CNET First Look
Fujifilm FinePix X10There's a lot to like about the Fujifilm FinePix X10, but advanced shooters may be frustrated by the trade-offs for the best photos, especially since it's more expensive than its competitors.
Hi, I'm Lori Grunin, senior editor for CNET, and this is the Fujifilm Finepix X10. The X10 represents Fujifilm's first series entry into the enthusiast compact market. Going up against stalwarts from Canon, Nikon and Panasonic as well as new comers like Olympus. I really like the design overall both aesthetically and for shooting. The body has a magnesium alloy chassis and an aluminum front, and then obviously takes after its more expensive sibling in the looks department. It's 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. Surprisingly, I didn't use it all that much. In part because it's really difficult to frame scenes using these types of Viewfinders with zoom lenses, but mostly because I had no problem viewing the LCD in bright sunlight. Well, Canon and Olympus take the approach of using a ring on the dial for adjusting settings, Fujifilm uses the lens ring to power on and manually zoom. I like that there are focal length indicators on the barrel and the zoom has a good feel. It's not too tight and not too loose. The grip is small but in combination with the rubber thumb rest it proves efficient for single handed shooting. Like the G12 and p7100, the X10 has an exposure compensation dial. The mode dial has the usual array of auto, manual and semi-manual shooting modes plus 2 custom setting slots. There's also an advanced shooting mode with 3 multi-shot options. Pro Low Light combines 4 shots to improve noise in low light and Pro Focus combines up to 3 shots to perform what other cameras called Background Defocus. Motion Panorama 360 is one of those panorama modes where to pan the camera while holding down the shutter button, ala Sony's Sweep Panorama. There are also a few automatic 6 megapixel or lower modes. EXR resolution priority, high SO, and low noise and D-Range Priority modes. On the back you'll find the usual array of buttons and dials including a raw override button. The navigation dial is a little loose and it's associated buttons macro, drive, flash and self-timer feel a bit too flat to use without deliberation. All the important shooting options are directly accessible via buttons except perhaps ISO sensitivity and you can program the function button for that, though it feels really tiny. All of that is good because the menu system is straight forward but fairly tedious. There are 2 top level menus but you have to scroll through multiple pages within their extremely granular sub menus. As for image quality, the camera is capable of producing some very nice photos it does its best low light work in its special reduced resolution completely auto modes. In its manual shooting modes, the X10 delivers mixed results. In low ISO sensitivity is you end up with grainier photos than most but without the concomitant loss of sharpness. As long as you don't have too much detail in the photos, the JPEG quality up to ISO 1600 isn't bad. You really do have to shoot raw for any sort of color accuracy though. I was able to get photos that I like from the X10, but the photos generally just have too many issues. The colors are pleasing if over saturated and the exposure generally looks great in a variety of lighting situations, but the lack of a neutral color profile and over saturated default results in completely blow out hues in some cases, and I ran into a few situations where it simply couldn't lock focus for no apparent reason and no matter what I tried, and then eventually something worked. Aside from the auto focus, the battery life is also a disappointment. The X10 is fast and pretty enjoyable to shoot, but to get the best photo quality you have to shoot in the automatic modes, which was counted to the idea of an enthusiast camera, and yet even in the auto modes it's too complicated to recommend to snap shooters who just want better photo quality. Plus the quality in auto focus are a bit too inconsistent. I'm Lori Grunin and this is the Fujifilm Finepix X10.