Fujifilm XF10 compact cameras are beautiful and pack SLR quality in a small package.
Fujifilm XF10 review
- Gorgeous, pocket-friendly design.
- APS-C Image Sensor
- Wide-angle f/2.8 prime lens.
- Sharp images.
- Touch screen.
- Autofocus speeds are slow.
- It takes a long time to get up and running.
- No optical image stabilization.
- Hot shoe and EVF are not included.
- So-so video.
Although the Fujifilm XF10 (499.95 USD) is not the exact successor to the discontinued X70 model, it sure feels like one. The XF10, like the X70 is a compact camera that features an APS-C sensor. This size can be found in most mirrorless and SLR cameras. The XF10's excellent image quality can be attributed to its sharp wide-angle lens, and class-leading image sensor. However, performance is not great. Focus speeds are slower than we would expect from a modern camera and the image processor doesn't contain some of our favourite Fujifilm profiles.
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If you get the gold finish that we reviewed, the XF10 will be one of the most attractive cameras available today. It is made of metal with an excellent finish. The body is contrasted with brown leatherette. It has a pattern that reminds of alligator skin. Fujfilm offers the XF10 in a black finish. While it's not as eye-catching, it is still classy.
It is extremely pocket-friendly. The camera measures 2.5x 4.4x 1.6 inches (HWD), and is 9.9 ounces in weight. It comes with a wrist strap, which is much better than most of the standard straps that come with compact cameras. It measures a quarter inch in width and has a soft leatherette exterior with black felt lining the interior.
The lens is an 18.5mm f/2.8 prime—there's no zoom capability. It can capture photos similar in angle to a full-frame 28mm system when paired with the 24MP APSC image sensor. This is comparable with what many smartphones capture—although flagships have migrated to a slightly wider design, in the 24mm range, for the most part. The close-up focus is decent—the lens can lock on as close as 3.9 inches—it's not the most dramatic macro, but you can still lock in on the tiny details.
The 28mm field of view is a popular one for many photographers—there's a reason smartphones use it. It's not just the XF10 that has it. Ricoh GR II has a very similar lens. It is backed up by an identical image sensor, which at 16MP, is smaller and less dense. Although the GR II is still in production, it is very old. The sensor and lens are from 2013's first APS-C GR. Ricoh will release a GR III in 2019 that increases the sensor's resolution to 24MP. It also includes image stabilization which was missing from the XF10.
Although the body is compact, there aren’t many buttons or dials to control it. The lens has a manual focus ring that surrounds it. However, the lens can be programmed to change film simulation modes and adjust ISO.
The top of the device has a Fn programable button, as well as the Mode dial and dual control dials. It's surrounded by the front dial. This is one aspect of my camera that I dislike. The dial is a bit small on the top. This makes it less comfortable to use than the wider rear dial. It can be used for shutter control, EV adjustment or shutter control depending on the mode you are using.
Just above the LCD, the Drive/Delete/Play buttons can be found in the center. The Q button is located to the right of the rear thumbrest. It activates the on-screen menu that allows you to adjust settings quickly. The Q menu can't be accessed via touch, despite having a touch screen. The Fn2 button above Q, which has not been labeled and is just as programable as the Fn top button is, is located below Q.
The XF10 omits the usual four-way control pad and replaces it with a small joystick that fits in the frame. This joystick will be used to navigate the Q menu and adjust the settings within each pane. The Display/Back and Menu buttons are located below the joystick. It's easy to customize the Q menu, Fn button, or rear joystick function—just hold the control you want to change in for a couple seconds and a menu will pop up on the screen, allowing you to modify its function.
You can't mount an optical viewfinder fixed to the EVF, hot shoe or EVF. The viewfinder can only be a 3-inch (1,040k dots) LCD. It's bright and sharp with 11 brightness levels via Q menu. You can touch menu navigation, but it is not available. However, tapping the screen will allow you to select the focus point and to focus and capture an object, depending on what focus mode you are using.
You can also use touch gestures to control the camera. To customize the function and appearance of the front control rings, swipe to the right or left to change face detection settings. You can also switch to square crops, turn on Snap photography, or up to toggle to the top.
