Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fujifilm X10 Review

Fujifilm X10 Review
February 2012, Carl Garrard
Fujifilm X10 Review: Ever daydream of your own perfect camera design? I do. I do it all the time. Two years ago I daydreamed about a compact camera that I'd make. In that daydream I decided that I'd like to have a manual zoom bright aperture lens, 2/3" sensor, and a rangefinder styled camera with a better than average optical viewfinder. Fuji must have been listening to me. Or wait, maybe it wasn't just me, maybe it was many who were having the same very daydream and Fuji caught onto it. That sounds more plausible to me, and it's probably true.

Fujifilm X10 Digital Camera (Black) (B&H Best Price)

Fujifilm X10 Review: Introduction

There's no doubt in my mind that the X10 is the result of listening to the camera market demand. Fujifilm's X10, X100, and XPro1 all have a similar rangefinder theme and the family resemblance is obvious.  Fuji's focus is on making retro exterior designs with modern leading edge technology underneath. Fuji have been on a faster pace than all of the other camera companies for the last year and with some 20+ models already announced this year it makes me wonder how the heck the design team can keep up.

My review is centered around my shooting experience with the Fuji X10 over the last three weeks. My comments are raw and off the cuff based on my impressions through the course of using the Fuji as a serious compact camera. My expectations were high with it, it's a pricey beast, and Fuji have done extensive marketing telling us its a serious camera with artistic style handcrafted Japanese heritage. So lets get on with how well Fuji have done here with the execution of the X10.

Fujifilm X10 Review: Out of the Box
Fujifilm X10 Digital Camera (Black) (B&H Best Price)

The X10 is impressive enough, even the packaging is elegant for cardboard and plastic, a step above what I'm used to seeing. Fuji even managed to give you a tool to install D-rings for your camera strap- that's a first as far as I know. Thoughtful details indeed. The package is fairly normal otherwise giving you all the essentials minus an SD card to get going.

Fujifilm X10 Review: Getting Used to the X10
Fujifilm X10 Digital Camera (Black) (B&H Best Price)

After unpacking the X10 the battery went right on the charger and I examined the X10 in hand. I wanted to look through that viewfinder I've been hearing so much about, and try the new lens design that incorporates the on/off switch. The X10's Viewfinder was impressively large view wise, rivaling some entry level DSLRS and blowing away every compact I've used yet in viewable area and overall clarity. No lie there, its great. The lack of a center AF point or parallax correction  lines leaves something to be desired for the X20.

Real glass prism viewfinder- a step way above the competition
No beating about the bush, it's almost a waste of a gorgeous viewfinder if you don't have these, but like I said, almost. As is, I'll take it in this class of camera over anything else out there even though it normally covers only 80-85% of the actual scene. It's a massive improvement over other compact optical finders, massive.

Heft was nice, lighter than I anticipated .. much like the Nikon P7000 was in hand. The grip isn't something I'd rave about but the materials surrounding it are nice. The X10's grip feels too skinny for my medium sized hands. I feel like I have to squeeze it while operating it one handed and that means discomfort. Long term use I never warmed up to the grip. It just feels like the lump on the front is too thin, make the lump wider and that should fix the issue. Balance is slightly to the left because of the lens.

Fujifilm X10 Review: After the Battery was Charged
Fujifilm X10 Digital Camera (Black) (B&H Best Price)

After installing the charged  battery, I inserted a fast SD card in the battery compartment area, formatted it, and made some quick changes to the settings I'd use right away. Ready to go now and get a feel for the camera. I went right to the lens.

The lens design is unique and interesting but it's not all roses. I don't like the implementation of the on/off switch here because that means the X10 is a two handed operation- a big no no for me with compacts. Although Fuji did a great job implementing such an innovation, it's simply not for me. In three weeks I never got used to it nor warmed up to it. Going into this review that was my biggest concern.

This design tells your hand on/off
Otherwise the lens operates smoothly. When I did remember that the on/off switch is located at the lens, the way the lens is designed tells you when it is on and off and at its widest focal length- all by feel alone. You don't have to look to see. There's a little smooth tension then a click and the camera comes on- that means you are at 28mm wide. Like I said they implemented that design brilliantly, I just never took to the on/off switch being there.

