There are point and shoot cameras and then there are really expensive point and shoot cameras. The Fujifilm X10 falls in the latter category and apart from sporting a classic chic retro design, this camera boasts of some really interesting features. Read on to know if the X10 is the answer for all your point and shoot requirements.

Unique power on feature

Unique power on feature

Design and Build Quality
The Fujifilm X10 is designed to perfection. There are very few cameras available in the market that when in one’s hands ooze class and substance the way this does. If it were to be given a similie, it could be termed as the Rolls Royce of compact cameras. Boasting a retro design that takes you back over half a century, the X10 is dressed in synthetic leather all over with an all black finish. Under the leather dressing, the camera is made of metal, giving it its robust build quality. The addition of the handgrip helps in easily handling the camera with a right hand and the textured finish assists this to a very large extent.

The X10, is not quite compact, though with it measuring at around 4 and a half inches in width, this is not ideally the camera that can be carried around in a trouser pocket. As for the weight, it is a tad bit on the heavier side, weighing in at approximately 350g, which is heavier than most other cameras with this form factor. One can sort the problem of carrying it around by tethering the leather strap to it.

The 2.8-inch screen is not all that great

The 2.8-inch screen is not all that great

The face of the camera is quite minimal, in terms of basic features, such as the zoom lens – it only has a 4x lens. The camera also includes an optical viewfinder, AF assist as well as a toggle switch for focusing. The rear and the top of the camera are loaded with a range of buttons around the 2.8-inch LCD display. This allows one to adjust virtually all the settings available in the camera. There are a total of 8 buttons located at the back, apart from the buttons for the four way navigational pad. Located amongst the multitude of buttons, here are two scroll wheels for navigating through the settings and a spring loaded toggle switch for the flash. The other important design feature at the back is the optical view finder, which has a soft plastic finish.

The top of the camera features the mode dial, shutter release button, function button and an exposure dial. Apart from this the camera also features a mount, which allows one to add an additional flash or an electronic view finder. The flash is housed in the body of the camera and it feels sturdy. The connectivity options for the X10 are located at the side and they include a proprietary USB port and a mini HDMI port. The flap of the battery bay that also houses the memory card is extremely sturdy and it features a locking mechanism.

The build quality of the camera is really good and it looks like it can come out on top, even if it receives a few accidental drops. To sum up this bit of the review, this is one of the most stylish and classiest cameras to surface in recent years and it is all due to its vintage appearance.

Features
The Fujifilm X10 is packed with features that leave users quite satisfied. The main feature of this camera is its retro styling and rightfully so. With the addition of this vintage design, Fujifilm have included an optical viewfinder that gives it its quaint look. However, there is nothing retro about the technology used in this optical view finder as they have added a rangefinder to it. While this may be a bit appealing to most people giving users the advantage of zooming with the lens into the subject, while using the optical view finder, the accuracy of the image in the viewfinder appears off, which is a big minus point for this camera. This affects the composition of the shots and to get the right frame, one would need to get more familiar with the camera, as it would take more than a little getting used to.

The various dials found at the top

The various dials found at the top

One may have noticed that there was no mention of zoom or the power button, included in the design and build quality part of the review. This was done intentionally as this is one of the highlighted features of the X10. To power on this device one would need to turn the lens clock wise, till the 28mm mark and only then will the screen light up. This is quite an innovative feature used to power on the device. Additionally if one wants to view images from the camera without wanting to adopt this method, then all one needs to do is press the playback button for a couple of seconds. This will lead one to the image playback section of the camera. To power it off, all one needs to do is just tap the playback button and the camera goes back off.

The camera features a 12.0 megapixel EXR CMOS sensor with the sensor size measuring at 2/3-inch. This sensor size is larger than standard compact camera sensors that mostly measure at 1/2.3 inches, but way smaller than a standard DSLR camera or the one on a micro four-third camera. One can expect a lot of detail in images and due to its 12 MP sensor, the images can be printed on large format papers. The camera features a 4x optical zoom lens that ranges from 28mm wide angle to 112mm telephoto. The ISO sensitivity of this point and shoot ranges from 100 – 3200, but given that Fujifilm gives users the options to play around with all the settings to get great captures, there are different ISO sensitivities, apart from the main ones, which are found on most cameras. The widest aperture found here is F/ 2.0 allowing more light to enter the lens, as compared to cameras which have smaller aperture. Low-light performance should be a bit better than standard point and shoot cameras as well. The camera has a total of 49 points of focus, which allows one to capture sharp images easily.