Fujifilm has a version of the Snap Focus function that is available on Ricoh GR. It stops down the lens to f/8 and switches to a preset focus distance—6.5 feet (2 meters) and 26 feet (8 meters) are available. I like having the function available, but find that the implementation isn't as slick as what the GR and GR II do—with those cameras, a quick, full press of the shutter sets the lens to its Snap Focus position, making it possible to switch between autofocus and the preset Snap distance without having to adjust any sort of settings.
With the XF10 you'll need to decide to use the Snap setting before making an image, taking away its real benefit—lag free, in-focus capture of the most fleeting of candid moments.
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The XF10 has Bluetooth and WiFi so that you can use it for image transfer and remote control. To get started you will need the Fujifilm Camera Remote App. Once it is downloaded, you can follow a simple setup. After you have it up and running, you will be able to transfer photos to your smartphone easily. However, you may need to instruct your phone to switch Wi-Fi networks from the one created by the XF10. Bluetooth transfers, such as what Nikon does using its SnapBridge WiFi system, don't work. However, Bluetooth can attach GPS data to your photos and adjust the XF10 clock based on information from your phone’s GPS.
CIPA rates the battery for 330 shots, so it should last you through the entire day. You can charge the battery via micro USB. If you are out and about, an external battery pack is also available. You also have a micro HDMI input port and an SD card slot.
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Autofocus is essential
The XF10 won't win any races. After powering up, it takes 3.4 seconds for the camera to lock focus. In bright conditions, the autofocus system can take 0.2 seconds to focus. It takes 0.6 seconds to capture a photo in dim lighting.
You have a variety of focus options. The default focus mode is to automatically select the focal point, which works great for most photos. It's a smart idea to enable Face Detection when you are photographing people. You have a number of options. One is the ability to identify the right or left eye. However, I found that leaving Eye Detection on Auto yielded good results.
You can tap the rear screen to get the XF10 to focus in the area you select and take a photo. Although you can disable this behavior, I still found it helpful. It would be nice to have the option to tap the shutter button to take a photo, but still select the focus. You will need to adjust the focus mode if the XF10 is to behave like this.
Changing focus is easy enough to do—jump into the Q menu and select one of the other focus modes. There are two options for single point and zone. These offer a versatile spot that can be adjusted around the frame with the rear stick, or simply by tapping. These modes allow you to choose to fire the rear LCD and focus (Shot), focus only (AF), move the focal point (Area) or focus both. These settings can be changed by touching the icon in the upper right corner.
In the focus mode bank of Q menu, there is an ALL setting. This will turn on the ability to switch between Single Point, Wide and Zone settings. To do this, press in the rear joystick, then turn the rear command dial. It is useful if you need to change the focus mode often.
While continuous drive and AF/C can be used, this camera is not designed to track fast actions. If you are able to get close up, you will not be able to capture wildlife and sports shots with the wide angle field of view. Burst photography is more suitable for subjects that move side to side. The camera can adjust the focus faster and doesn't need to do as many adjustments as it does when subjects are moving towards or away.
The XF10 failed to perform well in continuous shooting tests. Continuous shooting is a test that stresses a camera's ability to fire on a tightly framed target. This targets moves towards and away from the lens. It also results in mostly blurred shots. I believe the speed of the lens motor plays a big part—you can see and feel the lens moving in and out when focusing in AF-C mode. The Sony RX100 VI is a compact camera capable of capturing action with greater speed. It features a zoom lens, 24fps Raw capture and phase detection focus tracking.
Although the camera can shoot at 6fps it has a limited buffer for Raw files. The camera can take five Raw or Raw+JPG photos at a time. The buffer can be extended to 15 shots if you are shooting in JPG. This is just short of 3 seconds for a complete burst. The XF10 has a capture mode that allows you to capture 15 frames per second. However, it only supports 8MP resolution and can capture one second at a given time. Although the camera can extract individual frames from 1-second clips using its video engine, if you don't extract frames first and offload your card, frames will be saved in a 4K file instead of as JPG images.
The XF10's speed and focus system were perfect for creating the kind of images that most photographers want. Macro shots, street scenes and environmental portraits are all possible. You can even keep up with the action in sports from the stands. If I were shooting from the baseline, I would grab another camera.
A SLR sensor in your pocket
The XF10 is notable for its image sensor. It's an APS-C chip that has 24MP resolution. The same size and density as interchangeable lenses cameras such the Nikon D5600 or Sony A6000, it has the same size. The sensor is a standard Bayer design, which is a bit of a surprise—Fujifilm typically uses its proprietary X-Trans color technology, but not here.