Buttons dials and gizmo's are all well made and feel high quality- an almost perfect match to the body itself which feels as well built as all of the marketing fluff Fuji threw at us. There's no lying here, the X10 is a brilliantly crafted camera and if it weren't for a few warts I'll mention later- the grip was bigger, and the on/of switch located around the shutter release- I'd be in compact heaven. Maybe the X20 will be better, that's up to Fuji to listen. As is, the X10 is one of the finest crafted cameras I've ever used- no matter what the price.
Exterior and  mechanical function wise you could say I'm pretty impressed. There's some real genius in the X10 but it's obvious to me it's a new design to the market and needs refinement. I'm not at all impressed with the rear rotating dial (not the one by the thumb at the top), it's too thin and too easy to press functions while rotating it. I'm not a fan of those kinds of dials, whereas the one by the thumb is my cup of tea. The scroll and click thumb dial is excellent albeit a bit loose and chimpy compared to other components of the exterior, but still high quality enough and it got the job done.

Although the grip is too thin on the front I like the rubber thumb rest a lot- it saves any semblance of one handed shooting for me although this camera is definitely not my choice for a quick one hand grab type of camera. The G12 Canon is, the Ricoh GRD III definitely is, and a few others. But not the X10.

Remember all those camera's I said Fuji announced this year? We'll they've been busy and honestly the X10 feels rushed to the market. I hear it's selling in boat loads but that's because Fuji tapped a hidden well in the camera market. Quite frankly I don't think they were ready for the amount of oil they discovered. Time to do some refinement and I hope they are listening again to the right people.

Fujifilm X10 Review: Powered Up
Fujifilm X10 Digital Camera (Black) (B&H Best Price)

The menu system is straight forward for me, I had no issues finding what I needed and setting the camera up the way I like. In fact, the menu system was one of the more positive notes for me- a little bit disorganized in some places but nothing that kept me from wanting to go in and tinker from time to time. I never had to pick up the manual once in three weeks - then again I am used to a lot of cameras and makes.

As far as LCD screens go the X10 fairs well. It's bright and detailed and does a fair job of keeping glare off of it but I've used better and worse. It's plenty large enough for viewing and I only wish it was flush against the body, it's kind of odd that it's raised about a 1/4" from the back of the body. Almost feels stuck on the back like a graham cracker... and one good pull at a corner would pull it off- but obviously that isn't the case.

Now that I had a fair feel for the camera and know where everything I need is, it was time to start taking pictures.

Fujifilm X10 Review: In the Hand (Warning, long winded segment)
Fujifilm X10 Digital Camera (Black) (B&H Best Price)

One of the most important aspects of a camera design to me is handling. How a camera feels in the hand and operates is quite frankly just as important as image quality to me, if not even more. If I don't enjoy using a camera I'm not inclined to bring it with me, or use it at all. The X10's simplistic form follows function rangefinders styling promises a straight forward handling style, but this is no rangefinder. A camera can look like a work of art, but that alone doesn't necessarily translate into a camera I'll like to use on a daily basis.

Since the X10 is considered a 'premium' compact, my analysis and criticisms are a bit more in-depth than cameras of a lessor class- basically I'm saying that I'm going to be more critical because of where the X10 sits in price and stature. So do keep this in mind when you read this section. I have a lot of expectations riding on the X10 not only because of its price and position in the market, but also because of Fujifilm's extensive marketing campaign.
Gorgeous craftsmanship.

My first impressions of the X10 in the hand overall were pretty positive. This is a very well built precise machine, there is nothing at all cheap feeling about the X10 in any way shape or form. Build quality is simply exemplary and Fuji's marketing doesn't exaggerate here one iota. Careful attention has been made to most of the external controls and how they feel and operate, there is a finesse in the way the buttons click, a finality in the sound and feel of the click that is very satisfying, but not all of the buttons.

The left side row of buttons, the FN button to top of the camera namely are the exceptional ones. The larger AEL, DISP and Raw buttons although larger, have a somewhat squishy feed back in comparison to the others, and I would have preferred the same feel for all of the button- to me that would be a smart continuity in design. I'm nitpicking here, but the three bigger buttons don't feel as sure footed in use, they are just kind of spongy and quiet. I like the feel, use,  and quick snap positive engaging sound of the others much more-even though they are smaller.

