A stylish, rangefinder-like digicam with functions to appeal to serious photographers plus Full HD video recording.
Fujifilm’s X10 (the ‘FinePix’ tag has been dropped for this series) can be seen as a ‘little brother’ to the X100 that was introduced earlier this year. With a smaller sensor and a zoom lens, it offers features most serious photographers require and competes head-to-head with cameras like the Canon PowerShot G12, Nikon Coolpix P7100, Olympus XZ-1 and Panasonic Lumix LX5. The table below provides a comparison of key features of the five cameras.
|Fujifilm X10||Canon G12||Nikon P7100||Olympus
|Sensor area||8.8 x 6.6 mm||7.49 x 5.52 mm||7.49 x 5.52 mm||7.89 x 5.81 mm|
|Sensor type||CMOS (EXR)||CCD||CCD||CCD||CCD|
|Lens (35mm equiv.)||28-112mm||28-140mm||28-200mm||28-112mm||24-90mm|
|Digital zoom||2x||to 4x||to 4x||to 4x||to 4x|
|Macro to||1 cm||1 cm||2 cm||1 cm||1 cm|
|Shutter speeds||30-1/4000 sec.||15-1/4000 sec.||60-1/4000 sec.||60-1/2000 sec.||60-1/4000 sec.|
|Viewfinder||Optical||Optical||Optical||Optional EVF||Optional EVF|
|Monitor||2.8-inch LCD, 460K dots||2.8-inch LCD, 461K dots||3-inch LCD, 921K dots||3-inch OLED,
|3-inch LCD, 460K dots|
|Monitor adjustments||Fixed||Fully articulated||Tilting||Fixed||Fixed|
|Battery capacity||~ 270 shots||~ 370 shots||~ 350 shots||~ 320 shots||~ 400 shots|
|Dimensions (wxhxd)||117 x 70 x 57 mm||112 x 76 x 48 mm||116 x 77 x 48 mm||110.6 x 64.8 x 42.3 mm||110 x 66 x 43 mm|
|Shooting weight||350 grams||401 grams||395 grams||275 grams||233 grams|
Build and Ergonomics
The X10 has the same rangefinder styling as the X100 (and most of the cameras listed above). And, like the X100, most of its body is made from tough but lightweight magnesium alloy and it’s only available in black. According to the company’s website, the designers were ‘particularly committed to using the dark black colour scheme that covers the entire body’.
Front view of the Fujifilm X10. (Source: Fujifilm.)
A textured, leather-like material covers the front panel, extending around the sides onto the back of the camera. Not only does it make the camera look classy; it’s also comfortable and secure to hold, assisted by a gentle grip moulding on the front panel that’s slightly larger than on the X100 plus a rubber thumb rest on the rear.
The lens that dominates the front panel is a specially-designed, Fujinon-branded 4x manual zoom lens that covers a focal length range equivalent to 28-112mm in 35mm format. It’s attached to the body with a silicon pad to absorb impact shock.
The optical design is more sophisticated than you find on most digicams, with 11 elements in nine groups. The design includes three aspherical glass moulded elements and two ED elements and proprietary Super EBC (Electron Beam Coating) is applied to minimise common aberrations.
The zoom ring on the lens has three narrow knurled bands to provide a secure grip. It doubles as a power on/off switch linked to a rotating cam in the lens. Turning the ring to the right through 40 degrees switches power on. Further rotation through 55 degrees sets the lens focal length.
You must be careful to rotate the zoom ring all the way to the left when switching the camera off to avoid draining the battery. Battery capacity isn’t great with a CPIA rating of 270 shots/charge.
The lens is engraved with 35mm equivalent focal lengths for 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm and 112mm. The corresponding actual focal lengths are 7.1mm, 8.3mm, 11.3mm, 18.0mm and 28.4mm respectively.
A slip-over lens cap that appears to be made from solid plastic is supplied to protect the lens. It fits snugly but has no tethering point that allows it to be attached to the neck strap.
The other noteworthy feature on the front panel is a focus mode selector dial with three settings: MF, AF-S and AF-C. A window for the AF-Assist/Self-Timer lamp is located on the opposite side of the lens, just below the top panel. Twin holes for the stereo microphone sit just above it.
Two prominent dials are located on the right hand side of the top panel, both made from metal to ensure durability. One adjusts exposure compensation and is inset into the panel itself, while the other, the mode dial, sits proud of the panel close to the hot-shoe (which accepts Fujifilm’s EF-20 and EF-42 flash guns).
