Fujifilm X10 Takes a Shot at the Premium Point-and-Shoot Crown
Updated 10/21/2011 to include pricing information.
Announced today, the throwback-styled Fujifilm X10 aims to outgun competing cameras in the "premium point-and-shoot" class. Because of its size and feature set, it's more of a competitor to the larger Canon PowerShot G12 and the Nikon Coolpix P7100 than to more-compact options such as the Olympus XZ-1, the Nikon Coolpix P300, the Panasonic Lumix LX5, and the Canon PowerShot S95.
The new X10 offers a larger sensor than all of the cameras mentioned above, as well as a wider aperture than all but one of them at the telephoto end of its zoom range. Like most of them, it offers full manual exposure controls, a RAW shooting mode, and a few unique extras that should make it a compelling competitor for other performance-minded (semi-)compact cameras.
It's also a bit bigger than the rest of the pack, clocking in at 2.2 inches deep, 4.6 inches wide, and 2.7 inches high--more like the size of a compact interchangeable-lens camera, except with a fixed lens.
In addition to its old-school aesthetics, the X10 also features an optically stabilized, manually operated 4X (28mm to 112mm) zoom lens; you twist the lens barrel to adjust focal length rather than use a powered zoom toggle. The top of the camera also hosts a dedicated exposure-compensation dial for fast adjustments.
The camera lets you select between manual focus and autofocus via a front-mounted dial. The X10's lens has maximum aperture settings of F2.0 wide-angle to F2.8 telephoto, and is faster at the telephoto end than we've seen in any competing camera other than the Olympus XZ-1 (F1.8 to F2.5).
Besides a back-mounted 2.8-inch-diagonal LCD viewfinder, the X10 also offers an eye-level optical viewfinder. Unlike the unique electronic/optical "hybrid viewfinder" found in the Fujifilm X100, the viewfinder in the X10 is a purely optical version with diopter adjustments. The camera also has an electronic level, which you use via the LCD screen.
The Fujifilm X10's 12-megapixel EXR CMOS sensor (2/3-inch type) is larger than those found in many other performance-minded point-and-shoots. Like the company's previous EXR-branded cameras, the X10 offers a few EXR-specific shooting modes in addition to aperture-priority, shutter-priority, and full manual exposure modes: a signal-to-noise mode for capturing low-noise shots in dim lighting, a high-dynamic-range mode, and a high-resolution mode for well-lit situations.
Other in-camera features include a "motion panorama" capability that stitches together an instant panoramic image by panning the camera; bracketing modes for exposure, ISO, HDR photography, and effects filters; and a pop-up flash in addition to a top-mounted hot shoe.
Fujifilm says the camera can power on and be ready to shoot in less than a second, and that the ring around the lens barrel can be used to power the camera on for a quick start-up time as you're framing the shot through the optical viewfinder. Fujifilm also claims that the X10 has a minimum focal distance of less than 0.4 inches in macro mode, and that the camera has an extremely fast shutter response time to go along with its boot-up speed.
In burst mode, the camera can capture 7 frames per second at full 12-megapixel resolution, as well as up to 10 frames per second at about a 6-megapixel resolution. The X10 also offers a 1080p video mode at 30 fps, saved as .mov files.
The X10 is due in November, and we're excited about it. It looks loaded, and its $600 price tag makes it a slightly more-expensive but still reasonably priced competitor to $500 cameras such as the PowerShot G12, the Coolpix P7100, and the Lumix LX5.