD8GBCTBNA400, the Sony is left behind at the starting gate. If you are going to get a camera as good as the XF1 and use the features of the camera that write large files, treat yourself to the faster performance of a Lexar Professional 400x SDHC UHS-I memory card; or, better, two: Lexar Professional 400x 8GB SDHC UHS-I Flash Memory Card 2-Pack LSD8GBCTBNA4002 -- it is always good to carry a spare.

Is there anything that I do not like about the XF1? Sure:
* Fujifilm has polarized the LCD screen; that means that if (as I do) you wear polarized sunglasses, you cannot see the screen at all in Portrait orientation with your sunglasses on; either you have to take your sunglasses off, or shoot exclusively in Landscape orientation.
* The video (movie) button is not sufficiently protected; it is too easy to start shooting video when you do not want to.
* When you are shooting close-ups in Macro mode and shut the camera down, when you turn the camera back on, it is still on Macro mode: that is not good if you have turned the camera back on to shoot a distant scenic. (Macro mode can be "locked" -- either in or out -- with a l-o-n-g hold-down of the EFn button; but then it becomes a big deal to unlock it when you need to activate or to deactivate Macro again.)
* The procedure to switch from JPEG only shooting to RAW+JPEG or RAW only -- and back -- is buried too far down the menu tree. (Fortunately, it can be programmed to the Fn button, but that precludes you from assigning another function to that button.)
* For all of the XF1's sleek minimalist styling, the XF1 has a prominent control wheel (Fujifilm calls it the "Main-command dial") that cannot be programmed by the user and which Fujifilm has grossly under-utilized: all the control wheel is used for is to adjust shutter speed when the mode dial is set to S, or to adjust aperture when the mode dial is set to A, or to perform "program shift" when both the mode dial is set to P and ISO is NOT set to an Auto setting. That is an inexplicable waste of what could have been an ergonomically useful control.

But these are minor criticisms, greatly outweighed by all that is good about this little gem. You will not regret getting a Fujifilm XF1.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2013
As you can see, this model has problems. Worked like a charm for 6.5 months and then started to have issues one day and then stopped working altogether with this Lens Control Error problem. After reading the account by one of the reviewers here on what he had to deal with with Fuji, I'm skeptical that we'll see any resolve. Fuji should take care of this though. $400 for a few months of use would be a total ripoff. It's really too bad as this little stylish unit put out some nice photos. Will update after what I find out. Just dropped Fuji an email off their website.

Update: 12/29/2013. No reply from Fuji to my email inquiry. Doesn't surprise me but still disappointed. I know they received the email as I received one of those auto replies saying they'll get back with me.
Update: 01/05/2014. Wrote back again on the website link. 01/06 reply from Fuji: Thank you for contacting FUJIFILM North America Corporation. Please allow us to assist you. We were very disappointed to learn that you had experienced a problem with your Digital Camera. Unfortunately, without testing the camera in question, it is impossible for us to accurately determine the cause of the problem you have encountered. At this time, we suggest that you send your camera directly into us for an evaluation. Please ship your product via a carrier service with a means of tracking your package to the following address:

FUJIFILM North America Corporation
1100 King George Post Road
Edison, NJ 08837
Attn: X-F1 Camera Repair Department

We also ask that you fill out our repair form and include it with your camera. In the packaging please include a copy of your proof of purchase (if camera is owned for less then a year) and a note with your name, address, and a daytime phone number. Do not send batteries or accessory items. If your unit is covered under warranty, you will receive an acknowledgment. If your unit is not covered under warranty, you will receive an estimate for the repair prior to any work being done. If you do not have a proof of purchase or the camera was given to you as a gift please contact our Camera Repair Department at 1-800-800-3854, option #2. They have several agents that can assist with your questions. We sincerely hope this information has been beneficial to you. If you should have any further questions or concerns,Please do not hesitate to contact us in the future. It would be our pleasure to assist you again. Thank you for your interest in FUJIFILM products and services.