Dial wise the main control dial has just the right amount of resistance that should keep the camera from switching out of the PASM (or other modes) from accidental bumping. It feels just right. On the other hand though, the exposure compensation dial needs refinement. It is too tough to adjust and feels a bit gritty inbetween clicks. I have to hold the X10 with both hands to make this adjustment which I use quite often. I'd much prefer a lighter action, one that could be engaged using my thumb and a one hand hold on the X10. Not a deal breaker, and I will get used to it, but it needs refinement.

The shutter release is a three stage release, in feel. The first stage is very soft- it almost feels like pre-half press, suspension for the index finger if you will. Half press is very nice (for engagement of the auto focus), just right. The last click is the release of the shutter and this takes a bit more pressure than half press, again, just right. Release is snappy, quiet and sure. Well done on the shutter release Fuji.

I'm not a big fan of the autofocus/manual focus switch on the front. I can't see it when I shoot and therefore it takes memorization and that is kind of a distraction for me. I like visual cues for controls. Luckily I don't make a switch from AF and MF very often, and never use continuous focus on a compact, so I'll get used to it. The action, like the EV dial, is very stiff. Probably a good thing in this case though as you don't want to accidentally bump the X10 out of the preferred focus method.

Last but not least the zoom ring/on-off switch combo is something totally new to camera design. It takes some getting used too, but the implementation of it is nearly flawless. Nearly. Gotta say it's quite odd not having a switch or button to turn on the X10, but since this camera has a manual zoom ring it makes sense to me why Fuji incorporated the two together. Doing so ensures the camera will be turned off only after the lens is fully retracted and "safe". Still, I'd rather have a regular style on/off switch I can operate with one hand, as is the X10 is a two handed operation and that's a no no for me.

The two stage zoom feels good, first stage turns the camera on and the second is when you arrive at wide angle. You can feel both without looking, and although different at first, you'll get used to it. After using it for a couple of hours (purposely turning the camera on and off frequently) it became second nature, by feel. If I have one critique, its that I wish the zoom ring beveling was a bit deeper to give a better grip on the zoom ring. It's beautiful but I'd prefer not to have to squeeze the ring tight in order to keep my fingers from slipping- more "traction" please.

Holding the X10 in my right hand is a bit slippery. The grip has enough indent, but the faux leather is just a bit too slippery for such a small grip. I think either the indent needs to be larger or the faux leather more "tacky" to ensure a more confident one hand hold. As is the X10 feels to me as if I need to be using two hands at all times- and I'm not accustomed to doing that on a compact camera, at all.

Grip is too thin left to right and front to back for my taste.

All of the controls on the X10 are great but I can't help but feel the X10 is a bit cramped and slippery- it's not bad or anything, but it could be much better. The saving grace for one handed shooting is the soft rubber thumb pad. The texture of it is perfect, it just needs to be larger to compensate for the off balance of the X10 caused mainly by the weight of the lens and zoom ring.

Holding the X10 with my right hand only, and I feel like the camera wants to sag down to the ground on the left side- it takes more effort than it should to keep the X10 straight and true ready to shoot (almost feel like I have to pinch it kind of hard to do so one handed). In a way, the X10 almost feels too small to be of the rangefinder design. Its best used with two hands at all times, at least I feel more comfortable doing so. Giving the middle finger more to hold onto on the the front of the camera or just a tackier surface to grip, would change all this though.

Overall handling isn't as good as I thought it would be, but it isn't bad either. Had the X10 been as big as the X100, I think my comments would be much different in this regard.

Fujifilm X10 Review: Photographing with the X10
Fujifilm X10 Digital Camera (Black) (B&H Best Price)

Lets get to the things that immediately annoyed me. First of all the beveling on the lens housing is slick and you have to grip it more than I'd like to turn the X10 on. Looks nice, but I need more traction. Secondly the Raw writing speed is slower than I'm used too with serious compacts- bottom line it's too slow to write when I want to take a quick glance at an image I just made- wait wait wait. Ok. Now wait a minute, what was I doing? Oh yeah, looking at the image.... but why? Hmmm. Oh yeah I remember now. Yes that happened to me and enough for it to be a constant irritation.

