Customer Review

222 of 236 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars OMG.. Just BUY this Camera! NOW with Camera Raw Support, November 22, 2011
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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)
PLEASE SEE MY MORE RECENT UPDATES AT THE END OF THIS REVIEW. I've downgraded my rating from 5 stars to 4 as well.

For the past couple of months I've been looking for a high end "pocket" camera to fill the gap between my Casio throw-away and my Nikon D200. I read all the reviews for the Ricoh GRD iii and iv, and couple of other cameras in that price range and performance, and was just about to pull the trigger on one of those choices.

Then, just a week ago, I stumbled on to a reference for the Fuji X10. I had long lusted after the previously-released X100, but just decided that the buy-in price was a bit too steep just for the cool-factor, for a camera barely less portable than the D200.

After lots of pondering, I decided to place an Amazon order for this camera. Then, as now (late Nov 2011), Amazon showed the camera as currently out of stock. I went ahead and placed the provisional order. Two days later, I received notice that Amazon expected to have the camera by early December. The FOLLOWING day, I got notice the camera had shipped!!, and I should see in on Monday. Instead, the very next day, a Friday, the camera showed up at my door step!

I'll readily admit to being an unabashed impulse buyer. And, let's face it, 600 clams for a "point and shoot" is not a trivial sum, and I fully expected that I might experience a bad case of the post-purchase blues once the new wore off my latest toy.

Thus far such has not been the case! This camera has absolutely exceeded ALL my expectations. When the camera arrived, a professional photographer friend was a house guest, and I could hardly pry the camera from his hands. Both he and I were blown away by the incredible low-light performance of this camera. The image stabilization works well with the fast lens and auto ISO modes. We took some night-time indoor shots at shutter speeds of 1/4 second, hand held without tripod, and the results were sharp and acceptably noiseless.

I won't bore readers with all the capabilities of this camera.. many other reviews cover this thoroughly. However, I've discovered many neat features that aren't even covered in the manual. One of my favorite features is how the MENU button is context-sensitive... therefore, if, say, you press the pop-up flash button, and then want to modify some of the internal flash settings, press the MENU button, and you will automatically be in the flash sub-menu. The same is true for other functions, such as scene mode selection.

I'm also very impressed with the "EXR" mode which allows for a wider dynamic range for scenes containing both extreme dark and light areas. It really works, with phenomenal results. There are many other scene and "film" modes (such as high contrast B&W) that work well, and, mercifully, Fuji has avoided cluttering the menus with those gimmicky modes that no semi-serious photographer would ever use.

Virtually every "scene" setting (such as: Portrait, Soft Portrait, Landscape, etc) and "film" setting (Standard, Soft, Vivid, Monochrome, Sepia, etc) are features that I could see myself actually using on occasion for quick, one-shot pleasing effects.

Finally, a few general comments about ownership:
1) The strap that comes with the camera is a neck strap,and a very cheesy one at that, which I can't envision ever using, unless I decide to go to Disneyland and join all the tourists. (update.. Okay, I did get a realistic faux-leather strap with the after market case I purchased (described below), and I installed it with a pair of those little clip connectors so I can remove it when it's in the way.

On the other hand, you really do need a wrist strap. The camera is just small enough that it is a bit intimidating to use it without a strap. Every time I picked up the camera I always felt I was going to drop it for sure (already been there, done that, with a cheapy camera).

I found the perfect strap right here on Amazon, an Op/Tech for some $8. It fits snugly around the wrist, and has a quick disconnect at the camera to detach when desired: OP/TECH USA 6704062 SLR Wrist Strap, Neoprene Camera Wrist Strap (Royal)

2) As others have described, this is not really a pocket camera, except perhaps to stow in your coat or cargo pants pockets. All other things being equal, I would have preferred a slight smaller size, but decided to give up that minor inconvenience in favor of the performance of this camera. It's light and easy to carry, and fits easily in your glove box, door pocket, underneath the seat, brief case, or ? Try that with your full-on DSLR!