Practically, this means that not all of Fujfilm’s JPG-color profiles are available for XTrans cameras. For example, you don't get Acros black and white look or film grain. Provia, Velvia and Classic Chrome are all available. The latter can also be used to create simulated colors.
Imatest was used to verify the sensor and lens quality. The lens can resolve 2,763 lines using a center-weighted sharpness testing at f/2.8. This is a great result for a 24-megapixel camera. The resolution is excellent from the center to edges.
Even better results are achieved at f/4 (2968 lines) or f/5.6 (2938 lines). The lens drops to f/8 (2.859 lines), but it still produces sharp images at f/11 (2.703 lines). However, you can shoot at f/16 but it will result in a decrease of resolution (2,314 line) when using the minimum setting of f/16.
The image noise can be controlled well. The XF10 keeps it under 1.5 percent through ISO 6400, and shows about 1.7 percent at ISO 12800—the top setting at which both Raw and JPG capture are available. Our test images show excellent quality at ISO 1600, when shot in JPG format. There is a slight blurring of the fine details at ISO 3200, 6400. This blurring is greater at ISO 12800 and more noticeable at ISO 25600 or 51200.
ISO 12800 is the highest raw capture. You'll see some grain when you push the camera too far, but still good detail. The raw output is very clear and shows little noise at ISO 1600. The grainy appearance is not a problem for me and I was happy with what I got from the XF10 shooting Raw photos at ISO 3200 or higher.
Fujifilm's cameras often seem like an afterthought when it comes to video. The XF10 is a poor choice because it lacks a Record button. You will need to change Drive mode from Movie to switch to video. This is not ideal for capturing short, sharp video clips. Although the interface is very configurable, it's not possible to set the Fn button at top for start or stop video.
Although 4K can be shot at 15fps it is not possible to create a smooth, silent film look. For smooth video you are limited to 720p or 1080p at your choice of 23.98, 24, 50, or 59.94fps settings—30fps is notably absent, which can be a concern when recording video in questionable light, as the camera will need to use a shorter shutter speed to record at 60fps than for 30fps.
Although the 1080p resolution is good, it's not exceptional. The details are not sharp enough and the camera doesn't have any optical stabilization. This makes handheld video a bit blurry. Video can also be affected by the focus system. It's fine if there are no out-of focus scenes detected by the camera. However, if they do detect one, the camera will adjust the lens accordingly to compensate. AF-C, the only available autofocus mode for video is AF. An external microphone can be connected to the 2.5mm input, however there is no way for it to be mounted on the camera. To mount the microphone, you will need to attach a bracket.
The Stylish Pocket Camera
For the right photographer, Fujifilm's XF10 camera is a great choice. You'll immediately see why the Fujifilm XF10 is so appealing if you have been a Fujifilm X70 fan or a Ricoh GR Series customer. The Ricoh GR series packs SLR quality in a pocket-friendly package, as well as an exceptionally sharp wide-angle lens.
However, it does limit your options. It is an excellent choice for both urban and natural landscapes as well as family photos and macros. However, it will not replace dedicated telezooms or macros. This camera is not designed to replace a dedicated telezoom or macro.
It is a pocket-sized, high-quality camera that works well. The Ricoh GR II's image quality is unsurpassed by the XF10. We reviewed it in 2015 and gave it Editors Choice. Although the XF10 is not as ergonomically designed as the GR II, the 28-mm view angle makes it a worthy alternative.
Fujifilm's X100F is our favorite type of camera. Although it is significantly more costly than $500 at $1,300, the X100F has a much better lens, a hybrid optical/electronic seefinder and superior handling. The 35mm view angle may not be as appealing to those who prefer the 28mm look. You can also add a wider-angle converter lens to the X100F but it will increase both the cost and the bulk of the camera.
The XF10 stands on its own as a gorgeous—especially if you opt for the gold finish—and pocket-friendly shooter. The XF10 is less expensive than the Ricoh GR II, which now sells for about $600 after a few decades on the market. It also has a much denser sensor. It might not be a bad idea for GR fans to wait till next year to find out if the GR III is as good in handling and image quality. However, for those photographers who aren't familiar with the GR's ergonomics the XF10 can scratch many of their same itch.
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