Lets see, what else annoyed me. Well really not much right away. It wasn't till later on that I discovered a couple of major flaws with the X10- but lets not jump ahead now.

When I got going with the X10 I started to enjoy using it. I found it just took me a while to get used to how different it is in comparison to other cameras I've used. Different doesn't automatically insinuate good or bad, it takes time and use to see if those differences make a practical dent in the photographic experience. I found the X10 to be a hot and cold sort of camera- not well rounded. Some things it does very well, and others - it falls on its face.

Fujifilm X10 Review: Battery Life
Fujifilm X10 Digital Camera (Black) (B&H Best Price)

When I first saw the battery I knew the X10 would disappoint here, and although it wasn't as bad as I thought it might be, ultimately the X10 needs a bigger battery (and a larger grip around it). It wouldn't be so bad if the battery life indicator didn't just suddenly drop from 2/3rds full to zero in such a short period of time, but it does. A percentage meter or more accurate readout of the remaining power would help. I don't like carrying extra batteries. I'm great at managing battery life in a camera as long as the meter is reliable- the X10's isn't.

Fujifilm X10 Review: Image Quality
Fujifilm X10 Digital Camera (Black) (B&H Best Price)

When the X10 behaves like a camera should, it's capable of very good overall image quality from ISO 100-3200.  Much better than most compacts in this class. Color is fine from the Jpegs and the Velvia, Astia, and Provia simulations do a good job at simulating the film I used to use (and some I still use) from Fujifilm. I really have no complaints about the image quality from the X10 when the issues I raise in this review aren't encountered. In fact it's probably the best compact I've used image quality wise when it behaves- and it doesn't stop at the sensor or processing level. I prefer to use the Provia setting which is as close to "natural" as Fuji's film comes. Take a look at these 800 and 3200 samples right out of the camera- this is great for a compact folks.

ISO 3,200 Jpeg Provia Setting (OOC)

ISO 800 Jpeg Provia Setting (OOC

I turned down the noise removal as far as it will go (low) for these shots, but it's clear after reviewing the raw files that Fuji are doing a lot of chroma noise removal. Luckily the higher ISO shots still retain decent color though. Fuji have done a good job at removing just enough luminescence noise not to intrude on much detail loss but I prefer a true off setting in camera. Still the Jpegs are more than acceptable by my strict standards.

At low ISO's the X10 makes highly detailed, low distortion, beautiful images (again as long as you get the exposure right). Colors and tones are subtle and classy, and this is one area that Fujifilm show their expertise off. Take the image below. Sun dog in mid day sky, ISO 100. You can see the subtle color of the rainbow (sun dog), and the colors and tones of the clouds are spot on. A great job with auto white balance in Provia film mode here. I shoot sun dogs all the time and most cameras muck them up badly- not the X10.

ISO 100- Clouds and Sun Dog

The lens is remarkable. A very usable and versatile 28-112mm lens that has a nice bright aperture f/2-2.8 across the zoom range. Macro is good although way too much distortion and shading are found on the wide end. Macro on the telephoto end would have been a much better choice in this case. Otherwise the lens is sharp corner to corner with reasonable distortions, low vignetting, low color fringing, low flare, low barrel and pincushion distortion. This is a lens I'd love to have on my DSLRS or m4/3 cameras.  Fuji done good here and should be commended for it.

And now the bad part. Fuji have totally blown the histogram and exposure review experience with the X10. Not only does the Histogram not show exposure value changes or adjustments real time, it doesn't show blown highlights correctly before, during, or even after the exposure has been made. This means one cannot safely rely on the histogram reading the camera is giving you. In order to really know what your images will look like you'll need to review them on a computer. Here is an example where the X10 really blew it (pun intended).

I have a lot of experiences with sunrise and sunset shots. Anyone who does knows that dealing with the red channel during sunset or sunrise can really be challenging but not impossible. Typically I like to underexpose by almost a full stop just to give my equipment plenty of exposure room later on when I develop a raw file. In in the image below the X10 showed a full stop of empty detail in the highlight range on the histogram during and after the exposures I made of this sunrise. They looked great on the LCD too. As a precautionary measure I even shot in Raw just in case I wanted to try and get more highlight out of the scene later on. With a full stop of underexposure I thought I was safe. And when I reviewed my images I saw this.

