First Impressions on X10 and a quick comparison with the XZ-1

Started Nov 13, 2011 | Discussions thread
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First Impressions on X10 and a quick comparison with the XZ-1
Nov 13, 2011

First Impressions:

Build quality: Build quality is very nice, it easily bests the XZ-1 in this department. Not that the XZ-1 is bad by any means but the feel of the cold metal and the extra heft to it gives it a feeling of being very high quality. I love the extra buttons on the camera as well.

Viewfinder: The viewfinder is pretty decent. The magnification is noticeably lower than the VF-2 on the XZ-1 and at least at the wide end there is noticeable distortion, but the viewfinder is bright and although the magnification is lower, I don't feel like I'm looking down a tunnel. I have yet to test the camera outside as its been raining so I don't know how the lack of information on the viewfinder will affect the photographic workflow yet.

LCD: I think the LCD on the X10 is a tad nicer than the one on the XZ-1. I also noticed that the refresh rate on the X10 is much higher than on the XZ-1.

Quality Control: Disappointing. While the camera itself feels its been built well, the viewfinder has two noticeable pieces of dust. The lens also has a piece of dust inside. Not only that, but if I extend the zoom all the way and look inside, I can see that one of the elements is dirty. I was a bit surprised to see this as each time I've look inside a lens, I've seen right through every element without being able to make out any of them individually. In this case I can make out one of the elements as it looks like it may even be scratched. On a bit of a side note, someone previously posted a picture of the inside of the lens and it looked like there was some siliverish white material sprinkled on the black surface inside the lens. Mine has the silverish material too. It's sort of reminds me of paint that has some of that shiny glitter in it. It's not uniformly spread out so it seems like dust almost but its too reflective to be dust. Who knows what it is or why its there to begin with. Overall these small quality controls aren't a big deal but the dust in the viewfinder is a bit annoying as I can see it when looking through the viewfinder.

Minor quirk: Hopefully mine isn't broken but I'm having an issue with the dial on the back used to control the aperture under aperture priority mode. For example, lets say I'm in aperture priority mode and I have the camera set to F8. On the XZ-1 I can turn the dial on the front very fast and I'll quickly go down to F2.0. On the X10, I can turn the dial very fast and sometimes nothing happens at all, it'll stay on F8 or it'll go down to something like F7. If I slowly turn dial though, it works just fine. Is this how everybody elses dial is?

Image Quality: Too soon to judge image quality but I did a quick comparison between the XZ-1 and X10. I picked "incandescent" white balance as I was under incandescent light and everything else I left on default. The XZ-1 picked a more bluish white balance but I think the X10's warmer white balance is a better representation of the actual scene. I think the XZ-1 looks a bit sharper. On the X10 if you look at the books on the bottom left you can see a bit of "doubling". I've seen this "doubling" in other pictures from the X10 before as well so its not my lens, but the actual lens design. I also included a raw conversion from Lightroom for the XZ-1. All settings were default. I simply took the raw and made a jpeg. Overall, the image quality under these settings and conditions seem to be the same. This wasn't made to be a rigorous test, just something quick. Also, there's a very bright light source in the picture. I put this in to test the dynamic range of the cameras. Again, not a rigorous test. The X10 was left at ISO 100 so no advanced dynamic range settings but the XZ-1 seems to be blowing out highlights a tad less in this picture.

Overall: So far with the little time I've had to play with the camera, I have to say I'm impressed with the overall feel but I do have some mixed feelings. The X10 feels and looks like a regular camera instead of a "compact" camera. It has really made my XZ-1 feel very "compactish". At the same, a compact camera is supposed to be for portability and you lose some of that with the X10. It's noticeably bigger and heavier than the XZ-1. The difference may be significant depending on how you carry the camera. If you carry it in a bag then the difference won't mean much. If you plan to carry it in a pants or coat pocket, then the difference will mean much more.

I'm left with the feeling of, "Yes, this is what a camera should handle and feel like. This is what a camera should look like", but then I'm left thinking, "If I'm going to carry something of this size I may as well go for a mirrorless camera like the NEX or M43rds and have a fully featured viewfinder".

Obviously, I still haven't gone out and given the camera a proper run through but I'm thinking that I'm going to find myself wanting to sell the X10 and using that money towards Fuji's mirrorless camera.

Fujifilm X10 Olympus XZ-1
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