Handling the Fujifilm X10
The X10 is a small camera in comparison to mirrorless interchangeable lens models, but remains a decent 'handful' and is decidedly less pocketable than the smallest of its high-end peers like the Canon PowerShot S100. This is due in part to the lens barrel, which protrudes from the camera even with the lens rotated to its 'off' position. In this view you can also see the X10's hotshoe and metal exposure mode dial on the top-plate. The rounded rectangle on the far left is actually the top of the flash housing, which is popped out using a mechanical catch on the rear of the camera.
The X10 provides an extremely satisfying handling experience in almost every regard. The camera feels reassuringly solid in hand. The slightly raised profile of the handgrip provides a sure grip from the front of the camera while a contoured thumb pad on the rear further contributes to a camera that is very comfortable to hold.
The camera's ample supply of buttons and dials is thoughtfully arranged, with key controls within easy reach from the shooting position. The lens is zoomed by rotating its barrel, encouraging a two-handed shooting position that will be second nature to anyone who's used a DSLR or rangefinder camera. Buttons and dials are substantially larger than those found on nearly any other compact camera, which is great news for those of us in the office who disdain having to use our fingernails to engage a control point.
Both the mode dial and exposure compensation button offer resistance that is stiff enough to minimize accidental operation, but not too rigid for easy engagement when necessary. The Fn button sits just to the right of the shutter release, providing a fast, convenient method to alter ISO (which is its default behavior) between shots.
|Despite its minimal grip, the X10 fits easily in the hand, giving the thumb easy access to the rear control dial and placing the index finger on the shutter button.|
One of the more unique (as opposed to simply retro-inspired) design features of the X10 is the power switch which is integrated into the zoom ring. A hard detent at the 28mm (equiv.) setting indicates by feel when you've reached the widest zoom setting. Rotating the lens beyond this point powers off the camera. While this design may be a matter of personal taste for some, we think this is a clever touch that serves to highlight the tactile user experience that is part of the X10's charm.
Some X10 users have reported problems with the camera not turning on when the lens is rotated from the off position. We experienced this issue very intermittantly with a pre-production sample X10, but we've since used two production-quality samples which have operated flawlessly.
Specific handling issues
For all that we find enjoyable about the X10's handling, there are some annoyances. Waking the camera from sleep requires you to press and hold the shutter button for a couple of seconds. You can make the X10 behave more sensibly and wake with a press only by enabling Quick Start mode; however this will reduce the camera's already paltry battery life.
Neither do we understand the rationale behind screen options disappearing after just two seconds of inactivity when pressing the 4-way controller buttons (drive, macro, timer and flash). By contrast, the AE, AF, Fn, white balance and RAW buttons display their onscreen options until you actively dismiss them, a much more sensible approach.
We'd also like the ability to disable the onscreen graphic that accompanies each rotation of the mode dial. It remains on screen for a second or two before returning you to the shooting information view. While you can dismiss the graphic immediately by pressing any button on the camera, this feels like an unecessary step, especially given the level of users that Fujifilm is targetting with this camera.
Something we do appreciate though, is that the X10's RAW button can be customized. Following the release of firmware version 1.0.3 this button can now be assigned any one of the same set of options available to the Fn button. Even better, re-assigning a parameter to either the Fn or RAW buttons can be done simply by holding down either button for a couple of seconds, which brings up the list of assignable parameters. What we're not fond of, however, is if you set a parameter that is unavailable in a particular shooting mode, a button press fails to do anything. We'd prefer an onscreen message stating that the selected feature is unavailable. A relatively minor issue, to be sure, but one that feels less like a deliberate omission than something Fujifilm's engineers simply weren't paying attention to.
A larger disappointment though is with the onscreen menu display. To call it uninspiring would be generous. Perhaps Fujifilm intended the retro design language to extend to all aspects of the camera's operation, but a two-tab, page-driven menu system simply feels outdated. Fortunately, with all of the external controls available you don't have to delve deeply in submenus on a regular basis.
