We have covered the 'white orbs' issue previously in our roundup of high-end enthusiast compact cameras published late last year, and in an investigative article published back in February. We also provided a follow-up news story after we received an X10 with Fujifilm's newly modified sensor. Those cumulative findings are summarized on this page for your convenience. If you already know all about the infamous 'white orbs' issue and just want to know whether it's been fixed, head to the bottom of this page.
Once the Fujifilm X10 started reaching customers, it didn't take long before some owners started to report - on our forums and elsewhere on the Web - what would become known as the 'white orbs' issue. Under certain shooting conditions a peculiar circular, hard-edged appearance of clipped specular highlights was visible in X10 images. To be clear, not ever X10 user shot in conditions that created the effect. But for those who shot nighttime cityscapes, for example, the issue was impossible to avoid. The samples below illustrate the effect. We shot an orb-inducing scene with two cameras at identical settings. The Fujifilm X10 is on the left, and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 (another 12MP premium compact camera) is on the right.
|Fujifilm X10 original sensor with FW v.1.02||Panasonic Lumix LX5|
You can clearly see that specular highlights rendered by the LX5 have become large hard-edged discs in the X10. Fujifilm acknowledged the issue and provided a firmware update (version 1.03) with the aim of reducing the phenomenon. While the update did not materially affect the occurrence of the orbs between cameras with and without the update, we did take note that the hard edges of the discs became much more diffuse at higher ISO sensitivity settings in both versions of the firmware. Below you can see examples at a range of ISO values, all shot with FW 1.03 at 12MP resolution at DR100%.
|ISO 100, 12MP, firmware v.1.03||ISO 200, 12MP, firmware v.1.03|
|ISO 400, 12MP, firmware v.1.03||ISO 800, 12MP, firmware v.1.03|
And just in case you're tempted to dismiss this as a studio-only, pixel-peeping problem, here are a couple of real-world examples that we shot on an early - and particularly 'orby' X10. You might easily miss the discs in the sun shining through trees in the landscape example, but the reflections from the scooter's mirror are very obvious, and very obviously wrong.
|ISO 100, F5.6, 1/120sec (6MP)||100% Crop|
|ISO 400, F3.6, 1/340sec (6MP)||100% Crop|
Does the 'modified' sensor fix the problem?
Yes it does.
In March 2012, Fujifilm belatedly acknowledged that since higher ISO sensitivities would indeed make the discs 'less evident', the firmware (v.1.03) 'solution' was essentially to just bias the X10's behaviour in EXR Auto mode towards boosting ISO in scenes where white orbs were likely to be visible. Having determined that this issue could not be resolved via software, the company went further and announced that its engineers were developing a modified sensor to address the issue once and for all. If you own an original X10 and you're being followed around by white orbs, Fujifilm advises that you contact your local authorised service center for a free modification (or a psychiatrist, depending on whether the orbs are talking to you or not).
With a camera sporting the redesigned sensor finally in hand, months after the March announcement, we ran some studio tests comparing it with the camera we had initially received for review. Below, we've used a directed light source to induce the large white discs, or 'blooming' that the X10 exhibits when bright light overwhelms the sensor. The first image was shot with our original copy of the X10 with the unmodified sensor. Below that is the same scene captured with a new X10 using the redesigned sensor.
|Fujifilm X10 with original sensor 1/1.3 seconds, F5, ISO 100|
|Fujifilm X10 with modified sensor 1/1.3 seconds, F5, ISO 100|
Clearly the new sensor has provided a fix for the white orbs issue. In the time we've spent examining our photos taken with the new version, we've not encountered the issue once, a welcome bit of news for both current and potential X10 owners.
We've also done exhaustive comparison testing with our suite of studio tests between the two versions of the sensor to determine if any other changes to image quality are evident. We've found the sensors to be materially indistinguishable in terms of sharpness, resolution and noise performance (and as such, some samples included in this review and samples gallery were taken on 'unmodified' X10s).
If you've read this far you won't be surprised that there is one final complication in the tale. As far as we've been able to establish, modified and unmodified X10s are totally indistinguishable externally, both in terms of body and packaging. So if your local camera store has an X10 on the shelf that's been there for a while, there is no way that we know of, of determining whether it's fitted with the 'new' type sensor beyond taking it home and shooting with it.
|Montréal Dépaneur Out of Business DP by MarioSS|
from Your City - Out of Business
|Wish You Were Here by Dutch Newchurch|
from Street musician playing
|Flight of a Puffin by cjf2|
Instagram is currently testing a major change to the app's profile layout: replacing the 3-photo across grid with a 4-photo grid... and some users are NOT taking the news well.