Highlights are destroyed by blooming and an inaccurate histogram.

"Eh no problem, I have a raw file to work with. I can fix this." I thought. Nope, there was no salvaging this sunrise in Raw either. The red channel was completely destroyed. Image trashed, scene gone forever. And this was a pretty darn nice light show too.

After reviewing the set of shots I made of the sunrise I started going back to see if I had missed some blooming in other shots, and indeed I had. It's not as obvious during bright conditions, but anytime the scene has a fair amount of range in it- the Fuji's sensor show's its weakness.

To me this is unacceptable and Fuji ought to fix the X10 through a recall notice for free, for all purchasers of the X10. That's just me.

Fujifilm X10 Review: Final Conclusion

In three weeks time I couldn't quite bond with the X10 like I hoped I would. On paper and in the flesh the X10 almost seems too good to be true. But in use, the Tiger shows it's stripes and it can forget about any sneak attack on it's prey. I hope you are keeping up with the metaphorical references here. I don't know how else to express my mixed emotions about the X10.

There are two fatal flaws with the X10 that I can't get over.

Two issues are major and one is even recall worthy. The X10's newest firmware did not fix the highlight blooming issue, nor address the faulty histogram and blown red channel- at all. I think the two issues might be interlinked, simply the sensor may not be capable of holding extra bright highlights as well as it should in certain shooting conditions- and that is the frustration.

The highlight blooming doesn't always show, only in certain circumstances. Fuji needs to fix this blooming highlight orb issue one way or another in order to gain any of my trust as a serious competitor in the current marketplace. The histogram issue isn't as serious but can be depending on how much you rely on your exposures when reviewing images during and after the exposure (who doesn't anymore?). For me it is.

Simply put the X10 is the best example of a Jekyll and Hyde camera I think that I've ever used. In some ways it is a brilliant camera, and in others a total disaster.  I'm more of the mind set that a great camera should be well rounded, a sort of jack of all trades and master of none.

After using the X10 for 3 weeks I found it to simply infuriate me at times (blown red channels, useless histogram, highlight blooming orbs, and the other not so intense frustrations), and other times had me grinning ear to ear. But the cumulative effect leaves me wondering why Fuji screwed up so many things in this camera. It could have been a grand slam, but I find it overall to strike out on a pop fly. My dream camera ended up being a sort of nightmarish frustration. If I can't rely on it in all circumstances to do what a camera today should, I don't want to use it. There are simply too many alternatives out there.

I wish I could wholeheartedly recommend the X10 but I can't. As long as you don't mind the highlight blooming and useless histogram, it's other faults can be forgivable and be worked around I suppose. Some shooters love the X10 as is and I can see why, but as a reviewer I have a moral obligation to report issues I find as well I use too many different cameras that don't have these issues to just let them slide. They are simply unforgivable from my standpoint.

Therefore the the X10 as is now gets my lowest rating yet. If Fuji can work miracles on future firmware, or do a recall and fix those issues on repair, I'd be glad to change the rating. As is, I can't. Recommended for those who love rangefinder designed compacts, like photographing sun dogs, and can ignore a couple of big flaws. For everybody else:

Fujifilm X10 Rating- Below Average (for its class)

As always, be safe and happy shooting.

-Carl Garrard

If you want to purchase a Fuji X10 I recommend only a handful of retailers, mainly B&H Photo who always have competitive prices and excellent customer service. You can check the best price on the X10 here:
Fujifilm X10 Digital Camera (Black) (B&H Best Price)

In case you like shopping at Amazon, their best price can be found here:

Fujifilm X10 Best Price Check Amazon

X10 Pros

  • Very Good overall image quality (see cons about blooming) if exposure is correct, for a compact
  • Excellent color rendering (Fuji specialty)
  • Low noise, very good high ISO capability
  • Top notch build quality- magnificent
  • Overall excellent viewfinder (for a compact)
  • Superb sharp lens, bright aperture range (one of its finest traits)
  • Excellent amount of external controls and customization
  • Pro-Light mode works well (auto aligning and stacking)
  • Image stabilization
  • Hot shoe
  • Slick pop up flash
  • Fun film modes and unique EXR modes (with limitations)