3) You'll certainly want a case to project this baby.. of course, none comes with it. Pay the $150 for the Fuji leather case if you must, but if you are just looking for protection, buy an identically constructed case with snap open front made of "imitation leather" (specifically for the X10) on eBay for $21, as I did.

4) Likewise, you'll certainly eventually want the lens hood and filter adapter (a requirement to use any standard filter.. 52mm). Again, you could pay $99 and up for the official branded Fuji unit, or for $30 get an after market unit complete with a UV filter right here on Amazon EzFoto Adapter Ring + Hood (100% replaces FUFJIFILM LH-X10) + 52mm Pro1-D Super Slim Multi-Coated UV Filter for Fuji Finepix X10

5) Finally, I'd suggest going ahead and springing for a Neutral Density Filter (52mm again). You will definitely need this if you want to take advantage of the narrow depth of field and Bokeh effects when using the maximum F2 aperture in bright sunshine. Otherwise the shutter speed will max out before reaching the correct exposure, even with the lowest ISO setting. You can get a quality Tiffen brand 0.9 ND filter (about 3 f-stops compensation) for about $16 Tiffen 52mm Neutral Density 0.9 Filter

6) Oh, and the tiny NP-50 battery is only good for some 300 shots (according to Fuji). Fortunately, these are ubiquitous and cheap.. I picked up a pair of batteries on eBay for about $12 with free shipping.

7) My only major frustration with this camera is the Raw format it uses (Fuji RAF). I like to take all my images in Raw, and use Photoshop or Lightroom Camera Raw for post-processing. Unfortunately, as near as I can determine, my up-to-date Camera Raw software does not currently support Fuji's proprietary format, so you have to use the included software to convert the Raw images. I haven't actually played with the software yet, other than a quick review of the screens. It does seem to have the basic controls you'd expect, but it just creates an unnecessary and cumbersome intermediate step between my images and my favorite software which I've used for some 15 years. Hopefully Adobe will get cranking and create support for the X10 soon. UPDATE.. Photoshop Camera Raw and Lightroom both do fully support the Camera Raw Fuji format, so you can just toss that Fuji software conversion disk (or maybe as I did, use it as a beer coaster on your desk!)

Now go out and have some great fun with this camera!

Update - November 28

* - It's true... the smaller sensor size doesn't produce the same limited Depth of Field or Bokeh effect at wide open apertures as would a full-size DSLR. Fortunately, Fuji added a very cool shooting mode called "Pro Focus" (under the ADVANCED shootimg selection). Just focus in on your desired subject and pull the trigger.. The X10 takes just a second or so to process, and then gives you a great blurred background, with sharp subject. Of course, I've done this many times in Photoshop, but how nice to just select this mode, snap, and be done. No idea how they pull this off, but it really works well. You can even select 3 different levels of background "out of focus" when choosing this mode. (Later update... with the new Focus filters in Photoshop CS6, I find I have much more control by avoiding ANY of the photo-altering gimmicks in the camera.. I just shoot in Camera Raw, then fix whatever needs fixing quickly in Lightroom or Photoshop)

* - a couple of reviewers opined that a 40.5mm filter might just screw into the Fuji lens. I bought a 40.5mm UV filter to find out. The answer is a definite NO... I guess Fuji wanted to shake another hundred bucks out of its customers and sell the "filter adapter".. boo Fuji!

Update - December 14
I just read a blog indicating that Adobe now has Camera Raw processing updates for Photoshop CS5 AND Lightroom 3. Just downloaded both, and YES, you can now throw away that funky SilkyPix Raw converter software that comes with the camera. For Lightroom 3, you'll need version 3.6 And for Photoshop CS5 you'll need Camera Raw version 6.6. Download them both at: [...]