01/06/2014: Mailed in camera. Delivered on 01/08/2014. As of 01/13/2014, no notification from Fuji as to the arrival of the camera.
01/21/2014: Finally calling Fuji to see what's up with the camera as they haven't contacted me yet. First of all, don't use the extension 3461 that's on their website for repairs. It's invalid. Just stay on the line and go through the menu. Note: The XF1 is considered a professional camera so choose that option. Talked with the first rep. He claimed the EXACT same thing as in the other review/complaint. They're saying that there's "impact damage" to the bottom of the camera so it invalidates the warranty. $140 repair/$18 shipping/$11 tax total. I told him that there wasn't an "impact damage" and he's transferred me after I told him that I shot a video of the camera --showing no damage whatsoever-- before I sent it in as I thought they might say that. After 20 minutes on hold, this tech is going to grab the camera after I told him there wasn't any damage to the camera. He's claiming that there *is* damage and I'm telling him that a lot of people are having this problem and it has nothing to do with any impact. I also let him know that I shot a close up video of our camera before I sent it in to prove there wasn't any so called "impact damage". With this, this second guy wants to transfer me to his manager but his manager apparently "isn't in". He took down my number to have the manager call me back. After a couple hours I'm doubting they will. In the meantime, I just dropped Fuji Japan a complaint off their website. Will this do anything? Maybe if enough people contact them.
01/21/2014 part two: Got a call back. Same tech. He said he talked to his manager and they're going to drop the charges and repair the camera. I hope they do and that this error doesn't come up again. If it's just in the DNA of this camera to have this problem, then I would guess the repair won't last long. However, I'm glad they decided to honor their warranty like they should. If you plan on sending in your XF1 or anything to Fuji Repairs, I would recommend that you take a video of your camera including close ups if your problem/need of repair isn't due to owner fault. You'll need it as they seem to follow the step-by-step guidelines of Warranty Disqualification 101. Our camera didn't have any dings or scratches and was never dropped. Many are having this problem with this camera but the repair facility says it's always due to "impact damage". Will follow up when I receive the camera back from them.
01/29/2014. Sigh. Fuji just sent me another invoice for the repairs identical to the last one. Will have to call them again to find out if they lied to me about dropping the charges. Okay, all's well with this repair still.They said it takes the system some time to renew and the 2nd invoice/repair estimate was sent out automatically but their records reflect the dropped charges. They said it's going to be repaired and shipped back this week.
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57 of 66 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 21, 2012
While researching this camera I saw a number of comments regarding the likelihood that Fuji had sacrificed substance for style in this model (some people had immediately dismissed it as being too 'fashionable' to be any good), which frankly I find to be ridiculous because there's no rule that the two are mutually exclusive. Sure, I could do without the retro look if it came down to it, but overall I like the way it looks -- and I'm content with a retro-looking camera that takes great pictures while other people are applying the retro fad to the photos themselves, ruining everything they do with fake aged filters.

Anyway, to the camera. Included in the box with the camera is a wrist strap, battery, a charger with removable prongs (allowing you to just purchase different prongs rather than an entire charger if you go overseas, I guess), a USB cable, and a manual. On the camera are several reminders that you need to twist the lens barrel to turn it on.

That's another love-it-or-hate-it point apparently. I'm fine with it. The first dozen times I tried to turn it on I would try to turn it the wrong way initially. My excuse being that Canon lenses (Canon being my preferred DSLR manufacturer) zoom from wide end to tele in the clockwise direction, while this lens twists counter-clockwise from off to standby to wide to tele. However, once I got accustomed to it, I no longer had a problem. Not being much of a video user, the manual zoom is not an issue for me -- but if you like to zoom during your videos you might end up with some noise from the rotation of the lens barrel. As a still photographer, I love the stepless manual control.

The EXR sensor in the XF1 is designed with low-light image quality and dynamic range in mind, possibly at the expense of a minute amount of image detail in full resolution mode, but not enough that it should get in the way (or even be noticeable 99% of the time). On the plus side, Fuji puts the EXR photosite configuration into use in two major ways: first, by reducing the size of the image to 6MP, the sensor can act as two interleaved sensors simultaneously recording the same image at different exposures, when are then merged in-camera for improved dynamic range. Alternatively, (also at 6MP or 3MP) two or more adjacent photosites can be used instead of one to provide increased detail at high ISOs. If you're interested, there is some information on the EXR sensor's configuration on Wikipedia if you search for 'Bayer sensor' (the standard configuration for most cameras) and scroll down to EXR.