X10 Cons

  • Histogram is nearly useless, blown color channels are not properly reported (especially the red channel)
  • Highlight blooming (orb) is recall worthy
  • On/off switch means two handed use
  • AF illumination lamp shuts off if you use the macro setting w/no warning
  • Grip is uncomfortable/balance off
  • Battery life isn't good and warning time for last 2/3rds too short
  • LCD display information switching is too fiddly- it wastes time
  • Raw writing times are too slow for a camera of this class and price
  • Macro is on the wrong end of the focal length
  • EXR modes are limited and frustrating
  • Manual focusing is a joke (I thought for a while it didn't even work)


  1. Hats off to you! You are one reviewer who call a spade a spade!
    Regards - CY

  2. Fantastic review. It is sooo refreshing to read real, solid reporting instead of the fan boy trash over at DPR's forums. I got suckered into buying this brick and had I read your review first, that would NEVER have happened. It is amazing how many people are willing to lie and distort the truth all for their favorite camera. Just amazing. I learned a serious lesson from this that is for sure.

    Again, great review. Well done, you can be proud of your work.

  3. :) Thanks guys glad you enjoyed the review.

    Let it be known that I had planned a much longer review with a lot more details but since I encountered a couple of issues as mentioned, you could say my motivation waned.


  4. Who would've though, after all these glowing reviews? The X100, X10 and now the Pro are very intriguing cameras, but for their price I would've expected more.

  5. Good review. I also found the X10 to be less than expected. I only had mine for one day and I returned it. We were totally incompatible. Virtually everything about it was "almost". Very disappointing.

  6. " you could say my motivation waned."

    Sort of like Fujifilm's?

  7. Superb review.
    Even though I have a X10, I completely agree with you regarding it being a faulty camera. It is just a shame that Fuji is not acting properly to solve the sensor issues.

    Regarding the sunset shot, I really don't see any highlight blooming. By high light blooming you mean Orb? Sorry for this very basic question!

  8. Fair and nice review - pleasant reading unlike DPReview forums.

    I have the X10 and understand quite a few of the things you point out. Like you, I had high expectations when I saw this camera the first time and in this way disappointments can be plentiful. One will have to forget the euphoria and relate to the qualities and quirks of the camera and decide on if it makes sense.

    The orb phenomenon is certainly a flaw, even though it may be hard to fully grasp from your description for some readers. I hope that reviews like yours may help in making Fujifilm reconsider how they deal with this matter. Current situation is clearly not acceptable to many.

    All in all, I believe I will keep my X10 - it's not my best camera ever, but I would say the camera behaves fairly well, and the handling and compactness makes me use this camera in quite a different way that my other cameras. I would tend to say that the biggest (non-technical) disappointments on the X10 have been Fujifilm behavior and Fujifilm online communities...

  9. I guess deceitful battery-level indicators run in the family - one of my biggest gripes about the F550 is that the battery fails soon after saying it's healthy. At least twice it was in the cool of morning, but once it claims it's gone no warmth can bring it back. I even carry a spare (most of the time) and it still catches me by surprise. The F550 has no blooming of note, but its lens could use a new coating design that's for sure.

  10. Appreciate the kind comments on the review.

    I'm not so sure the X10 would have been a "keeper" for me without the orb, histogram, on/off switch, or manual focus issues. I like to focus manually, and I like to turn a camera on and off one handed, I use both of those things a lot, to be without them- I think I'd eventually tire of it.

    Hard to say.

  11. To DPR folks: Thanks for the concern over my health. That is not the reason why I have not been around DPR lately. I was banned 8 days ago with no notice at all from DPR so I can only assume that my ban is permanent. I wrote to DPR asking for clarification 8 days ago but got nothing.

    So that's it for me and DPR. I dont need mindless censorship. Best of luck to you all and thanks again!

  12. @ unknown- Regarding the sunset image, just take a look at the histogram if you have Adobe lightroom or CS. You'll see what I'm talking about.

    I use calibrated monitors for all of my post processing, not only can you see the issue right away but the histogram confirms it.


  13. I'm buying this camera
    i've seen canon s100 review and nikon p7100, i don't think there is any compact camera better than fujix10. Damn, I hope i'm not wrong....