A tiny Fn (function) button is located just in front of the exposure compensation dial, It can be programmed for quick adjustment of one of the following functions: ISO, image size, image quality, dynamic range, film simulation, AF mode, face detection, face recognition or ‘intelligent’ digital zoom.
The hot-shoe is recessed into a raised section of the top panel that also contains the viewfinder and built-in, pop-up flash. The X10’s viewfinder is a standard optical finder; not the hybrid optical/EVF found on the X100
As OVFs go, it’s quite good, although typically tunnel-like and covering only 85% of the sensor’s field-of-view. There’s a dioptre adjustment wheel on its left hand side and the eyepiece stands out far enough from the monitor to minimise the risk of nose grease on the screen when it’s used.
The finder’s eyepiece has a narrow rubber surround that won’t scratch glasses but no focus confirmation is shown so you don’t know what the lens is focused upon unless you use the AF point selection setting. We found this function tricky to use and it was only available when Area is selected for the AF mode and AF-S is selected. Pressing the Menu/OK button returns the AF point to the centre position.
Manual focusing is also disappointing and requires a lot of fiddling. First the MF mode must be selected. Then focus is adjusted with the sub-command dial around the arrow pad. Focusing requires a lot of turns and if you have the Focus Check magnification switched on it actually makes fine-tuning focusing more difficult in some situations. Sony’s peaking system would be advantageous in this camera.
The pop-up flash is tiny and not particularly powerful. But the camera provides most of the flash settings you’re likely to need, including slow-synchro and optional red-eye reduction.
The X10’s rear panel sports a fixed, 2.8-inch LCD monitor with adjustable brightness. Screen resolution is average at approx. 460,000 dots but the full image frame is displayed. You can toggle through five display mode, including an Info display and a Custom setting with an ‘ electronic horizon’ levelling guide.
Despite its modest resolution (460,000 dots), the viewing quality of the X10’s monitor is above average, although it’s diminished in bright outdoor lighting. The screen is fixed in position but sits a couple of millimetres proud of the rear panel.
Four buttons line up down the left hand side of the screen accessing (from the top) image playback, AE/playback zoom in, AF/playback zoom out and white balance settings. On the right hand side of the screen is a standard arrow pad with directional buttons for accessing the drive, flash, self-timer and macro settings.
The drive button serves as a delete button in playback mode. There’s a central Menu/OK button which is self-explanatory. Surrounding the arrow pad is a sub-command dial that can be used with the main-command dial left of the thumb rest to set lens apertures and shutter speeds in the manual modes as well as other functions, including manual focusing.
Pressing the centre of the main-command dial switches between selections in M mode. Below the main-command dial is an AFL/AEL button that can be used to lock focus or exposure. It’s also used to restore normal image size after magnifying it for focus checking.
The Display/Back and RAW buttons are located close to the lower edge of the panel, just below the arrow pad. The RAW button lets you toggle raw file capture on and off. The camera will record RAF.RAW files or RAW+JPEG pairs, depending on what’s been selected in the menu. (The default setting is raw files.)
Battery and memory card share a compartment in the base of the camera, next to the three-slot speaker. The metal-lined tripod socket is also located here, offset from the lens axis and slightly forward in the plate. USB and HDMI ports can be found beneath a lift-up hatch just below the strap eyelet on right hand side of the camera.
The mode dial carries 11 settings that will be familiar to owners of Fujifilm’s more sophisticated cameras. In addition to the regular P, A, S and M shooting modes, the X10 boasts two custom memories for recalling settings stored in these and the EXR modes.
The EXR mode uses the camera’s image processor to provide ‘optimised’ settings that improve image clarity, reduce noise or enhance dynamic range. When EXR Auto is selected, scene recognition comes into play and the camera is set accordingly.
The Resolution Priority setting in this mode prioritises clarity and sharpness, while the High ISO & Low Noise setting reduces noise in shots taken with high ISO settings. The D-Range Priority setting is used for subjects with wide brightness ranges to increase the amount of detail visible in highlights. It can be set to 800% or 1600% to suit different conditions.
We’ve covered the Advanced (Adv.) mode in our review of the FinePix F550 EXR and the X10’s essentially duplicates the earlier model’s settings. However, Motion Panorama 360 is only available with the widest angle of view and recording starts when you press the shutter button and begin panning the camera across the scene. It’s stopped by pressing the shutter button again. No image will be recorded if this happens before the camera has been panned through 120 degrees.
The Scene Position (SP) mode contains 16 settings but lacks the Dog and Cat face-recognition settings provided in some earlier cameras. The Movie mode is the only way to engage video recording. Unfortunately, you can’t program this function into the Fn button, which would provide a convenient substitute.
