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Fujifilm X10 - Design and Performance

Audley Jarvis

By Audley Jarvis



  • Recommended by TR
Fujifilm X10


Our Score:


I’m going to have to hold my hands up from the outset and say that I think the X10 is the most stylish camera I’ve reviewed this year. Its retro rangefinder design might not appeal to everyone, but personally I think it looks absolutely fantastic. What’s more, it’s an extremely tactile camera too. Picking it up for the first time, everything about it – from the metal zoom ring to the machined Exposure mode/EV control dials – feels measured, precise and of premium quality. It all adds up to a camera that’s very hard to put down, even if you’re not actually taking any pictures.

With a die-cast magnesium top and bottom plates and metal dials/zoom ring, overall build quality is perhaps the best in its class. Of course you still wouldn’t want to drop it, and to this end the X10 gets a relatively low-profile finger grip that’s covered in synthetic leather for added grip, along with a moulded thumb rest on the back. An eyelet on each shoulder also allows you to attach the supplied neck strap – the use of which is something of a no-brainer really; not only because it’s safer, but also because you’ll probably want to show your new pride and joy off to all and sundry.

On the back of the camera you’ll find a good array of physical buttons, including the aforementioned dials on top of the camera that are used to set exposure mode and dial in EV compensation. Elsewhere on the body you’ll find buttons that offer direct access to the most commonly used stings such as AF mode (Single, Continuous, Manual), Metering mode (Multi, Spot or Average), AF point control (only accessible when the camera is set to AF-S), White Balance, Drive mode, Flash control, Self-timer, Raw image capture and Macro mode.

Next to the thumb rest you’ll find a clickable control wheel, which is used to control aperture or shutter speed (or indeed both when the camera is being used in Manual mode). Below this is an AEL/AFL button that can be used to lock exposure (or focus) in tricky metering situations.

The X10’s zoom is operated manually via a machined metal ring that runs around the lens and, rather neatly, this also doubles up as the camera’s main on/off switch. We’re big fans of this approach as having to manually adjust focal length – as you would with a DSLR – makes framing a far more intuitive, precise and speedy process than trying to feather and nudge a spring-loaded zoom control to the exact focal length you want. Should you wish to focus manually, you can do so via the thumb wheel that encircles the D-pad.

It’s worth noting that the X10 is supplied with a metal lens cap that needs to be removed (and stored in a pocket or suchlike) in order to reach the zoom ring and turn the camera on. However, if you just want to review stored images without having to go through this process then pressing and holding the ‘green triangle’ button switches the camera straight on into Playback mode.

The back of the X10 is adorned with a 2.8inch, 460k-dot TFT LCD monitor that offers 100% coverage and good viewing angles. Should you prefer, and many DSLR owners almost certainly will, you can also frame shots using the optical viewfinder. This is considerably larger and brighter than the viewfinders found on competitor models like the Nikon P7100 or Canon G12, although it does need bearing in mind that the slightly offset field of view (it's not looking directly through the lens) and 85% frame coverage mean it should only be used as a guide rather than a precise framing tool. Even taking this into consideration, the X10’s viewfinder comfortably blows all of its rivals clean out of the water and remains a great way to frame your shots in bright conditions or when you just want to be isolated from the world around you and concentrate on your shot. A dioptre dial also means you can adjust the viewfinder focus so those that normally require glasses can do away with them for framing their shots (depending on your prescription).

AF performance is impressive too, with focus-lock close to instantaneous in good light and only dipping slightly in dimmer conditions. In really dark conditions, where there isn’t enough light for the 49 AF points to lock on, an AF assist light on the front of the camera can be called upon to light up near subjects.

Start-up time impresses, with the time taken from the camera being switched off to capturing a fully focused shot clocking in at around a second. The X10’s no slouch in Single-shot drive mode either, with the dual-core EXR image processor taking around half a second to process each shot. There are a large number of Continuous shooting options too. Shooting at full resolution, the maximum speed possible is a nimble 7fps, which is pretty quick even for a camera of this calibre. Lowering resolution to Medium (6MP) or Small (3MP) pushes this up to 10fps.


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.


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.


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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