Will the Fujifilm FinePix X10 win over amateur shooters?
Fujifilm capitalizes on the buzz around its X100 to enter the enthusiast compact market with a very different, yet still retro-looking model.
Lori GruninSenior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
ExpertisePhotography, PCs and laptops, gaming and gaming accessories
There are two ways to look at the Fujifilm FinePix X10. You can view it as a cynical attempt to capitalize on the fanboy frenzy of the X100 with a camera that looks a lot like it, but that lacks everything that made it desirable to the fans. Or you can look at it as Fujifilm's first serious entry into the enthusiast compact market, going up against stalwarts from Canon, Nikon, and Panasonic (and newcomers like Olympus), with a design and specs that don't look too shabby in that crowd. I'm taking the latter view.
Keep in mind, however, that Fujifilm hasn't released the price, which makes it close to impossible to say anything meaningful about the camera. So I'll frame it this way: unless it can deliver absolutely stellar, X100-class photo quality, which I doubt, then anything more than $599 is too much.
With that in mind, here's how I picture its competition:
ISO 100 (expanded)/ 200 - ISO 6400/ 12,800 (expanded)
ISO 100 - ISO 3200
ISO 100 - ISO 6,400
ISO 80 - ISO 3200
Closest focus (inches)
10 JPEG/8 raw
90 JPEG/ n/a raw
23 JPEG/8 raw
Optional OVF or EVF
30 - 1/4000 sec
30 - 1/4000 sec; bulb to 60 min
60-1/2000 sec; bulb to 16 min
3-inch fixed OLED
Video (best quality)
H.264 QuickTime MOV
1080/30p H.264 QuickTime MOV Stereo
720/24p H.264 QuickTime MOV Stereo
720/24p H.264 QuickTime MOV
720/30p Motion JPEG AVI
720/30p AVCHD Lite
Manual iris and shutter in video
Zoom while recording
Battery life (CIPA rating)
300 shots (est)
Dimensions (WHD, inches)
4.4 x 3.0 x 2.0
4.6 x 2.7 x 2.2
5.0 x 2.9 x 2.1
4.4 x 2.6 x 1.7
4.3 x 2.6 x 1.7
Let's start with the sensor. Fujifilm won't reveal exactly how big it is, only stating that it's smaller than APS-C but bigger than 1/1.6. Given that it also adds more pixels than the current 10-megapixel 1/1.6-inch sensors here, I'd guess that the higher resolution eats up whatever size advantage it might otherwise offer. But that particular SuperCCD EXR is a bit of an unknown. Though not a new size--a few years ago there was an 11-megapixel version--it's a new resolution for the size.
The lens and build quality do sound relatively nice. Though it's not the longest lens in the bunch, it's got a wide aperture and good coatings. The zoom operates via a manual ring, but that goes into the plus column for this crowd. The body has a magnesium alloy chassis and an aluminum front, and obviously takes after its more expensive sibling in the looks department--retro all the way. But don't look for the X100's hybrid viewfinder; this is a plain-old straight-through version like the one on the G12 and P7100
Performance will be important as well. These are not terribly fast cameras as a rule, and the X100 is really slow; Fujifilm's point-and-shoots rarely take the lead for speed. The company claims it has fast autofocus, but companies rarely admit their cameras are slow until they've got a faster replacement in the wings. The LCD also looks a bit disappointing: relatively small, low resolution and inarticulate.
There's enough here that the X10 could possibly successfully challenge the incumbents; while they're a good group of cameras, none is an obvious leader of the pack. Let's hope Fujifilm doesn't price it out of the competition.