As far as features go, this little camera is packed with them. It's so packed with features that it's a little mind boggling. Many of them are only available in specific circumstances so you'll be looking for it and it won't be there - or it'll be grayed out - and you'll drive yourself crazy trying to get access to it again. Admittedly, most of these features I will never use. With the possible exception of panoramic mode, many of the features are the type of things that I might do in processing, but not in-camera. One example would be the "Pro Focus" mode that another reviewer has mentioned. It does a pretty decent job of isolating the subject with blur, but it's not a GREAT job. I could spend a little time in Photoshop and probably come up with a much better result.

I'll probably also never use the selective color modes, the 'facial recognition' mode (where you can have it try to determine who you know in the photo), the various unnecessary filter modes, 3D photo mode, or multiple exposure mode. So the real question for me would be, is it still a worthwhile camera if you ignore all of the fiddly stuff that you'll never use?

It is.

-- It's solidly built with an aluminum frame that feels really nice in your hands.
-- Nice fast maximum aperture of f/1.8 (at 25mm), surprisingly good sharpness wide open for such a small lens.
-- It's small enough for any pocket, unlike my Powershot G12.
-- The manual zoom allows you to be as fast as you need to be at zooming to get your shot (rather than pressing on a rocker switch and waiting up to 3 seconds for the lens to finish zooming).
-- After a few minutes the manual controls for aperture, shutter speed, etc. become almost second nature.
-- The camera has a decent RAW mode and truly excellent JPG processing, so good in fact that I've considered ditching RAW mode on this camera entirely. That's really saying something, because I'm a HUGE proponent of RAW format (then again, I won't be using this camera in any circumstance where the 5D Mk II will be better suited, so RAW may not be needed).
-- Extended dynamic range functionality is available in RAW mode.
-- Customizable buttons allow you to program your most often-used features for easier access.
-- Surprisingly excellent behavior in low light, with less grain in the final image than I would have expected.
-- Quick response times, for the most part (see below)
-- An electronic on-screen level.
-- Flash stays out of the way until you specifically want it. I like that.
-- However it determines which level of DR to apply, it does a pretty good job with it.
*- Flash metering performance is great, especially for photos of people. I never see blown out faces, and color is reasonably accurate, if a bit oversaturated.
*- The reduction to 6MP when shooting in the EXR modes is generally worth it. Specifically, the "High ISO, Low Noise" mode is quite effective at around ISO 1600-3200. Remember, 6MP is still enough for an 8x10 print, and more than enough for any online viewing.

It's not all awesome though. Some down sides:

-- There is no way to attach a remote shutter release.
-- After taking a picture in RAW or especially RAW+JPG, it can take several seconds before the buttons begin responding again.
-- Many specialty modes require reduction of resolution in order to operate, and most of them are not supported in RAW mode.
-- "Pro Photo" mode results in significant (but probably unavoidable) digital artifacts surrounding the subject and requires that you knock down your image size to 6MP or smaller. Same image size reduction requirement for "Pro Low-Light".
-- Maximum aperture degrades FAST as you zoom in. Zooming from 25mm to 35mm knocks down your maximum aperture to f/3.6 (!) and just past the 60mm mark you're already at your disappointing f/4.9, and that's maintained up to the maximum focal length of 100mm. Ick.
*- Panorama mode images are limited in pixel height to only 1080 pixels.
*- Many of the advanced modes (including all EXR modes) switch you to JPG without telling you, even if you have RAW selected.
*- Heavy-handed noise reduction in JPG by default, although you can minimize it by manually setting the value to "Low" in the menus. Even so, I would have preferred a "None" option so that I could apply it in Photoshop to my own taste.

