USER REPORT: The Fuji X10, A readers thoughts by William Austin

 

NOTE: MY full review of the Fuji X10 camera is coming THIS WEEK! What you see below was submitted by a reader who has been enjoying the camera! – Steve

The Fuji X10, The camera I have been waiting for.

By William Austin

Around 7 or 8 years ago I remember going in to a camera store and asking for a small sized digital camera which featured a viewfinder and a zoom lens, one which could be operated in the same manner as you would with a zoom lens on a SLR/DSLR (i.e one that you turned with your hand rather than operating with a switch), unfortunately such a camera didn’t exist at the time and it baffled me as to why its taken so many years for such a model to be made. When Fuji announced the X10 I thought that my dream compact had been born.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve owned many compact cameras over the years which have produced some amazon quality images. The Canon G series, Panasonic’s LX3/5 and my latest the Olympus XZ-1 are all great cameras but I wanted something I could feel more at home with, a camera that allowed me to continue using the same shooting style as I have with my DSLR. It’s not just about having a zoom lens either it’s about how I handle a camera and shoot that frame, left hand on the lens and right hand holding the camera with my eye to the viewfinder, the same is true whether I’m shooting my M9, X100 or 5D… its about control.

I held back reading any previews/reviews on the X10 until after I’d used one myself because this was a camera I’d been waiting a long time for. I didn’t want to read anything negative about it until I’d had chance to judge it for myself, I just wish Fuji had release the X10 in the Summer so that I could go outside and actually use it! Oh well only three days of solid rain before I finally got my chance.

I purchased my X10 on a deal with the fitted case, the case itself is nice and well made but with the case fitted the X10 no longer fits in my coat pocket. However all is not lost as the case itself has two parts, one part fits around the front, bottom, and rear of the camera and leaves exposed the lens, rear LCD, viewfinder, and control buttons. Plus it adds a little more size to the camera making it a bit more substantial to hold, the second part of the case covers the exposed camera back, top and lens, so with just half the case fitted in my pocket it goes and off to the city I head.

The X10 features a metal lens cap which nicely covers the front optic and the zoom ring, it’s pretty much the same type of cap that you would find on the Leica Summarit-M line of lenses and it does its job rather well. The zoom ring also doubles as the cameras on/off switch, startup time is pretty quick, turn the zoom ring to 28 and by the time you’ve raise the viewfinder to your eye you’re ready to start shooting.

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In use the X10 is very quick to focus, I noticed no really speed difference between the focus speed of the X10 over my DSLR it does however seem faster to focus than my X100. The zoom ring is smooth to operate its range seems very good although after shooting around a 100 shots I found that most of these were taken between the 28 to 50 mark. Controlling the X10 is also a breeze from changing aperture, ISO and EV, those Fuji engineers really did think of the photographer when they built this baby.

At present Lightroom does not support the x10 RAW files so I shot in JPEG, something which I never really do even when taking just snaps. The X10 OOC Jpegs seem pretty good although I’ve not really change any of the in-camera Jpeg quality settings so far, I just imported my Jpegs in to Lightroom to adjust contrast/colour and I’m pretty impressed with the results so far. The photos I take with the X10 will most likely never make the trip to paper and would be used for flickr, Facebook, and emailing to family although much like other small sensor cameras with correct exposure and careful post processing good sized prints can be made.

I know already that I’m going to be happy to take just the X10 with me for short business trips and fun days out, pictures of my pets, nieces and nephews but I also know that Fuji didn’t just make the X10 for me so who will buy the X10?  My guess would be a very wide range of people from those who want a more traditional camera feel to those looking to start shooting street photography. Judging by the amount of views I’ve had so far on the few X10 photos I’ve uploaded to flickr, the interest in this camera is huge.

Thanks

Will Austin

44 Comments

  1. I have been playing with the X10 since last Thursday – though I cannot work the RAW files in LR – and though cool as it seems the power via ring is a bit a pain – overall this is a fantastic little camera which performs well. I posted some random shots on flickr all full size but JPG – in most scenarios it focuses quickly and accurately – as expected though the flash is basically useless, the fun stuff like 360 panos are just for fun and on the street the VF is great – turn off all the sounds and your stealth with AF – really a treat.[img]http://www.flickr.com/photos/jmendell/6315189472/[/img][img]http://www.flickr.com/photos/jmendell/6314666999/[/img]

  2. Yikes! can’t ANYONE write a 2 page paper with correct spelling, punctuation and grammar anymore??!?

    I like the personal view but lost half the meaning trying to follow the writing…..

  3. Perhaps I’m just showing my age, but I kind of like the fact that Fuji ddn’t gum up the viewfinder with displays. To younger readers, all I can say is try working with it for a while. You might be surprised how quickly you can work around it and develop a feel for focusing points and exposure – just like we did with film SLRs and range finders in the 1970s and earlier.

