Fuji Finepix X10 Review
Performance - How well does it take pictures?
Ultimately a camera is only as good as the images it produces which is why performance measurements from the basis of digital camera ratings at Neocamera. The Fuji Finepix X10 is a premium compact with a high-end lens and a relatively small sensor, similar to the most fixed-lens cameras except for the Fuji Finepix X100 and Canon Powershot G1 X. More like the Fuji X10 is the recently reviewed Nikon Coolpix P7100 which is roughly the same size but features a longer electronic 28-200mm zoom with standard F/2.8 - 5.6 aperture range.
In terms of photographic subjects, the longer lens is an important difference. However, the brighter aperture lets the Fuji X10 shoot at least one full ISO stop lower in any circumstance.
The Fuji Finepix X10 produces high quality images. Unsurprisingly, it is not enough to dethrone the X100 from being the best performing fixed-lens camera. Yet, it matches very closely the performance of the P7100.
Image noise is low and controlled well up to ISO 800 where details remain well preserved. ISO 1600 still produces usable images but with mild softening of details. Noise increases and details soften further at ISO 3200. Still,images remain usable for small prints and web use.
Where the X10 excels is in terms of dynamic range which is wider than most digital cameras. The 400% Dynamic Range option available at full-resolution is great to capture high-contrast scenes. This is further expandable in EXR-DR mode which can record an incredible range. This makes the Fuji Finepix X10 much less prone to exposure errors than the vast majority of cameras. Metering of the Fuji Finepix X10 is excellent and copes very well under most conditions. For high-key and low-key scenes, exposure-compensation is required but less than the average digital camera.
Color accuracy is reasonable with the film mode set to Astia. The default Provia is noticeably oversaturated and Velvia even more so. Even so, for better results tone down Color to Medium Low. To help decide which Film Simulation mode is more to your liking, the FSB drive mode takes one shot and saves it in all three color film modes.
Automatic White-Balance is good for the most part. In daylight and under simple lighting, it does well. When the camera is confronted with sources of artificial light, it can get very confused and produced incorrect results that are unfortunately not previewed on the LCD. Custom White-Balance gives reasonable results with just a barely perceptible shift towards red.
The sharpness of the Fujinon F/2 - F/2.8 lens is superb. Details are consistently sharp from edge-to-edge with no visible corner softness or vignetting. There is a gentle but noticeable amount of barrel distortion near wide-angle but it quickly disappears after zooming in a little. Purple fringing is virtually inexistent.
The X10 is generally fast and responsive. Its performance can be characterized by the following measurements:
- Power On: Below 1s. Great.
- Power Off: Below 1s. Very good.
- Focus: ¼ - ½s. Excellent for Contrast-Detect.
- Shutter-Lag: Nearly instant. Very good.
- Black-Out: ½s. Excellent for a compact.
- Shot-To-Shot: Below 1¼s. Superb for a compact.
- Playback: About 1s to Enter and ¾s to Exit.
- Zoom: No speed limit.
Compared to any fixed-lens camera, this is a very good performance. Focusing is one of its strongest points and it does so with excellent consistency. The shot-to-shot speed is great for its class but will be on the slow side for action photography. Battery life, quoted at 270 shots per charge according to the CIPA standard, is a little below average.
The Fuji Finepix X10 is truly an excellent digital camera. It shows a very good image quality, matching the best small sensor models and only lagging behind cameras with much larger sensors and more expensive price tags. Images show little noise, excellent metering, nice colors and stellar dynamic range. White-balance is not ideal but manages sufficiently well. Plus, there is always custom white-balance or RAW shooting to produce images with great accuracy.
The Fujinon lens used on the X10 is both a great technological achievement and a pleasure to use thanks to its mechanical zoom which gives perfect framing precision. The bright maximum aperture and built-in stabilization makes the X10 usable in lower light than most cameras in its class. This camera is fast and responsive under most circumstances.
This advanced digital camera is very versatile given a complete set of manual controls including manual focus, bracketing and a hot-shoe. Plus, dual control-dials and plenty of controls make these features efficient to use. The only letdown of this model is that the LCD preview is often incorrect, showing the wrong exposure or white-balance more than occasionally.
Given its image quality, performance and ergonomics, the Fuji Finepix X10 makes an ideal camera for users seeking advanced photographic controls in a compact body. The zoom range offered by its lens makes this camera highly suitable for travel, portraits and social photography.
Fuji X10 Facts
|12 Megapixels Fixed Lens||ISO 100-3200|
|4X Mechanically Linked Wide Optical Zoom||Shutter 1/4000-30s|
|Built-in Stabilization||Full manual controls, including Manual Focus|
|1 Axis Digital Level||Custom white-balance|
|7 FPS Drive, 8 Images||Spot-Metering|
|1920x1080 @ 30 FPS Video Recording||Hot-Shoe|
|2.8" LCD 460K Pixels||Lithium-Ion Battery|
|Secure Digital Extended Capacity|
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