For all shooting modes, an Advanced Anti Blur setting is available in the main camera menu. When switched on, it will display an icon on the monitor screen to indicate it will engage and when the shutter is pressed, a series of exposures are taken and combined to produce a picture with reduced noise and blurring.
As in other Fujifilm digicams, the self-timer and drive modes are controlled separately using the vertical arrows on the arrow pad. The self-timer can be set for two or 10-second delay or to trigger when a face is detected.
Five continuous shooting modes are available: Top, Best Frame Capture, AE Bracketing, ISO Bracketing and Film Simulation Bracketing. In the Top mode, four settings are provided: SH (10 frames/second at M size), H (7 fps at L size), M (5 fps) and L (3 fps). The frame rate depends on the image size and resolution.
In the Best Frame Capture mode, the camera can record a sequence of frames starting as the shutter button is fully pressed and ending after it is released. Users can set the number of frames to be recorded. The three bracketing options are limited to three frames.
The Intelligent Face Detection system in the X10 is pretty standard and covers focusing and exposure metering. Priority is set on the face closest to the centre of the frame but all faces detected are ‘boxed’.
The camera can store information on faces and personal details with its face recognition system, which lets users register up to eight faces with names, birthdays and categories. This information is displayed when faces are recognised while shooting and in playback.
Sensor and Image Processing
The X10 features a new 2/3-inch type (8.8 x 6.6 mm) CMOS sensor with an effective resolution of 12 megapixels that features Fujifilm’s proprietary EXR technology. It’s a back-illuminated chip with photosites rotated through 45 degrees to collect more light and improve horizontal and vertical resolution.
Coupled to the sensor is a fast EXR processor, which controls all the image processing functions, including in-camera raw file processing (to JPEG). Four aspect ratio settings are available: 4:3, 3:2, 16:9 and 1:1. The table below shows typical image and file sizes.
|4:3||RAW||3648 x 2736||26.9MB|
|RAW+JPEG||3648 x 2736||26.9MB|
|L||3648 x 2736||5.2MB||3.28MB|
|M||2592 x 1944||3.24MB||1.68MB|
|S||2048 x 1536||1.77MB||0.94MB|
|3:2||L||3648 x 2432||4.61MB||2.94MB|
|M||2592 x 1728||2.88MB||1.49MB|
|S||2048 x 1360||1.58MB||0.83MB|
|16:9||L||3648 x 2056||3.90MB||2.49MB|
|M||2592 x 1440||2.46MB||1.28MB|
|S||1920 x 1080||1.20MB||0.81MB|
|1:1||L||3648 x 2056||3.90MB||2.49MB|
|M||2592 x 1440||2.46MB||1.28MB|
|S||1920 x 1080||1.20MB||0.81MB|
Movie options are the same as in the F550 EXR and the HS20 EXR. Three resolution settings are provided for normal movie recording, along with three standard definition options for recording slow-motion movies at up to 320 frames per second.
Black bands appear at the top and bottom of the frame in the 200 fps movie mode. Typical recording times are shown in the table below.
|Movie mode||Aspect ratio||Frame size
|Frame rate||Recording time/8GB card|
|Full HD||16:9||1920 x 1080||30 frames/sec.||1 hour 16 minutes|
|HD||1280 x 720||1 hour 38 minutes|
|640||4:3||640 x 480||3 hours 52 minutes|
|HS 640×480||70 fps||1 hour 51 minutes|
|HS 320x240HS 320×240||320 x 240||120 fps||5 hours 45 minutes|
|HS 320×112||320 x 112||200 fps||2 hours 51 minutes|
You can zoom in and out of scenes while recording video clips, although any associated camera noises may be recorded. If light levels are low, the AF-Assist light may switch on automatically. (You can turn this setting off in the setup menu.)
Focus, exposure and white balance are adjusted automatically while clips are recorded. You can capture a still image by pressing the shutter button while recording a movie but not in the high-speed movie modes. The image size defaults to M when larger sizes have been selected and the shot is saved separately from the movie.
Playback and Software
Playback settings include the standard single frame and index display For continuous burst only the first frame is shown but you can press the down button on the arrow pad to view the other frames. Playback zoom is supported, with maximum magnification depending on the image size.
The X10 also provides side-by-side comparisons of adjacent frames plus protection, deletion and tagging (DPOF or Favourites) for single, selected or all frames. Shooting data can also be displayed, along with a thumbnail and small brightness histogram.