Note that only Photoshop CS5 supports the X10 Camera Raw updates. You DO have version CS5 don't you? If not, trust me... forget about buying another camera and spring for CS5 AND Lightroom 3. You'll thank yourself a thousand times! (Update Aug 2012... Okay, now is CS6 and Lightroom 4.. both MAJOR improvements... grossly expensive, but oh so essential for any other than pure amateur photographer)

Update August 2012
There has been much discussion in these reviews about the "orb" problem with the X10. After some 5,000 pictures, I'll admit I've gotten "orbs" in perhaps 4-5 images, all of which were easily corrected in seconds in Photoshop. Nevertheless, when I learned that Fuji was offering free sensor replacement to correct the "orb" problem, it just made sense to take advantage of that.

I went on the Fuji site, and registered my name. Just a short time later, I received an email notifying me that Fuji was now ready to replace my sensor. This occurred back in June 2012. Unfortunately, I use my camera almost every weekend in conjunction with my Antique Limousine business ( [...] ) and was reluctantly to let go of my camera for an indeterminate period of time.

Finally, in late August, I decided to bite the bullet and send in my camera for repair.

On the same day UPS notified me that my camera had been delivered to Fuji's repair center, I received an email from Fuji acknowledging receipt of my camera, and advising me they would send it back within 10 days. You can imagine my surprise, then, when on the following day, I received another notification from Fuji telling me my camera had been shipped out, and the tracking info advised me I would receive my camera the FOLLOWING DAY!

Sure enough, less than 8 days after I dropped off my camera to UPS, it arrived back in hand.

Best of all, the repair invoice indicated that I had received a NEW replacement camera! This included a new metal lens cover (shipping instructions had explicitly told me to keep all extra parts.. battery, memory, etc), so now I have a spare!

I'm writing this just hours after receiving my NEW, FREE, RETURNED FREE OVERNIGHT FEDEX Fuji X10, and so can't comment yet on improvements to the dreaded "orb" problem.

One thing I have noticed is that the on-off lens rotation now has an intermediate resistance stop, and does require considerably more effort to turn on and off. Personally, I loved the smoother, less resistant original lens, but can only assume that Fuji bowed to the handful of whiners who complained that it was too easy to turn it off when rotating to the Wide Angle position.... really??

Again I want to emphasize that I'm in no way a standard bearer for the X10. There are a few things I take issue with, most notably the almost unusable manual focus mechanism (see below *), and the non-standard filter threads. Nevertheless, I still remain pretty enthralled with my X10, and now I see that Amazon has finally dropped the price a bit to make it even more attractive.

If you're the kind of photographer who just likes to take low-resolution JPEG snapshots to email to friends on upload to your Facebook, then you'd probably be just as well off with a $150 point-and-shoot. But if you enjoy turning ordinary snapshots into works of art, shooting in the RAW mode and using Photoshop/Lightroom to enhance, then this is the perfect camera for you!

* As I discussed in a separate comment response, the cumbersome manual focus situation has been resolved! I learned in the (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) Photographer's Guide to the Fujifilm X10, available in Kindle or paperback Photographer's Guide to the Fujifilm X10 that, when in Manual Focus mode, you can aim the camera at the desired subject, and momentarily press the AEL/AFL button, and the focus will change to the correct distance. Then it is a simple matter to fine tune the focus (if needed) with the focus wheel (using the focus wheel automatically shifts the display to magnified, to make manual focusing easier.

UPDATE - June 2013
Well, I've had this X10 for some 18 months now, and used it a lot. I own and operate a classic car limousine service, catering mostly to weddings, and do a lot of night photography in conjunction with this. Looking back, my rational for purchasing this camera in the first place was:
1) Have a pocketable camera as an alternative to my bulky Nikon D7000
2) A fast lens for low light photography
3) A Wide angle aperture for those beautiful limited depth-of-field bokeh shots.

Over the past few months, I find that I am picking up the D7000 for my nighttime engagements, and that the X10 is gathering dust in the closet, and, honestly, I have to say that I'm a bit disillusioned by the camera at this point. Here are the reasons, corresponding to my original purchase checklist above:

1) This is by no means a pocket camera. It just ain't gonna happen. This is a hang-round-your-neck camera, just like a full sized DSLR

2) Fast lens.. well, yes, f2.0 does sound impressive, but, let's face it... it just isn't good enough for any sort of night photography without flash (and that little pop-up flash is only useful if you're shooting right in someone's face). Sure, you can get an image at night, but it is going to be grainy and you'll never be able to call it a professional image. The difference in quality between a f2.8 lens on my D7000 and this f2.0 is really glaring. I know, it's NOT a DSLR, but still, what's the point of paying near-entry-DSLR prices if you can't get better images?

