Customer Review

39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly capable small point and shoot, September 20, 2012
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This review is from: Fujifilm X10 12 MP EXR CMOS Digital Camera with f2.0-f2.8 4x Optical Zoom Lens and 2.8-Inch LCD (Camera)
I've been eyeing this camera since it was first announced. But then some of the negative reviews and tests started coming out and i almost forgot about and dismissed it.

For background, i work as a photojournalist (over 25 years) using DSLR's on a daily basis. The only "point-and-shoot" i've owned was a now very dated Nikon Coolpix 5000. I used it for a few years for some snapshooting but was never happy with it, and hadn't thought much about getting another snapshooter camera until recently. Mostly wanted something small and light to shoot while on hikes, vacation, family snapshots. But wanted something that could be used with manual control and easy to do so. In contrast, although the newer 4/3's cameras with interchangeable lenses are nice, and getting on the level of higher image quality, i could care less. I own multiple higher-end DSLR bodies (starting with a D1) with dozens of lenses from 8mm fisheye to 300/2.8. I personally did not want to pay for another entire system. Plus that defeats the purpose of having a small carry-anywhere camera with one integral lens. If you are not in my situation, i can understand if you want a system to begin with, but the way i look at it, no matter how good the smaller cameras get, the bigger ones with bigger sensors are always going to have better image quality. Plus many of the small system's lenses are still pricey and don't have a good range yet, and they are not that fast. They are not going to compete with a full-frame 85 f/1.4 for sharpness, resolution, bokeh.

So, after much careful study of various models and the assurance that Fuji would either fix the sensor issue (highlight orbs) or i could possibly be lucky enough to get a newer one with the new sensor, i made the plunge. Luckily so far i've found no highlight orbs in my photos! For reference, my copy is #22AD---- (purchased from Amazon Sept2012), which i've read may possibly be a second quarter 2012 manufacture. Can't substantiate that, but i think Fuji should just go ahead and make a note which copies have a newer sensor (for their own good even)at point of sale, with the box. If you do have an older version, from what i've heard Fuji is being very good about fixing it and returning it to customers in a timely manner. It's a shame they didn't R&D the problem before initial manufacture/release, because i think this has really tarnished the reputation of a great little camera. And i think the problem may have been exaggerated a bit, beyond all the good qualities of the camera:

It seems well-made. Mostly metal. Solid with good button control and tactile feel, zoom ring has very smooth action. Personally i LOVE the on/off on the zoom ring and think it's a great idea. Not sure why some reveiwers dont like it. Amazing nice exposure compensation dial right at your thumb with good resistance--shouldn't ever move accidently. Great main control dial with options that can be accessed fast and smooth without going into those horrid menu systems! In fact, most functions that you want to use regularly do not need to be menu-accessed (Yaaaah!) Even the video mode can just be set on the main dial and you just use the shutter button to shoot. I've read complaints of people wanting separate buttons for video functions, and i just think that is not user-friendly. This is a well thought-out camera.

Another reason i chose this camera is for the optical viewfinder. Most P/S's are ditching them. I'm over 40 and my eyesight isn't as good close-up now ;)
Also, i don't want to always hold the camera out in front of me. First of all, after shooting pictures professionally for many years, it just aint intuitive, you dont have as good a hold on the camera, it does not steady the camera with a three-point system for slower shutter speeds. Also, it bright sunlight you cannot see that screen so good. Granted, the viewfinder suffers from parallax, isnt quite 100% coverage, and doesnt have info inside. But it still HAS IT when i want to use it.

Love that is has a flash shoe. Havent used it much as of yet, but i can pop a manual radio slave on top of it and fire multiple strobes and studio lights if i want to. AND the camera's flash sync is an amazing 1/4000 sec.--much better than the newest Nikon DSLR (D600) at 1/200th! The tiny pop-up flash actually works quite well with decent coverage and color balance, more importantly it seems to provide very accurate exposure without blowing out the scene. You can even set the exposure compensation for the flash.

Really like that it includes a full 1080p video mode with built-in stereo mics, the panorama mode works quite well (as long as you dont have moving subjects in frames) and the Pro-Focus mode does do something (creates multiple images at various focus points to achieve a better bokeh supposedly) but not terribly well. Coming from someone that uses very fast prime lenses on a daily basis, it doesnt compare, but at least its a good idea and i like that Fuji was thinking about it, and it does help some with a stationary subjects.

MACRO. The good and the bad: It has amazing macro-focus capability, 1cm in front of the lens in fact. And you can achieve a nice soft out-of-focus look in the background. But unfortunately, the MFD (minimum focus distance) is only possible at the wide-angle setting of the lens, not at the long (112mm)end. You can still get relatively close with the longer focal length, but if you could at 85mm or so, this camera would be utterly awesome (Too bad). I still think it does a good job, but macro works better with a longer focal lens. You will be touching a bug, flower, or whatever. Your light source then gets blocked by the lens, casting shadow on the subject. And has distortion (wide angle warp) of the lens. So love that it can focus so close with good bokeh, but could be sooo much better if you could use the longer end of the zoom lens.

AF is usually pretty responsive and accurate. Better than i thought it would be in fact. The camera starts up immediately and the shutter is instantaneous.
The lens focal range is around 28mm to 112mm (compared to 35mm). Wish it was a little wider especially (24 at least) and it could be longer too, but it still has a decent range. The good thing is that it is FAST f/2 to f/2.8--thats much better than most small P/S's and probably the MAIN REASON i bought this camera. You can shoot with lower light at lower ISO's, keep the background soft, etc. This is a very good quality of this lens, and it is SHARP even wide-open at ANY focal length!

