Text and photos by Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla
Fujifilm has gone against the grain and focused on high-end, retro-styled rangefinder-like compact point and shoot cameras like the X100 and its more practical sibling, the X10 ($599). Other camera makers are going full-bore with their Interchangeable Lens Cameras, Fujifilm is squeezing all their great technology into their digital point and shoot models.
With simple to use controls, 12 megapixel CMOS and a Fujinon F2.0-F2.8 all-glass lens features exceptional EBC Fujinon Optics for high resolution optical performance across the entire range, with smooth, high-precision 4X manual zoom control, it is one of the most compelling advanced point and shoot cameras we've tested this year.
Fujifilm is clearly capturing the ethos and spirit of vintage Leicas and similar rangefinder cameras that were compact, easy to deploy, yet could take stunning and truly artistic photographs in various conditions.
This type of camera design isn't overly fiddly or cumbersome and by being smaller is easily accepted while some DSLR's look professional and limited where they can be taken or used.
The beautifully machined metal body is accented with leather and really speaks to the high degree of build quality that Fujifilm is capable of producing.
A camera like the X10 is small yet in most cases it is just as capable. Fujifilm has impressed us this year with the build, construction and the range of features it has offered in its recent cameras like the F550 EXR is quite impressive given the price and what the competition offers.
The X10 is similarly impressive, it is lightweight, supremely functional and very well put together.
The Fujifilm X10 brings a lot of useful features that are unique and refreshing. To turn it on, you simply unlock and unscrew the lens from its locked position and the whole camera comes to life. You feel the attention to detail in the precision milled metal rings and dials, the die cast magnesium top and base.
We like the electronic horizon leveling gauge, the super high 10 fps shooting mode, the optical zoom viewfinder (with 85% coverage), RAW shooting capability and 1080p HD video capability, convenient popup flash are all premium features found only on more advanced point and shoot cameras.
We were intrigued by the Fujifilm X100 mostly because of its timeless design and robust feature set but, like many, were put off by its $1200 price tag. Yes, I really wanted one but I wasn't ready to spend that much money on it. The X10 has full HD 1080p video recording, can shoot 10 frames per second compared to the x100's 5 fps and has image stabilization where the X100 does not.
Aside from this, the Fujifilm X10 is more down to earth, has many of its predecessor's specs and costs almost half the price. Personally, I think it looks better and less ostentatious. The x10 is also smaller and more compact which makes all the difference for travelers or street photographers who want to travel light.
The Fujifilm X100's APS-C 23.6x15.8mm sensor is 6. times larger than the X10's 1/1.7" 8.8x6mm sensor and has better low light sensitivity but we can't see anything else to set the two apart and actually find the X10 to be a more attractive option for most users.
We tested the Fujifilm X10 around the city as well as in a dimly lit Tea Room for high tea and were really impressed by the pictures we made in low light. We liked the macro performance that gave us the opportunity to catch some great details which add a lot to the photo. Speed of focusing and capturing moments was also faster than most point-and-shoot cameras we've tried.
Some may feel that the lack of interchangeable lenses on a camera like the X10 is a bit of an issue but we found that it was more than adequate for most casual photography. Carting around a bunch of gear and various lenses can take the fun out of photography.
Using the Fujifilm X10 as my main camera covering a huge trade show like CES 2012 made it possible for me to take thousands of shots a day as well as dozens of videos with no problems. The camera starts up quickly and is reliable plus it uses the same battery as my Fujifilm X550 EXR so I was able to shoot all day.
The beauty of the Fujifilm X10 is that it takes us back to the golden age of film photography, of actually capturing the most fleeting moments that make life richer. I also found it to be a particularly stellar camera for taking detailed food photos. The X10 can capture all the rich detail and accurate texture of food that it just makes your mouth water.
Geared towards consumers, the Fujifilm X10 is easy to use, has intuitive controls and is fast. A number of features will appeal to general users like the built in panorama mode and the film simulation modes that replicate various types of film and their effects. Various black and white settings also make for creative options.
The Fujifilm X10 is quite possibly the perfect point and shoot for serious amateurs who want versatility in a compact and capable camera with an optical viewfinder and who aren't keen on having various lenses.
The range of 4 x zoom is useful for most general photography but the Fujifilm X10's strengths are portraits, low light photography as well as landscapes. Seeing as how a Interchangeable Lens Camera body with an equivalent F2.0 lens will cost around the same or more than the Fujifilm X10, the $600 price tag is somewhat justifiable and makes it a bargain compared to the X100.
The Fujifilm X10 has become one of my favourite cameras in terms of features and quality. It is compact enough that it is easy to carry in your pants pocket or in a jacket. it has a rich spread of features, an optical viewfinder and is as simple or complicated as you want it to be. To date, the Fujifilm X10 is one of the best built compact cameras we've used.
Rating: 5 out of 5