Overall though, it's very positive. If you're a JPG shooter, then PLEASE give this camera significant thought. It really is that good. If you're a RAW shooter or just absolutely obsessed with having the highest resolution, sharpest possible photos at the expense of everything else, then maybe there's a better camera out there for you. Like a DSLR. For me, this camera will act perfectly as my out-on-the-town camera, when I'm not looking to lug my Canon 5D Mk II around and I also don't critically require the full potential of the bulky G12.

--- UPDATE 12/10/2012 ---

After using the camera consistently for the last few weeks, I thought I'd post a quick update with some additional Pros/Cons. I added them to the original list, the items with a *- at the beginning are new.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2013
I'm glad someone at Fuji knows what photographers like me are looking for in a compact camera, because almost every other compact misses the the mark for my needs. This camera is ideal for the enthusiast photographer who already has a DSLR, knows how to use it, and is looking for a pocketable compact camera to take when traveling light, without too much compromise in usability and image quality. It's for the kind of people who would have bought a Canon S95 a few years back. The kind of people who will not be sticking external flashes, filters, mics, and interchangeable lenses on a compact camera because we already have a DSLR for that purpose. The key here is the camera has to fit in a pants pocket. And the sleek retro styling is a welcome sight as well.

The image quality of this camera is beyond my expectations. Set it to EXR mode, 1600% D-range, and BOOM - out pops a JPEG with more dynamic range than I could muster out of a RAW file of my Nikon D40 DSLR. Let that sink in for a second. Then save the setting to one of the custom user modes, and you have instant access to DR goodness at any time. In addition, if you set the camera to 6MP resolution, it will automatically use the DR priority feature even in regular PASM shooting modes. How about noise performance? I can use ISO 3200 with acceptable results, which is also about as good as my Nikon D40 DSLR. There are 5 noise reduction levels to choose from, and even on the lowest setting, the ugly blotches of chroma noise are well suppressed, and only the grain of luma noise is visible.

The controls of this camera are exceptional as well. You have up to 11 settings available with no more than two clicks away, 7 of which can be customized by the user thanks to the E-Fn onscreen menu and the Fn button. There's also two user modes on the main dial that can store and recall your favorite settings. That's better ergonomics than any entry-level DSLR I've seen. The manual zooming provides direct, instant control over your lens, and the power on sequence becomes second nature after a few days using the camera. There is no annoying lag in operating the camera controls, and the focus speed is acceptable for a compact camera.

Is there anything not to like about it? The only gripe I have with the camera is the video mode offers very limited manual controls. No audio levels, no manual exposure, no manual focus. White balance and exposure compensation can only be set before recording. It also tends to hunt with the autofocus more than I'd like. For the casual user this isn't a big deal, but serious video shooters would want to look elsewhere. However, when it comes to taking still photos, the camera certainly lived up to my lofty and picky expectations.

*** Update 4/2014 ***
Despite video recording being mostly automatic, I found out how to get better video in low light. Set it to Auto-ISO 800, then set soft shadow curve. Also use single-focus video mode. Focus on something 5-25 feet away, and take advantage of high depth of field to keep everything in focus (as long as you don't change the zoom), instead of hunting back and forth. Save it to a custom mode for quick access. This setting also produces very good low light still images.

*** Update 5/2014 ***
I find that the soft shadow curve setting and DR400 gives me the best combination of preserving highlight and shadow detail in bright daylight. DR800 and DR1600 protects highlights at all cost, but also increases ISO and disables soft shadow curve, so the darker details are not as good.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2014
Lens Control Error - the second time in few months. Worked for 2 months out of the box- really lovely camera. Then "LCE" - sent in for warranty repair - took them 2 months, Got it back- worked for the next two months and then "LCE" again. If you want something for 2 months - go for it.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2014
As so many others, I got the "Lens control error" after 18 months of not very intensive use. The warranty is only good for a year, and as you can read in other reviews, the manufacturer is not doing a good job living up to its responsibility even then. It doesn't matter how nice a camera looks if it can't take photos for very long.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
The XF1 is the latest in a long line of Fuji cameras I've owned ever since my first digital, the A205, that I purchased late 2003. The XF1 is the most complex and feature-rich of the bunch and it has so many different settings I doubt if I will ever use them all. Or would anyone?