The images are pretty sharp, detail/resolution is quite decent for this small sensor size. Color and white balance is generally good. I like the film simulation modes, esp. the B/W with sepia and "filters"(green, yellow, red). Yes this is a twist on old-school and if you dont know what it does, look it up. I understand you can just convert the images to grayscale in Photoshop, but i still like it, and it makes the camera fun to use like film days. I'm not so sure the color film simulations are that accurate (i've shot my own bulk-loaded 100' rolls of Fujichrome too), but its still a good idea. It makes you feel like you are shooting film again, and THINK differently.

The camera can shoot infrared images. Another selling point as i had an old (expensive) B+W infrared filter that i wanted to use on this camera. (You can determine with a P/S if you point your TV's remote into the lens and push a button--you can see the light in the LCD monitor).
Which brings us to one of the things i DO NOT like about the camera, the stupid filter diameter size. I bought the knock-off step-up (52mm) ring/hood. It works good, looks even better, but the holes in the back let in dust (and light--that wouldnt work for infrared) and block even more of the image when looking thru viewfinder. So i finally found what i wanted-- a 40-46mm step-up ring. I then put a standard 46mm UV filter on that. It is almost perfectly flush with the rest of the zoom ring/lens, is solid and doesn't let dust in. I can screw my infrared filter into it too, and it works great. The lens cap doesn't fit well, but i don't care cause i never use one since i have a protector filter on the front of every lens. THe included cap is metal and nice, but i put it back in the box.

I do have a cheap protective film for the back LCD, and i have a "soft" screw-in shutter release button attached. Other than that it's a very nice self-contained camera for great street-shooting, hiking, etc. It is quite small--smaller than thought from the photos even--will fit in a larger coat pocket though.

I'm very happy with this little point and shoot camera. It's capable of getting good images, and most importantly, i ENJOY shooting with it!!
The look is retro too, and its very sharp-looking, but it also makes you FEEL like you are using a "real" vintage camera, and you WANT to be CREATIVE using it. Well done, FujiFilm.

UPDATES-- (I'll try to add to this section as i use the camera more)
Battery life. It's OK, not great but i haven't found it to be terribly bad either as some have alluded to. It has a pretty small battery rated at 1000mAh. That said, you can find third-party batteries that fit, easily and cheaply. I've bought 4 here on Amazon, two are rated at 1100mAh, 2 are rated at 1400mAh--i don't really believe the manufacturer/seller's rated amperages, but they all work fine in the camera though, as well as the Fuji-branded one (and they only cost a couple of bucks a piece!)
The BAD thing is that the battery level meter in the camera is not too informative and/or accurate...seems to die almost immediately after it first shows a lower level. But it does seem to work strong until that point at least. Just make sure you buy extra (cheap) batteries and keep them with you and the camera. I'd think this was something that could easily be corrected with a firmware update.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 24, 2012 10:26:42 AM PDT
Tim, thanks for taking the time to do such a thorough review; among the best I've read. If you get a minute, could you say something about how the camera reacts to low-light and high-contrast situations?

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 27, 2012 3:15:30 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 27, 2012 3:25:45 PM PDT
Tim Kimzey says:
Thank you, Weldon.

I was contemplating those very subjects when i wrote the review, but hadnt really shot many low-light photos yet, and still haven't. From the very few that i have though, the detail seems pretty good and the noise is not that excessive to my eyes. But i am using some of the NR settings, which may degrade sharpness slightly, but i think its acceptable for this small sensor personally.
As the camera's lens is pretty fast, it also does not NEED to generally use such a high ISO either (which is my favorite aspect of this P/S to begin with). I really don't want to say too much yet about low light/NR though, as i havent given it many thorough test shots in this area yet...

I had read other reviews that the camera tends to blow-out highlights (and not just the 'white orb' specular highlights), but so far i havent found that to be that noticeable either, for me. I will add though that my copy does i believe have the newer sensor/firmware upgrade, which may be acting much differently than the earlier copies. My copy DOES tend to slightly OVEREXPOSE some for my taste, which might be why there are complaints with blown out highlights. But this is a slight overall exposure imbalance, and i'm just tending to leave the exp. compensation dial at around 1/3 to 1/2 stop under, which seems to do the trick for me.

Hope that helps some, and i will try to update with more info as i use the camera more --taking my first needed vacation in a few weeks ;) so hopefully i'll get to use the camera more extensively!

Thanks again for your kind comments!

Posted on Apr 18, 2013 12:39:43 PM PDT
Tim Kimzey says:
For reference, the step-up ring that I purchased is the "HeavyStar Dedicated Metal Stepup Ring 40mm-46mm" (bought here on Amazon).

HeavyStar Dedicated Metal Stepup Ring 40mm-46mm

This ring fits the X10 thread PERFECTLY, goes on smoothly and is nearly perfectly flush with the lens diameter, along with a 46mm UV filter attached. I tried the 52mm ring/hood combo but did not like it for the reasons I stated earlier in my review (blocks viewfinder, lets dust inside lens). This combination works perfectly for me, and it also fits inside this case (link below) for the X10 with the ring/filter attached (no more lens cap of course).

EzFoto Black Simulated Leather Case for Fuji Fineix X10

Hope that helps!

Posted on Apr 18, 2013 12:46:19 PM PDT
Tim Kimzey says:
Also, the links to the other items that have finished my complete package for the x10:

Hoya 46mm UV filter: (used with 40-46mm step-up ring, link above)
Hoya HMC Haze UV(C) - Filter - UV - 46 mm

Soft shutter release:
"DSLRKIT Red Metal Soft Release Button for Leica Contax Fujifilm X100 size:S"
DSLRKIT Red Metal Soft Release Button for Leica Contax Fujifilm X100 size:S
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