Top positive review
226 people found this helpful
When all the cards are down, this is a great camera
on 20 April 2012
After using this camera for around 3 months, I can safely say it has changed the way I take photographs, and changed the way I view photography itself (both in a positive way).
The above sounds grandiose I know, but allow me to fill you in. For many years I used a Pentax DSLR (mid-range) with some decent (again, mid-range) lenses attached and I have been more than happy with this setup. Indeed, I still am.
I'm no fanboy of any one brand, I'll use anything that seems "good" without prejudice and have owned various point and shoots from various brands (although only the above mentioned DSLR).
The asking price for the Fuji X10 is not trivial to me, it's a camera that had to impress to stay with me, but do not take this to mean I'm in some sort of buyers denial. I'll very quickly return an item if it is not up to scratch. Also, I'm not going to go into huge detail here. There are professional reviews online for that. I'm just a user that is impressed enought to share my views.
All that said, onwards with impressions.
I feel that the main reason most people get a camera at this range is the image quality rather than anything else and I can safely say that the X-10 has fantastic image quality. Things are pin sharp if you focus them correctly and the images produced can be stunning. I do not shoot much in RAW, but know that this camera is capable of this and, when coupled with a decent SD card, is ample fast enough for RAW shoots.
The ability to change "film" settings has been very much appreciated. At first appearing to be a gimmick to me, they have quickly become one of my most used features. So much so that I have set the RAW button to toggle between them. The options vary colour saturation, various black and whites etc. and provide on-the-fly creative control of the picture in very useful and appealing ways.
For most of my photography, I shoot full manual, setting the aperture/ISO/speed to my desires. The X-10 is very capable in this regard. Quick changes of any of these settings are possible, with at most one click. Capturing photos quickly with dynamic situations is no problem here. Exposure stops can be changed with their own manual dial, which is very useful.
Whilst I previously always shot full manual or A/S/M priority, the EXR mode on the X-10 has been something of a revelation to me. This is billed as a 12MP camera. This is absolutely true, but allow me to suggest something - Use this camera as a 6MP camera.
It sounds crazy, I know but I've found that the X-10 shines when used in such a capacity. A lot of the fancy modes have to be used with the 6MP size, which leads me to believe that the sensor is in reality 6MP, leaving around 6MP headroom to really beef up your picture.
EXR mode is basically a "High Quality Auto Mode". If you set the camera to 12MP, a lot of these features are disabled. At 6MP, they are all available to you and boy does the camera shine. EXR auto lets the camera choose from dozens of presets (and combinations) depending on the picture. I've found it to be very good at identifying the scene and have been floored at times by the images it produces. Pictures taken in EXR are more like my eye sees than my manual settings can (for the most part) reproduce.
With a tinge of guilt, I have almost left the camera exclusively in EXR mode for some time now, only changing the film settings as desired.
Special note must also be given to the dynamic range, ISO quality and "Pro Modes". The dynamic range of the X-10 is outstanding but is again limited when used in 12MP size (again giving creedance to my 6MP theory). When DR is set to 400 or Auto, I have taken pictures inside a dark room with a bright sunlit day outside and the image has retained detail outside and in - like I said, more like my "real eye" sees it. No blown highlights or ridiculously under-exposed indoors.
I've found the ISO to be useable up to 1200, which frankly (compared to what I'm used to) is staggering.
The pro modes offer a low light mode (I just use the EXR mode TBH), panorama and a "Bokeh" mode. Panorama allows you to stitch together photos and works very well - horizontally and vertically. The Bokeh mode is very useful for when the f2.0 isn't cutting it. It'll intelligently blur the background of a subject, giving a pleasing effect. It must be said however, it isn't always intelligent and can sometimes cut into the subject itself. It is a pleasing effect none-the-less.
Handling wise, I think it feels great. I love being able to zoom the lens manually. It just feels "right". The camera is weighty and everything accessible with a little practice. The on/off function is also very natural.
I don't like the optical viewfinder however. Whilst the light through it is good. the difference between what it sees and the actual photograph is not pleasant (it has a crop factor). I very much wish that the OVF seen exactly the image being taken. It does zoom with the lens however, so there is that.
There is also the issue of Orbs. In over 1000 images taken and a few months of use, it has affected 1 of my images. This may be unacceptable to you, which is fair enough. To me, it has not been an issue. Know that Fujifilm are willing to replace the sensor with a new version towards the end of May 2012.
So, there you go. There's a lot more that I could write about, but it's too much to ask that you read it.
Simply put, I have not used my DSLR since I got the X-10. I find it a joy to be able to put a camera in my pocket that can get pictures I am genuinely proud of and impressed with, whilst retaining some 95% of the creative control my DSLR gives.
Feel free to ask any questions, I'll answer them if I can.