First XF1 photos

Started Aug 2, 2013 | Photos thread
jimr Forum Pro • Posts: 11,405
XF1 photos...You Might Find The Following Great Posting At Amazon Very Helpful.........

By Noemata Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)This review is from: Fujifilm XF1/Brown 12MP Digital Camera with 3-Inch LCD (Brown) (Electronics)

"(Hedy Lamarr was a world class mathematician, the inventor of frequency-hopping spread-spectrum transmission -- which is a fundamental building block of modern avionics and cell phone technology, and an aviatrix whose skills rivaled those of Amelia Earhart; she also was a Hollywood pin-up beauty and major movie star.)

Do not allow the pretty face of the very petit faux leather clad Fujifilm XF1, and its (seeming) paucity of knobs and dials and levers, to deceive you. The XF1 is a technologically advanced high-end instrument with provision for fully manual adjustments of shutter speed and aperture, of zoom, manual-by-wire focus adjustment, RAW recording capability, etc. (all at the user's option, of course). AND the XF1 has a simply superb fast lens that illuminates a photo sensor that is quite large for a camera that is in its class or close to its external dimensions. (But you did notice, didn't you, that the XF1 is stylish and will fit in a pocket or purse?)

First and foremost, the Fujifilm XF1 is an EXR technology camera. That means that it gives the best results at "half resolution." The Fujifilm XF1, which has a sensor with twelve million photosites, is marketed as a twelve megapixel (12 MP) camera because ill-informed consumers demand high pixel counts and Fujifilm wants to sell cameras. The Fujifilm XF1 IS CAPABLE of taking pictures at 4000x3000 (12 MP) resolution; you CAN use it that way simply by setting the image size to "Large." But (as users of other Fujifilm EXR cameras already know) shooting an EXR camera in just the same way that you would shoot a competing compact camera is a bit like using a Ferrari sports car to haul a heavy trailer; you will not be taking advantage of the Ferrari's special strengths in accelerating and braking and handling, and you will be disappointed by its inferior trailer-hauling capability. Where the XF1 REALLY shines is when it is set to take advantage of EXR by exposing pictures at "Medium" size (2816x2112 pixels, or 6 MP resolution), still using ALL twelve million photosites, but using six million of them to ENHANCE the "first" six million: making the XF1 one of the best 6 MP cameras the world has yet known ... because of its exceptional ability to capture wide dynamic range.

"Dynamic range" is what allows a camera to record both very bright areas and very deep shadows in the same scene without the bright areas fading to featureless white or the shadows either blocking up as featureless black or appearing very grainy from electronic noise. Small, pocketable, cameras must have small sensor chips inside, and -- to be blunt -- small sensors, generally, are deficient in ability to capture wide dynamic range. The main reason why so many photos taken with camera phones are unsatisfying is that camera phones have very limited dynamic range.

EXR cameras are the exception to the general rule that small sensors cannot deliver dynamic range. A full explanation of Fujifilm's unique EXR technology, the first fruits of which hit the market at the beginning of 2009, is beyond the scope of this review;'s sister site,, has provided technical explanations in several articles, which Amazon's software prohibits my providing a link to within this review; but if you visit DPReview, seek out editor Richard Butler's April 2009 review of the Fujifilm F200EXR camera (the first commercial product to offer EXR); the technical explanation commences at page 2 of the review. When a Fujifilm EXR camera is set to EXR mode (on the mode dial atop the camera) or is set to P (program) mode at M (medium) size and set to "DR400" dynamic range, the EXR sensor exposes immediately adjacent pixels at two different durations (the equivalent of shutter speeds), then processes the pixels in tandem, integrating the different readings, to give the resulting image the shadow depth of the longer exposure and the highlight depth of the shorter exposure, yielding images with the best dynamic range -- BY FAR -- compared to the images that the XF1's peers among compact cameras produce. But when the EXR camera processes the photosites in pairs, instead of an image of 4000x3000 pixels, you get an image that is a little more than 7/10 as wide and 7/10 as tall: 2816x2112 pixels. The resulting 6 MP EXR-processed photo is a deeper, richer image than the 12 MP image that the same XF1 would take when set to Large size (which disables the EXR processing).