  14. I was dead set on buying one when I went to Paris last month, but when I took it in my hand and tried it out at the FNAC photo store something felt odd right away. I kept playing with it for an hour and a half, reluctant to abandon it, but it simply didn't add up and I left without it. Now, having read your keen observations, Carl, I fully understand what my 40+ years of photographic experience were subconsciously warning me about!
    Thanks again. Great reading

  15. Thanks for posting this review! I saw the X10 at Future Shop here in Canada (cousin to Best Buy) and fell immediately in love with its handling. I loved the idea of a vintage looking rangefinder that reminded me so much of my dad's 35mm Minolta that I loved to play with as a kid. I probably visited Future Shop every day for a solid week, playing with the camera for 30-60 minutes each time. I'm sure the sales guys got tired of seeing me. So why didn't I snap one up to take home? I don't know, but I think now I'm starting to understand.

    Even before reading about the orb issues, I had my own issues with the on-off switch and a few other quirks (the optical viewfinder is a nice feature, but has no indicators, and I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to turn the LCD live display OFF if I wanted to shoot using the OVF).

    As it stands I'll be looking eagerly to see if Fuji will release an X11, or X20, but I'll pass on the X10.

    I found a great deal on a Panasonic GF2 with the 14mm/2.5 pancake instead.

  16. Seems like Canon got very close to a well rounded camera with the G12. And as they should, they've been refining the same camera for the past 6 years or so. If i was in the market for a camera in this segment, it would be between G12 and Olympus XZ-1.

  17. They say that Fuji will be saying something useful on March 12th.
    Other than the sensor it is the most perfect compact I've ever seen.

  18. We'll see. As I've said in the review, there's more than one flaw on this camera that needs to be addressed. No such thing as a perfect camera.

  19. I switched from Canon G10 to X10. I am very happy about it, picture quality is excellent, design is excellent, I really don't understand the negative comments..

    Kasper, Copenhagen.

  20. Hi Kasper,

    You are one of the happy ones I mentioned in the review. I'm glad to hear it.

    Be safe and happy shooting!


  21. I just don't get all the Fuji bashing (not here but most definitely on DPR) since the X10 turns out to be my best buy in years. I owned a Canon G9 before the Fuji: it was slow as molasses, IQ varied from mediocre to horrible at everything above ISO 200 and AF was plain unreliable. Nothing of the kind with the X10: it is fast, IQ is amazing up until ISO 1600, AF only ever misses target once or twice during a day of intensive use. Oh, and it did produce some 'orbs', yes, but only in a couple of extreme situations in which I know the G9 would have utterly failed to produce anything worthwhile. I have owned the X10 for nearly two months now, and the counter is at 4000+ (raw) exposures. I love it. It brought back the fun in photography for me.

  22. Fuji made a product that had two major faults, that's why there's criticism that you see.

    Now Fuji are attempting a fix, and I'll wait to see what the fix brings in terms of tested performance of the sensor before I change my review. Unfortunately the fix means that buyers will need to send in their cameras to have the sensor replaced.

    There's no telling how long that process will take or if for certain it will fix the issues until owners start to send them in and receive them back. Basically it is a quiet recall of the X10 and XS1 cameras. Recalls are no fun, but they can be lessor of a headache depending on how the manufacturer handles the customer.

    The X10 or XS1 should have never gone out with the blooming flaw in the sensor. I can sympathize with consumers who are the innocent party here. Manufacturers have an obligation to produce a product that meets the standards they set- for the paying consumer.


  23. Never under-estimate the power of denial (especially of X10 owners --- sorry, couldn't resist). I bought based on early 5 star and professional site reviews and got hammered by orbs.

    Worse than the camera issues is how Fuji has handled them --- that is not acceptable.

  24. Great review just what I was looking for. I did like this little compact, but after reading so many things I had a re think. I will wait for fuji to bring out a better built camera, maybe Canon may bring something worthy out before hand.

