As mentioned previously the X10 uses an all-new 2/3inch EXR CMOS sensor that delivers an effective resolution of 12MP, and which is backside-illuminated for better low-light performance. As with all Fuji EXR sensors, the chip inside the X10 employs a unique pixel arrangement that allows neighbouring pixels to be combined when necessary to increase sensitivity in low-light conditions, but which can also act independently to deliver maximum resolution.
Maximum output at full resolution in the default 4:3 aspect is 4,000 x 3,000 pixels, although the camera also offers Medium (6MP) and Small (3MP) resolution settings too. It’s also possible to shoot in 3:2, 16:9 and 1:1 aspects, albeit at slightly reduced overall resolutions. There are two JPEG quality settings: Fine and Normal. You can expect a regular JPEG file shot at full resolution on the Fine setting to measure around 5MP in size.
In addition to JPEG capture, the X10 can also record lossless sensor data as Raw image files (Fuji’s .RAF format, which at the time of writing is still awaiting Adobe/Apple support, but which will doubtless arrive soon). Raw files allow you to get the best from your photos by ensuring every detail of data is retained, rather than being lost through JPEG compression, but file sizes can be very large. We especially like how the X10 offers a dedicated Raw button on the back of the camera that allows you to select Raw capture on the fly as and when you think a shot merits it, without having to fiddle about in the in-camera menu.
Sensitivity ranges from a baseline ISO 100 up to ISO 12,800 in standard mode, with sensitivity rises offered incrementally (i.e. from ISO 200 to ISO 250) rather than just ‘doubling up’ (i.e. from ISO 200 to ISO 400) as is more commonplace. There’s no dedicated ISO button on the camera, although you can assign that function to the Function (Fn) button on the top-plate should you wish to.
In keeping with its advanced-compact positioning, the X10 offers a generous range of exposure modes, with the semi- and fully-manual creative quartet of Program, Aperture-priority, Shutter-priority and Manual (PASM) complimented by a fully Automatic mode, 16 individual Scene Position (SP) modes, and two user-defined Custom modes. In addition to these, the X10 also offers three Advanced shooting modes and three EXR-specific modes, all of which are worth a closer look.
The three Advanced modes are Motion Panorama, Pro Focus, and Pro Low-Light. The first of these, Motion Panorama, allows you to create 120, 160 or 360-degree panoramas by simply sweeping the camera in a predetermined direction with the shutter button held down. Once you’ve mastered the technique, the results can be very good indeed. Pro Focus, meanwhile, is a portrait-specific mode that enables you to create a shallow depth of field effect by taking multiple images and then processing added blur into the background. Lastly, Pro-Light Mode is another mode that uses multiple exposures, this time with the aim of reducing the effects of noise in low light.
The three EXR modes, meanwhile, include a High Resolution mode, a Dynamic Range Priority mode and a High ISO & Low Noise mode. As the name implies High Resolution mode prioritises resolution above all else, while Dynamic Range takes two images simultaneously and them combines them into a single (6MP) image. Lastly, High ISO & Low Noise mode takes advantage of the unique EXR pixel arrangement to combine pixels and reduce noise. Images shot in this mode are captured at 6MP, but the reduction in noise is pretty impressive.
In terms of video capture, the X10 offers a top setting of 1080p Full HD at 30fps, ably supported by 720p HD and VGA (640 x 480) capture. Furthermore, the X10 also draws upon Fuji’s expertise in high-speed video capture (something the company has been equipping its bridge cameras with for many years), with the option to record high-speed movies (that play back in slow-motion) at either 120fps at 320 x 240 (QVGA quality) or 200fps at 320 x 112 pixels. Sound is captured in stereo via two microphones on the front of the camera, but there’s no external microphone port. Movies are stored as H.264 (.MOV) files.
Elsewhere, you will find that the X10 offers a very good range of customisation options and settings with which you can tinker to alter the overall look and feel of your photos. These include everything from Film Simulation controls that are named after (and mimic the look of) classic Fuji 35mm film stock, to Dynamic Range controls (from 100% to 400%). In addition, there are separate controls for Colour saturation, Sharpness, Highlight Tones, Shadow Tones and Noise Reduction too – with five levels of strength for each to choose from.
Add to this Face Detection and Face Recognition options, a good selection of bracketing options and a passable ‘intelligent digital zoom’, and the X10 adds up to a very well featured camera indeed. The only contemporary ‘must-have’ feature the X10 really lacks is a set of digital filter effects; if you want to give your images a miniature model or cross-processed look you’ll need to take a regular photo and get busy in Photoshop instead.