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Customer Review

199 of 213 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ever ask yourself what the offspring from a DSLR and point-and-shoot camera would be?, November 21, 2012
This review is from: Fujifilm XF1/Blk 12MP Digital Camera with 3-Inch LCD (Black) (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
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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Tracked by 5 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 22, 2012 6:13:24 AM PST
Chris says:
Glad you like the camera, but the sensor is hardly the same size as the one in a 7D. The XF1 sensor is 8.8 mm x 6.6 mm (which IS significantly larger than what you will find in a typical point-and-shoot), but the standard APS-C sensor that the 7D uses is 22.3 x 14.9 mm -- almost six times the functional real estate.

It's great that people are finally catching on to the fact that sensor size is hugely important to image quality, but you can bet your salary that the marketing geniuses at these different camera makers are already hard at work confusing matters. Better not to give them any help.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 22, 2012 1:19:11 PM PST
You're right. I'll fix the info! I misread the specs!

Posted on Nov 27, 2012 5:03:20 AM PST
Yarii says:
Your GF's comment about it looking so old no one will steal it made me laugh! :)

Posted on Dec 28, 2012 2:44:56 PM PST
If the battery is dieing quickly when not in use check to see if you are turning it all the way off. If you leave it in the standby position and not turn the lens all the way in it will keep using power (or at least a lot more power than it would if it was off)

Posted on Jan 28, 2013 5:26:26 AM PST
J. EARL says:
Nice review--thank you

Posted on Nov 13, 2013 12:30:44 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 13, 2013 12:35:51 PM PST
Can you comment on image quality comparing this XF1 to your Lumix ZS20? I have a ZS19 (the ZS20 without the GPS) and have been disappointed in its image quality - it's significantly worse than my wife's much older Lumix ZS3 and inspite of the 4mp increase with the newer camera, I'd say its images are good for no more than 8x10 prints because they have so much noise and loss of detail, whereas I've got some 11x14 prints from the ZS3 on the wall that are tack-sharp, show no signs of graininess at all and probably could have been printed at 16x20 with no problems. So I'm looking to replace the ZS19 with something that has significantly better image quality but is still pocketable; I used to have a m4/3 Lumix G2 with a bigger sensor but obtained surpisingly mediocre results with it, certainly no better than the ZS3 outdoors and the kit lens was so slow that indoors it was useless for anything other than still portraits up close with flash and was inferior to the ZS all-around indoors. Thanks.

Posted on Dec 1, 2013 1:16:47 AM PST
CarlTN says:
Richard, nice review. I too make money part time as a photographer, and went from a 50D for 4 years, to the 6D, which I love (I like it better than the 5D3). However, I have to wonder if you are still liking this XF1 camera so much now, as you were when you first bought it? Since the price has dropped to a very low $199, I am considering buying. I had also considered the Lumix ZS20, but am bothered by its slow aperture lens. I didn't realize the sensor was so much smaller than the XF1, so that's another strike against it. But having done the most rudimentary search for a pro review online, I found this:
Of special concern, was the "con" side of the conclusion:
"Cons: Special modes have somewhat steep learning curve; Maximum aperture drops quickly as you zoom; Lens cover doesn't lock when storing; Larger sensor doesn't necessarily translate to better photo quality than competitors; Demosaicing errors and moderately high chromatic aberration."
In the time since you've been using this camera, did you notice any of the above?
I believe I've owned a camera with a similar size sensor, the Nikon P7000. I liked it a lot, and wound up selling it a year later for close to what I paid for it new in 2011 ($230). I wonder how the XF1 would compare to it? Surely you've compared yours to something with a similar size sensor by now, perhaps one of the Nikons, or Canon G series?
I do like the idea of the manual zoom on the XF1. Have you had any problems with yours?

Posted on Dec 2, 2014 4:23:01 AM PST
Rico says:
Why are the skies so horrible in those photos? Did you crank up the contrast so the sky became light around dark objects?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 2, 2014 4:36:54 AM PST
Shot through a polarized car window -

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 28, 2014 8:09:53 PM PST
Zach Gulsby says:
Doubtful...looks more like wonky PP to me.
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