But don't you "need" more than six million pixels; aren't more pixels "better"? You may be surprised: the famed "Retina" display on the largest of the new Apple Macbook Pro computers is 2880x1800 pixels; if you could translate the pixels of a 6 MP Fujifilm XF1 photo to the Macbook Pro screen pixel-for-pixel, the photo would use all but 32 pixels (about 1/7 of an inch) on each side of the width of the screen, and the image would run 156 pixels (a bit more than 2/3 of an inch) above the top and 156 pixels below the bottom of the screen. In other words, you could not fit more resolution onto the big Mac Retina screen than what a 6 MP image supplies. On a more conventional high definition 1600x1200 resolution monitor, or a 1920x1080 resolution HDTV, the entire screen could show only about a third of the pixels of the Fujifilm XF1 M size photo at one time, and you would need to use sliders to pan the photo on the screen. If you are having color prints made from a 6 MP digital image, the processing will literally have to throw away a portion of the pixels for any print size up to 8" x 10" or (depending on the print machine) even 11" x 14" prints. If instead you are having an 8" x 10" print made from a 12 MP digital file, all of the "extra megapixels" (compared to the 6 MP file) are simply wasted, and are sent to the discarded bit trash heap. (For a 16" x 20" or larger size print, you do have a chance to get an improved print with more than 6 MP, but are you really looking to make easel-sized prints from a camera that you can put in your pocket?)

The Fujifilm XF1 is not only "an" EXR camera; it is an evolved, latest generation, EXR camera. The XF1's 2/3" sensor is the largest Fujifilm EXR sensor yet (the Fujifilm X10 and X-S1, both EXR cameras, also incorporate a 2/3" sensor); and it is quite a bit larger than the 1/1.7" and smaller sensors that are found in competitors like the Canon G15 or Panasonic LX7. Whereas the sensors of the "early" 2009 Fujifilm EXR cameras comprised charged-coupled devices (CCD) to capture the image, and as late as 2011, the excellent Fujifilm X10 camera deployed a front-illuminated CMOS sensor in place of the CCD sensor in order to gain faster response, now the XF1 incorporates a backside illuminated (BSI) CMOS sensor (BSI allows greater light-gathering surface for any given sensor size) further to up the light-gathering ante. As a result, the XF1 has the fastest focusing speed of any contrast detection autofocus compact Fujifilm camera to date, and at higher ISO settings the XFI images exhibit very low noise for such a compact camera.

Fujifilm has continued to refine its "jpeg engine," the software that converts the information received at the sensor into an image file with a .jpg suffix; the XF1's jpeg engine may be the current champion in objective and subjective color rendition among all camera makers worldwide. The company's decades of experience in making color film has given it a deep. deep corporate knowledge base in color rendition that other companies continue to discover requires years -- decades -- to develop. The XF1 gives the user several ways to take advantage of that Fujifilm expertise, even allowing a user of the XF1 to choose whether he or she wants to shoot with the color curve and rendition of Provia (the most versatile of the Fujifilm color films), or Astia, the Fujifilm color film the flattering tonal renditions of which is favored by portrait photographers and wedding photographers, or Velvia, the punchy color of Fujifilm's bright color slide film. The photographer with a Fujifilm XF1 in his or her hands can make that choice on every shot -- or he or she can have the camera "bracket" shots, taking three exposures in quick succession, each with a different film simulation color curve.

Unusually for a camera of its physical size, the Fujifilm XF1 also can produce RAW files for advanced post-processing, and can do so either in RAW-only shooting mode or making RAW+JPG pairs of each exposure. A RAW file contains all of the information from the sensor, plus information about the camera's settings. In the XF1 (except in some exceptional circumstances when the camera is set for Medium size, RAW+JPG is selected, and certain ISO settings are active), the RAW files are very large, nearly 20 MB each; but access to a RAW version of the exposure allows the user to apply his or her own color curves and other settings in developing a final .jpg file. The Fujifilm XF1 contains in firmware a RAW converter -- to make a smaller .jpg file from the RAW file -- in fact to enable making several .jpg files, each different -- without altering the RAW file, and Fujifilm supplies a copy of Silkypix RAW conversion software (both Windows and Mac versions) on a CD right in the XF1 box (also downloadable on-line). I have used the Silkypix RAW converter, and do not have much good to say about it in its current state of development. Other major vendors of RAW conversion software (Adobe, CaptureOne) produce RAW converters for Fujifilm's format, but their EXR-specific products have lagged a generation behind updates of the RAW converters that the same vendors make for Canon and Sony and Pentax and Nikon; and, as of this writing, Apple's Aperture3 pro photo program still does not support the RAW format of Fujifilm's EXR technology cameras at all. So most XF1 users will probably want to employ (and enjoy) the XF1's excellent jpeg engine -- or use the in-camera firmware RAW converter -- until the software writers catch up with a more attractive option.

