Buyer's Guide: Enthusiast raw-shooting compact cameras
12MP | 28-112mm (4x) Zoom | $599 (US) £437 (UK) €559 (EU)
- Buy Now / Check Price
- Full specifications, plus user reviews and more sample images
- Hands-on Preview (October 2011)
Fujifilm's first foray into what is sometimes called the 'luxury' compact camera market, the X10 takes its styling cues from the APS-C format, fixed-lens X100 but offers a fast 28-112mm (equivalent) f/2-2.8 zoom lens, and the company's unique EXR sensor technology. As I'd expect from a camera in this class, the 12MP X10 also boasts raw file capture, all from a sensor that is between 20-40% larger than than its high-end compact peers (and about twice as large as those in typical compact cameras).
Like its larger-format stablemate the X100, the X10 is designed to appeal to connoisseurs of form as well as function. Its black metal body is generously wrapped in a mock-leather grain finish and the manual zoom ring and (coupled) optical viewfinder are highly distinctive.
|Unusually for a compact camera, the X10's 28-112mm (equivalent) zoom lens is controlled manually using a 'traditional' mechanical zoom ring. Focal lengths are marked (very approximately) on the ring itself.||Like the Canon G12 and Nikon P7100, the X10 features an optical viewfinder that is coupled with its zoom lens. Coverage is approximate but close enough to be useful in a pinch, if ambient lighting conditions are too bright to see the LCD screen (which can be turned off if desired).|
|In keeping with its classic styling, the X10 features a manual focus mode switch, on the front of the camera next to the lens barrel.||On the rear of the thumbnail, adjacent to the thumb grip, is a dual-purpose mode dial. Turning the dial sets exposure parameters while in review mode, pressing it inwards activates a useful one-touch magnification view for checking critical focus.|
Its specification is very far from old-fashioned though. The X10's ISO sensitivity settings run from ISO 100-6400 at full resolution, HD video capture is possible, with stereo sound, and then of course there's Fujifilm's unique EXR technology.
The X10's sensor is built on conventional CMOS architecture (rather than being back-illuminated) but the way it works is far from conventional. Whereas in the Bayer pattern, there's always an entire photosite gap between any two photosites of the same color whereas the EXR arrangement puts pairs of similarly colored photosites together. In fact, you can think of the EXR filter array as being two Bayer patterns slotted together, with one of them offset relative to the other, by 1/2 a pixel. We have published a more complete explanation of the technology here.
There are three EXR modes - 'HR', high-resolution, in which the X10's full complement of 12MP is used to create images, 'DR', dynamic range, where you can capture images with a much greater dynamic range than would normality be possible, and 'SN' - signal to noise, designed to give cleaner, less noisy images at high ISO settings in poor light. Because of the way that they work (in effect by combining the signals from neighbouring photodiodes) Both DR and SN modes output 6MP images. The X10 also has a more conventional dynamic range expansion mode, which delivers expanded highlight dynamic range at the expense of a reduced ISO sensitivity span. Confusingly, despite being completely different technologies, both EXR and conventional dynamic range expansion is described in the same way in the X10's menu system, as 'DR XXX%'.
- 12.0MP 2/3" CMOS (EXR pixel arrangement)
- ISO 100-3200 (up to 6400 at 6MP and 12,800 at 3MP)
- 28-112MM (equivalent) f/2.0-2.8 zoom lens
- PASM modes and full manual control in 1/3EV steps
- Twin control dials (both on rear)
- 1080p video @ 30fps with stereo sound
- 2.8in, 460k-dot LCD screen
The raw-conversion software bundled with the X10 - Fujifilm Raw Converter EX - is rather disappointing. Built around Silkpix, it is painfully slow and not particularly user-friendly. More frustratingly, despite an abundance of interestingly-named sharpening and noise-reduction options, it is difficult to create a raw file conversion that looks significantly better than the excellent in-camera JPEGs. Fortunately the X10 features a fast, effective in-camera raw conversion function, which is much more convenient for quick fixes like basic white balance and brightness tweaks. Because raw support for the X10's files is currently so limited, we haven't included raw conversions from the X10 in our studio scene comparison tool (see the bottom of this page).