    • At times I find the LCD screens with the multitude of settings distracting. And playing with it consumes battery capacity. How did we manage 10 years ago when changing ISO or white balance required the change of film rolls and filters? How did we manage without immediately evaluating each shot on the LCD screen?

      Why bother with complex AF modes and shutter lag when the small sensors (20% shorter diagonal than Minox 8x11mm) have generous DOF good enough for scale focussing?

      • The sensors small or otherwise don’t have depth of field. They have nothing to do with it. Only the lenses do. And a 50 is a 50 is a 50. And on these cameras the lenses are all super wide – hence the deep DOF. Even though their effective FOV is 50 or whatever…

        :-s

  4. The detail in the shadows of the last B&W shot is great.

    Who cares about minimum depth of field! Deep focus people! Orson Wells said so!

  5. I’ve received mine last Saturday afternoon. This’s the camera I’ve been waiting for a while too. In the past I’ve used a lots of Minolta gears, which the Dynax 9 was one of my favourite tool. Since 2009 I’ve made the switch to Nikon. Now I’m a proud owner of a D700, a D90 and a couple of nice lenses. As you can see these big guys aren’t quite small to carry or hanging comfortable on your neck the all day. So the release of the Fuji X10’s a relief for me. It’s small, fast for a compact, light, discrete look and has a zoom lense with fast aperature. It really feels like a small DSLR in your hands, but there’s one disadvantage: shows no info in the OVF. Why did’t Fuji put this on it? I think then Fuji has a 100% winner. But insofar and for that money I can live with it. I went out the same day to take same images, but it was in the evening. Please enjoy the images…..[img]C:\Users\ALVIN\Documents\fuji pict[/img]

  6. Nice write up and pictures. I must admit that picture #1 is what kills any possibility of me ever buying this camera. I’d forgive such a picutre from any camera that can fit into my jeans pocket, but if it can’t it better have better DOF control than this.

      • That’s because I’m a pretty lame photographer. Oh boy, sometimes I wish I’d think before I post, I assumed it was wide open….

    • They make the X100 for that, and if that’s not good enough they make APS-C dslrs for that, and if that’s not good enough they make full frame cameras for that, and if that’s not good enough…get an 8×10 Deardorff and a 360mm lens and get yourself over it.

    • I’m always amazed on these gear sites about people that claim they need DOF control.

      What for?

      =Very few= shots work well with shallow DOF. For street shooting you generally want massive DOF. Aside from the “aww look at that” gimmick of a shallow DOF shot. Often good shots are ruined due to the lack of DOF. Either because the shooter is some amateur with a fetish for the gimmicky look – or they didn’t think correctly about it.

      Unless I am putting a 150MM lens on to shoot a portrait of a face, most other shots should have more DOF than what I see about these days.

      Time for this gimmick to die…. like HDR.

      • Hahaha the man speaks wise words 🙂 The 2cm DOF is getting a little over used these days as is adding heavy vignetting on shots take with uber quality Leica glass. And please don’t get me started on the fake tilt/shift filters lol

        • I’ll certainly agree with you regarding the razon thin DoF type shots, which really seem to be noting more than a “mine is bigger” or shall we say “smaller” than yours talk for forum fanboys whose self worth seems to resolve around posting such shots and then getting the oooh and ahhh’s from other camera forum readers.

          I will say that though as cliche as the fake tilt/shift look is though, to this day it still always amazes me just how much like a miniature it really can fool our brains believing it is.

      • You’re not kidding! The answer is that 99.99% of photography these days relies on gimmicks to look interesting. Take that away, and since there is no content, you have…crap! Shooting wide open is like a disease. Most people don’t realize that fast lenses were created to allow more light in and permit to shoot at higher shutter speeds when certain situations arose. Now we have people spending $6000 on a Leica lens because f1 or f1.4 looks cute. Well, we ain’t gonna see any of those images win prizes or hanging in museums any time soon, but they sure wine lots of pink balloons on Flickr! 🙂

  7. My question concerns the OVF and it’s use.

    When composing with the OVF how do you know where the camera has focused?
    When shooting with the OVF, how do you know what your exposure settings are?

    I ask this because I read that the OVF shows no such information.

    • Hi Calvin,

      just to the right of the OVF (right next to the made in Japan stamp) is an LED, when the shutter is half press and focus is made and exposure is above an acceptable level for hand held shooting the LED will illuminate a solid green light, if either focus or exposure is not met then the LED will flash green.

      As for knowing where the focus point is when looking through the OVF well that takes a bit of getting used to but play around with it for a while taking test shots and you’ll soon be able to gauge with some confidence the correct focus point, this is much the same as using the OVF for the Leica X1 and the Oly Pen range.

    • Calvin, the simple answer is you don’t. Its not a viewfinder in the traditional since you may be used to if your coming from a DSLR. Its more like an external optical finder one would add onto a RF or various compacts that have a hotshoe, like a Leica X1 or Panasonic LX5, Ricoh GR series etc.