And then there is the exceptionally sharp high contrast lens of the XF1. Fujifilm has been able to make a 4x zoom (technically, a varifocal) lens that can collapse almost entirely into the camera body that also achieves the feat of being superb when it is extended to take pictures. The lens has seven elements (all of them glass) in six groups, an unusually low count for a 4x zoom lens with a bright maximum aperture (at the wide end) of f/1.8. All other things being equal, the lower the element count, the better, because every air/glass and glass/glass interface within a lens is an occasion for reflections, reducing light transmission, and, in the bounces back and forth, introducing veiling flare. (The ideal would be a single element lens, if one could be constructed to incorporate a zoom function.) And all 14 surfaces of the seven lens elements have individual coatings applied using Fujifilm's EBC process, which is protected by numerous patents and trade secrets, further to reduce flare and maintain transmittance across the color spectrum; lesser lenses from other makers have only selected surfaces coated. An amazing statistic: The Fujifilm XF1 lens has no fewer than four aspherical elements (more than half of its seven elements) and three elements of extra low dispersion (ED) glass; compare the justly widely praised 4x zoom lens of the XF1's sister, the Fujifilm X10, which has eleven elements in nine groups, and includes three aspherical elements and two ED glass elements. Homework assignment: find ANY other lens of ANY manufacture with a higher proportion of aspherical and ED elements than the lens of the XF1. We shan't hold our breath awaiting your report back. The proof that this advanced (and expensive to implement) technology works is in the doing: the lens of the XF1 produces stunningly sharp results with minimal flare.

Other reviewers here on Amazon have commented on the feature list of the XF1, which has all of the modern features like panorama stitching and special effects like sepia that emulates the look of early photographs, and have commented on the XF1's cute style; and there is little beyond the Hedy Lamarr reference above that I can add to those comments. However, few have commented on the SDHC cards that are to be used with the Fujifilm XF1. We have used the XF1 with two Class 10 SDHC cards, and the subjective speed difference was night and day. The Sony SF8NX/TQM 8GB SDHC Class 10 Memory Card is a good, competent card; but compared to the Lexar Professional 400x 8GB SDHC UHS-I Flash Memory Card LSD8GBCTBNA400, there is no contest. If you are going to gat a camera as good as the XF1, treat yourself to the faster performance of the Lexar Pofessional 400x.

Two special features of the XF1 deserve further comment: As far back as the Fujifilm Finepix F70EXR 10MP Super CCD Digital Camera with 10x Optical Dual Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.7 inch LCD of 2009, which we have been using for four years, Fujifilm introduced a "Pro Low Light" mode to allow photos to be taken in dim ambient light without the noise of high ISO or the various problems of a flash. Pro Low Light shoots a scene that otherwise would require, for example, at ISO 200, a 1/15 second shutter speed by shooting four exposures at 1/60 second in rapid succession; then it combines the four exposures into a single image in the camera. The technique works very well for a very steady (preferably tripod-mounted) camera and a still subject, but not so well if the photographer has shaky hands or if a breeze rustles the leaves in the shot. Pro Low Light still exists in the XF1, aided greatly by the faster response of the BSI CMOS, so the steadiness of the photographer's grip is now less of an issue. But -- under another name -- the technique has cropped up in another place in the XF1 as a feature called "Advanced Anti-Blur," available in EXR Auto mode only. Combined with the excellent lens shift optical image stabilization of the XF1, Advanced Anti-Blur shoots several very short duration shutter speed exposures in very rapid succession, then combines them in-camera into a single image that -- while not stopping action -- goes an extra step toward making low-light photography of subjects in motion better defined. It is a worthwhile feature.