As regards still image quality perhaps the only serious fly in the X10 ointment at present is an issue which has been discussed fairly widely among X10 owners, and relates to specular highlights. Simply put, the X10 renders clipped point highlights as disproportionally large, hard-edges 'orbs', which once you've started to notice them, are impossible to ignore.
|Caused by sensor blooming (excess charge from individual photosites spilling over into neighbouring ones) the 'white spot' issue is only visible in a handful of our samples but is very distracting once you start noticing it.||100% Crop|
We'll be looking into this issue, (you can read a statement from Fujifilm, and see more examples here) and of course we'll be running the X10 through our normal gamut of image quality tests as part of a full review of the camera in early 2012.
I doubt whether movies will be much of a priority for X10 users, but it offers good performance in this mode, including (of course) zoom control during shooting and the option for continuous AF. 1080p footage is sharp and detailed, but rolling shutter from the X10's CMOS sensor is very obvious in scenes with moderate subject (or camera) movement.
It's too early to give a definitive 'dpreview take' on the X10, but for now, I'm cautiously impressed. I'm very pleased to see that whereas its big brother the X100 can on occasion be a somewhat slow, frustrating camera to use, the X10 is fast, responsive, and (on the whole) sensibly designed. I really like the mechanical zoom ring, and although the relatively restricted coverage of the optical finder reduces its usefulness in everyday photography, it's there if you need it.
My experience so far hasn't been 100% positive though. The X10 has inherited one truly unwelcome trait from the X100 - it resets exposure information, including ISO and DR preferences when exposure mode is changed (so if you're shooting in aperture priority at ISO 100 and DR 100%, and switch to manual exposure mode, the camera will switch to whatever ISO sensitivity and DR setting you last used in that exposure mode). I really hope that Fujifilm squashes this bug as soon as possible, and issues a firmware update in the same way as it did for the X100.
I remain utterly baffled too as to why Fujifilm has made one of the X10's standout features - its excellent 6MP 'DR' EXR mode - so hard to get to grips with, and I'd like to see a more user-friendly menu system (I have given up hope of a more useable bundled raw converter). Also disappointing is its flaky face detection AF and relatively poor battery life, and an occasional tendency to forget to power up when you rotate the zoom from off into its 'on' position (an issue that can be mitigated, in my experience, by rotating the lens firmly, smoothly and fairly slowly from its 'off' position).
The X10 is certainly an acquired taste, but on the whole, provided that you're prepared to put a bit of work into setting it up, the X10's quick operation and excellent image quality (especially in 6MP 'DR' EXR modes) make it worthy of serious consideration alongside its more conventional peers. My advice would be to shoot in RAW+JPEG mode at 6MP, with DR set to 400%. Convert your raw files in-camera and that way you have the choice of up to 2EV of extra dynamic range as and when you need it. And make sure you keep the lens clean - the X10's convex front element is very prone to smears from clothing and fingertips...
Studio and Real-World Samples (links open in new tab)
|Studio Comparison Tool (JPEG only)||Fujfilm X10 Samples (32 images)|
I own it
I want it
I had it
I own it
I want it
I had it
I own it
I want it
I had it
I own it
I want it
I had it
I own it
I want it
I had it
I own it
I want it
I had it
Youthful trainspotter turned adult photographer, John Sanderson has traveled across the United States, documenting the country's railroads. But you won't find any trains in his pictures.
Sony's new CMOS sensor is backside-illuminated and offers an all-pixel global reset function which should drastically reduce rolling shutter effect when panning.
Shoulderpod has converted its offerings into a lego-like modular system by offering all individual parts of existing products separately, allowing users to build exactly the rig they need for a specific project or simply replace a damaged part.