In live view mode, the UI design presents a more serious obstacle. A gray bar runs along the bottom of the screen displaying shooting mode and exposure information. Unfortunately, this obscures a sizeable chunk of the live view area, hindering precise composition. Even if you customize the display setting and remove all selectable features, the gray bar (now devoid of information) still remains. The only way to get rid of it is to select the Information Off menu option. Yet even in this mode, the exposure bar appears every time the shutter button is half-pressed. Shooting handheld, using a focus-recompose technique means this distracting element remains onscreen as you try to compose the image.
The X10's optical viewfinder is made of glass (vs. plastic), and zooms with the lens. Like all such viewfinders in compact cameras though, its usefulness is limited by parallax errors at close focussing distances, a relatively small scene coverage (approx 85%) and of course the absence of the exposure information that can be overlayed on the camera's rear LCD screen. Another minor annoyance when using the optical finder is that the X10's lens is visible, blocking a portion of the view. This can be very irritating when composing relatively close-range portraits, where a good amount of one corner of the scene will be occluded.
In addition, the lens has a small, hard-to-find 39.5mm filter thread. Fujifilm offers the optional LH-X10 combination lens hood/step-up ring which allows a more commonly available 52mm filter. Naturally though, this add-on only increases the area of the viewfinder that is blocked by the the lens. The included lens cap has no connecting strap. Without the lens cap or optional lens hood, its been our experience that the lens quickly ends up with a fingerprint or two from casual handling.
Most of the complaints outlined above are fairly minor, and do little to take away from the pleasurable experience of operating the X10. The amount of manual control that is easily available means you can quickly adjust settings between shots while still remaining engaged with your subject. In short, the X10 feel and handles like a serious photographic tool; one of a select few compact cameras about which this can be said.
Bright manual zoom lens
In addition to using a large (for a compact camera) 2/3 inch sensor, Fujifilm has sought to distinguish the X10 by mating it with a 28-112mm (equiv.) fast F2-2.8 lens. Not only does this allow you to use lower ISO sensitivities in dim light, you also have the ability to create shallower depth of field than is possible with most compact cameras. Don't get too excited though - X10's lens gives similar depth of field control to a 28-112mm F7.9-11 lens on a full-frame DSLR.
|We like having a fast F2-2.8 len,s and appreciate the mechanically driven zoom operation. Integrating the power switch with the zoom ring is a clever design as well. Yet you can see that the viewfinder window is placed almost dead center over the lens barrel, where it intrudes into the scene at focal lengths wider than 50mm (equiv.)
In this view you can also see the focus mode switch with options for continuous and single AF modes as well as manual focus.
The X10's lens is manually zoomed by rotating the barrel, and this movement is mechanically linked to the optical viewfinder, meaning you drive the viewfinder as you extend the lens. The lens has smooth travel across its range, and popular focal length markings (conveniently notated in their 35mm equivalents) are etched onto the lens barrel. The mechanically-driven lens and viewfinder design has two key advantages. The first is that it gives a pleasantly direct feeling of control over the lens' behavior, allowing continuous (rather than stepped) zooming. Crucially it also means the camera isn't dependent on its battery for driving the lens and viewfinder. The X10's rather small battery is rated at 270 shots per charge - which would be even lower if it had more work to do.
One of the weirdest copyright cases in the history of photography is finally over. The courts have sided with photographer David Slater and rejected PETA's claim that the monkey who took the infamous selfie has any claim over the photograph's copyright.
In his latest video, Ted Forbes of The Art of Photography shares his thoughts on how equipment nowadays is seen less as a means to an end, and more as the end in and of itself.
The latest update to Lightroom Classic CC brought with it a slew of major bugs, including some that would cause the program to crash. Adobe has now released an update to address these bugs, along with an apology.
The new drives come in the M.2 form factor and with the latest PCIe Gen 3×4 lane interface, offering NVM Express (NVMe) bandwidth. In other words: they're an interesting option for anyone editing large batches of photos or 4K/8K video.
Photographer Alexander Gee has created something pretty cool: the first (to our knowledge) E-Mount film camera. It's called LEX, and when it's finished, Gee intends to make the camera's design files open source so that anybody can built their own from scratch.
Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a low-power HD video streaming method that could eventually allow tiny, maybe even battery-free wearable cameras to stream high definition video.
