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I have mixed thoughts about the X10's noise profile. On one hand, at low ISO sensitivities Fujifilm doesn't overdo it with the luminance noise reduction for JPEGs, so you end up with grainier photos than most, but without the concomitant loss of sharpness. However, it produces an odd aliasing-type artifact on fine details, such as the tape measure, and details like text never really cohere. But at high sensitivities this approach manages to preserve detail a bit longer than luminance smoothing usually allows. That's in the standard manual shooting modes. If you use the EXR High ISO/Low Noise mode, which drops to 6 megapixels, the JPEGs are quite nice up through ISO 400.
Photo by: Matthew Fitzgerald/CNET

Fujifilm X10 vs. Canon PowerShot G12

These ISO 100 shots comparing the two cameras give you a better sense of the X10's artifacts in the text and on the tape measure. The X10 has a slight advantage over the G12 thanks to the faster lens, which means you don't have to use the higher ISO sensitivities as much.
Photo by: Matthew Fitzgerald/CNET
You can definitely get better results at high ISO sensitivities by processing the raw files, though the odd noise pattern of the sensor requires a different approach to editing the files. I had to bump up luminance noise reduction higher than normal and sharpen, which I usually don't use too much.

(1/50 sec, f2.2, ISO 800, AWB, spot metering)
Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET

Noise patterns

These ISO 1600 shots are just to illustrate the differences in the raw noise pattern of the X10 vs. other cameras. The G12 exhibits the typical small "grain" noise, while the X10's noise reminds me of the worm artifact produced by early halftone patterns. Neither is significantly better than the other, but since the X10 differs from the norm it requires different techniques for raw processing.
Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET

Noise, ISO 1600

As long as you don't have much detail in the photos, the JPEG quality at ISO 1600 isn't bad. You can see some yellow splotches that indicate poor blue-channel processing, but it's relatively sharp.

(1/30 sec, f2.2, ISO 1600, AWB, evaluative metering)
Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET

Noise, ISO 400, EXR High ISO/Low Noise

Fujifilm's special low-noise mode works very well, albeit at a reduced resolution. (The "artifacts" in the label are actually from the halftoned printing.)

(1/30 sec, f2.2, ISO 400, AWB, evaluative metering, EXR High ISO/Low Noise mode)
Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET

Sharpness, EXR D-Range priority

Despite the reduced resolution in the EXR D-Range mode, it maintains very good sharpness.

(1/30 sec, f2.0, ISO 160, AWB, evaluative metering, EXR D-Range Priority mode)
Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET


It looks like the X10 performs in-camera distortion control, since there was a lot more distortion on the LCD preview.
Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET


This was one of the two scenes that, bewilderingly, the X10's autofocus system simply couldn't lock on. It took about 10 tries, and I still can't figure out why it didn't work.

(1/500 sec, f4.5, ISO 100, AWB, evaluative metering)
Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET


These ugly clipped highlight areas are a known bug which Fujifilm plans to address with a firmware update.

(1/800 sec, f8.0, ISO 100, AWB, evaluative metering)
Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET


The X10 renders pleasing, saturated colors, but it has some minor problems with blown-out details and poor accuracy on bright, saturated reds, and the camera lacks a neutral color profile.
Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET


While the colors are pleasing, they're highly oversaturated by default, which loses a lot of the color detail, and there's no neutral Film Simulation setting.

(JPEG: 1/100 sec, f4.0, ISO 100, AWB, evaluative metering. Raw processed with Adobe Camera Raw with White Balance set to Auto)
Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET


The X10's photos can be quite sharp, but sometimes step over the line into crunchy.

(1/200 sec, f2.8, ISO 100, AWB, evaluative metering, -1 stop exposure compensation)
Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET


The lens renders very nice, high-end out-of-focus highlights.

(1/140 sec, f2.0, ISO 400, AWB, evaluative metering, EXR High ISO/Low Noise mode)
Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET

EXR D-Range Priority vs. standard

The automatic dynamic-range priority mode does preserve more detail in the highlight and shadow areas, albeit at the expense of resolution.

(left: 1/100 sec, f2.2, ISO 100, AWB, evaluative metering, shutter priority. right: 1/70 sec, f2.2, ISO 100, AWB, evaluative metering, EXR D-Range priority.)
Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET


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