The final feature that I MUST address, the one that, more than all others, positively influenced my own decision to purchase an XF1, is the one at which the majority of the negative comments about the XF1, here on Amazon and elsewhere, are directed: the Fujifilm XF1's zoom ring on/off switch.

Frankly, most of the ire directed at the zoom ring on/off switch sounds to me like the comments of a man who has driven manual transmission vehicles all his life but now -- driving for the first time a car with an automatic transmission -- he complains that every time that (out of habit) he slams his foot down where the car's clutch pedal -should- be, the brakes screech the car to a stop. "I have this ingrained habit, so this, which contravenes my habit, is WRONG." Well, no. The zoom ring on/off control of the Fujifilm XF1 IS different, but it is better; here's why.

Most compact cameras with zoom lenses default to the widest angle of the zoom when the camera is turned on. If you like super wide angle photographs, where faces feature big noses and tiny ears because of perspective distortion and the subjects that you are shooting get lost in the clutter of far too much distracting detritus to the right and detritus to the left and detritus above and detritus below, then a camera's default to wide-wide angle is fine for you; but if you plan to shoot only at the widest setting, then your perfect camera does not need a zoom lens at all -- in fact, your perfect camera probably is an iPhone or an iPad.

But if you want ever to shoot at a focal length other than wide-wide, you are going to have to use a control, typically tiny on compact cameras, to zoom the lens. Almost invariably, however, in compact cameras the zoom from wide to tele is not continuous. A zoom lens may have an overall range from 28 mm equivalent to 400 mm equivalent, but that does not mean that you have all of the focal lengths between 28 and 400 available to you. There will be a half dozen or so -- if you are lucky maybe a dozen or so -- discreet steps (individual focal lengths) where the electronics can set the zoom, and possibly none of those steps will give you the framing you really want. Also, when you push the fiddly lever for the zoom, if the camera has a wide zoom range, chances are that you will overshoot: instead of going from 28 mm equivalent to something in the 80 mm to 90 mm range for a good head and shoulders portrait, suddenly you are at 250 mm equivalent and the viewing screen is filled with a nose and nothing else. You try to adjust back downward, and now your zoom overshoots again to give you a top-of-the-head to knees view of your subject who by now has tired of waiting for you to set your hardware and has started a conversation with someone else.

As noted above, we have been using a Fujifilm Finepix F70EXR 10MP Super CCD Digital Camera with 10x Optical Dual Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.7 inch LCD for four years; we have run off about 6,000 shots with it; and we have been there, done that. Attempting to set the 70EXR's 10x zoom (27 mm equivalent to 270 mm equivalent) to an equivalent focal length of 80 mm, even after four years of practice, is an exercise in frustration, typically requiring at least two to three seconds, often much more, jiggling back and forth, and by then, all too often, the moment is gone, sometimes gone forever.

The zoom lens of the Fujifilm XF1 is, first, continuous, and, second, manually controlled. You can set it anywhere from 25 mm equivalent to 100 mm equivalent, just as precisely as you want. The choice of magnification and framing is yours; you can get that subject that you want to feature just as large as you want while cropping some ugly distraction out of the frame altogether. It is very hard to do that with a stepped-zoom lens.

With a little photographic experience, you get to know just about where you want the zoom to be before you have the camera out of its pouch. On the Fujifilm XF1, I can be thinking "about 70 mm equivalent" even as I am putting my fingers around the large and unfussy zoom ring that also serves as the camera's on switch, and then I zoom to that point (the equivalent focal lengths are clearly marked right on the zoom ring) in the very process of turning on the camera. As I frame the subject, I may come back a bit to 65 mm or zoom out a little further to 80 mm, but -- starting from the 70 mm setting -- it is EASY and completely unfussy to do so with the Fujifilm XF1. I have experienced first hand electronically controlled zoom with twitch levers and stepped choices, and now I have experienced first hand the way that zooming a lens on a compact camera SHOULD be accomplished, on the XF1.

I have seen the future and it works."

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