      Its best used with the camera prefocused and for quick framing, just like all external finders.

  8. I’m also looking at the X10 as a replacement for my aging G9 (which was way overrated for what it actually delivered).

    Wonder how the picture IQ holds up to my Pentax K-5 with a 40mm?

  9. This does sound an interesting development. Thanks for the helpful write up.
    I’m a beginning street photographer coming from mostly landscape work where I’ll stay with my DSLR until I can afford a Leica. So for this new kind of photo for me, I wondered if there’s manual focus and what it’s like? Not sure which method I’ll get comfortable using — auto focus or pre-focus — so my manual focus question is really geared to any pre-focus option. Cheers.

    • The x10 has a switch on the front which allows you to change between auto focus and manual focus, I’ve not tested manual focus out yet but I’m hoping Steve will test this out in his review but for street shoot I’m guessing that pre-focusing using AF then switching to manual focus might do a good job, this is pretty much what I do with the X100 and it works well for me.

    • Manual focus is by turning the wheel at the back. I found it more accurate and easier for me than focus by wire.
      AEL/AFL button will do snap focusing in manual focus.

  10. Very nice review … While I enjoy shooting my Pentax K20 with Leica R lens … there is a time when I need a smaller camera for street shooting … The X10 has me thinking there may be a new camera @ my side very soon …

  11. Of course I appreciate the traditional user interface and eye level finder.

    But as an amateur I spend more time carrying the camera rather than shooting with it.

    Anytime I would trade a little bit of inconvenience against smaller size and lighter weight.

  12. Thanks for your views William.
    This is the first small compact I’ve been interested in since the Leica Dlux 4.

    Bruce

  13. Nice write up. I’ve been using mine all weekend. I am impressed. I didn’t pay too much attention when it was launched as I was happy with the XZ-1. However, as I started seeing more details over the past week, I decided to try one. This camera is a huge positive surprise for me. My XZ-1 is now up for sale.

    • No wonder you are selling the XZ-1. It has been my “2011 greatest photo disappointment” and one of the worst cameras I recently owned.

      On the X10, I hope it will bring tangible IQ advancements vis-à-vis the S95 and LX5 (i.e. less coarseness at base iso, faster af, correct colors).

      Up to now, all premium compacts I owned and / or tested are just “me too” products built around price points, which allow profits by means of subtractive schemes.

      • I owned the XZ1 for a short period of time until I returned it. I was super disappointed with the camera. I owned the X100 and I loved everything about the build quality, style, feel, and of course images that we made together, but it had major quality issues with the software that forced the camera to be hard reset when shot in Aperture priority mode… so it was returned as well :/. And I could not find a new unit in stock to recoup my loss lol.

        Maybe the x10 be something of a glory camera I was searching for to shoot on the street. Though Olympus Pen 3 seems to fit the bill better. For 200 more I get better sensors, good low light, excellent OOC JPEG, and good lenses from Oly/Panasonic!

        Or maybe I shall buy both and get rid of my bulky DSLRs that have been sitting in their Pelican cases due to their big size and constant rain in Seattle…

        • Leonard, there are in fact some fantastic lens from Oly/Panny out these days, but they certainly don’t come for free.

          Your looking at $200 more for the camera, then $800 if you want the excellent 12mm f2.0, $600 if you want the amazing 25mm f1.4, $400 for the 45mm f1.8 etc. If you want optical finders they are going to cost you around $150+ per focal length, or $175 for the VF3, $229 for the VF2 etc. Gets expensive quick

          I’ve owned all those and they are great, and really can revolutionize what you can achieve with m4/3 but they come at quite the price, and while small, its still sometimes not ideal carrying 2 or 3 extra lens and theres something to be said for a 28-112mm equiv built in lens, just makes life easier at times.

          I thought my EP3 with 3 prime kit was fantastic but I sold it for the X10 simply because I didnt need over $2k invested into my m4/3 kit for the use it was getting. I shoot for a living and really don’t have much time for personal photography and it was just overkill for my limited use, plus if/when I do need to take photos with good IQ, even for personal use, I’ve got Nikon D3s for that.

          As such, a simple, all in one camera that I can put in my jacket pocket, that doesn’t put a dent in my bank statement, and thats still fun to shoot hit the mark perfectly.

          Dont have to buy more lenses, figure out which ones to take with me, think about other new lenses to buy down the road or anything. Its just what it is.

          Going on a trip ? Toss it into the carry on bag, along with a spare battery and charger and I’m off.

          m4/3 for me at least started to be a bit more, as I was taking 7-14, 100-300 etc on trips (because what if I need them lol) and suddenly found half my carry on was camera gear again.

        • I shoot the x100 in all modes including aperture priority and have no problems all. Sounds strange with the problem you had.

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