As far as "looks", this camera looks like a camera from the 80's with synthetic leather. I contacted Fuji on why they didn't use genuine leather on a $499 camera and I was told the synthetic will "wear better". I guess time will tell. I also questioned a camera costing $499 (at this time) being Chinese-made when I saw Japanese-made XF1s on a couple other review web sites, and I received this response from Fuji: "All XF1s sold in the USA are made at the Fujifilm factory in China, and all of our products are manufactured to the highest quality levels regardless of place of manufacture".

This is a heavy camera for its size, weighs 7.9 ounces and appears solidly built. The tripod mount is metal but not centered. Battery life is excellent. Processing speed between shots is fast even when using the flash. It takes excellent macro shots.

I hate the manual zoom, I don't think I will ever get accustomed to it. Fuji makes sure you learn the basics on using it. There's a sticker on top of the camera (a little hard to remove) as well as a hang tag and a pamphlet inside the box.

Things I like:
>> Sensor size is larger than what you get on most newer P&S cameras, CMOS too!
>> Low light capability, you can take a photo in a room with very little light with no flash and it turns out good, not grainy.
>> High speed video (which actually turns out to be slow-motion on playback).
>> Pro Focus - This I love! - Now I can just about do away with Aperture Priority to get the results I want in blurred backgrounds.
>> EXR, scenes or full manual controls.
>> The synthetic leather makes it easy to grip.
>> Great battery life.
>> Manual flash, I actually prefer manual over the ones that pop up, usually right where your finger is holding onto the camera. You have to make a conscious effort with a manual flash when popping it up to not hold your finger there!
>> Horizontal leveler (no tilted photos with this!)
>> Function button - reminiscent of the F button on my old Fuji F30 but now you can customize the functions for quick access to settings you use most.
>> A printed-on-paper full size instruction manual.

Things I don't like:
>> I hate the power on/off - manual focus feature - maybe in time I will get used to it; there's a definite learning curve.
>> Forget about manual zoom during a movie...yes, you can do it, but without a zoom motor it's jerky and you stand a good chance of getting your finger in front of the lens - plus you can hear the zoom noise during playback - I don't care for this, but since I rarely use zoom during a movie, it's not a deal-breaker for me personally, but it probably is for many of you. (I uploaded a video on YouTube - I am Yarii41 there).

The Bottom Line: If you're new to digital photography and want a camera that can keep you happy for a long time, this is a good one to choose. It's almost too much for a newbie, but you can start out with it set to EXR and it's like a basic P&S camera. Set the dial to SP and you have all the scenes to choose from like any other camera. Set it to P A S or M and you have a whole set of new options to learn. As long as you don't mind the manual zoom during a movie, I think just about anyone not quite ready for a DSLR camera would be happy with this, as it takes fantastic photos - possibly the best photos I've ever taken.

So far, these are 2 inexpensive cases I've found that will fit this. Fuji has a custom-made case just for this camera which is around $70.

Case Logic UNZB-3 Neoprene Pocket Video/Camera Case - Black (UNZB-3Black) - I prefer this one, the case stretches more than the case below, and has extra thickness on one side to help protect the LCD screen, but you sacrifice storage, there is no separate compartment for extra battery storage.

Case Logic TBC-312 Pocket Video Camcorder Case with Storage (Black)

And, of course, you will need an SDHC card, preferably a Class 10:
Transcend 16GB Class 10 SDHC Flash Memory Card (TS16GSDHC10E)
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2014
Yes, it makes nice images. It's pretty close to DSLR quality images, with a lot of nice filters.
Yes it looks cool. Yes, the on/off control is questionable. First it's cool, you get tired of that twist pretty fast and wish they'd just have a button, instead of weird twisting of the lens... But one can leave with that.

All that is immaterial, as camera will fail. So avoid it.

My first XF1 failed after 4 months. It just died with black screen. After much chatting with amazon - they replaced it with new camera. That one died one week after a warranty period expired. Lens control error. For the price I really expect things to work more than a year.
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