Operation and Controls

The Fujifilm X10 is clearly designed with the enthusiast in mind; the type of user who appreciates the solid feel of a magnesium alloy body and the sure grip of a textured (leatherette) handholding surface. Add to that a mechanically driven (vs. electronic) zoom lens, access to no fewer than 16 dials and buttons - all significantly larger than those found on most compact models - and you've got a camera that facilitates and indeed celebrates manual control.

Top of camera controls

Along the X10's top plate you'll find the main exposure mode dial, threaded shutter release, customizable Fn button and an exposure compensation dial. A full-sized hotshoe is compatible with Fujifilm's (optional) external flash units, including the optional X-series specific EF-X20 flash. The camera's built-in flash is positioned at the far left of the camera's top plate. Both the mode and exposure compensation dials offer stiff resistance to minimize accidental movement when handling the camera. The on/off switch (not visible here) is integral to the lens zoom operation.

Rear of camera controls

The rear configuration of the X10 is a near-duplicate of that found on its big brother, the FinePix X100, right down to the 2.8 inch 460k-dot LCD shared by both cameras. Along the top left of the camera are a flash switch and viewfinder diopter adjustment slider. Below these sit a strip of four buttons, topped by the playback button. The 'AE' button that follows sets the metering mode (pattern / center weighted / spot), while 'AF' is used to move the active focus area around the frame (this control is only active if you set the AF mode to 'Area' in the shooting menu). These buttons are also used to zoom in and out of images in play mode.

For AF area selection, there's a choice of 49 available points arranged in a 7x7 grid. In manual focus mode you can select an area of interest for magnification by clicking the AF button and then navigating via the 4-way control dial.

Along the X10's top right shoulder, well-placed for operation by your thumb, is a Ricoh-esque jog switch that Fujifilm calls the 'Main-command dial'. Below it is an AE/AF lock button, which is customizable to your specific taste. It can be set to control AF, AE or both, and to operate either as a single press lock, or as a toggle (i.e. press to lock, press again to unlock). If the AF mode switch is set to manual, this button can still be used to autofocus, essentially decoupling autofocus and exposure in a fashion that's popular with many photographers.

The DISP/BACK button is used for menu navigation, as well as for changing the amount of information displayed on the LCD. Once the available options are displayed, repeated pressing of the button cycles through them, as does rotating either the main-command dial or 4-way control dial. In shooting mode, pressing and holding the DISP button switches the camera to 'silent mode', disabling the flash, AF illuminator lamp, and all operational sounds (including the AF confirmation beep and synthesized shutter release sound).

The 'RAW' button has two functions. In playback mode, it gives direct access to the camera's in-camera raw conversion abilities. While shooting, its default behavior is to allow you to quickly turn raw image recording on or off. Best of all, with the latest firmware update (v1.03) you can opt to use the RAW button as a second custom button, choosing from the same range of options available to the Fn button located atop the camera. The table below shows the options available to both buttons.

Fn/RAW button options
(You can be assign any option to either button)
 • ISO
 • Image Size
 • Image Quality
 • Dynamic Range
 • Film Simulation
 • AF Mode
 • Face Detection
 • Face Recognition
 • Intelligent Digital Zoom

4-way controller functions

The 4-way controller offers direct access to drive mode, macro focus, self-timer and flash options. In its center is a MENU/OK button that calls up the menu, and confirms settings. Frustratingly, the relevant menus remain onscreen for only about 2 seconds after you've pressed the button to call them up. If you're not quick on the trigger, you'll simply have to press the button a second time. This is an annoyance carried over - for no discernible reason - from the X100. The settings available are as follows:

Drive  • Single
 • Continuous
 • Best frame capture
 • Auto Exposure bracket
 • ISO bracket
 • Film simulation bracket
 • Dynamic range bracket
10* (6MP), 7*, 5 or 3fps

+/- 1/3, 2/3, 1 EV; 3 exposures with single shutter press
+/- 1/3, 2/3, 1 EV bracketed development of single exposure
Develops single exposure to Provia, Velvia, Astia modes
Shoots 3 frames (with same ISO) at DR100, DR200 and DR400
* Available in JPEG mode only
Flash  • Auto*
 • Forced*
 • Slow sync*
- Available in P, Auto and select scene modes
- Available in P, Auto and select scene modes
- Only available in P and A modes
* Red-eye removal can be enabled as an additional option via the Set-up menu
Self timer  • Off
 • 10 sec.
 • 2 sec.
Macro  • Off
 • On
 • Super Macro
- Min focus range approx. 50cm -80cm from front of lens
- Range approx. 10cm - 3m.
- Range approx. 1cm - 1m.

Main command dial functions

The 'Main-command' thumb dial on the camera's shoulder can either be pressed in like a button, or pushed left and right to adjust various parameters.

  • Adjusts the exposure variable(s) in S, A modes and aperture value in M mode
  • In P mode, sets program shift (not available when either flash, DR Auto and Auto ISO are enabled)
  • Often, but not always, duplicates the left/right key functions on the 4-way controller
  • In playback mode, clicking-in enlarges the area around the selected focus point to check sharpness; flicking left or right overlays image with detailed processing and exposure information

Sub-command dial functions

The 4-way controller is surrounded by a 'sub command dial' that's used for navigating menus and setting options. Its functions include:

  • Use in conjunction with Fn to adjust the ISO (when assigned).
  • Adjusts the exposure variable(s) in S, A modes and shutter speed in M mode
  • In P mode, sets program shift (not available when either flash, DR Auto and Auto ISO are enabled)
  • Often, but not always, replicates up/down functions on the 4-way controller.
  • In playback, scrolls through images