Retro style design enhances the look of the X10

Retro style design enhances the look of the X10

The interface of the X10 is not the easiest to use, of all the cameras available in the market, as compared to other brands. This camera takes a lot of getting used to. One would need to play around with the camera for long periods of time to understand how to use it well. After this is done, one may find the features easy to navigate through. The menu option is the primary button for accessing most of the features and this camera has been designed for those wanting to play around with the settings to a large extent, instead of merely using the camera's Auto mode. Fujifilm claims that in order to achieve its rich resolution and compact form factor, the brand has used 9 elements in the lens. Good quality DSLR lenses uses around three or four elements.

Videos can be recorded on this camera at a maximum resolution of 1080p with stereo sound. This is an added advantage, which this camera has and with this capability it puts it in line with a range of compact cameras available in the market. The camera also has the ability to capture images during video recording, which is becoming an increasingly common feature that is found in cameras, nowadays. Images can be recorded in RAW mode, too, which is handy for post processing on a computer. One does not need to go in to the settings to access this feature, as there is a quick access RAW button located at the rear to easily capture images in this format. The X10 supports SD, SDHC and SDXC type of memory cards, which are freely available in the market.

Performance
To start off with the performance, lets go in to the handling of the camera and everything else that goes with it. The Fujifilm is no run-of-the-mill point and shoot camera and it has a unique power-on feature, which was spoken about before. The camera when turned clockwise, would lead one to expect that the camera would be powered on instantly, unfortunately this is not the case. The time it takes to start varies, with at times it taking close to 5 seconds. This is a major setback for those wanting to capture images quickly, while traveling or any other similar reason.

While looking through the viewfinder, the images appear bright and colours appear natural. However, what we did not like was the fact that the composition of the image is off. To capture images through the viewfinder, a lot of effort is required to get the right composition. This takes us back to our earlier point, which is that one has to get very familiarized with it for it to become easy to use.

We faced no problems, while handling the camera as the textured surface helps to a very large extent. So does the fact that the camera has a small handgrip in the front. Clicking pictures with a single hand is possible, even though it was a bit on the heavier side.

ISO sensitivity test

ISO sensitivity test

ISO Sensitivity
The camera handles noise really well. At ISO sensitivity of 100, the image is devoid of any noise. Even with the ISO set to maximum which is 3200, there is an amount of noise, but it is not as much as in other cameras available in the market.

Aperture priority test

Aperture priority test

Aperture Priority
The widest aperture found on the camera is F/2.0 and at this aperture setting, there was a lot of depth of field visible. The image at F/11 was sharp and no depth of field visible at all.

Zoom test

Zoom test

Zoom Test
During the zoom test, we observed that the image stabilizer does well to reduce the blur when the zoom is set to its maximum, which is 4x.

Performance Continued
While capturing images outdoors, we observed that the Fujifilm X10 captures images that are almost as good as those captured with a DSLR. The image quality is one of the best that we have seen on a point and shoot camera. There was no visible colour fringing and all colours appear natural.

Outdoor images capture well

Outdoor images capture well

During indoor photography, we observed that there was not much grain noticed. Colours during indoor shots were accurate and there were no other issues seen. Macro photography is where this camera really does well, too. One can get as close as 1cm in the camera’s super macro mode and the image had a lot of depth of field and the subject had a lot of sharpness.

A lot of detail noticed in macro shots

A lot of detail noticed in macro shots

While recording videos in 1080p, we noticed that the camera recorded really well without any transition issues and during video playback, there were no issues faced. While capturing images during video recording, the images captured well and the image as well as video quality was good. The flash of this camera is really good with it being able to brighten up an area of around 15 feet. Fujifilm bundles a 940mAh battery with the camera and the brand rates it at 270 shots.

Verdict
The Fujifilm X10 is available in India at a street price of Rs. 39,999. This is by far one of the best point and shoot camera available in the market today. There have been no other point and shoot cameras in the recent past reviewed by us that offer picture quality as good as this. Though this camera is built to perfection, has various customizable features and in the process offer's outstanding image quality, it does come with a few setbacks that just cannot be ignored.

The flash is quite powerful

The flash is quite powerful

Starting off with the cons, this point and shoot camera is priced really high and it could be an issue if one is going to pick up a camera in this price range, as they can get a DSLR for the same amount or a Micro Four Third for a few thousands lesser. Secondly, the focus points of the optical view finder is bad and one would need to really play around with the camera a lot to be able to get properly acquainted to the focus point. Lastly, this camera is not as easy to use as most available in the market and it would take some time to get familiar with it.

If the above mentioned points are not a concern, then one will surely not be disappointed with all the features the X1 has to offer.

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