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Fujifilm X10 review

Audley Jarvis

By

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Fujifilm X10

Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

Pros

  • Fantastic styling and solid build quality
  • Manual zoom control is more intuitive
  • Optical viewfinder is large and bright
  • Useful EXR and Advanced shooting modes
  • Fast Fujinon lens produces sharp, bright images

Cons

  • Produces ugly white discs in place of highlights
  • White balance can take time to adjust

Key Features

  • 12-megapixel EXR CMOS sensor
  • Dual-core EXR image processor
  • 28-112mm (4x) manually operated zoom lens
  • ISO 100 - 12,800
  • 1080 Full HD movie recording at 30fps
  • Manufacturer: Fujifilm
  • Review Price: £499.00

In many ways the X100 was one of the biggest surprises of 2011, even making it onto the shortlist for the TrustedReviews 2011 Camera Of The Year. However, while the X100 rightly won a lot of critical acclaim for the way in which it effortlessly combined old-school rangefinder design with cutting-edge digital camera technology, the £1000 asking price was always going to put a lot of people off. With the X10, Fuji’s guiding principle has been to cram all of the X100’s retro charm and desirability into a camera costing half as much.

The X10 is still very much an enthusiast-level, premium-grade camera though, and as such it’s most likely to appeal to DSLR owners looking for something that’ll comfortably slip inside a jacket pocket and yet still deliver the flexibility and user experience of a DSLR. That said, the X10 also makes some concessions towards more casual users by offering a number of fully automatic exposure options, including Fuji’s proprietary EXR shooting modes that have proved so popular on other Fuji models.

The main differences between the two X-series models are that whereas the X100 sports an APS-C sized sensor, the X10 uses a newly developed 2/3inch chip. In terms of overall surface area this new Fuji sensor is fractionally larger than the 1/1.6inch and 1/1.7inch sensors used by the X10’s main rivals, namely the Panasonic Lumix LX5, Olympus XZ-1, Samsung EX1, Nikon P7100 and Canon G12, as well as being approximately twice the size of the regular 1/2.3inch sensors found in the vast majority of cheap to mid-range compacts and superzooms. The X10’s 2/3in sensor is, however, considerably smaller than either Micro Four Thirds or APS-C. For more about sensor sizes, check out Wikipedia's comprehensive sensor size comparison page.

Another big difference between the X10 and X100 is that the X10 gets a manually operated 4x zoom lens, whereas the X100’s optic is fixed at 35mm. The X10 lacks a dedicated aperture ring too, with all shutter/aperture adjustments made via the thumbwheel on the back of the body. Finally, the X10 doesn’t get the hybrid optical/EVF viewfinder of the X100 either, although it does sport a larger than average conventional viewfinder. The two cameras do share the same retro rangefinder styling though, along with the same high level of overall build quality.

The X10 is equipped with a fixed 4x Fujinon zoom lens that is manually operated and offers the equivalent range of 28-112mm in 35mm terms. Maximum aperture at 28mm is a usefully quick f/2, rising to a still very impressively quick f/2.8 at 112mm. While 28mm isn’t quite as wide as we’d ideally like, it is on a par with all of its main rivals. Indeed of all the fixed-zoom advanced compacts mentioned above, only the Panasonic Lumix LX5 is wider at 24mm. It’s worth noting, however, that this advantage is balanced by the LX5's shorter 90mm telephoto maximum, it's also slower (f3.3) at this focal length.

So, does all of this add up to Fuji’s best X-series digital camera to date, or does the X10 fall short in other, less obvious, areas?. Let’s take a closer look and find out…

Emin

May 20, 2012, 6:29 am

Firstly this review claims the sensor is a backlit CMOS well I'm not convinced. I have heard that a modified sensor has replaced the original which had white disc problem. However if you look at the FujiFilm X10 sensor on their website it has the sensor's silicon wafer wiring facing this is as far as I know on the top of a wafer so the light is falling on the front not the back in their photo please check your facts they make no mention to 'backlit'
This camera I have tried for a few minutes in a local camera shop as it was closing. I was able to work out how to manually focus from looking at the buttons and trying all the adjustment knobs rings etc so I would say fairly intuitive but not what is wanted such as several rings on the lens to control manual focus apature and zoom. What I didn't like was a lack of EVF - information in the view finder. If it is to resemble a film camera then my cheap Practica BX film camera shows me the Apature and suggested shutter speed and focus in the view finder I am thinking twice for the lack of these. I don't find going back to the funtionality of my Leica 1A view finder an advancement worth this price tag. Manual everything yes please retro looks and perfect size great. Would I buy one, well its the nearest thing I have seen so far as it does everything I want but to save money perhaps loosing the LCD and keeping the EVF instead would give me what I need. I don't need to review on screen and I don't need lots of menus I just want a camera that takes film like photos without the delay and cost and waste of film.

Ken Johnson

January 11, 2013, 11:43 am

This review needs updating, I have had my X-10 for over 6 months and the updated sensor has never produced "ugly white discs" that you have listed as a Con.
I have a Nikon DSLR, a Panasonic GF1 and the X-10. I choose to carry the X-10 everywhere, it is a solid, well made camera, image quality is excellent and the camera is fun to use. People always admire the retro styling too!
As far as I am concerned there are no downsides to this camera.

PC1512

May 13, 2015, 5:00 pm

You're right, it's not a backlit sensor, although arguably the special low-light abilities of the EXR arrangement make up for that.

PC1512

May 13, 2015, 5:15 pm

I picked up a used X10 a few months ago - the model is more than three years old now - and I just love this camera to bits. I have a decent Canon DSLR that takes technically much better pictures with its APS-C sensor and more reliable phase-detect autofocus, but it's nothing like as fun to use and the pictures from the Fuji have a certain quality that just elevates them. Shooting this camera at 6MP with the dynamic range mode set to DR400 gives you the same hardware-based enhanced DR as the (all automatic) EXR mode, and the results are often beautiful. It is easily the most "film like" digital camera I've ever come across, not just in looks and handling but in the images straight from the camera as well.

After this review was written, Fuji actually redesigned the sensor and fixed the "orb" problem altogether, offering a free replacement sensor to all affected cameras. My particular camera is a late serial number built after this redesign, so I've never had to worry about this issue. It's a shame that the X10 became synonymous with orbs since it's such a fantastic camera; the replacement X20 ditched the EXR sensor and its clever DR and low iso tricks altogether for a slightly more conventional x-trans design, and although its images are a touch sharper (due to ditching the AA filter) its jpegs actually aren't as good in capturing DR or dealing with ISO noise. All of which leaves the X10 as something of a classic, and a camera I'd currently choose over pretty much anything.

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