Images can be searched by date, face, tag, scene, file type or upload mark. Slideshow playback is supported and there’s a novel PhotoBook Assist function that lets users tag images for inclusion in a photo book that can contain up to 300 pictures. Books can be copied to a computer with the supplied MyFinePix Studio software.
Raw files can be converted into JPEGs in the camera. Silkypix Raw File Converter EX is supplied as the raw file conversion software.
Subjective assessments of test shots showed the slightly larger sensor and more constrained resolution gave the X10 a quality advantage over the FinePix HS20 and F550 EXR we reviewed a few months ago. Test JPEGs straight out of the camera were sharp (perhaps a little over-sharpened) and colours were accurately reproduced in most shooting conditions.
Unfortunately, Adobe has yet to release a version of its Camera Raw plug-in for Photoshop applications. So, until then, raw file shooters will be stuck with the sub-optimal Silkypix application that doesn’t extract the best results from this camera’s files. If Fujifilm had adopted the DNG raw standard things would have been MUCH easier and the raw files would probably have produced higher resolution in our Imatest tests.
The review camera’s exposure system appeared to be biased towards capturing shadow detail, which meant blown-out highlights were quite common in bright, contrasty lighting in our JPEG shots. In addition, if you try to shoot with f/2 in bright conditions, the shutter speed is locked at 1/1000 second (goodness knows why) and the camera lacks an ND filter so over-exposure is inevitable unless you stop down.
Autofocusing was faster than we found with the previous cameras and, usually, more accurate. However, for close-up shots you must switch to the Macro or Super Macro settings (accessed via the arrow pad) or you’ll end up with blurred shots as the camera has no shutter lock when the lens is out-of-focus.
Little noise was visible in shots taken at ISO settings up to ISO 800 and shots taken at ISO 1600 were printable at snapshot size (15 x 10 cm). Some softening could be seen when ISO 1600 shots were enlarged beyond this point but it was very evident at ISO 3200 in both available light and flash exposures.
Imatest testing revealed the review camera delivered files that were slightly below expectations for the sensor’s resolution. It also showed a consistent difference between ARW.RAW files and JPEG shots. The graph below shows the results of our tests.
The highest resolution in our Imatest tests was achieved around three stops down from maximum aperture. Diffraction reduced resolution from about f/4.5 with a steady but gradual decline to the minimum aperture of f/11. Edge softening was more visible at wider apertures, although it persisted through the aperture ranges at all focal lengths, as shown in the graph of our Imatest test below.
Lateral chromatic aberration was negligible-to-low and never became visible in our test shots. In the graph below of our Imatest results, the red line marks the boundary between ‘negligible’ and ‘low’ CA, while the green line separates ‘low’ and ‘moderate’ CA.
The lens showed little tendency to flare unless a bright light was shining directly at the camera. But as long as an intervening subject blocked it, we found no evidence of compromised contrast or sharpness.
Distortion was also well controlled. Although slight barrel distortion could be seen at the 28mm setting, the lens had a relatively flat field of view at 112mm. Slight vignetting could be seen at the widest apertures at all focal lengths but it would not affect everyday photography.
Flash exposures were evenly balanced across the camera’s focal length range, showing the exposure controls able to balance flash output to suit different sensitivity settings. The flash also produces well-balanced output at different shooting distances, although it wasn’t usable for close-ups with the two macro modes.
The review camera failed to remove the orange cast from shots taken under incandescent lighting in the auto white balance mode but came close to producing neutral colours in shots taken under fluorescent lighting with the same setting. Both presets over-corrected very slightly, the various fluorescent lighting settings imparting slightly different colour casts. Manual measurement counteracted all colour casts.
Digital zoom shots were a cut above those from most digicams we’ve tested. The Panorama modes are identical to those in the FinePix F550 EXR and covered in our review of that camera.
Video quality was similar to that of the two FinePix cameras we reviewed recently, with best-looking clips recorded at 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution. There was a slight, but noticeable, difference between full HD and 720p HD recordings and a clear drop in quality with VGA resolution.
The high-speed modes delivered impressive results with minimal blurring of subjects enabling motion analysis to be carried out, even though the resulting frame sizes were very small. Sound tracks were reasonably clear, although the small size and close spacing of the microphones restricted the stereo presence.
We carried out our timing tests with a 32GB SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC U1 memory card, one of the fastest available. The review camera took roughly three seconds to power-up, which is slow for its class but probably influenced by the start-up mechanism.