3) Limited depth of field.. this has been one of my biggest disappointments in this lens. An f2.0 lens on a small-sensor camera is NOT equivalent to the same focal length on a DX or FX format camera. Only when shooting extremes (like focusing on a subject no more than 2 feet away) will you get any semblance of focus fade in the background. Sure, you can dial up the in-camera D-O-F software, but why would you want to permanently gork up your photo when you can accomplish the same yet better soft-focus effects in Photoshop or Lightroom and have complete control.

Other issues that I have increasingly become annoyed with after extensive usage:
* The manual focus mechanism is absolutely useless.. to get from one end of the distance scale to the other requires some 8-10 full revolutions of that hard-to-manipulate focus wheel. Why couldn't they have at least added an acceleration mode to the wheel (turn it faster, move the dial faster). To make matters worse, the focus selector lever (AF or Manual) on the front in right in the position where virtually EVERY TIME you remove the camera from its case (which you HAVE to do to see the viewfinder or back screen) the lever gets moved from AF to Manual. Can't tell you how many ruined images I've deleted because the $!%@@& focusing got switch to manual without my noticing... grrr

* Lack of standard filter threads... This is one of the most idiotic and non-customer-friendly features of this camera. The threads on the lens won't match any standard filter, so if you want any sort of filter, even a UV to protect the non-replaceable lens, you have to shell out a hunk to Fuji for their adapter ring... Then.. the filter housing obstructs the view in the viewfinder; you can't use that nice aluminum lens cap; AND, now the camera won't fit in that expensive leather Fuji case you bought. Really?? Was this camera designed by photographers, or just a bunch of engineer/marketing geeks?

* Auto White Balance... The auto white balance on this for night time shots is just unusable. On virtually every shot I have to make major adjustments to the white balance. I shoot almost exclusively in RAW mode, so pictures are salvageable, but it is an annoying additional step, when I almost never have to adjust the white balance on similar shots with my D7000

* Battery life is pretty short... I don't understand why they couldn't have found room for a larger battery in such a large body

In summary, 1.5 years down the road, the X10 (and now its successor the X20) is starting to look a bit long in the tooth. For your money you're getting:
1) A cool retro-look camera that feels and is solidly built
2) Camera RAW ability
3) A reasonably fast lens

For my money, if I were buying a camera to fit this niche today, I'd opt for the new Fuji XF-1... it's a true pocket camera but appears to have roughly the same guts as the X10, probably improved, with a slightly faster lens, and it looks great!
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Comments

Tracked by 10 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 32 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 22, 2011 7:15:56 PM PST
E. Hung says:
Excellent review. What date did you order?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 22, 2011 8:01:58 PM PST
Ordered November 16, received Nov 18!!!

Posted on Nov 24, 2011 8:34:12 AM PST
Atlantic says:
Great info. Thanks!

Posted on Nov 25, 2011 6:14:09 AM PST
ATK says:
I am happy with mine too. Pro-focus and Pro-low light mode are really functional..

Posted on Nov 28, 2011 10:29:46 AM PST
Great review, thank you very much!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2011 1:01:06 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 15, 2011 10:28:13 AM PST
Victoria says:
This review is now somewhat outdated as issues with at least some of the cameras have come into play. White blobs, poor low light shooting, questionable image stabilization, blur, small battery (as low as 100 shots), inadequate lens hood, EXR at 6meg, issues with manual shooting, poor viewfinder, no articulating LCD, high default ISOs, poorly written manual, strange quirks, teething issues and so on have surfaced. It may be that more are being returned now than purchased. ("I wanted to love this camera" --- check the net.) The price is high for what you get given these issues. How does this impact your review? Was the review based on what might have been or should have been? Fuji itself has finally admitted to the white blob issue --- we will see if a fix reduces this issue. Still 5 stars? Why? Certainly not the price compared to competitors. Heck, forget the price. This is no D7000. It may be a lesser camera than the XZ-1 and others. I'm puzzled.