A report by USSRPhoto is shedding some light on the return of the famed Zenit camera brand. It seems the full-frame mirrorless camera they're working on will be made in part by Leica using components from the Leica SL.
According to a reliable Korean report, Samsung is developing a smartphone sensor that's capable of super slow motion. Translation: Samsung's next batch of Galaxy smartphones may be able to shoot 1,000fps.
This simple photograph of a seahorse and Q-tip has taken the internet by storm. We spoke to photographer Justin Hofman about how it was captured, and what it means to him.
After a massive leak last week, Profoto has officially debuted the Profoto A1: the company's first on-camera flash system that they're calling "the world's smallest studio flash."
"When the first hyperfocal distance charts were designed, someone decided that an acceptably sharp background contained some blur — enough to notice in a medium-sized print [...] After that point, nearly every other hyperfocal chart followed suit."
The Canon EOS Rebel SL2 (also known as the EOS 200D) is the company's impressively compact entry-level DSLR. Packing a 24MP APS-C sensor, DIGIC 7 processor and Dual Pixel AF, it promises a lot of bang for the buck. And while not mind-blowing, it handles most tasks very well.
Correct these four common composition mistakes and your photos will be more balanced, tell a better story, and lead your viewer's eye where you want it to go.
The rugged, compact 360° action camera Kodak unveiled at Photokina in 2016, the Kodak PixPro Orbit 360, is finally available in the United States.
iOS 11 launches tomorrow, and it'll save all of your pictures in a new high efficiency image format called HEIC. Fortunately, there's now a converter that will let you turn those photos back into JPEGs.
Photo protection company ImageRights recently released a new service that lets non-subscribers take advantage of their streamlined copyright registration system that checks for errors and fills out all the required forms for you.
What's the difference between a $200 circular polarizing filter and a $100 circular polarizing filter? Roger Cicala at Lens Rentals put six different filters through a few tests to find out.
A flurry of leaks reveal that GoPro's upcoming Hero6 will shoot 4K at 60fps, 1080p at 240fps, will cost $500, and is scheduled for announcement/release on September 28th.
Before he became the iconic director whose name we've all heard, a teenage Stanley Kubrick struck up a business relationship with New York’s Look magazine. No surprise: he was an incredibly talented photographer.
WD's new G-Technology G-Drive mobile SSD R-Series is a portable solid state option for photographers who want the reliability of an SSD in a rugged water and dust-resistant package.
Fast, stabilized and affordable is an appealing combination when it comes to lenses. With its latest 24-70mm F2.8, Tamron aims to upgrade autofocus speed and stabilization. We've got a full gallery from this updated full-frame zoom.
Photographer Clay Cook tells the story of his most ambitious photographic dream and career goal coming true: photographing A-list actress Jennifer Lawrence.
In an interview with a Chinese website, Nikon Japan's Director of Development dropped a bombshell, saying that a Nikon mirrorless camera "must be full-frame."
Here's a side-by-side spec comparison of two flagship devices with particular attention to the things that really matter – at least to people who prioritize photography features.
A month and a half after revealing the finalists of the 2017 EyeEm Awards, the photo sharing community and licensing marketplace has finally revealed the winners.
Photographer Josselin Cornou tells the breathtaking story behind two beautiful photos captured while snorkeling with humpback whales in Tonga.
The Sony RX10 IV is a fixed lens camera with a 1"-type sensor and 24-600mm equivalent lens that can shoot 4K video or stills at 24 fps, but that's not what we think is interesting about it. The addition of phase detection autofocus is pivotal to all those features.
The announcement date is set! Google will reveal their next generation Pixel phones—their response to Apple's shiny new iPhone X—on October 4th. Let the smartphone camera wars begin.
Sony just debuted three palm-style 4K camcorders that steal a bit of speedy phase detect autofocus technology from the company's RX10 IV. In fact, they kind of improve on it.
Earlier today, NASA's Cassini spacecraft plunged into Saturn's atmosphere, ending a 20 year long mission. Here are 21 of our favorite photographs captured by this incredible machine and its makers.
Fans of film photography should keep an eye out for the widespread theatrical release of Kodachrome, a movie staring Jason Sudeikis about the final days of the iconic film stock.
Photographer Manny Ortiz breaks down the pros and cons of shooting natural light vs off-camera flash, and explains why he chooses to shoot one, the other, or both in any given situation.
A leaked product page and a bunch of leaked photos shows Profoto is preparing to release its first ever speedlight: the Profoto A1 Air TTL
The Yashica camera brand disappeared in 2003, but a new teaser video and website hint at a comeback. Excited?
Western Digital just debuted a new, higher capacity WD Gold internal hard drive. The new drive offers 12TB of storage and class-leading reliability to the tune of a 550TB/year workload rating.