  25. A nice honest review, that's a refreshing change. I've always been a Canon fan but after my G10 suddenly developed lots of hot pixels and my S90 sensor got ruined by a laser light show (that's another story) I decided to try the X10 as a replacement for both. I do love it though. Yes the orbs can be annoying especially in long exposures and in my opinion it should have come with a higher capacity battery but the images are superb and the manual zoom is by far my favourite feature.
    A few other points not covered in your review that I've noticed after a few months with the X10. The manual zoom, great though it is, creates an issue because you can zoom in/out so quickly it "breathes" quite a lot and consequently my X10 has sucked in quite a considerable amount of dust into the lens ( and I've also noticed that the rubber thumb grip is starting to come loose already and glue is exposed on the underside.

    The latest firmware did nothing to help with the orb problem but as of June 2012 Fuji (UK) are replacing all sensors in the X10 for FREE if you feel you are affected by the orb issue. I've just sent my back in a pre-paid box to Fuji yesterday (7th June 2012) and hope to have it back in a week complete with new orb-less sensor, fixed rubber grip and dust cleaned from inside the lens. You can read more about the sensor replacement recall here


  26. Hi, thanks for the honest review. I think I'll pass this time, will just wait for the X10 upgrade, the x20 as what you said. But it's a great camera from all the reviews i read.

  27. Luckky me, I bought this fantastic camera - and it is the best compact I've ever had. The positive sides sides of this camera way outnumbers the weak sides, and I change camera after using Panasonic LX5 - which still is a great camera. Instant manuel zooming, fantastic colors, especially skin colors, lots of control buttons, great ergonics and feel. No highlight orbs to see on my cam, just a great experience.

  28. Love the X10. Just fitted a Bower X0.45 supplementary digital w/a lens using a special "double" step ring (40 to 35 + 49 - for filters) from SRB-Griturn (+44(0)1582 661878)
    Yes - I get a slight fish-eye type vignette at 28mm, but it disappears at around 35mm, and the quality is not 100%. But it does allow me to capture shots that I would miss without it.

  29. Glad there are some that are happy with it, I really am. Too bad for me that my dream compact ended up being a nightmare- I still shake my head in frustration thinking about it sometimes. Sigh.

    Maybe the S100 or TL350 will be a better solution for a pocket compact. The P7100 was a much more pleasant camera to use, and quite versatile in its implementation than the X10- by far.


  30. The TL350 is indeed a much more polished camera to use and operate than the X10- totally different class but the result is that I have a pocket camera that I actually like that isn't a DSLR with RAW. No quirks either, just straight up a great pocket camera with very good results despite the very small sensor.


  31. First of all thank you for this detailed review Mr. Garrard. Before I decide to buy an item, I try to read as many reviews as I can find. When I became interested in digital cameras after using a 35mm film SLR for years, I was drawn towards X10 because of its manual controls. However, a few issues I noticed in the reviews I read held me back, the most prominent being the 'white orb' issue. I kept on looking into other makes and models and I am afraid I have noticed the same 'white orb' phenomenon in some other cameras. When it comes to X10, almost all reviews talk about this 'white orb' issue as if it was the only camera with this problem. However, I noticed the same 'white orb' in a sample photo of a review of LX5 (I think it was in the review by A friend of mine has Sony HX7V. He has some complaints about the photos he had taken and while going through the images we came to a night shot of a cat's face. I had never ever seen a cat with a 'white orb' for an eye before. At first I thought it was some sort of a light source, like a street lamp, or a lamp from an open window. When my friend warned me, "Hey, that's the face of the cat" that I realized that I was actually looking at a cat's eye.

    Since then I started thinking that this may be a general issue with some digital sensors (cameras?!. I haven't noticed this phenomenon with DSLRs.) and that Fuji's sensor might just be exacerbating the phenomenon. As I said, I haven't had much experience with digital cameras, I may be wrong about my assumption, and although I haven't made a decision about which camera to choose between EP3, EM5, RX100 or X10, since then I started looking at X10 with a little bit more sympathy.

    Best regards

    PS. DPReview reports that with the new sensor this issue seems to be resolved.

  32. Wrapping up the orb issue years later, Fuji dealt with this issue very well in the end and are to be commended as a camera company in general. They tried a fix with firmware and immediately halted production of the sensors that were giving them fits. XS1 and X10 benefited from new sensors. X20 solved many issues I brought up in this review, and the X30 is now coming to me to review- can't wait!

    -Carl Garrard