Nikon Corporation has warned investors that an assessment of its Belgium-based metrology business based is worth much less than expected, and that they should brace themselves for an 'extraordinary loss' of 10,343 million yen.
In 2009, photographer Michael Benanav joined a family from the nomadic Van Gujjar tribe on their annual journey from the lowland jungles of the Shivalik Hills to the alpine meadows of the Himalayas. This is the story behind the images he captured.
NVIDIA's Content-Aware Fill competitor is getting better and better. A new demo from shows how the latest version can fill in entire chunks of a person's face, or pieces of an image that are missing, with incredibly realistic results.
This hacked Polaroid Sonar Autofocus 5000 puts a digital spin on instant photography, but not in the way you're used to seeing. It's one of the most ambitious and well-executed DIY camera projects we've seen.
Chinese smartphone manufacturer Meizu has launched a new high-end model, the Meizu 15 Plus. And based on specs alone, the phone is well-worth a closer look for mobile photographers who are open to buying from a less established brand.
Open source photo editor GIMP is a popular (and free) Photoshop alternative, but can it really be used on a professional edit? In this video, photographer Shane Milton shows you that it most certainly can.
Photographer Jolyon Ralph pit the new Huawei P20 Pro against his beloved Canon 5DS R, and was "somewhat stunned" by how well the 40MP smartphone performed against the 50MP DSLR.
Thanks to a low-res proxy version of the Insta360 Pro 8K footage, stitching times and computer processing requirements are reduced significantly when editing 360° footage from the six-lens system.
DxO Labs has filed the initial proceedings to start the bankruptcy process in France. The company is currently under "judicial administration," which allows it some time to restructure and find a buyer before the liquidation process occurs.
SmugMug has acquired struggling photography site Flickr for an undisclosed sum, with CEO Don MacAskill promising to give the neglected photo sharing service "the resources that it deserves."
YouTube channel Filmmaker IQ has put together a very interesting, technically detailed, and scientifically accurate description of exactly how various image sensors (and photographic film) work. One of the best overview videos we've seen.
In Part 1 of his series on photographing Greenland in winter, landscape photographer Erez Marom shares the freezing details of his arrival on the town of Uummannaq where the temperature was -25°C. Still, he went out shooting.
The APO-Makro-Plasmat 105mm F2.7 is Meyer Optik's latest Kickstarter lens revival, and it promises "natural sharpness, unbelievable color reproduction, and a glowing bokeh united at every step of the aperture" ... whatever that means.
The update also comes with "post-scan cloud processing," which allows you to render 3D models with 4K resolution textures for better detail and realism.
Chinese accessories brand Meike has announced it will introduce an 85mm F1.8 lens for Canon and Nikon full frame DSLRs that will feature autofocus. This will be the company’s first AF lens.
The World Photo Organization has finally revealed the overall winners for the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards, including the coveted Photographer of the Year, Open Photographer of the Year, Youth Photographer of the Year, and Student Photographer of the Year winners.
Venus Optics has unveiled four new lenses that will ship later this year: a wide-angle zoom for Sony FE, a circular fisheye for Micro Four Thirds, a wide-angle lens for the medium format Fujifilm GFX, and a 2x Ultra Macro for multiple full-frame mounts.
The One Backpack is a 5-in-1 modular backpack that can be used as a camera bag, work & gym pack, suit carry backpack, travel pack or tech-backpack.
This highly-specialized lens is perfect for sports, action and wildlife photography. Check out these first sample images for a taste of what it's capable of.
For KFC Hong Kong’s latest ad campaign, New York City-based advertising agency Ogilvy and Mather used Photoshop to magically morph pieces of flaky fried chicken into fire and smoke in various scenes.
The Android and iOS app from Surpuba AR lets you place animated 3D models in real-world environment using augmented reality technology. You can alter poses and location, insert lighting equipment, and more... right from your phone or tablet.
Under the agreement, the two companies will work together to develop Oppo's smartphone camera roadmap, covering optical zoom, depth mapping and other innovative imaging features that dual cameras allow.
Canon is jumping into the portable printing game with the new IVY Mini Photo Printer: a rechargeable battery-powered printer for creating 2x3 prints and stickers of your smartphone snaps on-the-go.