Record mode displays

The XF1 retains all of the same live view display options as the rest of the X-series, including a highly-customisable detailed view with an electronic level, live histogram etc, but adds a new less-cluttered view option as the default option. This also shows animated 'dials' when you change an exposure parameter or zoom.

The XF1 offers a new record mode display view as the default. It's less-cluttered than the other options, overlaying just the essential exposure information across the bottom of the frame. Animated virtual dials appear when you change a parameter, in this case aperture...
...and here, focal length. You can also choose the 'old-style' view...
...or a detailed display with focus scale, electronic level, live histogram and the like. This is highly customisable, and you can choose to display as much - or little - information as you choose.
You can manually select one of 49 AF points in a 7x7 grid covering most of the frame, with 5 sizes of AF area to choose from (the medium-sized one is shown here). In the PAS modes, the XF1 will adjust the live view display to simulate the final exposure, with the histogram updating accordingly.

Menus

Another very welcome improvement to the XF1 is its menu system, which uses Fujifilm's modernized tabbed style that we first saw on the X-Pro1. An additional refinement is that related options are now grouped together onto submenu pages, simplifying the top-level structure and making the camera that bit more approachable.

The XF1 uses a similar tabbed menu system to the X-Pro1, that's far better-suited to this class of camera than the somewhat tired old design used on previous X-series compacts. Related options are now grouped together in submenu pages, reducing the complexity of the top-level menus. This is the movie set-up menu, which is accessed from page 4 of the shooting menu.

First Impressions

When a camera a self-consciously stylish as the XF1 appears, it's tempting to dismiss it immediately as likely to be all style, no substance. But as Fujifilm has shown recently with the likes of the X100, it's entirely possible to build a good-looking camera that also delivers excellent image quality, so it would be a mistake to dismiss the XF1 on such grounds. Indeed first impressions are generally very positive - the XF1 looks like it should be a truly serious competitor to enthusiast compacts such as the Canon Powershot S100 and Sony Cyber-Shot RX100.

The XF1 uses the same EXR-CMOS sensor as the X10, so we'd expect image quality to be very similar. Perhaps most importantly, at 6MP resolution (which, let's remember, should make a very nice 10"x8" / A4 print) it can offer expanded highlight dynamic range that few other compacts can come close to matching. It will also benefit from Fujifilm's excellent JPEG processing, with three 'Film Simulation' colour modes (Provia/Standard, Velvia/Vivid, Astia/Soft) plus several monochrome modes to choose from, and a huge amount of user control over the look of its output.

The sample we used for this preview was pre-production, but even so was notably fast in operation, particularly with regards to autofocus speed - something that hasn't always been a Fujifilm strength. The control layout is logical enough, and the E-Fn button promises quick access to a pretty well any function that you might wish to change on a regular basis. Fujifilm has been progressively tweaking the X-series with each new model, and overall the XF1 seems more-refined and better-behaved than previous models have been on first release. It's certainly a camera we're looking forward to reviewing in detail, when we can get our hands on a full production model.