Update: 12/15/2011
To George Sherwin below:

I'm a wannabe what? Owner? Big accusation.

Fair enough if you are happy with it. But, yes, I had it from a NYC retailer and returned it before the return period was up. (No, I don't have a D7000 or XZ-1; I do have a G11 which is a good comparison IMO and use a GF-1 with pancake 1.7/20 when I want a sharp, fast flash free lens --- but I should not have to establish bonafides to anyone, nor should you. The X10 should be far better --- the G11 lens is slow, the camera is somewhat slow, video is not good --- it is why I am looking for a newer camera. Unfortunately, it is not.) I had issues and confirmation of these issues is all over the internet, such as dpreview. Unless one is sure of something, it's not a good idea to cast doubts on another's word. Or use innuendo. If this was regurgitation (for the most part it is not), who is it regurgitation of? Why are these other individuals reviews off? And why did Fuji finally admit to the white blob problem and say they will try to offer a fix? By the way, the final straw for me was taking a near end of daylight shot of a tree with Christmas lights --- guess what happened?

I don't doubt your word, and you may be the better photographer, but please don't take the gloves off and (to all X10 lovers) possibly even try to get replies removed. I respect your opinion, respect mine. Thank you.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2011 1:29:38 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 15, 2011 11:02:31 AM PST
Hmmm... can't help but wonder if you have actually held one of these in your hands and had actual shooting experience, or just judging based on other reviews?

I won't try to address each of your points, except to say that I have found none of these issues to either exist or to be of significant concern. Every camera has its compromises and this is no exception, but I still remain extremely pleased with my own personal X10, and I stand by my only two serious issues, that being non-pocketable size, and the proprietary RAW camera mode, both of which I've learned to successfully work with.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2011 4:08:19 PM PST
E. Hung says:
Thanks to this review. I got mine a few weeks ago. But I hardly notice any white orb issue given that I also shoot with a Canon EOS 7D and a Sigma DP2s. The only time Fuji's blown highlights look different from the output of my other cameras is when I shoot directly at the sun. There, I could see several radiating orbs clustered together. It 's hardly noticeable and is pretty subjective. I believe some people might have gotten bad copies from the early release. This kind of teething issues had happened in the past with Canon 7D, 5DMK2 and Nikon D7000 as well. People need to understand that they are taking a chance on a new released model and you want to protect yourself by purchasing the new camera from a vendor with good return policy. The Fuji X10 is not for everybody and it does not replace a DSLR. If you don't always make large prints, the 6MP EXR is wonderful for the extra kick of dynamic range and signal-to-noise at high ISO. I would have gotten the SONY NEX-5N or NEX-7 if I didn't have a DSLR already.

Posted on Dec 14, 2011 7:04:31 PM PST
J. Obra says:
Pretty awesome review. I own a Canon XTi but I plan on bringing this to asia to shoot around next month instead.

Would you prefer a sidestrap (like a rapid-strap) or a sidestrap for street photography or a dense open market?

Info #3, 4 & 6 helped me a lot. I'm including this in my cart. Thanks George!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2011 7:32:39 PM PST
I have found that the small wrist strap on the camera, coupled with the very nice shoulder strap that came with my $19 Fuji clone faux leather case, is a great combination. I use the case mostly just to protect the camera while rattling around in the floorboard of my car. The case does nicely accommodate the filter adapter ring and filter (but not the hood). I keep a UV filter on the camera and leave the metal lens cap at home.

The last item I'm looking for is a tiny velcro pack that can attach to the leather case strap, to hold a spare battery and memory card. Still looking.

I love this camera, especially now that the Camera Raw conundrum has been resolved!
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