Check out the image quality and shooting capabilities of Fujifilm's stylish enthusiast compact, the XF1.
Compared with a typical point-and-shoot, the XF1's slightly bigger sensor buys you some extra flexibility when it comes to using ISO sensitivities above ISO 200. Subjects do lose detail and there are more artifacts visible when photos are viewed at full size, but it isn't until ISO 1600 that things look significantly softer at larger sizes.
On the upside, if you can take advantage of the f1.8 aperture, you can shoot with less light without immediately needing to use higher ISO settings. You can also get better low-light results using modes that take advantage of the EXR sensor technologies, but they are, for the most part, automatic modes.
Colors are bright, vivid, and pleasing, but even in the camera's Standard color mode subjects look oversaturated. It may take a lot of adjusting of settings, shooting in raw (SilkyPix software is included for working with the RAF file format, but Adobe Camera Raw supports the XF1), or experimenting with its EXR modes to get the best results. If that's not something you're willing to do, this probably isn't a good choice. Its EXR Auto mode is very good as autoshooting modes go, but even tweaking that mode's settings can get you better shots.
The XF1 is a nice camera for shooting close-ups. You can focus as close as 1.1 inches from your subject and, if you can keep your ISO below 200, you can enlarge and heavily crop with good results. The bottom is a 100 percent crop of the top photo.
Colors are bright, vivid, and pleasing, but even in the camera's Standard color mode subjects look oversaturated. If you don't like the colors straight from the camera, you can get better results shooting in raw (SilkyPix software is included for working with the RAF file format, but Adobe Camera Raw supports the XF1).
The XF1's lens zooms from 25mm (top) to 100mm (bottom). The camera's bright f1.8 aperture is only available at the 25mm position, shrinking to f4.9 when zoomed in. It slows down relatively fast, too, with f3.6 being the maximum aperture at the lens' 35mm position, and f4.2 at 50mm.
There is some slight barrel distortion at the wide end of the lens (top) and a touch of asymmetrical distortion when zoomed in, but nothing worth worrying about. The lens is sharp through the zoom range with no significant drop-off to the sides or in the corners.
The camera does have aperture-priority and shutter-speed-priority shooting modes as well as full manual and program auto options. Apertures at the wide end go from f1.8 to f11 and f4.9 to f11 in telephoto. Shutter speeds go from 30 seconds to 1/2,000 second, but that top speed is only available at smaller apertures; it stops at 1/1,000 second at f1.8.
The camera's Pro Focus mode fakes the out-of-focus background look of a fast lens by rapidly capturing multiple photos and using them to isolate the subject and soften the background. The camera's f1.8 lens can be used to do this to some extent, too, but you'll have to be relatively close to your subject. The top photo here was taken in macro at f1.8, the bottom uses the Pro Focus mode.
For those who like to shoot panoramas, the XF1 has Fujifilm's Motion Panorama 360 mode, which lets you capture superwide shots just by panning the camera. Unlike Sony's version of this, Fujifilm doesn't handle moving subjects very well, so it's best used on scenes with little or no movement.