We measured an average capture lag of 0.28 seconds, which reduced to less than 0.1 seconds with pre-focusing. It took 3.5 seconds, on average to process each JPEG file and 3.8 seconds for each RAF.RAW file and RAW+JPEG pair.
Shot-to shot times averaged 1.1 seconds without flash and 1.5 seconds with. In the high-speed continuous shooting mode, the camera recorded 10 frames at 2816 x 2112 pixels in just over one second. The medium-speed setting recorded 10 full-resolution images in 2.7 seconds. It took less than 2.5 seconds to process each burst.
The buffer memory has limited space for raw files so capture rates slowed after six or seven frames and the burst speed was limited to between two and three frames/second. It took just under 10 seconds to process these bursts.
Buy this camera if:
– You’re looking for a classy-looking camera with manual shooting modes and raw file capture plus Full HD video recording with stereo soundtracks.
– You want above-average performance in low-light conditions.
– You want to record high-speed video clips for motion analysis.
– You require an optical viewfinder.
Don’t buy this camera if:
– You make frequent use of ISO settings higher than 800.
– You want to shoot with a shallow depth-of-field in bright lighting.
– You need focus confirmation in the viewfinder.
Image sensor: 8.8 x 6.6 mm EXR CMOS sensor with (12 megapixels effective)
Image processor: EXR
Lens: Fujinon 7.1-28.4mm f/2-2.8 lens (28-112mm in 35mm format)
Zoom ratio: 4x optical, approx. 2x digital
Image formats: Stills – JPEG (Exif Ver 2.3), RAF.RAW, RAW + JPEG; Movies – MOV ( H.264) with Stereo sound
Image Sizes: Stills – [4:3] 4000 x 3000, 2816 x 2112, 2048 x 1536; [3:2] 4000 x 2664, 2816 x 1864, 2048 x 1360; [16:9] 4000 x 2248, 2816 x 1584, 1920 x 1080; [1:1] 2992 x 2992, 2112 x 2112, 1536 x 1536; Motion panorama horizontal – 11520 x 1080, 9600 x 1080, 7680 x 1080, 5760 x 1080, 3840 x 1080; vertical – 11520 x 1624, 9600 x 1624, 7680 x 1624, 5760 x 1624, 3840 x 1624; Movies – 1920 x 1080, 1280 x 720, 640 x 480 pixels (30 fps) with stereo sound
Shutter speed range: 30 sec. to 1/4000 sec. (min. 1/4 sec. in Auto mode)
Self-timer: 2 or 10 seconds delay
Image Stabilisation: Lens-based optical
Exposure Compensation: +/- 2EV in 1/3EV steps
Focus system/range: TTL contrast AF with single/continuous modes, multi, area and tracking frame selection and manual AF; range 50 cm to infinity; macro 10-300 cm; super macro to 1 cm; AF assist illuminator available
Exposure metering/control: TTL 256-zones metering with Multi-pattern, Spot and Average modes
Shooting modes: EXR, AUTO, P, S, A, M, C1, C2, Movie, SP (Natural Light, Natural Light & Flash, Portrait, Portrait Enhancer, Landscape, Sport, Night, Night (Tripod), Fireworks, Sunset, Snow, Beach, Party, Flower, Text, Underwater), Adv
ISO range: Auto, ISO 100, 200-3200 in 1/3EV steps plus ISO 4000, 5000, 6400 at M size and ISO 12800 at S size
White balance: Auto, Fine, Shade, Fluorescent (x3), Incandescent, Underwater, Custom, Color temperature selection
Flash modes/range (ISO auto): Auto, Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Slow Synchro; red-eye removal available; range 30 cm to 7.0 m with ISO AUTO(800)
Sequence shooting: Max. 10 fps for 8 M-size or 16 S-size frames; Max. 7 fps for 8 frames with L size
Storage Media: 26MB internal memory plus SD, SDHC and SDXC (UHS-I) expansion slot
Viewfinder: Optical zoom viewfinder with approx. 85% coverage; Dioptre adjustment : -3.5 – +1.5 m-1(dpt)
LCD monitor: 2.8-inch TFT colour LCD monitor with approx. 460,000 dots, approx. 100% coverage
Power supply: NP-50 Li-ion battery; CIPA rated for approx. 270 frames/charge
Dimensions (wxhxd): 117.0 x 69.6 x 56.8 mm
Weight: Approx. 330 grams (without battery and card)
Rating (out of 10):
- Build: 8.8
- Ease of use: 8.5
- Autofocusing: 8.3
- Image quality JPEG: 8.0
- Image quality RAW: 8.3
- Video quality: 8.0