Photographer Felix AAA has spent the past ten years touring the world with a variety of musicians, capturing behind the scenes shots and portraits. He talks about some of his favorite images on the FujiFilm Blog.
A roll of film discovered in an Argus C2 from an Oregon Goodwill turned out to contain some incredible images – and has been re-united with the original owner's family.
Nikon's 28mm F1.4E ED appears to roundly complete the company's updated lineup of fast, professional prime lenses. We've already seen some initial images from a Nikon ambassador, but we've worked through a gallery of our own, with a lens of our own over the past week. Take a look.
Google is holding a competition that could see your Pixel photos gracing millions of screens.
Nikon's 100th birthday party continues worldwide as a distributor in Italy organized a one-of-a-kind feat: assembling the world's largest 'human camera' from over a thousand volunteers.
Ricoh has dropped the price of its Theta SC 360 spherical camera by to $199, a reduction of roughly $50. The camera features two 12MP sensors and can record Full HD video in addition to stills.
Photojournalist Pete Souza served as the presidential photographer for both Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. In an interview with fellow photographer Marcia Nighswander, he discusses several of his most noteworthy images.
Photographer Michael Wolf has been documenting the crowded conditions of Tokyo's subway trains since the 1990s. The photos have gone viral regularly in the years since he started the project, and he just published the final edition in the series.
The just-launched OnePlus 5 is getting a minor update that should improve camera function.
A Belgian camera shop is showing off an extremely rare, limited 'Rex Edition' Nikon D500. The cosmetic alterations were provided by a customer's German Shepherd Rex, who got ahold of the camera within a day of its purchase.
Adobe says that many of its users have been relying on SkyBox for VR editing and it therefore made sense to make the plug-ins available to all subscribers through Creative Cloud.
The Pictar grip provides a number of customizable physical controls for your iPhone camera, but at its price point we would like to see better materials and build quality.
Peak Design's 'consider every detail' approach shines in the Everyday Backpack. While expensive, it's one of the best options out there for a photographer who needs to pack a lot of stuff in addition to gear.
If you're thinking of using Canon's sports glass on the Sony a9, think again. The ultra-fast camera slows way down when you attach off-brand glass.
The Polish town of Katowice is not famed as an area of beauty, but as all photographers know, that doesn't mean that beauty can't be found if you look in the right places. Mariusz Pietranek used a drone to look down on the colorful sedimentation tanks at an ironworks.
New York Times video journalist Ben Solomon spent a harrowing three weeks accompanying Iraqi Major Sajjad al-Hour as he and his men fought to retake Mosul from I.S. forces.
The 3D VR camera launched through a crowdfunding campaign in 2015 goes on sale beginning June 26.
Noctilucent clouds, a crescent moon and Venus were visible in the pre-dawn sky over Budapest yesterday. Photographer György Soponyai captured NASA's astronomy picture of the day.
Squirming pets won't sit still for photos? A Kickstarter campaign is looking to help.
Find out how Chris Burkard shifted from editorial photography to his true passions: landscapes, conservation and, of course, surfing.
The updated EyeEm app scans your camera roll and picks images that are composed particularly well, have the best quality, or highest chance of selling on EyeEm Market.
It's three years old but still a solid option for a Micro Four Thirds shooter looking for a high-quality, fast, wide-angle prime. Take a look at how we got along with it.
Tamron has announced the longest all-in-one zoom lens currently available, the 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD. Designed for Canon and Nikon crop-sensor cameras, the lens will be available in July.
When you're ready to step-up to full-frame from an entry-level or midrange camera, the choices can be overwhelming. Find out which models came out on top in our $1200-2000 enthusiast ILC roundup.
Just a guy wearing a VR headset, smashing invisible Goombas in Central Park.
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this gorgeous aerial photo of the Martian landscape. And if you look really close, you can actually see the Mars Curiosity rover in the very middle.
The city of Laguna Beach, California has provided some clarification around the kinds of photography permits it offers.